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The Eagle and Child Pub
The Pub where Lewis and Tolkein had iron-sharpening discussions

Years ago, my father fulfilled a dream for me by taking me to Oxford where C. S. Lewis walked, talked, taught, and was buried. We went to the pub where the Inklings discussed God and their writings. Sometimes the “Inklings” disagreed strongly, but they respected and listened to one another — and these discussions changed the world. They were, indeed, like iron sharpening iron.

Soon (pray for me to know timing) I am finally going to venture us into The Song of Songs. This is something I’ve longed to do for years but have not sensed an open door from the Lord until now. So I am excited to see what the Lord will do in our hearts. Keller hasn’t yet preached on The Song of Songs, though he has referenced a few passages — so I must plunge ahead without my “security blanket,” which is, indeed, good for me, for my rock must not be Keller! There are godly men from the past and present who have preached and written on it.

But before we consider together such a controversial book, I want to talk about  discernment and discussions on the internet. There is so much out there on The Song of Songs that is wild. This is true whether they see The Song of Songs as primarily about marriage or primarily about Christ and the church. So we must be discerning.

And, we are all still learning to use the social media wisely to edify and not tear down. I’ve made mistakes, am on a learning curve, and I want us to learn together.

Also, David and I are also looking ahead to the fall, when we are going to make some changes on this website, so I’ll have a few questions this week about that as well. I’m seeking the Lord, and you are often helpful to me in discerning His will. So this week is a bit different, not a true “Bible study,” but a pause, a “selah.”



The internet makes it possible for us to access discussions easily, at our convenience. The internet also makes it possible for us to discuss these sermons or articles, and be like iron sharpening iron. I try to give you sermons that I believe are true to God’s Word — but no man or woman is always without error.

I have come to see that the internet, used rightly, can be a great gift, but used wrongly, can destroy. We must be discerning about what we watch and listen to, and we must be careful with our words. It is so easy to be misunderstood or to hurt unintentionally. Some have also used it as a weapon to hurt others.

I understand why some shun Facebook and the internet altogether, feeling like the Amish about this modern technology. But I am convinced it can be a tool for great good, used rightly. Sometimes we will disagree with one another or with popular Bible teachers. Godly men and women would never claim to be right all the time. I loved the humility of Chuck Swindoll when he said, “I disagree with half of what I wrote when I was young.”


So we need discernment, for only the Word of God is without error.

We can also question these teachers and a lively debate can be healthy if we follow certain principles. There are those who like to disagree for the excitement of disagreement — and Paul warns against useless controversies. On the other hand, there are healthy disagreements. Paul disagreed with Peter in Galatians 2, and it was good that he did. For teachers of influence can lead many astray.

If the teacher is widely popular, like Keller or Piper or Driscoll, I doubt that you could talk to him personally, though you could try. But we can discuss his thoughts here, as long as we follow some guidelines, which we will consider this week.

Sunday/Monday Icebreakers

1. Do you have comments on the above?

2. How have you been edified by resources on the internet? Share a specific? What is your favorite site — other than this one? 🙂  Why do you like it?

3. How have you hurt others through the internet? How have you been hurt? Can you share a specific without blaming anyone, but rather sharing what you learned from the experience on how to be wiser?


4. According to Acts 17:11, what was wise and noble about the Bereans?

One of my favorite internet sites is www.thegospelcoalition.org — yet I don’t agree with everything on that site. Mark Driscoll used to be a part of The Gospel Coalition and he also was instrumental in founding the Acts 29 churches, which have been used mightily by God for good. Yet I often disagree with him, as I did when he gave his opinion on stay-at-home dads as part of a Q and A following his teaching on The Song of Songs. I posted the video of his thoughts on my author Facebook and asked what people thought about the scripture he used to support his conviction. I suggested they be like the Bereans. I received several angry responses and withdrew the video.

This caused me to reflect. Was I wrong to post it? Those who felt I was quoted Matthew 18:15-17, saying I should have gone to him directly rather than confronting him on the internet. I knew I would feel uncomfortable if someone posted a video of me and questioned the truth of what I was saying. And yet, I also felt conflicted, for when something is taught that we believe is false, shouldn’t we question it? Do we need to go to that author or teacher first personally if he or she is not in our church? Many of these extremely well-known preachers are not accessible, simply because they cannot be due to the sheer number of readers and listeners.

I know that I have grown personally when a friend has questioned my behavior, even though it is painful. Would it be more painful it it was public? Of course. And yet I know a teacher bears more responsibility so I must be open to being questioned. I know the times that have been most hurtful to me is when people have gone on the internet and said that I said things that I didn’t say, belittled me, or called me names, for that, as Keller says, is “not an argument.”

Please read this short article by Tim Keller. He gives three principles for how to disagree in a fair way.

5. What principles does Keller give for discussions and disagreement on the internet?


After reading Keller I felt I was not wrong to post Dricoll’s video. I felt that even if I had a way to contact Pastor Driscoll personally it would not be addressed, for he has a huge ministry, and, on the video, he said “you could debate with me all day,” but he would not change his mind for he feels other points of view are not in Scripture. I am guarding against misquoting him by using his own words. I do not malign him for I see that God has used him mightily. As John Piper said, in his defense, he is reaching people that others have not reached — there were four hundred baptisms at his church one Easter. Christ is being preached, and in that I rejoice. John Piper sees Driscoll like a “son” who needs mentoring. I appreciate that grace for I think back to when I was forty-two and confident about some things I now feel are not so black and white. Mark Driscoll now also has a book on marriage which has been very controversial, and he says The Song of Songs is his favorite book, but I believe he distorts the intent of the book. He gave a very controversial sermon in Scotland condoning certain sexual practices within marriage based on his perspective of The Song of Songs. Piper suggested Driscoll remove it from the internet, and he did. John MacArthur has been less gentle with him, feeling he is leading others astray.

I am going to post Mark’s video about Stay At Home Dads, and then a video by a woman whom I felt followed the principles in Keller’s article on internet debates — and you can give your reactions to either or both. Remember to always speak in kindness and never twist someone’s words. This video is apparently from a Q and A session following Driscoll’s second teaching on the Song of Songs at his church in Seattle. It is true that a wise pastor tries to address the culture of his church, and Driscoll’s church is primarily twenty-something individuals who may be quite immature. It is important to remember this. As I thought about this I realized how many young men are caught up in video games and sports and neglect their families, or may be lazy about finding work. I think that is part of Driscoll’s framework.


6. Look up the Scripture he gives for his opinion, the context, and comment.

Here is the video from the woman who calls herself “Theology Mom” in which she comments on the above video.

