STOP THE RUNAWAY CONVERSATION: Take Control over Gossip and Criticism

Michael D. Sedler, Author
Michael D. Sedler, Author . Chosen $12.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8007-9289-3
Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
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A book that honestly and practically addresses the destructive power of gossip would be very helpful for Christians. Unfortunately, this is not that book. It lacks a clear definition of gossip, prescribes tactless ways of handling negative communication and fails to delineate between constructive and destructive criticism. First-time author Sedler has experience as a teacher and a social worker, but writes this book from his current role as a pastor. Sedler's discussion of gossip and criticism is so interwoven with the language of spiritual warfare that most readers, even Christian readers, will find it foreign. He describes the aftermath of a counseling session: "That night, both Joyce and I felt defiled, unclean and oppressed. We realized we had not cleansed ourselves after the meeting and it was very apparent to us that some of those spirits and oppressive tendencies had attached themselves to us." The structure of the book follows the regressive stages of someone who listens to gossip or criticism without openly challenging it. These stages are confusion, contamination, foolishness, identification, fear, impurity and deception. Sedler wants to emphasize the critical role of the listener in such negative communication. But instead of arguing from common sense that only a listener has the opportunity to challenge destructive words, he paints a picture of dire consequences for all who fail to oppose such communication. (June)

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