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Dr. Ellen Davis, in her Westminister Commentary, believes it is “the woman wisdom who was at his side in creation.”

We are coming to the close of the first part of Proverbs,

the introduction that keeps contrasting

the call of the woman folly with the call of the woman wisdom.


Many believe that it is Jesus who is described in Proverbs 8.

Others believe it is the wisdom of the Lord personified.

Either way, it is the voice of the Lord.

But how do we hear His voice?

How do we discern if He is really speaking to us

or if we are imagining it? I see two very important principles.

1. It must agree with God’s Word. (And we must know how to interpret Scripture — in this latest debate on gay marriage, we see so much twisting or genuine misunderstanding of how to interpret Scripture, such as looking at the polygamy in the Old Testament and seeing that as an endorsement from God on “rainbow” marriages.)

2. Those who fear Him and are intimate with Him, are more likely to discern His voice in areas where Scripture is silent. (Such as, “Do I marry this man?” “Do I take this job?” “Where should I give the money with which God has entrusted me?”)


Last month my dear friend Linda Strom was with me,

and she always inspires me.


She often hears His voice in a way that consternates others. She is intimate with Him, she knows His Word, keeps it in context, and begins with it instead of her own opinion. She also hears His still small voice in areas where Scripture is silent, but where decisions must be made.

She runs the helm of Discipleship Unlimited in a way that would make most businessmen crazy. If the funds are not there, yet she has heard from God to begin another faith dorm, or to bless the women in some way, she asks the board to step out in faith. She’s confident, because she has heard His voice, that He will also supply their need.

And for decades, He has done exactly that.

What is her secret?

I think it is this:

Proverbs 8-17

We know, and keep saying, that proverbs are general principles and not promises. So there are times when You seek Him diligently and cannot find Him, cannot discern His voice. But generally speaking, the ones who are most likely to hear Him, are those who are intimate with Him, those who love Him. The psalmist puts it like this, and this is a promise, though it will be on His timetable!

He confides in those who fear him…

Psalm 25:14

Many of you are still reeling from the Supreme Court decision. I don’t think it is wise to initiate the discussion with unbelievers, for it is a side issue and Satan loves to distract from the gospel. But they may initiate it, or believers who are now embracing this may want to talk about it. I do think we have a responsibility to be prepared to listen and to speak the truth in love. (We also must not assume that everyone who speaks against the Supreme Court decision is wise, or that there is no wisdom in those who speak for it.) So this week there is an optional activity to read an article from The Gospel Coalition that has gone viral and is getting both kind and unkind rebuttals. You will read both the article, then the rebuttal, and then write a paragraph with your own view, expressed in love, that might help you when discussing this with those you love.

Also, you’ll have a chance to hear from Wesley Hill, an Anglican brother who tells how he heard from God about his own same sex attraction. I hope you’ll listen, not only because I think Dr. Hill is a helpful voice in these times, but because he is a model of how to hear from God and how to speak the truth in love.

Sunday Icebreaker

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study

Read Proverbs 8:11 and then prepare your heart for study with this.

There is None Like You

2. Read Proverbs 8:1-9 and find the repeated quality of wisdom.


E. F. Davis writes: “The connection between wisdom and wealth is occasional, what is invariable is the link between wisdom and righteousness (20). In other words, wisdom is not a commodity or a technique that can be manipulated toward whatever end we choose, it has an essential connection with goodness.

Sara Groves might put it like this: it always “Adds to the Beauty”  Prepare your heart with this:

3. What is one way James 3:17 helps us to identify the Wisdom that is from above? How might you apply this?

4. Read Proverbs 8:10-21 and share anything that quickens you and why. 

5. According to Proverbs 8:22-31, what part did wisdom play in creation?

6. How is Proverbs 9:1-6 similar to the parable we studied last week of the call to the wedding banquet?

7. How does a wise man and a scoffer respond to rebuke? (9:7-9) How do you respond to rebuke?

8. How is the voice of folly different from the voice of wisdom? (Proverbs 9:13-18) What does heeding her voice lead to?

In this latest debate on same-sex marriage, the voice of folly is crying out. The other day one of the new Christians in our church brought me a folder of articles he had collected on this. He is trying to discern the truth, and admits it is challenging for a new Christian. I want you to read first an article he had from The Gospel Coalition. Then I want you to read one of the many rebuttals. I’ve chosen one of the kinder ones for I think she has some legitimate points but also some points that are based on a misunderstanding of Scripture. 

9. Read this article from The Gospel Coalition and share your thoughts. These questions are addressed to those who proclaim faith yet agree with the Supreme Court Decision. Be discerning — which questions are particularly good and which might you skip and why?  Our own Lizzy helped me to see this article is not constructive, but seems like “gotcha!” Not the way of wisdom James describes: peaceable, gentle. But I’m showing it to you and the response to help you  formulate a response that is in line with the wisdom James describes. I think Keller’s response does — but you see what you think. We’re looking for discernment, love, and truth! If you want to skip the “rainbow articles,” do. Lizzy found one I will also post that has discernment, love and truth. I know some of you are weary with all of this, and I understand, yet I feel compelled, for I believe God’s heart is broken over the brokenness of our world and the way His children are failing to respond to their broken brothers and sisters with wisdom.


10. There are some terrible rebuttals — caustic and so obviously filled with a foolish distorting of Scripture, but instead I want to present one of the better rebuttals and ask you to find some of her legitimate points (for this will prepare you to hear what they are hearing — the lack of love) but also her misunderstanding or neglect of Scripture. Tim Keller suggests listening to the other side very carefully, and then articulating their argument so they know they have been heard. So read, summarize, and only then de-construct her argument. 

40 Answers to Christians Fearing Rainbow Waving Friends

Article Lizzy found — I thought, perhaps instead of preparing questions we should be preparing to answer questions from our broken-hearted friends who struggle with SSA.

Gospel for a Gay Friend

Also, Tim Keller’s brief response to this issue provides a model. Watch this and comment:

Tim Keller on Homosexuality (less than 3 minutes)

11. Write a paragraph about what you believe, and why, with empathy and love.

Message: Wesley Hill

Wesley Hill: Washed and Waiting


12. Share your thoughts and comments. How did Wesley Hill go about hearing from God?


13. What is your take-a-way and why?

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


  1. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I never even noticed that God’s arm was around a woman in that painting.

    I am very anxious (in a good way) to hear Dr. Hill speak. I look forward to hearing his wisdom and perspective.

    I am anxious (in a not-as-good way) to write my own response to the topic.  I do not have trouble speaking truth with those who know and understand me, but I am less comfortable with it with those that do not. Honestly, probably an approval idol, or an idol of thinking if I do not offend I may be able to win them (the imposter strikes again – And putting the emphasis on my performance is loosing my focus on Christ and His hand in the situation). I do think you can speak the truth without being “offensive”. This will be good to ponder and practice this week.

  2. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Linda’s closeness with the Lord, her walking by faith and not sight. I thought Of George Mueller, how God supplied for him as he boldly trusted. I am glad you and Linda are friends Dee 🙂
    This also stood out to me:
    “We also must not assume that everyone who speaks against the Supreme Court decision is wise, or that there is no wisdom in those who speak for it.”
    I mourn the lack of civility in our time. People on either side of an issue feel perfectly right in acting as if someone who holds a different viewpoint is not just wrong or mistaken, but stupid and evil.
    Humans need each other, we need to listen to and seek to understand one another. How else can we begin to speak truth in love?

    1. AMEN to both to the words here from Chris and also to the quote from Dee.  (just after I hit ‘submit’ I regretted that I had forgotten to add that these sentences from Dee were pure gold and so are your words of commentary on them Chris.  I also so mourn the loss of civility and how people feel completely justified tearing others down. 

  3. 2. Read Proverbs 8:1-9 and find the repeated quality of wisdom.
    Wisdom isn’t hidden she crying out, calling, speaking…

  4. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Linda (always SO inspired, challenged, by her), the painting, God’s protection. “who is the woman…?” I’d agree it is likely Wisdom, but I can also see a woman who is safe in His arms, because she trusts in Him, and He loves her. I see her as those of Proverbs 8:17–who love Him and seek Him. Those like Linda, who venture into situations that would frighten many, but the joy of the Lord is her strength. As I was explaining the SC decision to my 8 year old, I reminded him that God’s laws are not there to judge or hold over one another–they are primarily for our protection, and His glory. There is a peace that covers us, His protection covers us, when we are resting in His ways. I don’t say that out of moralism or pointing a finger at ‘wrong doing’, but sincerely wanting others to know the place in is arms that belongs to those who trust in Him. 
    Thought this was a good reminder from Keller’s Centrality of the Gospel on the Gospel approach to witness to non-Christians: a) First, we are compelled to share the gospel out of generosity and love, not guilt. b) Second, we are freed from fear of being ridiculed or hurt by others, since we already have the favor of God by grace. c) Third, there is a humility in our dealings with others, because we know we are saved only by grace alone, not because of our superior insight or character. d) Fourth, we are hopeful about anyone, even the “hard cases”, because we were saved only because of grace, not because we were likely people to be Christians. d) Fifth, we are courteous and careful with people. We don’t have to push or coerce them, for it is only God’s grace that opens hearts, not our eloquence or persistence or even their openness. All these traits not only create a winsome evangelist but an excellent neighbor in a multi-cultural society.  

    1. I like your thoughts on the painting too, she looks a little bit wary to me 🙂 Perhaps like someone who is walking by faith, out of her comfort zone.
      I hate that you have to discuss the SC decision with an 8 year old, but admire the way you parent.
      You are walking this out… Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

      1. love when you are here Chris–your words, always so genuine, make me feel as though you were just beside me with an arm around me…i look forward to that 😉

    2. Love your thoughts on the painting, Lizzy!  Also all that you passed along from Keller.  I’m so uncultured that I still question if that IS a woman in the painting, given the well-endowed look of the chests of the males but I do think it looks like God and all those with Him are in a giant uterus. =)  I guess that is the nurse in me!!!

  5. Lizzy-I too saw what you saw with the woman resting in God’s arm. 🙂 Always love how God moves in you as you draw insight from Dee’s posts-and we get to hear it!
    Another is Linda’s sensitivity to Him..being able to hear Him in the gray areas, the daily decisions she makes and that comes from being truly intimate with Him. I love how Dee unpacks that. I so need to unpack with you all this week for I can forget and become distracted with my family. I so want to grow closer to Him. 
    Linda and Dee both have been inspirations to me for a long time for they truly Love God and desire Him and I have seen over and over where He moves in their lives.  I recall being with Dee and there were so many moments she just stopped in the midst of something we weren’t sure of and started talking to God about it..even things we would consider ‘small’..Dee is showing me with her life that He deeply cares about every thought, every decision we make and as she so aptly puts it-He has joined us with Him, Jesus and the HOly Spirit in the dance, daily, we are in the dance with Him. As God said we will find Him if we diligently seek Him for He is with us, longs to hear our voice and delights in us.