7. Comment on “Theology Mom’s” rebuttal. Do you feel she followed the principles of a fair debate? Why or why not?



I’d love your input for how to better handle the high number of participants we have, particularly at the beginning of new studies, and at Lent and Advent. I am so glad to see each new woman, wondering what God will do, and I hate it that she can feel lost in the crowed. I also know a discussion group of forty people answering all the questions is overwhelming to everyone. Pray with me about a solution, particularly for these two times.

One part of the solution for me has come already in the form of mature women who have been on this blog for several years who help read the comments and mentor. It has become clear to me that many days I cannot read all the comments. There are others who are so faithful to pray for those who need prayer.

But that does not solve the problem of feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of participants.

What would God have us do? Please pray and give me prayer and input if He leads you.

I am also dealing with the growing expense. I know it can be frustrating when the site does not work well, and each update is expensive. I also must pay David for his time when one of you requests help. I want to have a site that has minimal frustration, I want you to have help when you need it, but I need to also be prudent with costs.

One thought I am praying about, but would like your input, is to suggest a donation for those who are actually participating online. As many of you know I have a prison ministry in which we are supplying studyguides to the women behind bars. They cannot pay, so we solicit from those who can. I am thinking, but want your input, of suggesting 10 dollars a month toward my prison ministry for those who participate online. However, no one would be compelled to give — it would be a suggested donation.  I don’t want to lose some godly women we have here for whom this would be a burden, even though it is just a suggested donation, and I think that could happen. Please pray with me and give me input.

David has suggested that I possibly divide the groups at busy seasons — giving one group to the mentors and I take the other. I don’t know how we’d do that or if it is a good idea. Again, I’d love your input.

Last Lent we asked people to just share nuggets so there was not so much to read — some resisted, and others liked it. Thoughts?

8. What thoughts do you have on the above ideas and do you have other ideas?

Saturday: Prayer

How I’d love your prayers here for the dilemmas above and for our venture and timing into The Song of Songs. I appreciate each of you so much

9: Prayer:

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  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DIANE!!! ( i hope that’s right–I don’t have facebook, but had it on my calendar from last year 🙂
    You are a treasure, so thankful, SO very thankful God brought you into my life through Deee’s blog. Praying your day is filled with His JOY and peace.

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. Yes, it is my birthday. So kind of you to remember and send your blessings.

      1. Happy Birthday Diane!


      2. Happy Birthday, Diane!

    2. Oh, have a good one, Diane! Enjoy your special day!

    3. Thanks, everyone, for the birthday wishes. I treasure your friendship here. This is a unique God-blessed blog. God bless you, Dee, for the ministry you do to keep it going.

      1. Happy Belated Birthday, Diane!

    4. Happy happy b-day Diane!

      1. Thanks, Laura dancer.

  2. 3. How have you hurt others through the internet? How have you been hurt? Can you share a specific without blaming anyone, but rather sharing what you learned from the experience on how to be wiser?

    This is a hard one for me to answer because it involves a family member who is emotionally estranged. A couple of years ago, a relative died in our area and I send a brief email to several family members (including extended family) including the link to the funeral home. Because our family is spread across the country I knew they would want to know but would be unable to attend the funeral.

    Well, I got a blistering response from the spouse of this one person, accusing me of being insensitive to not let them know that the deceased relative was even sick. (She had been fighting cancer for more than a year.) I was devastated, tried to respond sensitively and to contact by phone to find out what was wrong. Well, long story, but apparently the resentment had been building for some time and just happened to explode that day.

    We are still not reconciled, though I continue to make occasional contact. I am not sure what I learned from the event, or how I could have done things differently. Sometimes I fret about this person and the estranged relationship, and other times I just pray and ask God to move in their lives. Ultimately, I realize I am not in control and cannot fix things if the other party does not want to participate.

    1. So sorry for this, Diane. I know I don’t know the situation, but it does sound as though you received built up resentment spewed at you, undeserved. There can be such pain in family relationships, I am so sorry. I will pray today for this one in particular–for God to move, to bring about repentance, forgiveness, peace.

    2. Oh Diane, that is hard.
      I am guessing that person had history with the person who died that had nothing to do with you. Guilt and regret can take many forms when these losses come. If someone is ill for a year, the person who does not know is obviously not keeping in touch with anyone, that can’t be laid on you.

    3. So sorry Diane…I’m praying this will be healed between you both, but please don’t blame yourself.

  3. What thoughts do you have on the above ideas and do you have other ideas?

    I am glad to know you are considering allowing us to help financially, your ministry has impacted me more than any other, it would be correct and an honor to support it!


When the large number of new people come all at once, it is crazy for a week or three but then flows back to manageable. I imagine that those who don’t continue have varied reasons, I doubt that the changes will make a vast difference in the number who continue on.

There are two things I think would be helpful. The biggest one would be to group our responses by question. If every response to the same question were grouped together it would be easier to follow and track with a particular topic.

    The other thing I would LOVE is a ‘like’ button! 
It would be so good to let a sister know that you have read what she wrote when you don’t have time to write anything.

    I know this must be a lot for you Dee, with grandchildren, speaking engagements, study groups, book writing, and houseguests, it must be a heavy load at times. The rest of us can take a little time off here and there, but you must put a study up every week. You are pouring out your life as an offering.
    God bless you for your dedication, for feeding the sheep.
I wonder if you might collaborate with a guest host once in a while? An author friend perhaps who could step in from time to time and share the load?

    As to splitting participants into two groups, I don’t think anyone would be jazzed about being in the non-Dee group!

Regarding the lent study nugget sharing, I personally felt like not much of what I had to share was a gold, it was tempting to me to skip questions as I thought about them, feeling there was nothing really popping out at me. There is something about writing thoughts out that is fruitful, like when I take detailed sermon notes, things go a little deeper.

    Father I ask that Dee & David be given great wisdom, Spirit led ideas, unity in thought, and that You will clearly provide solutions to each difficulty, excitement about what is next and peace in their hearts.
    Thank you for what you have done here through this group, thank you for this unique place of fellowship, for binding together the hearts of us, your daughters who participate here, thank you for your anointing of Dee and her ministry, may You be please even to increase her influence for your Glory. Please Father give Dee good health, great strength, clear thinking, and protection from discouragement as she labors for You.
    I ask also for your guidance and blessing on the upcoming Song of Songs study, guide our hearts and minds to think rightly about your word, may we grow deeper in faith and love through it.
    Thank you for your kindness and gentle attention to each one of us who you have drawn here, thank you for giving us the desire to seek you Lord and showing us the path.
    In Jesus name

    1. Chris, what wonderful suggestions…they are really good… and such a beautiful prayer. I join you in the prayer for Dee.

    2. I agree with Chris.

    1. Dee, I think that is a very good idea, because sometimes I get behind reading all the comments and I fear I’ve missed someone’s prayer request.

      1. I think the “Prayer room” would be helpful for the new ones joining because they don’t know what we are praying or talking about in our conversations and get overload with comments.

