A church is like a group of cold porcupines, I once heard someone say: Each one needs the others’ heat to stay warm, but as they draw closer together, they run the risk of jabbing each other with their sharp quills. They are faced with a choice: freeze on their own, or forgive each other for the pokes? This seems like an apt comparison, as few of us have escaped church-related stings. Especially when many churches today limit ministry based on gender, it’s no wonder that so many people bear the scars. In the CBE office we often hear stories of the aches — stories that prompted us to devote this issue of Mutuality to the church. But with these stories we have also sensed a yearning for a church like the image given us in the Bible — where each member is a vital part of a well-functioning body.
At CBE we haven’t given up on this image. Our envisioned future is one where “all believers will exercise their gifts for God’s glory, with the full support of the Christian community.” We’ve seen glimpses of this vision in churches that encourage all members to use their God-given gifts, like three that are featured in this issue. In “Crafting a Church Without Walls,” three pastors share how their churches came to understand biblical equality, offering insights for others on similar journeys.
But what if your church doesn’t believe in biblical equality, and it doesn’t look like it will change? In “Should I Stay or Should I Go?,” two women responded to that question in different ways, but their choices both led to fulfillment. For a unique take on this question, don’t miss Bradley Harris’ article about why he emphatically chose to stay at his fundamentalist church.
When members of our staff traveled to an alternative rock festival this summer to represent CBE at a booth, we had no idea that sharing a farm with over 20,000 people would be such a powerful experience. Julia Bloom recounts what it was like, who was there and what we accomplished at the Cornerstone Festival, and Mimi Haddad shares what tattoos and purple hair taught us about the church.
We also hope you enjoy the “new look” of Mutuality. We’re thankful for our friends in the publishing industry, who offered critiques of the publication in order to help us achieve new levels of professionalism and readability. Please feel free to let us know what you think!