    1. Dee – you so bless me with that…..my friend Mary Lynn and I do that same thing!!  We just consider Him a part of the entire time we are together(prayer time)…..and it is a GREAT moderator of our tongues as well!  Hard to get rolling with gossip, for instance, when we remember that He is an intimate part of our conversation.  🙂

      1. Jackie, LIKE!

    2. Oh wow Dee..what a treasure Twila is, what tenderness from Him-“He is good with that-He is just here with us..the three of us talking.”  Yes, you are right! And it seems to happen frequently with Lizzy and I-even in our private conversations and I love that about God. 

      1. sister rebecca–LOVE the picture of you and I and God having a conversation together! Oh how I look forward to a day of having that in “real life”, but I am so thankful for this place. Internet Koinonia–who knew? 😉

        1. Lizzy, no doubt-yes who knew?? :)) 

        2. 🙂

  6. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?-that the topic/title is gutsy:)   I was wondering if I should delay jumping back in to the blog 😉
    -the timing.  I told someone a few days ago that I wanted to discuss same-sex marriage.  I indicated that I knew what I believed but wanted/needed to be able to articulate it better. That didn’t happen in 5 minutes. 

    -Linda’s story & discerning the voice of wisdom even when/where Scripture is silent.  This is the heart of where I want to dig deeply.

     -the painting:  Interesting– upon closer examination, there appears to be more than one woman in the picture.  And the two that seem most clearly to be women aren’t overweight (don’t ask me where that came from.  My brain is weird)
    -There is SO MUCH in the following statement: “We also must not assume that everyone who speaks against the Supreme Court decision is wise, or that there is no wisdom in those who speak for it.”    I am MUCH more confused about the Supreme Court decision-making & process itself (probably because I am somewhat ignorant of the Constitution?) than I am about my beliefs regarding same-sex marriage.  And here is the crazy-sounding part:  Although I THINK I disagree with the Supreme Court decision process (because I’m not sure they can redefine terms?) and do disagree with Christians who believe in same-sex marriage, I do see potential good in this decision for the Church (and am sorta nervous even typing this without going in to a long-winded explanation).  Personally, the most difficult decisions for me will be whether to attend same-sex weddings (I’m guessing “it depends”) and whether I want to engage in conversations at all. My lack of clarity primarily is in topics surrounding this… (e.g., my current questions are “why is the church in the legal business in the first place?” If the church legalizes marriages, why not divorces? Maybe the Catholic church is the one that is consistent on this since they grant annulments?)  Anyhow, I think Scripture is pretty clear on what believers should do — but some of the defenses (e.g., using social science) seem to muddy the waters.

    I REALLY want to get back into the Bible Study — not quite so sure about this topic, so I might replace the phrase “same-sex marriage” with something else!! 

    1. Renee – love seeing you here again….and no matter what you decide about plunging in or going another direction for now…..don’t miss the video of Wesley Hill speaking.  I’ve seen this one before…..and I think he will melt your heart and “bless your socks off” (I seem to recall you getting a kick out of that phrase……).  

      1. Jackie,  Just scanned the Bible Study and was going to listen to that now!!  I’ve heard Wesley Hill’s name before and may have listened to something brief by him a long time ago.  Pretty sure I haven’t heard this, though — and am looking forward to it.  

      1. 🙂   Dee, not sure I want to dig deeply into art history at the moment, BUT do you have any idea WHY the (primary) woman who is distinctly feminine and the other one off to her right aren’t “robust?”  Why in this painting and not others, or at least not all others?  (Ugh — I am feeling a strong pull into Art History).  

        1. Dee, Ha!  Well, at least you gave me a clue — that the heavier ones also were more masculine.  Maybe it’s a timeline thing and he’d simply had more experience with women when he painted it!  But, google, here comes! 😀

        2. Hmmmm.   I made my comments about my questions about Art History before I’d read any other comments.  But now, I’m even more interested.  What I wonder is how much was the artist’s free will and how much was he doing what he was told by the government which commissioned the art. AND how much, if any of it, has a political spin?    My daughter had some fascninating tales of this kind of thing when she returned from studying Art History in Florence.   Especially about one of the statues of David.  Not Michelangelo’s but Bernini’s.    Something about how he killed Goliath but looked back at the Medici as though to say ‘so there!”.    Ever since I heard that, I have been fascinated (but ignorant) about how much is religion and how much is politics in these classic works of art.

        3. so funny Renee, I first zoomed in to see the woman His arm is around and my thought was,”oh, she is pretty.” Then I saw the figure next to her and wondered if it was a woman (since it was chunky). I realized it was a man! I was surprised, thinking the same thing as you…..should have been the woman! 

      2. Okay, so Renee made me look at the painting again. I am seeing new things now.  Yes, there are some males there as I look closer, but the woman in his arm is distinctly woman, muscular-strong yet gentle and set apart from the others. All of the others are clinging to Him and there is one clinging to her leg so she has to be a part of Him! Hmm..perhaps she is lady wisdom. I see the intimate part in the others too for they are all REALLY clinging to Him, and the red is a red robe!! I just saw that..They are all wrapped with Him in His red robe but His robe seems to be surrounding them yet flying open-wild..it looks to me like it is open because he wants to draw more in..dare I say into his furious wild love? 

  7. 1.  What stood out to you from the above and why?  What stood out to me is that you have tapped into one of the most persistent questions we face in life:  How do we discern His voice?  How do we hear Wisdom?  This is so crucial to our walk through all of our days.  I love the way that you have noticed that your friend Linda is wrapped in a place of intimacy with the Lord…..and that the  Word, rather than her own opinion, is her starting place when decisions are to be made.  But the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures work so seamlessly in our hearts as the “still small voice” guiding us along on our journey.  I picture this as the Scripture verse Isaiah 30:21  “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘ this is the way, walk in it’, when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”    

    1. Jackie, thanks for the encouragement from last week’s post…I was out of town and away from “here” for a couple of days. I will say that my mom, due to her Alzheimer’s, is essentially unaware of the rift between my sisters; the heartache falls on my dad.

  8. I’d REALLY REALLY like to hear from our sisters in Brazil, Canada, Mexico (?) this week — countries where same sex marriage has been legal for years.  Granted, I wasn’t on Facebook 10 years ago.  I have had politics-related discussions with socially conservative believers in two of those three countries.  And I don’t recall the frenzy or link to personal well-being around the changes there.  Even when same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada, the fear I heard came from the US (although, that would be what I’d be most likely to hear since I am in the US).  Perhaps it is the nature of the democratic republic in the US and how gov’t is “supposed to” work?  
    Right now, I have more questions than answers about how I should respond.  I do believe that my response to the Supreme Court decision and my response to same-sex marriage are two different issues — some of that is because I’ve what I’ve observed between believers and politics/law in other countries.  I’ve been learning that being salt and light doesn’t mean that I get to control the outcome.  However, I also am familiar enough with some policy that I won’t hide under a rock:)   I’d like to hear (what the Bible says) from those in other countries where the issue doesn’t seem so front and center politically, too.   Maybe what I am seeing is that the tone of conversations (or FB postings) reflect God’s work in someone’s life just as much as the content does.  And I want to shut up if my tone stinks even if my content seems consistent with Scripture. 

    1. Renee:   I didn’t see you on the blog last week.  Did you happen to read the article by the Canadian pastor?   I posted the link and it was also shared on the facebook page.  I found a lot of wisdom there.   Even got brave enough to share it with a pastor friend.    Though, I agree with your question to others in other countries.  How has this been viewed for the ‘every day’ believer and not just the clergy.

      1. Wanda, not sure what I read last week 🙂   I might have read it if it also showed up on an app on my cell phone.  

  9. Wanted to share this, we sang at Church this morning–words by John Newton, “Help My Unbelief” (music Red Mountain). I think what strikes me most is how we are all prone to wander, all prone to our sin nature, but for God’s amazing grace, amazing love. 

    I know the Lord is nigh, And would but cannot pray, For Satan meets me when I try, And frights my soul away, And frights my soul away.
    I would but can’t repent, Though I endeavor oft; This stony heart can ne’er relent, Till Jesus makes it soft, Till Jesus makes it soft.
                Help my unbelief, Help my unbelief, Help my unbelief, My help must come from thee. 
    I would but cannot love, Though wooed by love divine; No arguments have pow’r to move A soul as base as mine, A soul so base as mine.
    I would but cannot rest In God’s most holy will; I know what he appoints is best, And murmur at it still, I murmur at it still.  

    1. Lizzy, This is so good.  I’ve been thinking about the phrase “prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love” from Come Thou Fount this week.  Still reflecting on earlier study about Wisdom being Jesus personified.Your brought to mind (or the Holy Spirit did!) the phrase from Phil 3:10: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.”  Then I scanned Phil 3 — and bawled.  Vs 3 (” For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh”) punched me in the gut as a warning.  Do I have ANY confidence in the flesh because I am heterosexual?

      I lose confidence in the flesh (in literal fleshy ways) when my body doesn’t work right.  How easy it is to have confidence in the flesh in an area that does function as designed.  The phrase My help must come from thee nails it.  In our weakness, He is strong. And in His love, He allows our weakness and our sins to demonstrate His love, to woo us, to increase our desire to KNOW Him.  Haven’t heard that song before, even in an old version 😉

  10. Just started listening to the intro to Wesley Hill about the agora/discussions in the “marketplace.”   “Faith is the perfection of the intellect”  Reminds me of a podcast sermon by Tim Keller from the Redeemer app that I listened to last night — about discussions in the agora.  I’m expecting that this week will help me clarify what I believe/say regarding my relationship with politics in a post-modern pluralist society.  May not finish this now, though!

    Disclaimer:  I started wrestling with how people with same sex attraction are treated by “the church” in the mid-80s when a friend was dying of AIDS.  For some reason (partly because of the fear of catching it), believers avoided him — sent hate mail, didn’t want to allow gays in church.  In contrast, a pastor shared with me that despite health risks (which we didn’t know in the early 80s) that it was believers who ministered during the Black Plague — and this pastor was reaching out (hmm.. maybe I’ll call him in the near future).  I KNEW what the Gospel said about forgiveness; this experience has shaped my relationships since that time.  My beliefs about Scripture and God (or most behaviors) haven’t changed, but I do know that God deeply loves people who identify as LGBTQ  — and I do run the other direction when people who identify as Christians become too self-centered.  My challenge is to articulate Scripture in a way that honors God.  Because He has been dealing with my control idol, I do KNOW that He is in control  — including of the Supreme Court decision.