    2. Love this idea!

    3. I love the prayer room idea. Sometimes I don’t ask for prayer because it doesn’t pertain to the bible study topic and I hate to detract.

  4. I really like Chris’ “two things” (regarding the blog, above) a lot. But it sounds like it could be hard (costly) to pull off. I also agree with this: ” 

When the large number of new people come all at once, it is crazy for a week or three but then flows back to manageable. I imagine that those who don’t continue have varied reasons, I doubt that the changes will make a vast difference in the number who continue on.”

    One question I have, Dee–what is the goal? Are we trying to keep the people from falling out? I just wonder if that is somewhat normal, no matter what you do. Even in face-to-face studies, so often there is a huge turn out at first, and then a smaller number stays committed. Sometimes others will come and go…and come back here and there. I am praying for you to have wisdom, just wanted to be clear on what the goal is, and if that is possible to remedy, or if it has less to do with the blog set-up and more to do with human nature-? Now I’m worried about hOw I sound ;0 so I’ll be quiet on this and pray! Oh, but I did like the “prayer room” idea–need to think on it more, but I kind of like it. It might get hard in that prayer requests are often part of an answer, but I do kind of like the idea…

  5. 8. What thoughts do you have on the above ideas and do you have other ideas?

    Well, Dee, I can certainly understand why you might feel a little stretched both time-wise and financially to run this blog. It is a wonderful ministry you provide; however, I know sometimes one must pay attention to the practical matters as well. I began participating during the last Lenten season — and I only intended to do a Lenten Bible Study when I joined. I didn’t even realize at first that the blog had been going on for years and that it was going to continue beyond Lent. Sometimes I can be a bit dense! I got hooked and couldn’t let go.:) Had I been asked at the beginning to contribute financially, I think it would have been a turn-off. Now I would look at it far differently. I would probably want to mail in a year’s donation and be done with it (I don’t like putting my credit card # out there).

    I’m excited about your plans to redesign the blog soon. Perhaps something in the new design will inadvertently fix my problem with accessing the videos. Maybe not, but I can hope! My computer guru could not figure out what the problem was. He thought it strange I could go hunting on the internet to find those same videos and was able to watch them at their source, but still couldn’t watch them on the blog. Therefore, he wasn’t willing to spend a lot of time on it. I think it is important that you have money to spend on updating the software and paying David (bless him). Perhaps a percentage of the donations could be used for that, and the rest go to prison ministries. I have no problem with it at all.

    I imagine if someone signs up for a Bible Study on Dee Brestin Ministries, they expect to be led by Dee Brestin. I also don’t know how you could divide the group. It would require anticipating that the numbers were going to swell, and setting it up to divide ahead of it happening. Pretty tricky!

    I think I had just posted my very first post on the blog when the “gold nugget” alert went up! My first thought was that I had done all the wrong things. As I got to looking back on the site and realized how the number of comments per week had billowed, I didn’t feel I was the sole cause of the problem! 🙂 Now the number of comments is not problematic for me — I do wish there was some way I could find “where I left off” easier. I tend to scroll backwards until I find it.

  6. OK, I don’t feel like I was helpful before–sorry about that. I do really think Chris had some great ideas. One tiny thing I would suggest is a “help” section for new people. It could explain that at certain times, we have high volume–and maybe the need for the “nugget” idea, if you choose that. (So sorry Deanna you thought it was aimed at you!) Then I think remind people they do not have to subscribe to the blog comments. I always do, but *** I use a different email address for the blog than my personal and work email (another suggestion, if possible–it helps me a TON to log in to my other email just for blog posts and not see them while working, etc…) If you are overwhelmed by the # of comments, you can “manage subscriptions” and un-check this week’s blog. Last thought–you could have some of the study questions be for doing on your own (not posting) and other questions where you say ‘post your answer for the group’.

    1. Very good ideas Elizabeth.

  7. 6. Look up the Scripture he gives for his opinion, the context, and comment.

    This is a very hard question to answer without being controversial. I hope I won’t upset anyone by what I say. I won’t comment much on the Scripture much here, except to say others have done a good job commenting. The context of the Scriptures is caring for widows and others in the family who are in financially needy circumstances.

    Mark Driscoll’s video is mostly about convincing men to step up and accept responsibility for caring for the needs of his family. There IS a major problem in our culture with men who are NOT doing that. They “shack up” or get married, get the woman pregnant and then either convince the woman to get an abortion because a baby cramps their lifestyle, or they leave, or let the woman work while they find excuses why they are not working. Self-centeredness is a problem, for sure. Mark should be confronting that problem.

    However,I think Mark is making this Scripture say what it does not say. He seems to be saying that mothers should not work outside the home, ever, except for “extreme extenuating circumstances”. I agree with his wife that women are wired for child-rearing under most circumstances, but clearly in the Old Testament, women worked outside the home. Look at the Proverbs 31 woman. She provided for her children using her entrepreneurial skills. Most lived in agricultural setting and were very involved in farming as part of family income. It was common for a woman to help provide family income.

    I have lived in other countries/cultures where it is the norm for all women to do whatever they have to do “outside the home” to JUST MAKE ENDS MEET financially. They have a garden. They clean others’ homes. They buy and sell in the local markets. Or, if they are more trained, they teach or nurse, etc. I think the expectation that a woman should only stay at home while the man “brings home the bacon” has been a North American cultural one, primarily. And while we as mothers should be homeward-focused as much as possible, God does give grace when women MUST work to help support the household. If we work outside, we should examine our motives, not doing it simply because we want more “stuff” (eg. big house, expensive vacations, wealthy lifestyle) or because we feel the need to PROVE ourselves in this world that teaches the career is power/identity and child-rearing is second rate. Children are special gifts from God. I think we should aim for a simple lifestyle. Children need our time MORE than they need more stuff, but even so, that might mean the mother has to work.

    To put it into my context, I live in a part of the world where the economy is AWFUL, where sometimes it IS IMPOSSIBLE to find work. My son has been looking for work for more than a year and CANNOT FIND it (except temporary/ very part-time). It is scary! Fortunately, he is not married, but due to extenuating family circumstances, his income would have been extremely helpful. He has searched and we have prayed earnestly for jobs, but God has not provided one. God has provided, however, in other ways, and we know there are important things God has to teach us through this difficult time. Unfortunately, in this economy, my son’s situation is not a rare “extenuating circumstance”, I don’t think. I hear of many, many others who are struggling financially.

    For Mark to say “if you cannot provide to the needs of your family you are not a man,” is dangerous. It oversimplifies and it assumes the man can get a good full-time job. It shames the man who cannot. It also gives the woman, who feels she must work, an extra load of guilt because she feels that God teaches she should be at home looking after the kids. But, sometimes a woman working is necessary.

    And even with all of these words, I haven’t even dealt with how we deal with women who have talents and spiritual gifts that are not being used when she “stays at home”. Like I say, this is a very complicated issue.

