Funny That I’ve Grown Serious

ThankfulKittyBlack02Back in the 80s and early 90s, my reputation for practical jokes was such that I got blamed even for those I didn’t orchestrate. My personal favorite was in honor of my friend Bob’s birthday.

Bob shared my dislike for cats (which we both greatly exaggerated for the purpose of teasing each other). When his birthday rolled around, I gave his phone number to my friend Terry, whom Bob had never met. At my instruction, Terry told Bob that he was from the SPCA, and wanted to deliver a kitten to him that afternoon.

Bob declined the offer, and wandered out of his room in bewilderment telling his housemate, “I just got the strangest phone call.” Before he could recount what Terry had said, his housemate doubled over with laughter, causing Bob to remember that I’d spent time with that housemate a week earlier. “DebbieLynne!” he shouted knowingly.

I’m still proud of that one!

These days I have fewer opportunities to play practical jokes, largely because I don’t have an accomplice. Also, I have less energy than I did back then. Practical jokes take work!

But, as much as I miss that part of my life, I have changed into a more serious woman. Oh, I still laugh a lot — a robust sense of humor is downright necessary Continue reading

Double-Minded? In More Ways Than John Smid Thinks

Rainbow and Cross

Love In Action dominated the first two decades of my adult life. The ministry sought to bring freedom to men and (to a lesser extent) women in bondage to homosexuality. In the now over two decades since I left my volunteer staff position with LiA, I’ve wrestled through a lot of feelings  and questions about the ministry, as have most people who went through the program and/or served with the ministry.

Perhaps no one has been more soul searching about Love In Action than John Smid. John spent 20 years in leadership positions with the ministry, eventually becoming its executive director. A series of events in the early 2000s, however, led him to admit his own inability to overcome homosexuality and to question the validity of ex-gay ministry. Today John Smid embraces his identity as a gay man, rejecting the Biblical truth that God condemns homosexuality.

Occasionally I read John’s blog. I love him, remembering our years of friendship before he banned me from his Facebook and Twitter feeds.  My husband John and I pray for him often, brokenhearted by decisions he’s made in the last nine years. His blog informs our prayers.

Last week I visited John Smid’s blog, and read his fascinating article, Was Love In Action Double-Minded? I have read it three times now, and I actually agree with most of his points. While we assured the general public that our goal was Continue reading

Sexual Purity Is More Than Moral Behavior

white flowers on satinPaul’s first letter to the Thessalonian church made an unmistakable connection between sanctification and sexual purity. While sexual purity is only one aspect of sanctification, the Holy Spirit must have inspired Paul to draw this connection for a reason. Let’s look at the text, and then spend a little time talking about it.

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. ~~1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (ESV)

Notice, to begin with, verse 3. The will of God, Paul says, is Continue reading

What I Don’t Mean, But What I Certainly Mean

Untitled-1

A few days ago, I enjoyed the opportunity to listen to Equipping Eve, Erin Benziger’s podcast for women. For quite a while, being on bedrest for my fractures minimized my access to my computer, and when I was able to use it, John was in the same room. Erin quite rightly requests that men not listen to her podcast because she teaches on it, so I won’t have it playing when John’s in the room.

I listened to the episode entitled Biblical Womanhood, knowing Erin’s aversion to typical women’s ministry. I wasn’t exactly sure how she would broach the topic, but I knew it would be interesting.

I wasn’t expecting it to challenge my current series on discerning God’s will!

Erin’s main thesis in the episode was that people typically present Biblical womanhood in terms of attitudes and behaviors we must adopt. We clutch our Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 checklists, resolved to make ourselves into model Biblical women. In so doing, however, we subtly bring ourselves back under law, presuming that our careful adherence to the apparent rules will make God love us.

As I listened to Erin, I wondered if my readers misunderstand my current series as saying that discernment Continue reading

Following Scripture Into Marriage

MistyWeddingJoyIn a few short weeks I would be traveling to Boston for my third visit with John. It would be a pivotal time in our relationship; either we’d become engaged or we’d part ways. As the day of the trip drew closer, I frantically sought to discern God’s will about the matter.

My pastor, ever the Charismatic, simply remarked, “It’s hardest to discern God’s voice about marriage because so many emotions are involved.” Sadly, he didn’t mean rightly interpreting Scripture; he meant receiving direct revelation from God.

Actually, single ladies, I beg you not to seek signs, words from God, visions or dreams when deciding whether or not to accept any marriage proposal you might receive. I agree with that pastor that Continue reading

Discernment: Knowing God’s Will

Untitled-1Other bloggers and social media mavens are currently (and finally) pointing out the problems of “discernment ministries” being hyper-vigilant in calling out orthodox Christians with whom they disagree on secondary matters. As tempting as it is to throw my hat into that ring, however, I believe it’s more edifying to continue my series on how discernment applies in everyday Christian life.

I know — I’d attract more readers by blogging about the first topic.  Too bad! Sometimes writing about the things that reflect God’s priorities takes precedence over building my readership. On the other hand, if everyone else is sounding the alarm, I don’t need to add my voice, now do I?

You’ll remember that back in December I began writing about using discernment according to Biblical prescriptions. Certainly, discernment includes distinguishing truth from error and occasionally calling out false teachers (I want to be clear that I support such uses of discernment when appropriate), but I believe we should recognize that discernment Continue reading

Sometimes The Answers Don’t Matter

Untitled-1The trials John and I have been going through since October seem relentless! And, although I understand God’s sovereignty, I find it difficult not to question Him about that the circumstances He’s ordained for us. I don’t like them and I want relief, so I’d prefer to know what He’s doing so I can learn my lesson and get on with life, thank you very much.

As you’d expect, my mind immediately goes to Job. Granted, my present first-world suffering is minuscule compared to his, but like him I find myself pretty much demanding that God explain Himself to me.

Then I remember God’s answer to Job.  In a nutshell, God declared Continue reading