    Ok, back to the wisdom study 🙂

  11. I follow this blog semi-regularly (depending on travel etc.) but haven’t commented in a long time.   But Renee, you are speaking my heart – and I have to throw out a couple of thoughts because this topic is so near and dear to my heart.   I have a brother (who was on staff with Campus Crusade at one time) and two cousins (both former pastors in conservative, evangelical denominations) who have come out in the past 10-15 years.   All three have left the faith.   Watching this play out in my family has challenged my thinking on SO many levels.    Gay marriage?   To me, the Bible is very clear on the definition of marriage.    The gospel coalition article raised MANY good questions that deserve careful consideration before anyone who is a follower of Christ waves the rainbow flag.   But here are some additional questions that I believe, as Christians, we also have to think about.   They have to do not so much with the marriage question but HOW do we love our Christian brothers and sisters with SSA.     So here are just a few to start with – because if we are going to hold to the believe that gay marriage is sin, then we have to go a step further and consider these. 
    1.   Is SSA sin?   This requires careful examination of the nurture vs. nature question – and I will tell you, if yo+u LISTEN to the stories of those who are dealing with this and truly hear them – you will be convinced that nature is the primary force.   At least that is where I came out – and I fought that, tooth and nail, for years.   It required me to re-examine everything – but when my brother told me how – at FIVE years old – he would sneak down to the kitchen to look at pictures of big, burly Sampson in a children’s Bible story book we had – I could no longer dispute this. 
    If SSA is not sin and it is sexual activity between two of the same gender we object to – then there are a LOT of other questions we need to ask ourselves.    
    2.   How DO we expect our Christian brothers and sisters with SSA to live?   Is it wrong for them to love another person of the same gender?    Can they be roommates?  (If not, then does that mean they must live alone their whole lives?)   Can they show any demonstration of affection for one another?     Hold hands?     Cuddle on the sofa together while watching a movie?    Go to social events together?   WHERE is the line?   HOW do we expect them to live?     These are questions my brother and I have discussed for hour upon hour.    He, by the way, is a celibate gay man – 57 years old.    He says to me,  “It’s not about sex.   It’s about loneliness.    It’s about a committed relationship.”   Some would say that sex is a natural outgrowth of that – and for many (most) it probably is.   In his case, he feels that since he got through the high-testoserone decades of his 20’s, 30’s and 40’s – he could certainly enjoy a committed relationship without it now.  Realistic?  I don’t know.   He is highly disciplined so maybe he is somewhat unique. 
    3.  How does homosexual behavior stack up against other sexual sins mentioned in the Bible.    Divorce?   Adultery?   Pornography?  Is it worse?  The same?   
    4.  (This is the big one for me).   For a SSA believer who has chosen celibacy, HOW can and should the body of Christ support them?    Is it safe for them to identify as SSA in the Church?    If so,  can they hold leadership positions?   Elder?   Pastor?   Sunday School teacher?   If we’re uncomfortable with them holding any of these roles, then what message does that send to them?   And what kind of loneliness are we subjecting them to?    I believe there are MANY celibate SSA people in evangelical churches.  I know a bunch of them.   And they are in SO MUCH PAIN.   They fear condemnation if not outright rejection if their struggle were to become known.     Wouldn’t it be far better to encourage them to be ‘out’ so that they can receive the kind of support, love and accountability they desire and need if they are to walk this hard, hard path that the Bible seems to say they must walk.     I posted some of these questions on my own FB page last week and got an incredible backlash from many of my own friends.  Why is this perceived as such a threat?    The attitude I heard over and over is the “Gays aren’t the only lonely people, you know.”   I get that.   I know that elderly folks, parents of special needs children, heterosexual singles (like myself) and many others face loneliness.   But the loneliness we experience doesn’t have the shame factor that it does for SSA believers.     My heart’s longing is that SSA Christians could be completely open and embraced in the Church.    My brother tells me that if he had had that in his 20’s and 30’s, it would have made all the difference in the world.   Instead, he came to the place where he no longer believes in a personal God.   Too many years of crying out to God to ‘change him’ –  to take that awful curse away.   It didn’t happen.   He felt alone and abandoned.   And his faith eroded away to the point where he had to leave the Christian college where he taught (no longer could agree with their statement of faith) and went through two years where he struggled with deep depression and suicidal thoughts.   (Thankfully – he has found a new niche and is doing well, but I long for the day when he will return to his faith.)  

      1. Thank you for the affirmation and encouragement Dee.    Here it took me three days to come back and read comments.   I was afraid –  yes, I’m another one who fears ‘doing it wrong’ or not following the instructions!   Uffdah!   Bless you (I’m still basking in the message you brought to Fargo in April ….)   Wonderful evening!!!!!!!!!

    1. Oh Beth.   THANK you so much for your very well articulated thoughts and questions here.  My heart aches for your brother too.  I have to say, it is wonderful that he has you to talk to by the hour.  And I am glad to hear he is in a better place emotionally.    But, I hurt inside thinking of his pain.  And partly, because I believe that many of the same questions he had as a person with SSA,  my older two children have had, not as having SSA themselves, for they are both heterosexual; but because they are committed to loving their friends with SSA.  To accept whatever it takes, for their gay and lesbian friends to have the same rights and lack of lonliness that they have.  Example:  My married son really struggled with filing a joint tax return with his wife because he realized that he would be getting tax benefits denied his gay friends.  This is his heart for justice.  But he too has  left the faith. As well as his wife and my daughter.   Their reasons for leaving are complex, but  if there is one single issue that took them away, I would say this is the issue.    And there is no deeper cry in my heart than to see them come back to the Lord, as well.  It is my every day prayer.   Your questions surrounding, ‘how does the church love and support people who have SSA?’  is a very valid one.

      1. Wanda – I feel like we are almost kindred spirits.  We have so many similar thought processes on this.   What a blessing you are. 

    2. Beth–this is incredibly helpful! Wow. These questions seem to me to be what we should be thinking about–your #4 is a real challenge to think through. Thank you for sharing this. 

      1. Lizzy – thanks for your reply.   I purposely wrote questions – but not many answers for I don’t have them either.   That’s what has made these past two weeks so difficult.   Tim and I had another long talk tonight.    He raises good points and valid questions, but his life is not anchored in a desire to live in obedience to Christ and without that component. I don’t have a lot of faith in his ‘logic’.   It took me a few days to get brave enough to come back over here.   These two weeks have been so difficult – and then – the Bill Cosby situation escalating.   Oh Lord Jesus, how we need you to keep us from stumbling – no matter our background or orientation. 

    3. Beth – you have had such a long time and such a lot of sorrow over this “issue”……which is so much more than an issue for you.  🙁  I have a dearly beloved brother…..and I tried to imagine if this had been his experience…..how deeply it would have wounded me.  How ferocious I would have been toward those who could not show love toward him…..but of course the difference is….you HAVE lived this.  You have much to offer us here……please, please listen to Wesley Hill.  Your #4 is something he speaks to a lot.  He uses a phrase called “parish celibacy” and he packs a lot into his definition of that…..he talks about flourishing from within the church…..and so much more.  You have some great questions borne out of your pain dear sister.  They will be helping us all I’m so sure as we think deeply about this hard, hard topic.  

      1. What wonderful insights Wesley has …. I must listen to this over and over again to soak it all in.   Such wisdom – and from someone who has walked this difficult road.  Thank you for sharing this. 

    4. Excellent post, Beth.
      I’d argue (which you probably would guess) that SSA is no more a sin than other temptations.  I suspect that Opposite Sex Attraction has led to more sin in the church than same sex attraction has.  But I wouldn’t label attraction as a sin, even outside of marriage.  Yet I would suspect that sometimes attraction (even for those who are completely celibate) does cross over into sin.    While not condoning sin, I do recognize that we ALL sin.  In light of what I know about my own sin and God’s amazing grace, I see that people with SSA (hypothetically & theoretically) would fit well with the rest of us who are attracted to sin.  Realistically, I see that for many sins — or even ideas not directly related to sin, we have to be VERY secure in God’s grace to acknowledge among believers the “real” sins we struggle with or thoughts we have (i.e., it’s stupid to open one’s mouth in some church circles!).  I’m kind of at the point at which I am not comfortable with (or safe with) people who take a strong stand only against specific sins unless they take an equally strong stand FOR God’s grace.  Where I see God leading me next is more compassion toward those who seem like hardliners on either side (I already have some compassion toward those who are ostracized)– I probably would be in the same place if I hadn’t been exposed to homosexuality that could NOT be hidden when I was relatively young, and I KNEW what the Bible said about sin, grace, and forgiveness.  People I knew who left Christianity/church then did not leave the Christianity of the Bible.
      Would love to talk more about #3 — but maybe not in public writing! I dunno — maybe ranking isn’t appropriate when it comes to sin?? Having said that, I wonder if there is something qualitatively different about sexual sin, especially when marriage isn’t in the works, something related to the Bride the church and Christ, the Bridegroom.
      🙂  I just deleted a summary couple of sentences about what I believe about same sex marriage, the church, society, the Supreme Court, etc., partially because I haven’t thought through the Supreme Court issue enough yet but mostly because I want to study the passage this week first.  I do know that this is a topic that needs to be approached with great humility — and I don’t lean toward the humble end of the continuum when I get on a rant about general issues! It’s much easier when I am thinking about specific relationships.

      1.   People I knew who left Christianity/church then did not leave the Christianity of the Bible.

        I almost think one could make a case that this is always true. Or at least, almost always.  If you leave Christianity because of the church, it is almost always because what is happening in the church is not true Christianity.  I guess some leave because they just don’t want to listen to the Word or submit to any kind of higher power or authority, don’t want to let go of their pride  so I suppose some do leave, knowing what they’re leaving.  But I am also thinking of all the rebuttals about the church that I hear from loved ones.  And realize that they simply do not truly know the gospel. They are making all kinds of assumptions about what the gospel is, based on distortion because of poor representations of it.  

        1. ….either poor representations.  Or their own poor perceptions and conclusions.  Wonder if I covered all the bases now.

    5. Beth, this is a very sensitive and thought provoking (and well written) post. You have raised many excellent questions that we all need to think hard about. I am thinking now about this, “But the loneliness we experience doesn’t have the shame factor that is does for SSA believers.” As Dee said in her reply, this is a huge issue due to the innate intimacy of friendships.

    6. Beth-you blew me away with this post. Thank you for sharing your brother’s story for it made me think this morning. And you got me here: My heart’s longing is that SSA Christians could be completely open and embraced in the Church.”  

  12. INTERESTING.  Scratch the timeline theory I had above:)  Seems as if Jesus is more portrayed as more effeminate than many in Michelangelo’s sculptures and paintings.  And women looked more feminine in his earliest painting.
    That woman may have been EVE!  From Wikipedia (and will keep digging):

    In the first of the pictures, and one of the most widely recognised images in the history of painting, Michelangelo shows God reaching out to touch Adam, who, in the words of Vasari, is “a figure whose beauty, pose and contours are such that it seems to have been fashioned that very moment by the first and supreme creator rather than by the drawing and brush of a mortal man.”[9] From beneath the sheltering arm of God, Eve looks out, a little apprehensively.[17] The “glory” of God, represented by a dark shaded area around him, has the same anatomical geometry as a human brain.