    1. I agree, Diane…well said…

      “There IS a major problem in our culture … Self-centeredness is a problem”

      “God does give grace when women MUST work to help support the household.”

      “For Mark to say “if you cannot provide to the needs of your family you are not a man,” is dangerous. It oversimplifies and it assumes the man can get a good full-time job. It shames the man who cannot. It also gives the woman, who feels she must work, an extra load of guilt because she feels that God teaches she should be at home looking after the kids. But, sometimes a woman working is necessary.”

    2. Wow Diane, very well said. I am comforted hearing this from you. We are kind of in that battle. Sometimes men experience cuts or major loss in income-even though they are working hard and there may be no open doors to change their work situation. I see you as a mentor, and not only that I have great respect for you-and yes I know it is Him in you, and you are a mature Christian for you are truly humble and extend such Grace toward others.

    3. Thanks, Nanci and Rebecca. I have been on both sides of the coin on this issue. I have both stayed at home and I have worked, and I have certainly heard the teaching that men should be the providers and women stay at home. I can certainly see how children need much maternal support. It is just a complex issue and we have to be careful not to oversimplify and to try not read into Scripture from our cultural mindset. That, however, is easier said than done.

    4. ” Children need our time MORE than they need more stuff, but even so, that might mean the mother has to work.” Love this and all your comments!

    5. Bravo Diane! I agree that you have made great points here. Honestly the video was like chewing on sand for me. Thank you for expressing so clearly what I think.

      1. Like “chewing on sand”, Anne. LOL! Such an image!

    6. Well said Diane

    7. Diane, “Like!”

      Appreciate your comments about culture. From what I’ve read (not recently), “stay at home moms” in the U.S. (and Canada, too??) is a post-WW II phenomenon.

      I’ve been thinking about the Proverbs 31 woman, too…

      Too bad that work frequently becomes idolatry — for both men and women. Seems that is a bigger problem that working outside the home.

      I didn’t watch the video because I vaguely remembered it from before; wasn’t in the mood for “believe this or else…”

  8. 7. Comment on “Theology Mom’s” rebuttal. Do you feel she followed the principles of a fair debate? Why or why not?

    I really appreciated this. She was very respectful right at the beginning, acknowledging the good teaching he has given. Even her disagreements were gentle and full of careful thought. She followed the principles of fair debate very well.

  9. 4. According to Acts 17:11, what was wise and noble about the Bereans?
    The Bereans were open minded and listened attentively; they reviewed/studied the scriptures to confirm what they heard (i.e., what Paul and Silas taught).

    5. What principles does Keller give for discussions and disagreement on the internet?
    *determine what the views are of the other person and whether there may potentially be some misunderstanding or misinterpretation on anyone’s part.
    *do not be hasty in responding (i.e., “knee jerk reaction”); consider how your response might be interpreted/perceived; make sure that responses are free of “blame” or “criticism” and encourage clarity.
    *disagreement should be for importance of clarity and to “persuade and win over people in error,” not for disagreement-sake, to be argumentative, or for one-up-men-ship.
    *there should be no misrepresentations, no assumptions, no speculations made of the other person.

    6. Look up the Scripture he gives for his opinion, the context, and comment.
    The context of 1 Timothy 5:8 is responsibility for care of widows…families are responsible for the care of widows within their families; men as “head of house” are directly responsible to make sure that widows within their families are cared for.

    My comment is that the context of this portion of 1 Timothy is “advice about widows” and not related to stay at-home dads. The text seems to have been taken out of context in Mark Driscoll’s answer related to stay at-home dads.

    7. Comment on “Theology Mom’s” rebuttal. Do you feel she followed the principles of a fair debate? Why or why not?
    Theology Mom’s rebuttal was based entirely on facts gleaned by study. She was respectful in her disagreement/rebutting; her purpose was clearly to clarify the use of Mark Driscoll’s reference to 1 Timothy 5:8, not to disparage or for argument-sake. She never allowed her personal feelings to play into her response; her focus is strictly clarification of use of the text in the context of stay at-home dads.

  10. 8. What thoughts do you have on the above ideas and do you have other ideas?

    Some of my thoughts are similar to ones mentioned previously…

    I was thinking about “discussion strings”…when I was doing online courses, questions for discussion each had their own individual “strings”. The strings were collapsible, so if you were interested in participating in the discussion you expanded it…the discussion strings also noted the number of entries/comments. I was thinking that common for each week could be a “prayer request/update string”.

    I was thinking that for questions where the answer is pretty “cut and dry” (e.g., question 4 of this week’s study), unless one’s answer differs from the first posting of the answer or there is a question, participants would not re-post the answer.

    I’m not sure about breaking up participants into groupings. I have benefited from so many different participants’ comments…but I understand that a high number of participants/comments can be overwhelming…no easy answer here.

    I like the “like” option.

    I would be happy to contribute monetarily…this bible study blog is wonderful and a blessing; you/Dee should not bear the expense burden solely.

    Dee and David, I will be praying for your discernment.

    1. good idea about threaded discussion questions. e.g., if the first person to post on a question only posts on one question at a time, that would be do-able, I think ?? but definitely not an expert!

      If this is a wordpress blog, I think there is a “whatever it’s called” (can’t remember the term for the extensions/mini-programs and too tired to look it up) so that responses can be threaded; I know I’ve seen that on a couple of blogs. Let me know if you’d like me to find out what “it” is so that David doesn’t have to dig.

      I’m using my phone as a hotspot at the moment — so I’m not starting every word with a capital letter 🙂 but have probably been on kinda long!

  11. 8. What thoughts do you have on the above ideas and do you have other ideas?

    I have been thinking of this all week; wanting to make sure to give opinion without been harsh.

    I love this blog. You have saved me many times. I say “you” because it has been a combination of all the people who participate. It might be a reply to someone else, or directly to me, it doesn’t matter. Thank you Dee for your ministry.

    With that said, I wondered if there is another woman, maybe one of your friends or colleagues, Dee, who might want to split time with you? You could do a week and then she could, to split it up.

    Unfortunately, our money is tied up in college programs for 2 children starting this month. I don’t think we have any extra money for anything 🙁 if I didn’t contribute I would feel guilty participating, so I would probably not stay here.

    How many times per year is there an update? Maybe we could contribute then for David’s time and the software.

    Finally, I think it’s important to respond to questions so we can have an actual discussion to get the most out of the study. I’m not good enough to know if I have a “gem” or not. Maybe everyone needs to realize every post won’t be addressed up front. I try to read many posts because I learn so much from them. I know it is impossible sometimes to do that because so many people participate at certain times. I know this up front so it doesn’t bother me.

    Just a few thoughts…..

