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After September 11, 2001, the news was bursting with reports of women in Afghanistan, who were required to follow a restrictive dress code, banned from working outside the home, and denied access to medical treatment and education. Read more
This has been a painful issue of Mutuality. We have known that biblical equality isn’t just a crucial topic for the United States — but it’s also sorely needed around the world. We had a vision of exploring this concept, as well as honoring the dedication of those who work to communicate the message of equality internationally, often with additional cultural, political or religious challenges. Read more
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. Read more
Their stories are strikingly similar. I was lying in bed one night reading Hillary McFarland’s Quivering Daughters, which artfully weaves together the stories of several women caught in a patriarchal branch of Christianity known as the Quiverfull movement. Even though it was very late at night, I couldn’t put the book down. I ached for these women. Under their patriarchal system, they could never be selfless enough, they could never submit enough, they could never be good enough. Abuse, shame, devastating guilt, and suicidal thoughts marked many of their experiences, some on a daily basis.  Read more
“Why do you care so much about the women’s issue in the church?” The question came from a friend, as I was trying to express why a sermon on gender roles in marriage had deeply upset me. It wasn’t an accusatory or dismissive question; it was a curious one. But I knew that, as a pastor, my friend was weary of debates in the church, and that he was tired of self-righteous Christians arguing with one another over matters both small and significant. I had been busy highlighting to him all of the errors I saw in the sermon’s logic, so I paused before I answered his question, examining my motives.  Read more
Welcome to the “Creative Writing” issue of Mutuality! This is a new adventure for us, as we have never before published an issue entirely filled with creative writing. Much prayer has gone into this issue—which has been in the works for nearly three years—and we hope that you find it to be refreshing, encouraging, and challenging. Read more
In the upcoming film Courageous (by the makers of Fireproof), four men make a commitment to love, protect, serve, and teach their wives and children, as “the spiritual leader” of their homes. “The Bible actually has a lot to say about fatherhood,” the main character asserts. The conclusions he reaches throughout his study of Scripture prompt him to write a resolution for fathers, which the men in the movie each sign, affirm publicly in a formal ceremony, and display proudly in their homes. Read more
Several years ago, I was speaking with undergraduates at a well known Christian college. As we discussed the biblical material related to gender equality and service, a male student raised his hand and said, “Look, I have no aspirations of becoming a preacher. I know I will never be like Billy Graham. But that does not bother me. I don’t see why women should be upset either.” With eyes flashing and cheeks flushed a woman in the class immediately responded with, “Limiting service because of gender does not impact your life. But imagine how I and other women might feel!”   Read more
I will admit that I love New Year’s resolutions. I love to imagine new adventures and projects. And I love to set goals, taking care to write them each down and share them with friends and family (which, my psychology professors in college assured me, make us much more likely to successfully complete them). Just a few days ago, I was catching up with an old friend and happily comparing our “2011 lists.” He is going to learn a new language; I’m going to run a half-marathon. And our lists went on and on.  Read more
Kimberly’s story left me speechless. She had believed that, as a Christian woman, she was to play a secondary role in ministry and in her marriage. “I was determined to be the kind of Christian wife God would be proud of. Yet nothing worked like it should have. I did all the submitting I could think of and more, but I could not do a thing about the abuse,” she wrote. After enduring terrible emotional and physical abuse from her husband and feeling certain that she was worthless to God and everyone else, Kimberly found herself at a breaking point. Then, in a seemingly meaningless chore—taking out the garbage — she discovered a book that would change her life: Gilbert Bilezikian’s Beyond Sex Roles. Kimberly had believed she was garbage, and yet, in the dumpster, she found a book that told her otherwise. Read more

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