    From another Wikipedia article:

    Many hypotheses have been formulated regarding the identity and meaning of the figures around God. The person protected by God’s left arm might be Eve due to the figure’s feminine appearance and gaze towards Adam, but was also suggested to be Virgin Mary, Sophia, the personified human soul, or an angel of feminine build

    I don’t want to read too much into this yet.  At first, I was wondering if Michelangelo was implying anything about changes in masculinity and femininity after the fall — but he painted other females as more feminine, too.  His portrayal of Jesus as less masculine/more feminine could have been indicative of human weakness.  I wonder if he really thought of God as an elderly bearded white man; I suspect that older men would have had the most power in that day

    1. The comment about ‘the human brain’ is interesting.  (and a little weird?)  Wonder why the dark portion is regarded as ‘the glory of God’.  Would have thought of God’s glory as brilliantly bright!  And I personally wouldn’t equate the human brain with God’s glory.  THAT HE CREATED it is glorious though.  So maybe, that is it.   (how we use it; not so glorious a lot of times!)

      1. LOVE the brain component!

  13. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?   Wow.  Another week of this discussion.  I must say,  I enter in with some hesitancy.  I wasn’t really reeling from the SC decision (as I guess I expected it) but I have been reeling from the subsequent discussions.  Especially here on the blog. (I haven’t engaged anywhere else).  It’s not that I don’t welcome looking at more than one view.  I think it is healthy not to make our circles ‘echo chambers’ where everyone believes and says the same things.  But, it just takes such energy and emotion!  Even to discuss this with loving, gracious believers.   I even added a few more thoughts last night, on last week’s blog, though I didn’t think anyone would even see them,  because it just goes round and round in my head.  Had to get some of it ‘out’ and on ‘paper’ so I could quit trying to synthesize what is rolling around in my mind.  
    I’ve never looked closely at the whole picture of God by Michalangelo.  It sure seems reasonable that the woman is wisdom. But, I also wonder so many times about these classic Renaissance paintings and how much of their content was commissioned by the powers that be, how much was the artist’s free will and how much had a political spin to it.  As the church and state were ‘one’ and not usually with good outcomes.  I would love to study and understand more of this.   My daughter studied Art history in Florence and learned such fascinating things surrounding some famous works.

    1. I sort of agree with you Wanda, on the gay discussion, however it is on every other news feed/report every single day and it isn’t pretty (still). the gloating is pure evil. So whether I want to engage or not isn’t the point; I may be forced to by being “pulled” in without a chance to walk away. I think Dee is right; we need to know how to respond in love and not “self” defense.

      1. You’re right, Laura.  I know a lot of people are much more likely to get pulled in because of their jobs etc.   I usually have the luxury of being a hermit when it comes to ugly controversial issues.  At this point in my life, I am not in a work place or a social setting where it comes up. Of course, then when it comes up with my unbelieving family members, it can get too intense and counter productive to even continue.  So I just pray that God will make a way.  It will never come through argument anyway.    I used to thrive on reading the news.  Now, I rarely engage (which is a HUGE lifestyle change for me)  unless I’m extremely interested and then I try to sort through the slants and rants before I read anything and look for sources I trust. Sometimes, I have just as much trouble reading the highly slanted Christian articles as the highly slanted secular.   Which is why it is nice to have people recommend articles here.  🙂

    2. Wanda, thanks for your kind words from last week’s post…I hope you and your husband got to have that picnic on your boat…you are right in that cultural expectations can raise our expectations of what celebrations should look like, and leave us feeling out-of-sorts when they don’t turn out that way.

      1. We did get out on the boat and enjoyed it.  Probably one of the quietest 4th’s we’ve had, but it was good.  Thank you for asking 🙂

  14. I’m not really thinking I will have much to offer this week, but I did want to briefly comment on the GC article & rebuttal. I read Gospel Coalition feeds daily, and have great respect for Kevin DeYoung, but when I re-read the article today I had the same thoughts I did when it posted. I don’t know if it’s very useful-? I picked a few of his questions to look at the “rebuttal” to, and it confirmed my feelings that the ‘other side’, of whatever the issue is really, will find/create an answer to justify whatever it is that they want to do. It is in me as well, it is our sin nature to do this. But if you are willing to pervert Scripture to make it fit your own agenda, then our “weapon” isn’t really a tool. And YET, maybe the good in that is that it forces us to live out what we believe, in our love, our grace, being truly “like Christ” to win hearts. DeYoung’s questions are good, but I don’t know what the point is–I don’t think dialogue or questions will really make the “penny drop” or the light switch go on. I’m sounding really negative, and I don’t mean to at all. Maybe it’s just where I am, a bit weary of all the discussion. I’ve never been much of a debater anyway, I just usually don’t find it very productive. But I go back to the song we sang this morning by John Newton–only Jesus can make hearts soft, and our help, “their” help only comes from Him. 

    1. Oh boy, I just quickly read through some of the questions.  Although I was okay with the intent of some of the questions, I was appalled at the wording of some of them (then again, I review research and education questions for a living — to make sure they aren’t leading questions with an implied right answer).  I certainly am able to ask a lot of questions, but if I were to use all of them, I’d consider it 40 ways to destroy my relationships.  At least, if I ask these questions, I’d want to phrase them in ways that don’t automatically say “prove to me that you are right.”  One thing I want to explore this week is if there are (Biblical) differences in the way that we relate to individuals vs sharing ideas at the city gates (in public).  Will get back to this when I get far enough in the study.  I haven’t read the responses to the article yet because my browser is misbehaving.

    2. I also thought the questions were much too pointed and direct.   Using specific people’s names?  I think many of the questions are just asking for an argument.   I was disappointed in the questions.   But I wish I’d never even looked at the comments.  Such vitriol.  It kinda amazes me that people of such intensely different views even read stuff from TGC.  But I suppose this article was used as ammunition on social media.  So, it became bait for caustic expressions.  This is why I almost never read comments on articles!  If I don’t like the article, I let it disappear quietly 🙂  There’s always another one right behind it!  

    1. Thanks for your graciousness, Dee! Jon helped me see that it is right for us to question those who profess faith to be able to give defense, I think maybe especially those who are not gay but professing Christians who support the lifestyle. The dialogue exposes their false beliefs, but if they are blind, they cannot see. I think I initially had a lot of those questions run through my mind, but it was honestly more of an argumentative -‘how can you believe that?!’ feeling behind it. W know we are, by God’s grace alone, on the ‘winning team’, and we know we have the Truth. That said, I need to not fear entering into debate, and I think Beth’s post was so helpful in that. As I started this week’s study just now, reading James, I was so convicted! Too often, I am not open to reason, assuming my way is “the” way, and my mind is already made up. Ick. I generally avoid those I disagree with instead of respectfully engaging in conversation.  One of my favorite things about this blog, really your teaching Dee, is the very thing that makes me uncomfortable at times–stretching me out of my bubble, making me think–oh so thankful for that!

      1. I “over-edited” what I had here and hit submit without proofing! but my main point is that I pray our response as Christians as a whole is full of grace. As we talked about last week, I think Rebecca mentioned, I don’t want the older brother in me to lash out in my words or tone. Slow to speak, quick to listen–I need those words of James tattooed on me 😉 (or at least in active memory!)

        1. Amen, Lizzy — that our responses as “Christians as a whole” be full of grace.  I wrote something earlier related to that but waited to post, came back after dinner and just deleted instead of posting.  What I was pondering earlier is the degree to which that grace should include repentance as a corporate body for the logs in our own eyes.  This discussion already has brought back BAD memories about how people were treated in earlier decades.

  15. 2. Read Proverbs 8:1-9 and find the repeated quality of wisdom.
    I see the repeated quality of righteousness, but I also see an action. I see that Wisdom calls out for us to listen, to seek truth, the righteous truth of God. He pursues us and calls us to hear, seek, find Him. We must seek His Word, open our ears to hear the truth. I think of James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
    Oh, and this I so need to remember: Colossians 4:5, 6 “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

  16. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     I love how Linda Strom listens for God to speak and follows His direction no matter what. I am trying to be better at that.

  17. Renee–AMEN to what you said (to me) above–“my own log” has been on my heart this week too. I had just read this tonight: “So the point of Jesus’ words about judging are to show us how the anger of judgmentalism can be broken. It is broken by a broken heart. We live in the consciousness of our own great sinfulness and in the awareness that only the mercy of Jesus can take the log out of our eye with forgiveness and healing. This awareness turns angry judgment into patient and loving forbearance and delicate correction. Legitimate anger may remain because we are displeased that eye-specks bedevil people we love. But that anger is not the anger of judgmentalism. Good anger is governed by the experience of mercy.”-Excerpt from What Jesus Demands from the World by John Piper

  18. 2. Read Proverbs 8:1-9 and find the repeated quality of wisdom.
    Oh wow.  My initial thoughts already are changing:  Wisdom calls out, speaks out, in public places — both to the “good guys” and the “bad guys.”  (Maybe the Internet is the new agora??  I miss the days in which I experienced universities as one of those public places).  Wisdom is trustworthy, and the discerning will know that wisdom is right.  Praying for discernment!

  19. Well, I DID get all caught up in Art History this afternoon.  And loved it.   Decided I would afford myself that amount of searching today but tomorrow, I need to get off the tangent and onto the lesson!   But, so much intrigued me, once I started reading.  
    Now, I’m less inclined to think of the woman at God’s side as ‘Lady Wisdom’ than I was before.  Seems scholars think she is either Eve, which makes sense OR Mary, Jesus’ mother who is regarded by the Catholic church as ‘at God’s right hand’ and also the child next to her (not a very complimentary portrayal, as per usual of this era) would be the Christ child.  So God has his arms around Mary and touches Jesus with the fingers that a priest would use to give a blessing during the eucharist.   Makes sense to me.  But I also like to wonder about Michelangelo’s own faith or was it all because of commission that he made these statements?  Read a bit about that too.   
    I do like that Dr. Ellen Davis sees the woman of wisdom though too!  Because this woman is certainly on God’s side at Creation.   Though I like that one writer points out that the painting would be more aptly described as the ‘Endowment of Man’ rather than the ‘Creation of man’.    Boy!  I wish we could just google Michelangelo’s blog and see what he really WAS thinking when he painted all this that causes us to wonder 500 years later!!
    I like these thoughts about the ‘dark area’ that is the same shape as the human brain.    Perhaps M. was giving God the glory for the intellect with which God had blessed him, in the words of his sonnet, which tell that M. could only take up his brush because his mind was gifted with the creativity.   Fascinating! 
    The brilliant Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti painted magnificent frescoes on the ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, laboring from 1508 to 1512. Commissioned by Pope Julius II, Michelangelo performed this work himself without assistance. Scholars debate whether he had any guidance from the Church in the selection of the scenes, and what meaning the scenes were to convey. In the fresco traditionally called the Creation of Adam, but which might be more aptly titled the Endowment of Adam, I believe that Michelangelo encoded a special message. It is a message consistent with thoughts he expressed in his sonnets. Supreme in sculpture and painting, he understood that his skill was in his brain and not in his hands. He believed that the “divine part” we “receive” from God is the “intellect”.
    In the following sonnet, Michelangelo explains how he creates sculpture and painting and how, I believe, God himself gave man the gift of intellect.
     After the divine part has well conceived Man’s face and gesture, soon both mind and hand, With a cheap model, first, at their command, Give life to stone, but this is not achieved By skill. In painting, too, this is perceived: Only after the intellect has planned The best and highest, can the ready hand Take up the brush and try all things received.