    1. PLEASE, don’t feel guilty if you can’t donate now… and PLEASE don’t leave for that reason 🙁

      1. I agree with Renee…I treasure having you here and would miss your presence so very much; please don’t allow money to be the reason you would leave. I appreciate your participation more than you will ever know, Laura-d.

        1. Ditto for me too, Laura 🙁

        2. I think that people quitting because of money is what Dee fears would happen. Please don’t quit Laura you sometimes address things from an angle that I never thought of and we need everyone’s input.

  12. Laura, can perhaps all of us think up a way those of us who are able and want to support financially could be provided an opportunity without making others who are not able to feel guilty?
    Any thoughts?

    2 years ago my friend Lynn’s son Brandon was found dead in his apartment, he had been bound and shot. We just attended a rally for justice for him on July 26, the second anniversary of his death, one day and one year after Daniels assault, and the day after the indictments were made public in Daniels case. We met Lynn when we participated in the grief support group for those who had lost someone to murder. We have a bond now.

    They have arrested the number one suspect in Brandon’s case for obstruction of justice, please pray that they will be able to charge him, even that he may have a shred of conscience and will confess to the crime. I was just praying for them as I drove to work today, when I came home and saw the Facebook message from her I had head to toe chills.

    1. praying now Chris

    2. Oh my, Chris. Praying for you and for Lynn.

      1. Praying for you both too, Chris…what horrible, heartwrenching pain. Here is a song for you: http://youtu.be/YP1IC4dcaaE

        1. Thanks for the song, Joyce. So true and touching.

          How many times have you heard me cry out
          “God please take this”?
          How many times have you given me strength to
          Just keep breathing?
          Oh I need you
          God, I need you now.

        2. “Please stay right beside me, with every single step I take.”

    3. Oh my — praying now, Chris

    4. Praying, Chris. At a loss for words…so much evil in this world.

    5. Thanks for requesting the prayers for your friend, Lynn, Chris…most definitely, Lynn will be added to my prayers…the agony both your families have suffered in the loss of your children is incomprehensible and heart wrenching…

    6. Chris, I read this last night and am praying-I am so glad you and Lynn have one another for support and encouragement-the timing on everything would definitely give goosebumps-wow.

    7. Chris, I can’t imagine what this must be like for Lynn and for you. I pray for justice and for peace like a river as you both travel this road.

  14. A comment/question about the “like” button— Is there a way to have a “like” button that isn’t associated with facebook? I participated in a password-protected blog-attached course awhile ago. In order to keep posts from being shared on Facebook, we had to be aware to NOT “like” anything in the password-protected part so that it wouldn’t be shared on Facebook.

    I really don’t like the idea of having posts here linked to Facebook — or else I’d have to be even more mysterious here 🙂 (That comment is for you, Joyce 🙂 ) I guess I could sort some FB friends more closely — and examine more closely who sees “likes” and posts that have been liked.

    Re: separate section for prayer requests. I “like” that 🙂 How about not having a “like” button in prayer request part?? (not sure if it is possible to have it in one place but not another)

    OR another possibility: I participate in some closed and even a couple “secret” facebook groups (“secret” means that people don’t find the groups through a search, I think). There is some way to set FB groups so that the whole world can’t see posts. Might something like that work for prayer requests.

    I think it is good that others can see Bible Study posts on the blog (MAYBE even like them), but I prefer to be more mysterious 🙂 with prayer requests, especially if they implicate others.

    One thing that makes me GRIN A LOT about this blog: I’ve read/learned about marketing through social media, including blogs. Many people would pay a ton to have 1/10 this much action on a blog — I smile every time I think about how MUCH more interaction/how many more posts are here than on sites that TEACH how to get people posting on blog sites. Still grinning 🙂

    I’d gladly donate, especially if I can do it once or twice a year (or even if you can bill my cc). I’m into convenience and easy to remember. And I’d forget monthly, weekly, and envelopes/stamps/addresses are even worse!!! Before I came here, I was looking for a group — and checked into a paid one (which was cancelled) and a seminary course (which wasn’t free).

    1. Maybe instead of a “like” button…a “read”, “agree”, or “appreciate” button…something similar to the “like” button but unaffiliated with Facebook; it could be named whatever seems most appropriate.

    2. Thanks to my mysterious sister!

  15. PRAYER REQUEST – My time has come to leave my mom 🙁 Sarah and I leave tomorrow. Please pray that my mom isn’t too sad and that we make it home (driving 20 hours). I am grateful for the time this summer; it has been a blessing. I appreciate my husband and family giving me this time. Thank you Jesus for the unexpected joy this month!

    1. LONG drive. Praying for you and Sarah and your mom when you leave (sad just reading about it) and that you will have a good and safe trip back.

    2. Praying for a safe trip for you, Laura dancer. Agree with Renee. Leaving is sad, but great you have so many happy memories of your time with your mom. Cherish the good times.

    3. “Unexpected joy”. Love that, Laura dancer. God is good.

    4. Absolutely, Laura-d…I’ll be praying. Safe travels.

    5. Laura, praying for your safety driving home. Thank you for letting us be a part of your summer with your mom, experiencing the blessings with you and sharing in your joy!

    6. yes, praying Laura-dancer!

    7. Laura-d, I was just praying for you, your mom, and safe travels and I realized I hadn’t asked how Tuesday’s appointment went for your mom… Do the doctors have a plan of action related to cancer treatment?

      1. Thanks for all your prayers; we are on our way and only driving 14.5 hours today and the rest on Sunday visiting relatives tomorrow.

        We began the process of MRI, PET scan, etc. So we won’t know anything for a couple of weeks. We are all interested in if the cancer is in remission or flourishing over the course of the past year; especially mom. I told her she shouldn’t worry, God is in control and to have faith. She agreed 🙂

        On a side note; I am embarrassed that I mentioned not participating (potentially) with a donation. I try to donate once a year to Nancy Leigh Demoss’ ministry because I listen to her podcasts often. Some years I haven’t been able to and I do feel bad. NLD offers a “gift” with any donation amount. I like her calendars and try to give at the end of a year to get one. I am a frugal person naturally, and sometimes I even struggle with buying a Tim Keller sermon. It is a problem I have and I need to rely on God to guide me. This website is so special I most likely will figure out a way to donate at some time. I think I was just panicking a little because my husband and I had just been talking about finances and our children’s schooling. Add to that some mom financial issues and we have a HUGE problem. I do believe we are supposed to do these things though; as we said earlier in the week, God wants us to take care of our relatives.

        1. Thanks for the update, Laura-d. I’m so happy that your Mom is feeling some peace in resting in the Lord’s providence (i.e., “I told her she shouldn’t worry, God is in control and to have faith. She agreed”).

          You and Sarah enjoy your visit with relatives tomorrow!

