Dave Ramsey and the Gossip Problem



The recent social media dust-up surrounding Dave Ramsey surprised me. I’ve followed his teachings (and promoted them at every single church I’ve been a part of) for over ten years. I couldn’t imagine him getting his briefs in a bind over some parody Twitter accounts—which, last time I checked, are protected under that whole “freedom of speech” idea.

I have heard Ramsey blast the concept of “gossip,” over and over again, on the radio show. He’s referred to it as one of the most toxic things that can happen in any business, or any church. In some respects, he’s right. Unsubstantiated rumors can destroy a person’s reputation, influence, ministry, or job. Vindictive, cruel individuals have no qualms about using distortions, faulty appeals to emotion, or flat-out lies to tear down another person. I’ve personally been in the cross-hairs of liars and manipulators, and it’s not a fun place to be. I’ve lost family and friendships because a disordered person painted me with a brush that only had two colors—black and white.

However, there’s two areas where Ramsey seems to be dead wrong on this issue:

1) Parody Twitter accounts are not “gossip.”

Dave, did these guys share Lampo trade secrets with the Twitterverse? Did they tap your bathroom, record you singing Marvin Gaye off-key in the shower, and broadcast it on Youtube? Did they reveal the location of Rachel’s super-secret honeymoon location, and put her safety at risk? No—according to media reports, they said you were spoiled rotten, authoritarian, and power hungry. (And since you worked to have the Twitter accounts deleted, well, I have no way of checking it on my own now, do I?) They must have said it in a funny, compelling way too, because you reacted like you’d been stung by a swarm of bees. You could have taken the high road, and invoked that little-known Bible verse that says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (Matthew 5:11) Instead, you threatened legal action and moved to shut them down. You also created a nifty little Streisand Effect, and increased the follower-ship of the last parody account ten-fold.

So it makes me wonder: Why are you able to stand against an entire culture and say, “Credit is bad, credit scores are worthless, and you can truly live without this system,” but you can’t stand against some paltry little anonymous Tweeters that call you a bully?

2) Matthew 18 has been the basis of almost every “anti-gossip” crusade that I’ve encountered as a believer.

However, Dave, there seems to be a part that you left out of your Bible study:

15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

So, if someone had confronted you on authoritarian, bullying behavior, and you simply “fired their butt,” where would they have to go next? According to Matthew 18, their JOB, Biblically, would be to “tell it to the church.” Since you’ve created a national platform for yourself (which has done a lot of people a lot of good) then the national and international church, via Twitter, is arguably a logical place to do this. If you still refuse to be repentant, then the Church’s next role is to treat you as a pagan or a tax collector.

Dangit, Dave, do you really want to be compared to the IRS?

You showed some interesting colors here, Dave. You could have laughed this off if they were telling lies, or you could have said, “Gee, maybe I was wrong, and maybe I have something to learn about authoritarian behavior,” if they were telling the truth. Instead, by working to get these Twitter accounts removed, you raised the suspicions of those of us who have been faithful followers of your program for years.

Nice job.

Please work to clear this up. 


A Long-Time Fan



In Which My Husband Discovers His Sexism…

I hate holidays.

There! I said it!  I said it out loud for the entire world to hear!

Of course, when I was a kid, I loved holidays like Christmas and Easter and Valentine’s Day (which is still my favorite, by the way!).  I loved the decorations, the presents, the family gatherings, the anticipation of what would be waiting in the morning.

As I got older, though, and especially after I had kids, all I felt from these holidays was the pressure to give my family a “perfect memory.”  Cook an amazing meal, give the kids a fabulous tree, make sure the house was spotless to host a party or gathering–or worse, travel up to 12 hours to attend a party or gathering, with however many small children I had in tow.

For reasons I’ll explain later, I’ve usually worked retail or sales jobs throughout our marriage, so the most stressful holidays usually coincided with the worst work season.  I’d work 60-80 hours a week, then have to put on a perfect smiling face at my in-laws’ house.

I. Hate. Holidays.

However, this past fourth of July was going to be different.  We were going to go up to the lake, spend the day playing in the sand and in the sun, then watch fireworks over the water.

Of course it rained.

With no plans, no family close by to feel obligated to visit, and no desire to crash any friends’ parties, my husband and I sat in our living room with three disappointed kids, and tried to figure out what to do instead.

“Hey,” I said, “We could paint the desk!”   We’d scored a fabulous $10 thrift-store desk, and made cool plans to paint it white and cover certain sections of it with chalkboard surface.  We just hadn’t had any time to work on it.  Hubby was agreeable, and the kids thought the idea of getting messy with paint was just great.