    1. I agree.  There is a lot to mine out of your answer, Lizzy.   Thanks for highlighting it Dee.  
       I am guilty of exactly what you wrote about in your last statement too.  And guilty of burying my head in the sand and yes, avoiding.  Although, believe it or not, sometimes, I have had some very civil, productive discussions with others on facebook.  And several have thanked me for bringing up a topic with civility and grace.  However!  It is a scary place to do that.  And sometimes, I choose not to let every friend read what I post.  
      I would not do well being a blog writer or person in leadership expected to make statements public.  I think I would never sleep again if I had that much ‘expression’ coming back at me!  So, I do admire those who can say it with grace and live with all of the feedback.

  20. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    The example of Linda, that because she has intimacy with God, and diligently seeks Him, the Lord confides in her. Secondly, this is an important discussion, yet I also am getting weary of it. I’ve received “sideways comments” that assumed I must be on the side of the “judgers”; my son said that his friend was at a family gathering and the grandmother was saying that God is going to rain fire down on us, and he implied that I think along those same lines. My only reply to him was that if God is going to rain down judgment/fire, I would be first in line to get it…I left it at that, but my meaning was that my own sin deserves death, but thankfully because of Jesus I am spared.
    2. Read Proverbs 8:1-9 and find the repeated quality of wisdom.
    Wisdom is very vocal…she calls out, raises her voice, cries aloud, her mouth speaks.  She doesn’t hide herself or make it hard to hear her voice. I see she is stationed at places where there are a lot of people; where paths meet, beside the gates leading into the city. This metaphor pictures that wisdom is easy to find and readily available. She speaks to everyone, as Renee pointed out, to the “good” and the “bad”…she is willing to speak her words to both…she desires to help those who are foolish.
    Her words are worthy, speaking what is right, true, just, and faultless.

    1. so good Susan ” my own sin deserves death, but thankfully because of Jesus I am spared.”–I see you are often careful to speak truth in a gentle way, without ‘beating someone over the head’ with it–so wise! I trust they see something very different, very beautiful, Christ, in you

    2. I so understand, Susan.  I find myself in ‘defense mode’ when I’m around vocal people of either extreme.   Just want to be myself and enjoy the company of others without the discussion.  🙁    I don’t like the ‘fight or flight’ feeling!  

  21. 3. What is one way James 3:17 helps us to identify the Wisdom that is from above? How might you apply this?
    But the wisdom that comes from heaven…I see the qualities of the Lord Jesus described in this verse, pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Dee said in the opening that her friend, Linda, begins with God’s Word and not her own opinion. I think that’s the way to identify and seek to have Wisdom from above. I often err on the side of beginning with my own opinion, feeling that I am “right”, and that often leads to what is described in the preceding verses about earthly wisdom – boasting, selfishness, and causing disorder. I think it is important, too, that when I “see” Jesus in these verses and it uses the words peace loving and submissive, that Jesus did not submit to incorrect thinking of his day…He was submissive to His Father, and his mission was to reconcile mankind to the Father who extended His desire for peace with mankind through Jesus.

  22. Susan – GREAT point you have made with the ending of this entry!  “I think it is important, too, that when I ‘see’Jesus in these verses and it uses the words peace loving and submissive, that Jesus did not submit to incorrect thinking of his day….He was submissive to His Father, and his mission was to reconcile mankind to the Father who extended His desire for peace with mankind through Jesus.”  With this insight I think you are showing incredible discerning wisdom and I SO appreciate this!  We err greatly when we try to “soften” Jesus on sin.  Jesus NEVER condoned or excused sin.  But, thanks be to God, He did PAY the bloody price with his submission to the Father on the cross…..and oh, the reconciling of mankind through His precious blood.  🙂  “….while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son….” (Romans 5:10)  and then 2 Corinthians 5:17-21….

  23. I think it is so amazing that what God desires more than retribution for sin is a relationship with us, yet He does not condone sin…yet He makes the first move toward us.

    1. Love this exchange, Jackie and Susan.  So much truth here.

  24. TESTING!     I can’t get past security with a comment I just tried to post.  Seeing if this short post makes the cut!

    Okay. It did. Now, to figure out how else to reword my comments to make it through 🙂 Later.

    1. Same happened to me several times… I was just wondering if I tried to post too many times in a shorter period of time — because I may have been responding to some comments then.  But I decided my answers to questions probably were more for me than anyone else anyway:)   Yesterday, I was pondering a question for hours — maybe because I ran into  obstacles posting responses (this was a good thing!)

      1. I have found using … and quotation marks problematic, also too many URL addresses.

        1. Nanci — it may have been quotation marks.  I almost always stop with one url because two+ won’t go through, but I haven’t looked at ” ” yet!  Or else, God wanted me to shut up:)

  25. 1. What stood out to you and why?
    The word intimate stood out to me.    Did a little word search and the greek, ginosko, means  to come to know first hand, through personal experience.   To perceive, to recognize, to realize, to take notice.   
    Intimacy seems to require quiet, at least on the inside.   And my spirit and soul are often not quiet and therefore not able to enter into this intimacy.  I am grateful for the times the Lord has revealed himself along the journey,  and I can call that to mind and have hope for today.  But I also need that intimacy for today’s circumstances.   I can’t live on yesterday’s manna.   
    Very restless right now over two of our adult children.  Also moving my dad out of his home of 50 years (alzheimers).     All the more reason to press in.   
    So grateful for this study on wisdom.  Thank you Dee.

    1. Nila–praying peace for you now, and strength in dealing with your kids and your dad’s move…so hard. love this truth from you “But I also need that intimacy for today’s circumstances”–great reminder for me too. 

    2. Restless over two of your adult children.  Oh Nila.  I am so with you.  And one good thing about it is that when I get down, I know that I am not alone.  Besides knowing Jesus walks with me, I know that other moms’ hearts are aching and breaking for their own as mine so often does.  Yesterday, was a hard day in that regard.  YET, I felt more of God’s peace than I can say, historically, I would have under the same circumstance.  And I really did think of you and your struggles too.  It may be a bond we wish we didn’t have to have, but it is a bond.  Knowing we can pray for each other at times like this.  
      And my heart also goes out to you in all the changes with your dad.  So much.  I am always so glad when you are able to pop in here, even briefly.  Changing seasons of life.  

  26. Just wanted to comment how appreciative and respectful this conversation is going.
    i have been pummeled with Bible scripture every time I tried to delve into this discussion with church people. Wesley Hill’s levture you posted, Dee is exactly what I tried to explain with my Pastor’s son , who is also my son inlaws brother.
    i tried to explain how complex sexuality is, and if your a Bible believing Christian like myself, your alternative is celibacy. I am at peace with this. however, it was implied to me that I have not surrenderd my all to Christ.
    My whole life has been a constant surrender to Christ.

    1. Laura Marie, so sorry for what you are facing, thankful for your post, praying for you now

    2. Glad you joined us, Laura Marie.   I can hear the struggle in your words.  Praying for you too.  And may you find some encouragement here.

    3. Laura Marie – welcome to our study and fellowship!  I am so grateful to hear that you have already found some encouragement from the discussions and from the video that Dee posted.  Your devotion to Christ shines through and even though I don’t know you yet……I feel proud of you for trying to be heard in the church…..I truly believe that more and more voices like yours (and the Wesley Hill’s and Sam Allberry’s and so many more) are going to be a sanctifying influence in our churches.  🙂  So glad to hear your perspective.  

        1. answering for Jackie (this jumped out to me as I had just read an artcle by him!) Sam Allberry writes on Gospel Coalition–here is his bio from GC: Sam Allberry is associate pastor at St Mary’s Church in Maidenhead, UK, and previously worked on the ministry team at St Ebbe’s in Oxford. He is the author of Is God Anti-Gay? And Other Questions about Homosexuality, the Bible, and Same-Sex Attraction (Good Book, 2013), Connected: Living in the Light of the Trinity (P&R, 2013), and Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life (P&R, 2012). He is one of the coordinators of Living Out, a ministry for those struggling with same-sex attraction.

        2. Sorry I missed this Dee – and thank you LIZZY for such a thorough answer – love the way you covered me in that!!  🙂  My answer would have never covered all the ground yours did – yay!  🙂  Dee….you are in for a treat if you give this man of God a listen….his gentle, loving, truthful way is just irresistible!  

        3. Oh, I didn’t know Sam Allberry writes for TGC.  He’s the 1st one I google when I want a refresher on how to respond to SSA.  He’s also got a website, if I remember right.  He spoke at that Southern Baptist conference on sexuality — which may be on YouTube now.  I have a crush on him!! …yeah, I know.  I’m too old 😉

      1. Thank you jackie r. For Those suggestions.
        i  am famiar with who Sam Allberry. As well as many other Christians with this same testimony. However, people myself still struggle within the church. When I explained sexual fluidity , I was told in this same discussion I rely on philosophy , science I’ve the Bible
        I just need deliverance and stop clinging to my sin.
        Can someone provide a clear Biblical explanation in the difference between overcoming sin vs deliverance from sin?

    4. Welcome back Laura Marie!

    5. Laura Marie, Oh I bet that conversation was so hard! I am so sorry! I admit I am a bit frustrated they said that to you! 

    6. Laura Marie, GOOD. TO. SEE. YOU. AGAIN!!!One of the challenges I’ve experienced in conversation or listening to speakers is that people tend to look at both sex and gender categorically or use the terms interchangeably without defining the terms.  Then, false accusations are made based on misperceptions.  Last week, I heard a radio speaker saying that God created only two genders.  I might have squirmed a little, but I could have lived with that.  But then, he went on to SLAM anyone who identified more than two or many genders — and he talked about how horrid it was to have 40+ genders because God created only male and female.  Because terms were mixed around and I couldn’t converse with a speaker on the radio, I felt as if I were listening to a talk for which I understood about half the words, and the speaker was using a code for the other half.  Even if he would have indicated that he would be using the same term (gender) for multiple constructs, I would have felt more sane.   The problem is that we can have as many points on the continuum of masculinity to femininity or other concepts as we can find descriptive phrases.  That’s just the way a continuum works.

