A thread in the political section addressed the control of government over churches through tax exempt status. The debate has evolved into a question as to whether that has affected how pastors preach from the pulpit. Maybe something needs to be different. In the past year, from a good number of churches, I have heard 85 references to alcohol, 76 references to either lottery tickets or gambling, 15 references to dancing, 10 references to movie or TV shows, and 6 references to smoking. Odd though, although none of that is taking place within the walls of the local church, gossip is rampant, and not one reference was uttered, and if it was, no action is taken against offenders. We all know James says if one commits one sin, one has transgressed against the entire law. First of all, it is reasonable to contend that of the list above, at least half are not sins. It may be more, but suffice to say, most are man made myths. Gossip is without a doubt a sin, and flourishes right in the physical building of the local church. Yet, nothing is said. Aside from the sin itself, gossip causes dissention, ruins reputations, is totally evil, disrespectful, promotes hatred and produces enemies. It stands for everything Christ does not want His church to be. Why are some of our local churches tolerating this? It seems to me it is the duty of the pastor and church leadership to address this immediately, and if necessary, follow through with disfellowship. Why do sermons never address this, yet, we have plenty on the Baptist pet sins? In addition, every time a sermon is preached on drinking, dancing, etc, (take your pick), it is teaching members to memorize the rule, and obey it in their own power, the exact opposite of the Christian walk. Those sermons should focus in on how to listen to the Holy Spirit living in each of us. Personally, I would rather deal with a drunk, a smoker or a gambler any day of the week rather that a person full of poison words, a sharp tongue, and a big mouth.