        2. Thanks Nanci!

        3. Laura-dancer–just have to say how the way you have loved your mom, so selflessly and faithfully–it’s really ministered to me. Praying for your drive home–safety and good time with Sarah. And don’t feel embarrassed at all about the donation topic–you have legitimate concerns, but I just pray you will rest in God’s voice that does not bring guilt on you–AND the fact that ALL of us here would absolutely hate to have you gone for any reason! We all balance each other–like a family, and that includes the donation piece–Diane’s words reminded me He will work it out. You are loved here and a vital part of this blog family! You keep me thinking…a good thing 😉

        4. 🙂

        5. I agree with Elizabeth’s comments Laura. Praying for you both to have a safe trip home and nice visit with family along the way…also praying for your mom…I’m sure she misses you both so much.

          When does Sarah go to NY?

        6. We MADE it on our first jaunt; a little punchy when i got here though! Thanks for your prayers! Sarah and I will get home tomorrow, I work a few days while she packs and then we take off again to move her in to the new place! So excited for her…her first real planned move!!!! HA! love it 🙂 she is ready and able. She has changed so much and we have had a fantastic time together. I know God is with us. She on the right course now. It is exciting to see Him work on someone right in front of your eyes! She actually acted concerned that we were having to struggle to get her college financially worked out. I am truly amazed; I have a “new” daughter who has a heart for us.

          Remember the nights out? The druggy people? The dangerous situations? Eweeww! It hurts to even think about those now! I am living hope for any of you who have kids who aren’t following what you want for them! God CAN CHANGE them! I don’t understand what happened and who cares?! I like it anyway 🙂

          I know one thing, you all prayed and prayed and prayed for us. Thank you. I will continue to pray for Sarah; she still has to get through the courses and she may struggle with the content, but I can’t hold her with me forever. She needs to try on her own too. She senses how important it is for her to work hard. I have seen her do that in the “right” circumstances (good teachers, interest level). The school is very open to teaching different learning styles, and giving several chances, so who am I to hold her back? We are blessed by God. Thank you Lord Jesus for taking care of us and attending to us. We love you and know you are always with us; in both the good times and the bad. Amen.

        7. Laura-d, my favorite line: “I don’t understand what happened
          and who cares?! I like it anyway :)” Coming from your science-teacher-brain–I love the evidence of faith, hope, of resting in Him alone, in those words!

        8. Rejoicing with you, Laura dancer! How a great day with relatives and then trip home. Sounds like you have to hit the ground running at home. This is such an exciting time for you and your daughter!

        9. This is all great, Laura! Yes, I do remember the really hard times you had with Sarah – amazing, isn’t it?! How God has worked in your family!

        10. It is truly amazing and only God could of turned her around like that! It gives me hope.

        11. Oh Laura-d, this reminds me of one of my favorite songs…”Wait and See” by Brandon Heath…

          I really like the refrain…

          There is hope, for me yet,
          Because God won’t forget,
          All the plans HE’s made for me
          I have to wait and see,
          HE’s not finished with me yet,
          HE’s not finished with me yet.

          I also really like this verse…

          Still wonderin’ why I’m here.
          Still wrestling with my fear
          But oh… HE’s up to something,
          And the farther out I go,
          I’ve seen enough to know
          That I’m not here for nothin’…
          He’s up to somethin’.

          He’s up to something with Sarah…:)

        12. Wow, Nanci J., never heard it before. So appropriate for all of us.

    8. So glad you had this important visit with your mother, Laura. Wow – 20 hours! I hope you aren’t going straight through. Just now learned of the need for prayer — beginning right now! Let us know when you get there!

  16. Not seeing a donate button on here?? I did see a link under prison ministry to get resources for a donation. Where/how to donate??

    What I did see is that you have 7,333 subscribers (or something like that). Feeling the need to hide!!!

    1. Renee, go to http://www.discipleshipunlimited.org/ (under Dee’s prison ministry tab); there is a donation tab on their site. They use paypal, so its very secure.

      1. Thank you Elizabeth.

    2. No more hiding, Renee!!

    1. I read most of the input last night and thought that having a donation button and a prayer room corner separate from the blog would be wonderful ideas.

  17. 8. What thoughts do you have on the above ideas and do you have other ideas?

    A jumble of thoughts and suggestions here from me. Tends to be a bit rambling. Sorry for the length.

    First of all, Laura dancer, thanks for bravely telling how you could not afford to pay to be on the blog. I appreciate you so much and pray you DON’T leave. I too am in a very financially tight situation and I would/will, also, feel very guilty NOT paying while others were. My heart just sank when I read about rising expenses. I am glad you asked for our input before going ahead with this, Dee. I might have just quietly stopped blogging. Admitting that I cannot afford this is embarrassing. I am afraid that there are many others here who will also just quietly stop blogging, so I am saying this out loud. Yet, I see this ministry as a very good one and appreciate so much this blog family. Not sure what the answer is.

    I am grateful, however, to read that others here will gladly donate with no reservations. I will support when I can. Perhaps if you added a donate button easily accessible and mentioned the option every once in a while in our Bible study, that would be sufficient for those who want to donate.

    I can see how you might feel the need to ask for financial support, Dee. It is a very tough situation. I hope we can find a solution that allows you to get the finances you need and yet allows people like Laura-dancer and me to continue here. I will continue to pray for a solution.

    Dee, would it be cheaper and take less of your time if you did “2 Week” studies more, that is, if you posted your lessons only once every two weeks?

    I also would be willing to go to with a “mentor” occasionally during a busy season. I am also open to having a “guest” contributor write the study and interact as teacher on the blog, on occasion, if that helps Dee handle her ministries better. I don’t see how you can handle all your work load, Dee. However, much of why I am here is because you, Dee, have a gift of teaching and asking question and opening your heart that a mentor or guest contributor cannot substitute.

    I liked the “nugget” idea and have been doing it ever since, actually, although this summer I have been so busy that I have participated far less than I would like to.

    I too like the idea of a prayer room thread.

    Here is some thoughts on the idea of “cutting back”. Please feel free to see them as just ideas, not as things I adamantly feel we should do.I am just opening the discussion. Just wondering.

    – I am willing to continue with a blog that is NOT updated, since it costs so much.
    – I also wonder if you should regularly remind us not to edit once we have hit “submit”, unless absolutely necessary. If we realize how much it costs you for us to change a word or two, then we can be more careful or find another way to fix our mistake, such as resubmitting a comment with the correction. Is posting links to songs and other blogs a major source of time and expense that we should do less often?
    – Are there any other ways to reduce expenses? Is there anything else we do that is costing you a lot of time and expense that we should be aware of?

      1. Dee, I do “get it” that the donation is voluntary, but guilt is a crazy thing and Satan uses it to destroy and turn us away from godly things that God wants for us. I think you will lose some, but God will work in the lives of those He wants here. I will continue praying for sure.