       For some people, either in their own personal experience or what they have observed in others, sexuality may not seem all that complex.  But that doesn’t mean because a few people in the middle of a continuum moved from same sex attraction to opposite attraction (or vice versa) that others closer to the continuum ends are likely to l change. While sex is typically a concept with two categories, I can’t think, at least right now, of other categorical concepts related to sexuality (except marital status).   Similarly, it sounds as if the person you were speaking with has a very different view of surrender. I’m curious how he would apply that word in an area in which he struggles??

      What troubles me about many volatile discussions is that people are so busy accusing and disagreeing that they are unable to see that their opinions are more similar than they are different (A GOOD friend and I used to debate like crazy — and it often took a while for us to realize that we agree; but because we approached situations from different perspectives and used different terms, some of our arguments got pretty heated simply because we were too blind or emotionally invested in our own arguments to see that we agreed.  Eventually, we could step back more quickly to identify commonalities.  The only reason we don’t have these ‘arguments’ any more is that she moved!  And I haven’t had other friendships quite like this).   I know there are many real disagreements; but I also think some disagreements are at least partially related to egocentrism than actual disagreement.  LOVE what you wrote about constant surrender to Christ.  If I surrender my mouth and my ears to Christ before each discussion, some outcomes may be different even if my beliefs haven’t changed a bit.

      1. Your last paragraph here is so good, Renee.  I think this is the case more often than any of us realize.  

      2. Awesome advice Renee!
        Thanks so much!

  27. 3. What is one way James 3:17 helps us to identify the Wisdom that is from above? How might you apply this?
    That it is peaceable.   That I can communicate truth without being defensive or attacking.   Needing to communicate with two of our adult children about critical issues just now, in a manner that is compassionate and truthful.   Needing courage.  Needing to keep peace by not entering into debate, but by gently standing strong and then waiting.  (not natural for me)

    1. Nila, I will pray for your upcoming discussion. I totally understand this. I too have had to have uncomfortable talks with my children and it isn’t fun at all. I usually pray and God has led me to when the right timing would be. In the mean time I go over and over what I want them to glean from the discussion in my mind. It usually ends with what I say being the “right” bits from my head! 

    2. open the eyes of their hearts Lord….open the eyes of their hearts…..

  28. This quote, from John Newton, keeps playing in my mind lately “A man, truly illuminated, will no more despise others, then Bartimeus, after his own eyes were opened, would take a stick, and beat every blind man he met.”

    1. Wow. That really is profound and sobering.

    2. Lizzy, this quote grabbed my attention. Thankyou.  We need His humility.  Desperately.

    3. Lizzy – talk about a word picture.  perfect.  This is going in my journal!!  🙂

  29. I’m frustrated that I can’t get the blog to accept my comment on question 2.    I’ve tried a dozen times and re-worded, changed punctuation, took out parentheses and quotation marks.  Not sure I know any other tricks.    There was some insight in that passage that I did want to post, or I would just let it go.    Any other ideas?    maybe I’ll try it in smaller sections.  It’s not THAT long, but I seem to be able to post these short things okay.

    1. oh Wanda, I just saw your post above about not posting & I was about to tell you “try again”! The only times I’ve gotten the big red box is when I’ve had more than one thing in quotes, or maybe italics/bold…maybe links?   Try again. I’ll pray 🙂

      1. Thanks, Lizzy!  Maybe when you were praying, I realized that I had one more word in quotation marks.  That has been consistently, the thing that seems to trigger it for me.  And I had missed one.   Changing it to italics usually is okay  Meanwhile, I made it a three part answer!  Whew.   I can move on. 

    Regarding Proverbs 8:1-9
     The repeated quality is that she is very vocal about her message.  She cries, she raises her voice, she demands that others Listen!  for I have something to say.   A lot of this passage spoke to me.
    1.  She has worthy things to say.   This brings me right to Paul’s words in Philippians 4:8  Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable; anything excellent or worthy of praise…think on these things.  

  31. Part 2:
    2.  Her audience is all mankind, but only those who truly hear and listen will gain from her words.  She speaks on the heights, beside the gates, to all mankind, but her words are right, only to the discerning.  Her words are faultless, only to those who have knowledge.  To gain wisdom, we must have a little wisdom, it seems.  Wisdom to be willing to lay down our own stubborn works of righteousness and listen to the truth.    This reminds me that we have to have His grace to even come to the grace of Jesus.  He initiates it all.  

    1. Part 3:    regarding Proverbs 8:1-9   (because I was having such a hard time getting my comments to get past security, I broke it down into 3 parts)

      3.  This really stood out.   Where the paths meet, she takes her stand.   Wow.    A crossroads.  A decision to make.  An issue to resolve.  A conviction to make my own.   Hard for me.  I see both sides of many issues.   I have a hard time with some kinds of dogmatic stands because peoples’ lives are complicated and complex.   I can feel it in my gut but to put words to it, sometimes means I hurt someone I love.  Hard stuff. 

      1. Wanda – yes, yes….”where the paths meet”…..I hadn’t seen it the way you amplified it here and it is SUCH a springboard and blessing to my thoughts and prayers this moment!  Thank you, thank you.  🙂

      2. Wanda, This is an excellent observation — I do see many intersections.   I wonder if this might also mean that I don’t need to take a stand or even come to a firm conclusion on every issue??  Maybe only those to which God directs my paths?
        As I am thinking about those who even made FB comments on the Supreme Court Decision whom I know well (I didn’t see that many posts in my feed, although I saw many change their profile pics), I remember — probably saw — only 4, who I know describe themselves as Christians:
        -one person I would describe as liberal politically:  She basically was glad to see the Supreme Court decision — As advisor for Gay Straight alliance, this crosses her path.  She posted that she didn’t expect it in her lifetime.
        -another I would describe as “somewhat or even pretty liberal politically:”  I know her history.  She one of the most compassionate people I know and was hurt by how she observed “outcasts” being treated in her church and how people with SSA were treated in her Christian college.  I do believe her compassion and mercy (and major) were part of what led her to affiliate with this group in college.  She posted that it was a good way to start pride week.
        -and two who regularly post stuff almost daily from a conservative &/or libertarian perspective.  One deviated (although predictably) and posted a comment/meme in defense of the Supreme Court decision. (At first, I was a little ticked because it sounded snarky, but then the meme got me thinking).  He is in a very long-term committed same sex relationship — with children and grandchild.  And the other went into the same anti-Obama posts, anti-Supreme Court posts that appear all the time.  The issue crossed the path of one more than the other.I wonder where the paths meet — and when they might meet for me.  Or, if this is a misapplication of this phrase.   These particular paths may meet again for me; and although, I do want to know where I stand using the James passage for a foundation, I may not need a vocal, definitive answer NOW. (Wrote this hours ago, left the house & not sure if I hit submit.  Will see what happens)

        1. Interesting thoughts, Renee.  I wonder about having to make that exact position statement too.  When the paths cross (as you described in various ways) is sometimes when we really look deeper because that is when it affects us so much more.  Whatever the issue is.  
           And you always manage to make me giggle besides.  Left the house.  Not sure if I hit submit.  But voila! Here it is!    (which is good!)

  32. wanda–soaking in all the “wisdom” you have shared here on these verses! Convicted. How often I say things that are not “worthy” of being said. I am thinking more too–maybe one of the reasons Wisdom calls out is that we need a loud voice to speak over all the clutter in my own thoughts! Like too what you pointed out about the crossroads. I had missed that. I think part of my problem is not going “where the paths meet”–not really even being willing to see there IS another path beyond my own! OH feeling very humbled by my own sin these days–thankful for His grace in gently opening my eyes…

    1. Yeah, good word:  clutter – it needs to be quieted to hear the voice of wisdom

    2. 🙂

    3. Agreed. Answered much of this in my head because I didn’t understand a lot of it. Didn’t feel my answers would be worthy of the blog.

  33. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Those who fear him and are intimate with him are more likely to hear his voice…..Linda is a great example.
    Dee, I appreciate you providing helpful resources and urging us to be prepared to talk about these issues, and not just to talk about them, but to listen and be so careful before responding, making sure we don’t do more damage.  I just saw a video from CBN News that a friend posted on FB.  It talked about certain school districts teaching gender identity and sensitive LGBT topics to young children.  While the content of the news report was concerning and eye-opening, I was more struck by some of the comments on fb.  I share this just to point out that every article and video I’ve seen has stirred up an urgency to get prepared.  As I notice people randomly quoting scripture taken out of context, or blatantly overreacting to comments made on both sides, clearly sounding like fools, I can’t help feeling like I don’t have the wisdom to do much better.  I need to know the Word.  I need to discern God’s voice of wisdom.  So, I’m encouraged by the conversation happening here on this blog.  It’s so helpful in coming up with an answer that, as Dee said, can be articulated in love.   

    1. Jody – so well said.  

  34. Dee wrote: Sara Groves might put it like this: it always “Adds to the Beauty”  Prepare your heart with this: 

    Since I’m not familiar with Sara Groves’ songs, I looked it up. Here’s a link with the song and lyrics.  It’s really growing on me.   And the more I’ve gone back and read and re-read Dee’s words in the intro, the more I’m seeing such a deep need in my own heart.  Not starting with my own opinion.  But starting with scripture.   That is convicting me today.   I am also finding an unexpected victory in my soul in that, something that would usually send me reeling into a downward spiral, has not swayed me today.  (As is often the case, it involves sorrow over one of my own.)  I’m feeling stronger in being able to release it and know that only God can win the battle.  
    Redemption comes in strange places.  Small places.  And I want to add to the beauty.  Tell a different story.  

    1. Wanda – I am right there with you in that this week (and last) has felt like hammer blows with regard to 2 of my children and conversations with them…..without turning my eyes upon Jesus I would be in utter despair over the power of the world (in that perfect storm combination with our sinful selves)to shape minds and hearts.  I think of Isaiah 5:20  “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness….” and of course so many of the NT Scriptures as well…..(2 Tim 3 comes to mind).  
      BUT…..loved your response to the Sara Groves song!  10 years ago, when unfathomable tragedy struck our family and a little baby named Kira was soon to be adopted by my brother and his wife……well, God rather gave me this song as a theme song of sorts for Kira’s life!  And so it has been…..she is pure joy and delight!  🙂  
      Also…..I’m with you as well in “not starting with my own opinion, but starting with Scripture”.  Oh my.  How sweet it is. 🙂

      1. To Nila, Laura and Jackie,
        Isn’t it strange?  We all have two adult children  who weigh on our hearts in somewhat the same ways.  (Actually, because one of mine is married, that makes 3 and the other one has a very steady boyfriend, which is some ways, makes 4.)  It overwhelms me.  AND yet, I actually CAN’T talk about the issue we are discussing here.  It is over the top. There is so much more fundamentally, misguided things that form the basis for their dissent from the Word and from Jesus, that SS marriage isn’t even a talking point anymore.  Only leads to pain and/or argument.  And my ‘kids’ have been adults for well over a decade.  Prayer and love is the only thing I feel that I can do anymore.  So complicated.   I have become to think more and more that I won’t live long enough to see their return.  It’s that tangled.  Yet, recently, I have more hope than I usually do.  That must be the Lord.  

