Upcoming Mutuality Themes | CBE International

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Upcoming Mutuality Themes

Issues of Mutuality are generally built around a theme. Below are the themes for 2018.

Note: the topic ideas below are ideas only. Feel free to submit articles or proposals on other topics related to the themes. We will also consider articles unrelated to the themes, and may ask to hold them for future issues.

If you have an article or proposal, but  deadline has passed, feel free to contact the editor using our contact form. We may still be able to use your article.

Spring 2018: This Is What a Preacher Looks Like

The Spring 2018 issue is no longer accepting submissions.

Summer 2018: Age of the Silence Breakers

  • Articles due: March 12, 2018
  • Publication date: June 5, 2018

The last couple years have seen a new level of cultural attention to sexual abuse and harassment. Though women have been speaking out for centuries, their voices have gained greater attention recently. But what about in the church? How can the church be part of the solution, not part of the problem?

Topic ideas (submissions are not limited to these topics):

  • Practically speaking, what does it take to move a culture (especially a Christian subculture) to move from a place of denial to taking an active role in preventing abuse?
  • What biblical examples of women “breaking silence” or opposing unjust treatment can inform us today? Can the examples of Vashti, Esther, Rizpah, Daughters of Zelophead, Hagar, and others tell us anything about prophetic resistance; subverting abusive people, laws, and practices; and breaking our silence?
  • Some people think that breaking the silence about abuse in the church undermines the church and the gospel. What support do we find in Scripture for speaking difficult truths about the church? What is a biblical response to survivors speaking out?
  • What steps can churches take to participate positively in the cultural reckoning around sexual abuse/harassment in all spheres? What steps can pastors take? Once the silence is broken, what’s the next step for the church?
  • How does the church prime men and women for abuse in it talks about gender, sex, sexuality, femininity, and masculinity? How can churches teach healthy, Bible-based sexual values without resorting to unhealthy messages? What kind of difference can egalitarian theology/practice make?
  • How should churches/church leaders navigate abuse in their congregations? What is a healthy response to the idea the typical emphasis on forgiveness for abusers being the “Christian thing to do”? What kind of care should be provided for females who experience abuse by family members or within the home?
  • What’s your personal experience with breaking your silence about abuse in the church? How have Christians responded? How has the church responded? How did that response impact you?
  • How does complementarian theology make it more difficult to break silence about abuse? How does complementarian theology encourage silence from women? What aspects of complementarian theology specifically undermine women’s testimony and agency?
  • How do Christians understand physical agency, consent, and body ownership? Is poor interpretation of passages like 1 Corinthians 7 one factor driving the church’s inadequate response to sexual abuse in marriage?
  • How can Christian parents and leaders talk to young people about consent in a Christian context? How can parents model consent in their marriages for their children? How can Christian parents invite their children to tell them if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe without fear of being dismissed?
  • How do we make sense of instances in the Bible when a woman was raped or abused and didn’t get justice? Does this mean that God ordained their abuse? Does God allow women to be raped/abused for his ultimate glory? If not, how should we understand violence against women in the Bible?
  • How is the “silence breaker” movement an expression of God’s restoration and justice? How is this movement an indication that God is reconciling all things for our good and bringing us back to shalom?

Autumn 2018: Boys Don’t Cry: A Crisis of Vulnerability

  • Articles due: June 11, 2018
  • Publication date: September 5, 2018

How does an egalitarian theology of mutuality cultivate healthier boys and men, and how does this contribute to a more Christ-like church and community? How does patriarchal theology in practice in the church isolate boys from vulnerable relationships, and how does this impact boys/men and girls/women?

Topic ideas (submissions are not limited to these topics):

  • Why does vulnerability matter for boys as they grow into men, and what does the Bible teach us about the relationship between vulnerability and masculinity?
  • How can Christian parents encourage their sons to express emotion/be vulnerable? What are good family practices for undermining the “boys don’t cry” myth?
  • How can the church encourage boys to be vulnerable? What changes need to be made in the messaging of small groups, youth groups, Sunday school, sermons, and other ministries surrounding what it means to be a man?
  • What are the long-term spiritual consequences of “boys don’t cry” for adult Christians? Do men have trouble being intimate with God because they don’t learn emotional vulnerability at a young/formative age? How does that negatively impact their faith life?
  • How does complementarian theology encourage men to suppress their emotions and place a heavy burden on men to have unending emotional strength/control? How does egalitarian theology/mutuality foster emotional intelligence in boys/men?
  • How do the examples of David, Jesus, and other men in the Bible as well as God’s own self-expression/description indicate a God who celebrates emotional vulnerability and deep feeling?
  • How does the “fight club Jesus” caricature that some churches square with Christian tradition and Jesus’ own vulnerability? How is it shaping (and hurting) young Christian men?
  • What cultural/social forces in the “boys don’t cry” narrative contradict the message of Scripture? (Compare and contrast structure: a. cultural message; b. what Scripture actually says/implies c. the message corrected)
  • Is the pressure to suppress emotion linked to violence against women or violence in general? If so, how, and what does that mean for organizations and activists that fight gender-based violence? Is cultivating male vulnerability at a young age (opposing “boys don’t cry”) an initiative that needs far more attention from gender equality activists?
  • How is emotional expression/vulnerability critical to sexual development? How does the over-simplified message (about masculinity and male sexuality) boys hear in church and in youth groups cause them to view themselves and women through a very narrow lens i.e. men are physical and sexual/women are emotional?
  • What happens in our brains and bodies when we cry/express sadness, grief, and pain? Why does that function exist and why is it so important for boys to do? What is lost when only girls learn to express sadness with tears/lament? What can science and psychology tell us about the impact of suppressing emotions on the male psyche?

Winter 2018: Gender and Church Planting

  • Articles due: September 10, 2018
  • Publication date: December 5, 2018

It sometimes seems like church planting is dominated by men with big personalities and authoritarian leadership styles. Is the stereotype true, and if so, why? What is the status of egalitarian church planting, and what can be done to ensure the success of egalitarian church plants and especially female church planters?

Topic ideas (submissions are not limited to these topics):

  • What is the status of egalitarian church planting, and why is it important that egalitarians plant churches?
  • Tell your story of being part of an egalitarian church, or of being a female church planter. What have been your challenges and successes?
  • How can an egalitarian planting a church ensure that the church is egalitarian in practice as well? What kind of practices and structures facilitate egalitarian leadership and community? What can people do to make it work—from denominations to pastors/leaders to congregants?
  • How can church planters make sure they’re planting a church that will be a safe and empowering place for women, from day one and ground-level?
  • How does race factor into church planting and female leadership especially where Westerners are planting churches in non-Western contexts? What can be done to improve the situation?
  • Women perform unpaid and unrecognized labor in many areas of life. How does the world of church planting mirror this oversight? Are women putting in the work to establish a plant only to go uncredited and unrecognized as a leader once the church takes off? Are there biblical examples that can shed further light on this, where women performed the labor and men got the credit? Where do we see God giving credit to women for their leadership in the church? Why should the church break from culture in expecting this unrecognized labor from women?

Is there a theme you’d like to see Mutuality address? We'd love to hear from you! Contact us through our contact form.