      1. Thank you, I was feeling really guilty about my edits!

        1. Me, too! I was wondering how much I was costing because I edit ALL the time!!

  18. I’m going to stay off this–but wanted to share one last thing, on donations. I think wording is key–“If you would like to support Dee’s ministry, please consider giving where needed most, to her prison ministry”. I picture something like a very small type across the bottom, OR a tab that says “support” is pretty common on any ministry site. I think what’s unique too, is that Dee is seeking support for the prison ministry, not to run the Bible study.
    In ALL of this, from donations to keeping people, Diane’s wisdom struck me as gold “but God will work in the lives of those He wants here”. OK, done! Quietly praying!

  19. Hello everyone,

    Although I have not posted for awhile I wanted to let u know that I pray regularly for Dee and all of you.
    I love to pray and I love all of u b/c u r my sisters in the Lord and I have been too lonely for so………. long.

    My husband and I watched those videos and although I am not familiar with any of them we agreed more with the mom video than Mark Driscoll.
    I am praying for him as well as he seems to come from a good area -holding men accountable for their actions- calling them on their selfish behaviour but

    In our area and the area we are from in Canada many men have lost their jobs and their wives had to work and continue to work or they would not eat.
    Or the men had to leave to go to work in another province to provide which puts a strain on their marriage and the wife has to be both parents.
    Both of Chuck’s sons work out at camp and our gone for 2-3 weeks each month.
    I was a single parent for 17 years -so many stories there-the guilt I felt and encountered while raising my dtrs was extremely difficult
    Family is so different nowadays. The ideal would be Mark Driscoll but I have not found that to be the case.
    What about blended families? Again God makes the difference. God is one we cry out and He answers us and delivers us from all our fears. God is so good.

    I agree so much with what the woman was saying regarding widows. In Canada women over the age of 55 years are living in poverty. They are showing up more at food banks than ever before. Our seniors are dying. It used to be only single parents with children, now there are so many people living in poverty. 1 in 7 children live in poverty in BC alone. BC is one of the richest provinces in Canada.
    In the book of James does it not say to look after the widows and orphans and stop being polluted from the world. (our culture and world system is so messed up)

    I used to work as a Child Protection Worker and have been in the Social Work field for 20 years plus. I weep for so many things I have seen and been part of. Now I volunteer with the seniors and the only thing I can conclude is that:

    God is the only way. There is no other system that is as effective as God fearing, bible believing Christians who are called by God to minister.
    God is good. He is the way the truth and the light of the world. He answers prayers. Sometimes it is yes, sometimes it is no and sometimes it is wait. He makes a way in the desert when there is no way. God cares and God is love. His presence changes things and I do not know how He does it but I rest and delight in God’s love. He is sovereign and He is in control.

    I think one of my biggest ongoing prayers is that we just love each other. It is good to have healthy debate but non-Christians will come to us when they see us loving and helping one another. Having been through a church split and not attending church for 9 years b/c of it my heart aches for Mark Discroll and I will pray for Him. Not to offend the precious Holy Spirit but to work with Him.

    The word of God states in the Psalms that: I was young and now I am old but I have never seen the righteous begging for bread.
    Father God is so good. He has provided so much for me and He will provide for this ministry.
    I would like to donate to the prison ministry.
    My husband and I are in the financial boat where I can help.
    When I was a single parent I could not afford books or c.d.’s and now I can.

    I do watch Joyce Meyer b/c her life story was similar to mine. It was not my father who used to rape in our family but my grandfather.
    God has me on a healing journey and this blog has been part of it.

    Now Anne Graham Lotz has a book out called “wounded” in the fall and I will be purchasing it.
    All I can do is thank u Dee for this bible study b/c God led me to it last year.
    I thank God daily for u, for women like Joyce Meyer, for Anne Graham Lotz b/c u have been raised up in these last days to minister to hurting people. To talk honestly and openly and to provide a safe place for Jesus to minister to hurting women.

    I do not belong to any Facebook or Twitter accounts etc. Chuck and I just made a decision not to.
    I want to immerse myself in God. study His word, pray, memorize scripture, call out to Him and believe in Him again. It is definitely like falling in love. In my life it is Jesus first. I had a dream once:
    I went to a church. The pastor/speaker stood up and called the name of Jesus, the congregation called the name of Jesus back and so it went. Echoing the name of Jesus. I woke up weeping
    I was weeping b/c of course when u lift up the name of Jesus He will draw all men unto Himself. It is simply about Jesus and when the church gets back to that then and only then will God move.
    I long for that!

    Have I been hurt on blogs, yes….but not this one!
    I wanted friends and I shared too much and I was not in line with what people were saying.
    So I was condemned and of course I wept.
    Now I realize I could have written my words more carefully.
    I am over the hurt.

    I always see people outside the circle and I want to bring them in.
    When people are too dogmatic or angry (anger is an attempt to control) then we miss seeing each other and having compassion on one another. Then we stop praying for one another, then we stop being accountable to one another, then we stop trusting one another and the enemy has won.
    I just do not want that anymore.

    Have I said hurtful things over the internet.
    I cannot take them back.
    I have hurt people close to me but again I repent and pray and ask God to take away the sting of my words.

    I can honestly say this blog has helped me.
    God led me to it last year and you ladies have ministered to me.

    I am talking way too much with these keys of mine so I will close with a poem I wrote.

    I’ve been walking between
    this land and my
    For a long, long, time

    The trail has zig zagged through
    my emotions
    My mind has waged war on
    doubt, despair and dread
    My spirit is strong yet flexible
    Bendable in it’s approach
    Willing to be humbled and to be humble
    Yet filled with the possibilities of the “Living Word”

    Engraved, etched on my Father’s Hand
    I stand between this land and my home
    Eager to fly and yet hesitant to leave
    Knowing I am in His sovereign care
    I walk with arms outstretched
    This land and my home
    Watching, waiting and expectant!

    It is simply all about lifting up the name of Jesus and He will draw all men unto Himself.
    This blog does this, it provides a safe place for accountability, it protects tender hurting hearts.
    This is good and I pray that it continues with all the ladies input.
    If need be I can put in extra $ for others
    That is not boasting but a promise b/c
    Now God has allowed me to do so.
    We all need each other b/c we cannot do it alone.

    If two or more agree in my name it is done
    One puts 1000 to flight
    Two puts 10,000 to flight
    My question to u: is what do u think a community of women praying in unity will do??
    The possibilities are endless.
    The enemy is scared.

    This is a song that I like to sing:
    “There is a place of commanded blessing
    Where brethren in unity dwell
    where anointing oil is flowing
    We live as one
    Bind us together Lord
    Bing us together”

    Unity is key
    Division sucks and the enemy of our soul wins
    I am tired of the enemy winning when Jesus died to set us free.