    10. There are some terrible rebuttals…
    I don’t have a paragraph to write that I could present to anyone, in fact, these last couple of weeks have made me not like many people in our “new” world. The person who wrote the answers to the questions is rude, just plain rude. But, this is exactly what I have seen in the news this past week. Is the author Christian? I must be reading a different Bible?! Paul clearly says in Romans that homosexuality is a sin. Where is it stated anywhere he is part of a cult? I have always thought that marriage was about procreation. Am I wrong on that? Gays can’t procreate without help. Regarding the scripture in Genesis, where God makes everything “…and it’s good…;” science has yet to find a gay gene, so Adam and Eve are the good creation of God, right? I believe what we are seeing is response to environmental pressures. What happened to the “Renaissance” man? My dad was one…..he loved the arts and wasn’t particularly athletic at all. He wasn’t gay. These days if you aren’t an athlete then you must be gay. Someone above mentioned their brother sneaking downstairs to look at Sampson in the children’s Bible….what’s wrong with that? Most little boys have superheroes, right? Another mentioned children being taught this in school. This is truly disturbing to me. This is an adult topic that adults are struggling with now. How can children be exposed to this idea? We live in a flipped world where children are no longer children, they are made into mini-adults.

    The author of the questions is asking the very questions I have asked myself for YEARS. Where do people get the scripture that supports their idea? How do they justify their beliefs and act as Christians? I’m NOT suggesting that I am any better than them, and I don’t think Kevin was either, but I don’t understand them and I don’t think I ever will. Kevin seems frustrated, as I am, in trying to understand. He/we aren’t to the point where some of you are in your perspective. I think I should probably not talk to others about this topic; it is no use. I am giving up. Continuing to be distraught over this 🙁

    1. Laura-d, just wanted to encourage you. I hear your frustration and I understand it too. I HAVE felt exactly those feelings for a long time. It’s only been recently that, FOR ME, I’m sensing a need to grow in compassion. I told my husband last night how uncomfortable it really is to me to think about living like Christ in this area–what does it look like? I know it requires more patience and grace, love and compassion than I have had in the past or have “naturally”. MY usual reaction to all these types of things is to get angry at the state of our world and then try to ignore it. For some reason, this time, as weary as I am of the topic, I feel we as Christians must fight, but it must look different than my “natural” reaction. Sorry, I’m not making sense. Just don’t “give up”! We all need you and your voice, and not just here on the blog!

      1. Lizzy – “For some reason, this time, as weary as I am of the topic, I feel we as Christians must fight, but it must look different than my ‘natural’ reaction.”  Oh Lizzy, this is gold and I think makes perfect sense!  It shows that you have soaked in the Scriptures and makes me even think of the Sara Groves song we listened to here about telling a better story!  All around us are ashes…..but, as Nila often reminds us, God brings beauty (redemption!!) from ashes.  Amen.  

    2. Laura – there is so much that we will never understand in this lifetime.  Jesus battled the kingdom of darkness every day up to his death on the cross.  The Scriptures are clear that, as the people of God (believers in Christ) we are sojourners in this world.  We truly do NOT belong to this world, but to another!  This world, in a sense, SHOULD seem foreign to us!  That, in a nutshell, seems to me to be what you are saying here – that this world just does not make sense.  I pray that your post here will make many of us stop and pray…..and turn to the Scriptures for help.  I fear that it is too easy for us to “cave” and to care more about what the world around us (perhaps our young adult children??) believes than actually seeing Christ alone as our greatest treasure in this life.  Matthew 10: 34-39 are HARD WORDS that Jesus speaks to us.  
      That said, I’ve never seen such a celebration of sin as our country has gloried in over these past couple of weeks.  NONETHELESS…..we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20) and I don’t think bashing unbelievers over a specific sin will draw them to Christ.  It is CRITICAL to make a distinction between unbelieving gay lifestyle advocates and those who claim to follow Christ…..and yet advocate for gay marraige.  HUGE difference, Laura.  Dee and Rebecca were discussing keeping first things first last week….this is crucial.  ALL unbelievers needs the redemption and forgiveness of their sins that Christ paid for on the cross….no matter WHAT their lifestyle!  Those who claim to be born again and yet claim that the Scriptures teach gay marraige is just fine?  The apostle Peter would join the discussion and perhaps say this (from 2 Peter 3:16) “…..There are some things in them (Paul’s writings) which are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”  Scripture, our lifeline, our bedrock of security …..can be TWISTED.  Think of the temptation of Jesus by the devil – the devil quoted SCRIPTURE (Psalm 91:11&12) to try to tempt Jesus!  
      I find Ephesians 5:10-20 so very encouraging!  This is the passage that talks about the battle we WILL be in when we follow Christ.  I love the reminder of vs. 12 here that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places…”  The devil and his minions do have a limited power in this world to deceive.  So when we read things such as the rebuttals that make us feel physically ill over their MOCKING of the Lord of the universe…..well, our battle is NOT against them!  The rest of these verses in Ephesians give us the whole armor of God that we need to DAILY put on for battle.  But the battle is not primarily against the sin of gay marraige – the battle is for the very souls enslaved to sin that Christ died to save.  
      This is such an inadequate response to your many, many good questions Laura.  But I wanted to reach out and encourage you to hang on.  Stay the course.  Study Jesus.  He will be your spring of living water in a dry and weary land…..

      1. EXCELLENT post Jackie. 

      2. Jackie,    I really appreciate your words here.  So much wisdom and good scriptural backing.  So many times, I read your comments and they make things so clear, while all kinds of ‘stuff’; ‘clutter’ as Jody said, is colliding in my brain.  So I thank you for that!
        One thing has been going round and round in my head since I read it.  And I can’t seem to get it out of my mind.   That in our lifetime, there has never been such celebrating of sin as we have seen in the recent weeks.  I think that is true, as far as our lifetime goes.  (so I am affirming that statement!)  But it got me thinking. 
        We have had some very sordid, horrific sins that have been celebrated in the past.  I kept thinking about the largest mass hanging that took place right here in my beloved Minnesota.  It is truly one of the darkest, most shame filled days in our history.  In 1862, to appease his political cronies in the state, President Lincoln ordered the hanging of 38 Lakota men in a town not too far from where I am sitting right now, while 4,000 men, women and children looked on.  Alcohol sales were forbidden;  I suppose for fear of what kind of retaliation or celebration would ensue.    And no, in our 6th grade Minnesota history class, we were never taught this.  I only learned of it a few years ago.  It sickens me to even read the words.  I love Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, but clearly, this was a political compromise in which he was desperately in the wrong.
        So, it does seem that there has been great celebration over sin in our past.  I think of all that was done to exterminate the native people; genocide in the name of white man’s progress and expansion.  Which must have been celebrated.  Also the horrors of slavery.  Again, for the white man to prosper at the unthinkable expense of the African.   What we did legally and with the approval of our leadership in both the Native American genocide and the enslaving of Africans set the stage for the racial tensions and violence that still are prominent in many areas today.  
        I suppose there is nothing new under the sun.   In fact, I know there’s nothing new under the sun.  Solomon said so!

        1. Such a good point, Wanda.  Even though I’ve been in public institutions most of my life, I’ve seen very little persecution of or discrimination against Christians (mostly in the last 6 months. Although the 2 people doing the discriminating likely done this for MUCH longer, I haven’t heard about it.  I regularly see the impact of those sins of the past that you mentioned — and see much more discrimination against Native Americans than I do against Christians around here.   These issues, as well as the recent burning of churches largely attended by African Americans, seem more relevant to me right now than does same sex marriage.   But I can envision using these same questions and principles to better articulate a position and develop a godly attitude when presented with any of them.  (P.S.  I think it was Dakota rather than Lakota men who were hanged).
          I wonder the degree to which discrimination of people who are/were LGBT in the past was associated with the current Supreme Court Decision. It certainly didn’t come “out of the blue.”  How might grace and fairness in current situations prevent future political decisions with which we disagree.

        2. Right you are, Renee.  Dakota not Lakota.  Or Santee Sioux the article said.  (even these names were different in my 6th grade MN history class 🙂 )

      3. Remembering who the real enemy is…

        I have been following along and not commenting, mostly because I have been short on time. But this was my thought as I read Jackie’s post. Sometimes we loose sight of this and need to recalibrate.

  36. Since I have been preoccupied for awhile I have been silent. But I am thankful for this honest searching for wisdom in our troubled time. Beth’s post is so helpful and each of you inspire me to put my thoughts into words.
    I often feel shame that leaders/pastors seem so intolerant. And it brings back my thought of how vanishing grace is a problem. I will be attempting to discern words of wisdom on this SSA issue. And yes, there are so many other sins that tempt us, especially pride.

    1. So very, very true, Shirley.  Pride is the root of so many of our own sins and we can so easily dismiss and justify it.

  37. 3. What is one way James 3:17 helps us to identify the Wisdom that is from above? How might you apply this?
    Well, before I open my mouth I need to ask God to search my heart to see if it is pure..I need to be sure my thoughts or passions are not spawned from pride and insincerity but that they are from Him out of a Gospel melted heart!  I need to be sensitive to Him as I am listening to someone else. My goal shouldn’t be to force my opinion in order to change someone’s mind but reasoning with them in Love taking them back to the Gospel. For I too am a ragamuffin-broken yet beautiful and I need to meditate on the Gospel too-over and over again. I don’t see myself as any different than someone who has SSA. I am a ragamuffin-I know that term is so over used but I am no less broken than anyone else and not more Loved and adored by God than anyone else just because I may not struggle with ssa.  And..I CAN’T say I have fully surrendered to God in any area of my life..it is a daily surrender..God just wants me to walk in that daily struggle alongside my brother or sister speaking the truth in Love and us lifting one another up to Him-letting the Gospel melt our hearts. 

