Now this one ought to be easy, right? Nope. Check out the local meeting of the ministerial association and listen to the gossip. If you want to go beyond that, check out the Parking lot meetings. You know the ones. They happen after a regular board meeting finishes. And if you want to hear the best, go check out the lunches after church. Roast pastor is frequently being served.
Now all of those instances happen in more,or less normal congregations. In really aberrant ones you'll hear people claim that extra parties were in the room when a personnel matter has been discussed. Of course there are also model congregations where very little of this type of behavior is taking place.
How do you tell the difference between the two types of congregations? The only pattern I've seen is that in congregations that do bear false witness it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for you to contact whoever had the last major pastorate. They will be happy to talk to you . . . but not yet. Usually I've ended up elsewhere before the pastor is ready to talk.
And how about the times I bear false witness? I try not too. But as I am an imperfect person, may God give me a shove before I open my mouth.
Thank you Father Benedict for the reminders of you Rule.
Brother Oscar Romero