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While this may not be at all surprising to the CBE community, I loved discussing the question of women in leadership with my friends in college. We would stay up too late, sitting in the halls of our dorm, whispering reflections and arguments for our particular position on the matter while trying not to disturb our sleeping (and clearly far more responsible) roommates. The most frequent response I would hear during these sessions was, “Well, I think that God is probably okay with women in ministry, but I’m just not comfortable with it.” For many of my friends, this wasn’t a question if the Holy Spirit gifts women for leadership—it was simply a question if we could step outside of our comfort zone to recognize and utilize those women. Read more
In a startling study, researcher Ryan Burns found a direct correlation between men’s porn use and their beliefs in traditional roles for women. As the amount of pornography a man views increases, so does the likelihood that he will “describe women in sexualized and stereotypically feminine terms; approve of women in ‘traditionally female’ occupations; and value women who are more submissive and subordinate to men” (Ryan Burns, 2002, as cited on Read more
“But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean” (Acts 10:28b). In Acts 10 we find the incredible story of how God intervened in the life of Peter and that of a devout Gentile believer, Cornelius. An angel appeared to Cornelius, telling him to invite Peter into his home. When Cornelius’ messengers were sent out, Peter himself had a vision.  Read more
I met an extraordinary teenager who had come to faith in a small town in Latvia. He was passionate about Jesus and wanted to live his life fully for Christ. When I asked how he wished to serve Christ, he made a comment that continues to inspire me. He said, “I want to give words their true meaning.” As a gifted linguist, this young man recognized that words should always be used to clarify truth, rather than to obscure it. This is especially true when discussing the important questions concerning faith, gender, and authority. Consider the following example. Read more
I sat in a worn, squeaky auditorium chair at my elementary school, feeling goose bumps as I was suddenly consumed by a vision of my future. I was in fourth grade, and I had just witnessed my music teacher demonstrate every instrument in the string family. Each instrument was impressive, but none of them compared to the cello. Later that night, still caught up in my new dream career of “world-famous cellist,” I announced my plans to start cello lessons to my parents at the dinner table. Read more
In college, I first learned the difference between peacemaking and (what I thought was) peacekeeping. I read Michael Emerson and Christian Smith’s Divided by Faith, which highlights racial inequality and segregation in American churches. While it was easier to ignore the facts in front of me, the answer was simple: I knew racism and division in our churches should no longer be allowed to continue on, unrecognized and unnamed for what it truly was. And while earlier on in my faith walk I might have preferred to “keep the peace,” or “avoid stirring up trouble,” I finally understood then that what we were “keeping” was not the “peace” that God intended for us.  Read more
Some of the most popular Christian books right now seem to equate being a faithful Christian with being a certain kind of man or a certain kind of woman.  Through countless sermons, TV and radio programs, devotionals, articles, best-sellers, podcasts, and blog posts, evangelical Christians are being told that the Bible requires them to conform to gender roles of male headship and female subordination. Many evangelicals have heard this teaching so many times and in so many ways, they’re shocked to learn that the words “role,” “headship,” and “subordination” do not even occur in the Bible. Is there any biblical basis for making gender roles a key component in Christian discipleship?   Read more
What does the word “advocate” mean to you? No one wants to be thought of as apathetic, but is advocacy the best alternative? Before exploring the examples of advocacy in this issue of Mutuality, I would like to take a look at some common misconceptions about what it means to be an advocate. Read more
My friends Paula and Eric welcomed their first baby just three weeks ago. Visiting them a few days after they returned from the hospital, I held baby Avery tightly and stared at his tiny face and unusually thick white blond hair—for only ten minutes before I was overcome with anxiety that I would drop him. Struck by the enormous responsibility that my friends now face, I gratefully (and gently) transferred Avery back into his parents' arms.  Even with nine months to prepare for their new son, in an instant, Eric and Paula’s lives were dramatically and irrevocably changed. All of my friends who have welcomed babies into their lives have embraced the responsibility with joy and patience. Observing them adjust to diaper changes, middle-of the-night feedings, and crying fits has been a lesson to me about trusting God, and having grace for one another and ourselves as we navigate new challenges. Read more
Lot’s wife. Let’s be honest: the story seems pretty bizarre to us. And sad. Two angels tell Lot and his family that their city is doomed. Because they are the only righteous people around, Lot and his family will be spared. “Flee, and do not look back,” the angels say, but Lot’s wife turns around to look at her burning city and is transformed into a pillar of salt (see Gen. 19:1-29). I used to read that passage and, with a bit of discomfort, quickly turn to another chapter in the Bible that was easier to grasp.  Read more