  38. 3.  What is one way James 3;17 helps us to identify the wisdom that is from above?  How might you apply this?     Rebecca just answered this so beautifully that I’m hesitant to offer my thoughts on the heels of hers!  BUT…..here goes anyway…..I did get stopped at the word “pure” like you did Rebecca.  Actually I liked the way it is “first pure” and “then peaceable, gentle, open to reason……”.  So for me that meant taking a second look at what that word purity might mean here in this context.  I went to Dr. John Macarthur for help!  Here is what he offers about this word pure:  “A person whose life is characterized by true wisdom will seek to be pure.  The Greek word translated “pure” in James 3:17 refers to spiritual integrity and moral sincerity.  It is freedom from bitter jealousy, selfish ambition and arrogant self-promotion.  Christ is the perfect example of purity.  (1 John 3:3)”.  This came from his daily devotional and the entire entry was pure gold.  It was followed by a suggestion to pray through the first 7 verses of Psalm 51….where we find great repentance (David’s after his sin with Bathsheba), truth, wisdom and purity.  So the way I am going to apply the word “purity” today is to pray through these verses as I can throughout the day.  I would not have made this connection without looking at John Macarthur’s devotional – so very grateful for that today.  🙂

  39. This encouraged me this morning, an article about “how we can gain helpful perspectives from America’s Prayer Meeting Revival of 1857-1858.”
    “We modern Christians need to realize that we cannot depend on government, social service organizations or business-as-usual church ministries to arrest and correct the crying spiritual and social needs of our country and the world. Instead, we need to fervently seek a nationwide, even international, spiritual revival from the Lord. We also need to recommit ourselves, with God’s help, to more actively carry out Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8), even as we await His society-transforming revival blessings.”

  40. 3. What is one way James 3:17 helps us to identify the Wisdom that is from above? How might you apply this?
    Good thing these aren’t graded because I often change the question!!  This verse is SO good and it would have been helpful if I thought through this before looking at later links.  Sorry, Dee!  I certainly see the importance of the order of your questions.  This verse is crucial for approaching an issue in which there is conflict.
    “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure:”  What is my motive? Is it to win? To have control of the outcome? Or to honor God in my behavior and attitudes?
    Here’s where I changed the question 🙂   “Pure” is a crucial foundation, but after that, the others are pretty important — and I am examining Supreme Court decision and my own conflicts in light of this verse.  I’d memorized the verse at some point, so it was going through my head anyway — helped to see it in writing, and I added vs. 18
    then peace-loving:  I don’t like being at the center of conflict and I become weary of too much conflict; however, I do see the need for God to change my heart here.  I’m 🙁  entertained by, learn from, and maybe even motivated by observing a little conflict.   Again, need to consider my motives for and definition of peace.  Is it winning/control of the “side” I’m on?
    -considerate  ok, can wrap my brain around this — and God has been working in my heart to help me take the perspectives of those with whom I most disagree
    -submissive    aaaaaaagggghhhh  (or more accurately worded, “Oh, crap!”)   Guess where the biggest gap is??  I wonder if I’d be willing to walk into a setting in which most others disagree (maybe the Metropolitan Community Church) and submit? Would I submit — or be afraid of the feeling of being attacked (as I am/have been in some other conflict situations)
    full of mercy and good fruit  The mercy part comes pretty easily for me.  I usually feel for/defend the underdog.  Not so sure about the good fruit part — and I even need to dig in deeper to see what it means.
    impartial and sincere:  Impartial is a good challenge for me, and I like getting all the data to fully understand an issue.  I love this reminder for the conflict that is at the center of my life.  I don’t know if these two words are meant to be connected in this verse or if they are separate words in a string of characteristics???  Anyway, I have a hard time not being sincere — but sometimes I am sincerely wrong!  Impartial tones down misguided emotions (i.e., I don’t need to be so stressed — and I am less stressed when I do more perspective-taking).  I’ may look at this later, but what bugged me about the 40 questions article was that the intent of the questions didn’t seem to be to sincerely understand but to “make” the “other side” answer — sort of hold their feet to the fire.  i.e., the intent seemed to be an exam with a grade.
    I also added vs 18 — because I love it, am curious about it, and hadn’t paid any attention to it before.  “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”  QUESTION:  Is this a promise, a maxim, or neither?  It sorta seems like it could be both or neither.  i.e., vs 17 is quite a mouthful — and though the list of characteristics serves as a wonderful checklist for examining my heart, living out those characteristics is only possible because of the transformation God brings about.  Also, may the characteristics ARE part of the harvest of righteousness??   In addition, this harvest of righteousness could be the natural and supernatural consequences of living out the characteristics.  AND if this is a promise, the harvest of righteousness wouldn’t necessarily have to occur in this life.   (I guess I need to know what this harvest of righteousness is — might do a quick and superficial search, kinda running out of steam here).
    Interestingly, a few weeks ago, I bought the book Peacemakers by Sande at the garage sale where I went to get the kitchen sink/faucets  🙂  !!  Was too dense for me to read last week but I started flipping through it yesterday.  Thanks, Dee, for your patience as I add to questions;)   This one totally is raising questions for future decisions.  In the past, I often was brought in to situations as a mediator (still am in a couple roles, although it’s bizarre how a couple people have done everything in their power to restrict any peace-making).  This question/verse provides a solid foundation for future decision making — also helps me see that natural strengths aren’t enough.   LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this question.  Another one of those timely, life changing ones for me.  And because I have been in the dead center of a conflict related to an LGBT issue (I lost it when someone proposed to put a “no homosexuals allowed” sign on a church door — and didn’t follow James 3:17 in my reaction!), I can recall those emotions in the light of conflicts I face now.   AHA moment…

    1. I’m sorry.  I tried to edit out sections.  Browser was acting strange and I ran out of editing time

      1. AND DEE:   I watched this conversation unfold and I want to tell you how blessed we are to have a leader in you, who shows such humility and ability to adapt and change as things are discussed.  When I went back the second day or so, and saw that you had inserted a disclaimer for the 40 questions article, I smiled and felt so grateful for your wise leadership here.  THANK YOU!

  41. I missed last week, but was blessed to go to a young life camp and see a lot of seeds planted and some kids come to Christ.
    Happy belated bday Lizzy!!!
    The above was very helpful Renee. And all the comments to my sin question were so good, will be putting into practice.
    This week i can see I’ll be very encouraged to walk intimately with the Lord to be able to hear Him and seek His wisdom. 
    3. Pure, peaceloving, considerate, submissive, sincere, full of mercy. The lord wants to give me, give us,wisdom because he loves us so much. I need to give those who need wisdom as described above….with a sweet spirit so others know It’s coming from a place of love. 

  42. I need to say that I admire hugely, every person who has shared their own stories of people they love who have battled all their lives with the questions surrounding the church, the Bible and SSA.  It takes tremendous courage to share that we or those closest to us struggle with this, while this polarizing battle rages in our streets and in our pews.   I am sad for every one who has not felt validated and who has even been looked down on because of this.  Was I ostracized for engaging mentally and emotionally, in improper heterosexual attraction?  Nope.  Easy to get around and keep that hidden.  But that is also a sexual sin that God despises.  If a man looks at a woman (and vice versa) to lust after her, he has committed adultery in his heart.  How easy it is to judge and categorize others’ experiences and dismiss our own.   As we navigate these difficult waters, may we all stop in our tracks before we single out anyone’s story as being less significant than another’s.  Man looks on the outward appearance.  God looks on the heart.  James’ words about peaceable wisdom are so timely and true. 

  43. I’ve so enjoyed reading the comments, everyone. Here is another v. thoughtful dialog, pro and con the SCOTUS decision from two believers from a more biblical pov. Sandy Glahn teaches at Dallas Seminary. Not sure the identity of the reply, but both are very thoughtful. As citizens of a democratic republic we are in such a unique position because We the people elect our govt. We are founded on the idea that we will engage in the public square and try to make our voices heard. But as Christians we simply HAVE To Do so with gentleness and respect!

    1. Excellent article!  Thank you, Lael.  
      I hope many have the chance to read it.   I have also thought of CS Lewis’ words and the wisdom in them.  And I love this:

      Baptists have insisted on separation of church and state from the beginning. Yes, Christians have enjoyed great favor in the secular USA. But Uncle Sam is not our spiritual father.

    2. Thanks, Lael.  So true about engaging with gentleness & respect.  Will read the article after I get closer to my own decision and go through Scripture.  As I have been pondering the Scripture passages, my own beliefs have been changing.  I went into this thinking I was hunting for info to support my current beliefs.  Now, the questions and passages listed in the questions are informing my beliefs.  Words in what appears to be the title is catching my attention:  I have been thinking similar words — why are people freaking out?  But the 2 on FB who used the most extreme words freak out about A LOT.  And the only one on the radio who I heard that freaked out misused terms and research  (so I freaked out when listening!)

    3. thank you for this article Lael. it really puts a true perspective on the way Christians should view the ruling by SCOTUS

  44. 4. Read Proverbs 8:10-21 and share anything that quickens you and why. 
    Vs. 10-11 quickened me when I read the passage this morning, and stood out again now, especially after thinking more about the verse in James and Lael’s comment about gentleness and respect above.  Vs 10-11 compare instruction, knowledge, and wisdom to silver, gold, and rubies.   Instruction, knowledge, and wisdom are better:)     During the past couple of years, I learned of a way to give a large gift to a general foundation now when I have a full-time income, and then I can designate specific recipients after I retire and have a lower income.  The purpose of this is two-fold:  a substantial tax deduction for me and a church-related (or other) charity will get gifts later.  Although I benefit from the tax deduction, this is not about the tax deduction — for me or for the recipient.   Something is wrong with me if I need a tax deduction to be willing to give where the Lord leads; and possibly many organizations would have a stronger prayer base if the primary purpose for giving isn’t a tax deduction or some other kind of recognition for giving.  I gave for tax deduction purposes  — and what was to be the eventual recipient definitely ain’t going to hire anyone in a same-sex marriage if the fund or the organization are denied non-profit status.  Wisdom is better than $$$$.
    Another section that quickens me is “By me kings reign…”   SOO, this verse doesn’t say that “by me, kings who agree with Renee reign…”    GOD IS IN CONTROL.  He wasn’t sleeping on the job when the SCOTUS decision was made.  If I freak out too much (or maybe freak out at all?), it means I am not allowing God to be God — or trusting him.  He can change the decision or show His power and grace THROUGH the decision.  
    SUCH an appropriate passage for this situation.  More verses quickened me, too, but I am tired of typing and hyper to get to the next question.  Gotta find out what I believe:)

    1. LIKE your comment about ‘by me kings reign’.   A similar thought popped into my mind too, when I read it but I couldn’t quite put it in words.  Good insight!
      I understood your thinking in the first paragraph until your last comment about the organization/eventual recipient.  May not be reading it right.
       Wise to say that ministries may have a greater prayer base if givers were not motivated by tax deductions.  Wow.   Convicting.  

  45. 5. According to Proverbs 8:22-31, what part did wisdom play in creation?  The Lord brought forth/formed wisdom “as the first of his works.”  Wisdom was present during creationOk, confusion sets in — time to check other versions.  If the NIV implication is right and wisdom was formed or created, wisdom isn’t Jesus or any part of the Godhead.  I checked ESV and NASB, too.  ESV = “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work,
    the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up…”   I can “get” that the Lord possessed Wisdom — but I need a Bible for Dummies for the “set up” part.

    1. Oh it does say ‘formed’ doesn’t it?   I missed that.   I read ‘appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began’ and took it to mean  eternal.  No beginning or end.   When you get the ‘set up’ part figured out, let us know!