Some months ago I remember reading a piece on the Internet by Marshall Goldsmith, one of my favorite business gurus, that dealt with casual business conversations. He mentioned how much of casual business conversations contain either self promotion or subtle denigration of the efforts of others. I believe that this is the content of most gossip among men in the church. It’s either self promotion or putting down others who are absent by sharing ‘concerns’ and ‘prayer requests’ about them. From my experience this kind of self promotion and spiritualized backstabbing also occurs a great deal in denominational meetings where pastors and denominational leaders gather.
Solomon already gave the scriptural guideline for self-promotion:
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth,
someone else, and not your own lips”
Rather, the focus needs to be on the glory of God, and serving as a disciple of Jesus. Most of this kind of boastfulness is unnecessary and pollutes the fellowship of believing men when they get together.