    So preach on Dee
    Keep praying ladies until we reach the other side.
    Let us clothe ourselves with humility
    Carry our tambourines, drums, flags, ribbons, flutes, guitars, voices, hands, or what ever instrument we have.
    and a song in our heart
    and prayers in our tears
    And go out and meet the enemy b/c God promises us victory!


    1. Love your humble, heartfelt words, Mellany. They come from a life that has borne much pain, yet you turn firmly to the Lord. You add a dimension here that I appreciate so much. God bless you on your healing journey. And, yes, it is true we need to love God above all others and to love each other deeply. “God promises us victory!”

      1. Thank u Diane

        I cannot wait to see Jesus.
        Someone that I love yet have never met.

      1. Thank u Dee

    2. Hi Mellany…so good to see your post. Your presence has been missed.

      Words of wisdom…
      “When people are too dogmatic or angry (anger is an attempt to control) then we miss seeing each other and having compassion on one another. Then we stop praying for one another, then we stop being accountable to one another, then we stop trusting one another and the enemy has won.”

      1. Thank u Nanci

        It is my heartfelt quote.
        I have lived it
        Been with angry people,
        Been angry myself and
        Now God is showing me there is a better way.

        I guess it is time to stop being angry with myself.

    3. Mellany…I love you poem and your song and having you back! Praying for you!

      1. Thank u:)

    4. I am so glad to see this from you Mellany, I was quite concerned about you!

      1. Thank u my sister in Christ for being concerned and praying.
        Many times I have felt and known that people have prayed for me.
        We will be able to talk about so much whn we all get to heaven
        What a day of rejoicing that will be.
        When we all see Jesus and shout the sound of victory!

    5. Hi Mellany! Just thinking of you and wondering how you were a couple of says ago. Glad you are back 🙂

      1. Thank u:)
        It is nice to be welcomed back

  20. I got a little lost on this post. Every time I tried to put my thoughts down, there came up anger and a bit of sarcasm. That is because I so needed this post. There is a real problem in our churches. They are heavy on laws and very light on love. Pastors who are strong and charismatic naturally tend to rise to the top and no one has the boldness and love necessary to be a Berean. How our pastors need us to do this and we need pastors who love, not just lay down the law.

    I have read so many good ideas about the blog but I will be honest, have not yet had time to prayerfully consider them. In September I return to BSF and also have my son’s wedding then so I don’t know how much I will be able to participate. I think that supporting Dee’s prison ministry is a great opportunity though.

    We are leaving for the beach today for a week. My son and his fiancé will be with us. SO EXCITED! I will be on as I am able. If I can find a quiet corner in the mornings where my iPad will connect I will be here.

    1. Have a great vacation, Anne, and time of bonding with your son and fiance.

      I appreciate your thoughtful responses here. Please participate as much as you can, but I can see you have a busy Fall.

      Given that my husband is a pastor, I would love to sit down and have a discussion about this statement of yours. “Pastors who are strong and charismatic naturally tend to rise to the top and no one has the boldness and love necessary to be a Berean. How our pastors need us to do this and we need pastors who love, not just lay down the law.” I need to ponder your words about how we generally do not confront strong Christian leaders, even when we clearly think they are wrong, and I have seen some nasty results when we do. “Boldness and love” are difficult paths to walk, especially to balance boldness with the admonition to live at peace with everyone, “as much as possible”. It is very sad for the church as a whole, really.

      1. Diane, I am sorry to be so late in reply to your question. There was just no time this week. The one quiet place I had had no Internet connection.
        I have known some wonderful, loving pastors and sometimes I have seen them so ill treated. Then I recently came out of a large church with a charismatic pastor. He did whatever he wanted to and no one held him accountable. Some tried to talk to him but it went nowhere. They ended up leaving as did I. It takes courage to be a Berean. That is why I said at the beginning that the thought scares me. You are so right that the path of boldness and love is very difficult to walk and I agree with you that the church is in some trouble in this respect.
        This video of Mark Driscoll reminded me of that pastor. Even worse, because he made it very clear that he would entertain no discussion. Maybe there are lazy men out there and that would be a case for church discipline but how can he hammer men like that? Most men want to support their families and feel so very low when they can’t. They don’t need a pastor heaping on guilt like that. I was so upset by the whole thing! Even so, I am very glad that Dee brought this up. I hope to learn from it.

        1. Thanks for your response to my question, Anne. I appreciate your perspective. It is obvious that you seek to do confront in a godly way, seeing the pain both of ungodly confrontation of leaders and the pain of appeasing those leaders who need confrontation.

  21. Susan, I never heard how you son’s trip went? Did he LOVE the rapids? 🙂 all good?

    1. Yes, details about the rapids trip, please. Presume son is uninjured?!

      1. Thank you Laura and Diane…he had a great time in CO. He said the rapids trip was very intense but he loved it. At one point they were able to get into the water-very cold-and experience being carried along by the current. After they were done on the river, they saw a sign for sky-diving….almost did it but his friend didn’t want to sign the waiver:)
        They saw the aftermath of the recent wildfire in Colorado Springs while on the river…parts of the mountains charred and even a canyon that still smelled like smoke and hard to breathe.

  22. 9. Prayer:

    Dear God, Our Heavenly Father, we have arrived at a crossroads and we very much need your guidance. We ask that you choreograph the future of this blog, guiding Dee and David by the wisdom of your Holy Spirit. May they instinctively make the right decisions so that the souls of all who come to this blog may be enriched and may grow closer to you, dear God. We know that we can count on you to help us so we will not be held back by fears, idols, technology, or any other strong force. Thank you for all who have been drawn to become sisters here. Thank you for the bonds of love which have so mysteriously developed without even seeing one another’s faces! May that love continue to grow as we open ourselves to study the Song of Songs. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

    1. Amen

  23. I realized I had not yet written out my prayer for Dee and the blog study–and as I was reading Psalm 19 tonight–verses 7-14 seemed especially fitting to me as a prayer for the wise studying of God’s Word.

    Psalm 19:7-14 “The law of the Lord is perfect,reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure,making wise the simple;the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true,and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold,even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.Moreover, by them is your servant warned;in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;let them not have dominion over me!Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

  24. I’ve been following the discussion and reading everyone’s comments…don’t feel I have much to add to the suggestions already made. I guess I should also say I like things the way they are; I’ve been okay with how the blog functions…I’m not an especially technical-problem solving type as far as the nuts and bolts of how things work. Haven’t had the emotional energy this week to dig deep into this topic. I’ll just pray for guidance.

  25. Good morning!  I am looking over your studies and checking out the beginnings.  LOVE this post.  My husband is a pastor.  Probably one of my main “beefs” about church life is that Christians don’t really say much or challenge each other . . . and I think that’s our job.  It’s our job to be discerning, to question, to grow, and learning how to do debate in a healthy, honoring way is key.  absolutely needed and love that you’ve approached. 
    I’ll play catch up for this study.  🙂