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InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s student mission convention, Urbana, has been held every three years since 1946. However, the most recent December convention made 2003 a milestone year. This year’s delegation of InterVarsity students was the most ethnically diverse in the history of the convention. About 39 percent of the 19,000 students who attended the convention were of non-white descent, with Asian/Pacific heritage students comprising 30 percent of the delegation. Read more
When we talk about mutual submission, unconditional love or service through giftedness rather than gender, we are often conscious of the tension between these biblical ideals and the realities of a Church that is still “under construction.” While we pray for and envision a Church in which all Christians may serve through giftedness rather than gender, class or race, we are often sideswiped by the tenacious presence of sin that weakens our witness and drains our effectiveness. At times we are, as Soren Kierkegard suggests, “a glorious ruin.” We seem caught between what theologians call the “already and the not yet.” Church reformers such as Sojourner Truth, Frances Willard and William Wilberforce experienced this tension deeply as they pressed into God’s Spirit to build a society few had dreamed possible — a world without slavery. Read more
Sister Peng pays a high price to be a Christian in China. She has been arrested many times, and she will go to jail again if the police catch her preaching the gospel. Forced to live as a fugitive, she must sneak into her home at night to visit her husband and young daughter. The first time Peng was taken into custody, just after the Tienanmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989, she was delivering a fresh shipment of Chinese Bibles to some unregistered pastors. She was thrown into a dirty detention cell and tortured with an electric cattle prod in an effort to force a confession of her “crimes.” She shivered in that cell for months. Guards offered no coats, blankets or feminine hygiene supplies. “For eight months I had no contact with anyone. I just ate soup in my cell,” Peng told me when I visited China three years ago. “It is really God’s mercy that he fed me and kept me warm.”  Read more
C.S. Lewis said that we are more easily beguiled and led astray by statements that are mostly, but not entirely, true. An inaccuracy is made more potent by being comprised largely of truth. This is often the case when it comes to popular Christian literature on what it means to be male or female. For example, one prominent evangelical leader says that the essence of femininity is submission to God. This sounds right, doesn’t it? As devoted Christian women, we long to please God and so we strive to be submissive. Yet, Jesus was totally submissive to God. Does that make Jesus feminine? Aren’t men supposed to be submissive to God too? Perhaps we are misguided because such comments are partially true. Read more
As the Mutuality editor, I pride myself on keeping the publication organized by planning ahead. Each issue follows a series of deadlines — dates when articles are due, editing is completed and the issue is published. This planning also applies to the themes addressed in each issue, as these are determined about a year in advance. Except this time. Read more
Apparently, some believe that I am a treacherous person. Some claim that I have undermined the authority of Scripture by giving in to the pressures of modern culture. Some fear I have taken a “dangerous first step” and started down the “slippery slope” of liberalism and am willing to take others along with me. I am an egalitarian. Read more
You’re not pretty enough. I’ve heard that voice in my head ever since I was a little girl. It didn’t matter if I got straight A’s, if my poem won a contest in school, if I succeeded in a spelling bee. As I grew older, the voice became more shrill when I realized that, according to culture, beauty was destined to define my relationships, as well as my inherent worth. It became easy to attribute both my failures and successes to my physical appearance. After all, the ability to be desired, respected, and included all seemed to hinge on beauty. Everything else that I planned for my life would naturally follow and fall into place, as long as I was beautiful enough. 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
If you’re looking for a powerful film to watch this summer, consider Iron Jawed Angels, a dramatization of the American suffragist Alice Paul (1885–1977). Her legacy is one-of-a-kind, and few leaders exhibit more genius in responding to the rhetoric and strategies of their opponents. For egalitarians today, her struggles and ours have significant parallels. We learn much from observing the masterful way Paul challenged the illogic that portrayed women as wholly different from men and unfit for decision making responsibilities. Read more
My Southern Baptist parents taught me to open doors for women. But in the polite culture in which I grew up, I didn’t see too many pastors practicing that habit. Sure, they allowed women to teach children’s classes, take care of babies, have prayer meetings and cook fellowship meals. But women weren’t allowed near a pulpit unless they were singing a solo. Read more

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