Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Sex or Backbiting?

Most of you know, I do the daily readings from The Lectionary (you can always click on it from my Blogroll, down to the right) as part of my spiritual discipline. I also read the daily meditations on Forward Movement, (also in the blogroll.)

Rarely do I share them with you, but this one is where Christianity and Islam are so closely intertwined that I dance for joy – that much can be forgiven to one who loves, but our tongues get us into a lot of trouble.

I know that backbiting is one of the great sins to be avoided during the upcoming holy season of Ramadan, too.

James 3:1-12 The tongue is a fire…a world of iniquity…a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

I sometimes wonder if the churchfolk who seem obsessed with sexual behavior are reading the same Bible I am. If I said that someone was “living in sin,” I know what parts of the body you’d think I was talking about. Yet if it were James or other New Testament authors talking, they would probably be referring to the tongue.

For every reference in the New Testament to sins involving sex, there must be ten concerning speech. Why? Because while sex is certainly one form of communication, speech is a more potent one in the daily life of a congregation. Words have power.

God creates the world and keeps in touch with it, after all, by his Word; and words are how we keep in touch with each other. But the word that can create can also destroy–a reputation, an institution, a life. Words tell us who and how we are and whether we belong; words bind the community together-or tear it apart. Sexual misconduct is bad–and easy to recognize as bad.

The sniping, backbiting, spite, and deceit that go on in some communities are often hard to see, let alone root out. Yet their effect is more corrosive over the long term. How did our priorities get so mixed up?

PRAY for the Diocese of South Carolina (United States)

Ps 38 * 119:25-48; 1 Kings 9:24-10:13; Mark 15:1-11

September 5, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Books, Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Language, Ramadan, Spiritual, Words


  1. Wow. The excerpt shows how much emphasis is placed on backbiting – something a lot of people take a lot more lightly than pre-marital relations. My guess is that clergymen discuss it often nowadays – perhaps more often than they address backbiting – because it’s taken way too lightly in the media and even in some societies whereas in the past there was more value placed on chastity. The nonchalance with regards to that behavior is partly what brought on huge problems like AIDS and teenage pregnancy and what have you. My personal opinion is that in this day and age it really might be a more urgent matter than backbiting – although backbiting can bring on its on set of social problems which shouldn’t be taken lightly.

    The more I discover about both Christianity and Judaism the more I realize that the rules or boundaries for what’s right and wrong in everyday behavior are similar to our own teachings.

    Comment by 1001 Nights | September 5, 2007 | Reply

  2. Loved this post …

    Comment by chikapappi | September 5, 2007 | Reply

  3. sorry I misspoke, not our own teachings but rather the teachings of our religion Islam 😀

    Comment by 1001 Nights | September 5, 2007 | Reply

  4. Glad you guys liked this post, too! I believe we share scriptures that contain rules for personal purity. I think this guy’s point is that even while keeping our bodies pure and chaste, we can stain our souls by wagging our tongues irresponsibly.

    Comment by intlxpatr | September 6, 2007 | Reply

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