For the first hour, they even helped us sand.  It was a long, dusty process that they eventually tired of, and they later occupied themselves by building stick-and-towel forts with a neighbor kid.

I’d never had a happier Independence Day.  I was covered in sawdust, working on something I loved, making plans to beautify my home in my own style.  My husband was working with me, my kids were happy…..

….and THAT’s when I said it.  “This is the way I’d love to spend every holiday.  I hate feeling like I’m working so hard to cook or clean or travel or do presents, and then the next day it’s just gone.  It feels like such a waste of time.  This is spending a holiday working on something that will last, and I love that.”

Hubby’s face turned dark.

I didn’t understand why.  I thought I’d just shared a piece of my heart with him.  I thought I’d shared something that made me feel alive and satisfied, but he was obviously upset.  “I’m hungry,” he said.  “I think it’s time to do some of that domestic work that you hate so much.”

Whoa!!!! What???

“You keep saying over and over again that you hate cooking, that you only learned it because you wanted to serve me.”

Well, yes, that’s true.  Fundamentally true.  Before we married, I had no desire to cook. Anything.  Ever.  I spent too much time absorbing the heretical teachings of the Christian Patriarchy Movement, which basically told me I’d ruin my family, become divorced from my husband, and spend the rest of my life eeking out a subsidized living in a dumpy duplex if I didn’t become the best cook & housekeeper ever.  However, despite what Fascinating Womanhood and Created to Be His Helpmeet said, my husband never saw my learning to cook as a gift I continually tried to give him.  It just seemed….expected.

Plus, we also tried to follow the teachings of Dave Ramsey, and cut out prepared foods and restaurants to save money.    Then, to add insult to injury, I developed food allergies that would make your skin crawl.  Suddenly I *had* to prepare most of my food from scratch.

I became pretty damn good at it.  I became a fantastic baker.  I learned to make Chinese and Cajun food.

The problem is that I was literally spending all of my time cooking, washing dishes, and cooking some more.  I felt like I either had to let the kitchen get dirty, or spend my life as a scullery maid.

I started making simpler meals.  I started voicing my opinion: “I’m not a cook; I’m a songwriter.  I need to spend my time working on what I love, and not what I simply have to do to squeeze by.  This is not a life.”

My husband could not process that someone would become so skilled at something she didn’t *want* to do.  I don’t think he’s ever really thought about how much work cooking was.

Before we got married, he bought me a set of pots and pans.  An expensive, copper-bottomed, high-quality set.

So, I asked him, “Why does my not enjoying cooking bother you?  Why do you think this is so bad?”

“Well, I consider cooking to be a skill that a responsible adult simply has to learn.  Living off microwave meals and takeout [which is how I’d lived as a single girl!] is just childish, and is not good for your body.”

“So, you’re telling me you want to learn to cook then?” I asked.

He stopped.

He looked at me like I’d just spoken to him in Klingon.

We’ve been married almost ten years, and known about my food allergies for almost three, and he has never learned to cook.

“Well…” he considered his words very carefully. “…I’d always assumed that, if I’m the one providing, then your role would be cooking.”

“That would be understandable, if I wasn’t also expected to bring in an income.  Except for the year after Shy Violet was born, and this past year, I’ve worked too.  And cooked.”

He stood in front of the garage door and looked at me.  Really looked at me, as though he was seeing me for the first time.  I remember the expression on his face when I first realized he was attracted to me—a mix of wonder and confusion.  I was seeing the same thing now.

“Um…I want to live in a consistent way. And…um…I certainly want to move into a place where we’re sharing more of the housework.”

That is the man I married: when confronted with facts that show a belief of his is fundamentally wrong, he changes it.  He changes it almost whiplash-fast.  Apparently this is a trait he shares with many other INTJ’s , but I always view it with awe and thankfulness.

“So, do you see now why I don’t like holidays?”

“Well, I’d always thought that holiday cooking was just three days out of the year.  I didn’t think about the fact that you were cooking every other day of the year too.”


We came to an agreement that we both had things we wanted to do on holidays: I wanted something that would last, like a craft project or a fun vacation.  He did want a memorable meal and traditional family time.   However, he would take steps to realize exactly how much work I was doing, help when I requested it, and realize that we have to make our own traditions.

He made dinner tonight. 🙂 Having three daughters gives him a new hate for sexism.  He’s just starting to see that I should be free from it as well.

I’m just starting to see it too.

With Love,

Taylor Joy