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As a couple, we have always valued equality, even if we haven’t always practiced it. It seemed to be not only an issue of basic fairness but also a practical way to share the joys and burdens of our life together. But implementing this ideal has been an incremental process. Like most newlyweds, we came to our marriage with great optimism, but also with ambivalent beliefs about roles. Our ideals of equality competed with traditional expectations of who would actually cook the meals, take out the garbage, change the oil, earn the money, and change the diapers. One of the first arenas where we faced this incongruity was meal preparation. It seemed easy at first. We have always loved to do things together, so as newlyweds we planned meals, shopped, cooked and washed dishes jointly. We enjoyed experimenting with new recipes and re-creating old family favorites. Read more
Political polls unnerve me. The questions are carefully phrased such that one’s answer must support the perspective of the pollster (not unlike the classic question, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”). When those who provide the answers also pose the questions, the debate easily veers off into conceptual territory that is favorable to those who are framing it. We need to keep an eye out for questions that serve more as assertions than genuine queries. Read more
In the last issue of Mutuality we asked a critical question—why does it take so long for certain truths to become part of everyday life? For example, the Royal Navy knew for decades that drinking citrus juice would eliminate scurvy, saving the lives of thousands—yet no one adopted the behavior. Even after watching sailors recover within hours of consuming citrus products, few changed their behavior. Why is this? Read more
When we were first married, we both sensed a call to full-time ministry, and this calling did not disappear when we had our child. We wrestled with questions like “How does a called couple organize its life to fulfill both callings to minister without costing it its family?” and “How exactly does such a couple balance familial and professional responsibilities?” For some Christians, the answer is that God always calls only the husband to work; wives are to be homemakers and stay-at-home mothers. For egalitarians attempting to pursue God’s call on both spouses’ lives with equal diligence, the solutions may not be so simple. Read more
Someone once said, “Life is what happens after someone makes plans for their life.” Proverbs says it more succinctly, “In their hearts, human beings plan their course, but the Lord determines their steps.” (Prov. 16:9, TNIV) Interestingly, what individual Christians plan and how the Lord directs them are not necessarily the same. Read more
Imagine a medium-sized room filled with high school boys and girls. You sit with your friends laughing and joking, discussing the week while the band sets up their equipment. Welcome to high school youth group. Tonight’s message: modesty. The boys are escorted off to another room for this conversation—modesty is an issue for women. This captive audience of young women listens as their youth pastor outlines why and how a girl should be modest. Read more
Anna and I met when we were students at Beeson Divinity School. From almost our first meeting I was drawn to her sharp mind, her sensitivity, her sense of humor, and, I might add, her striking beauty. Both of us were, at that time, considering careers in the academy. Anna had served two churches, one mainline and one evangelical, as a lay youth minister before seminary. She had altered her vocational path, however, largely owing to the influence of the conservative Presbyterian denomination of which we were a part. She now had set her sights on a doctorate and the academy—a place she rightly identified as more congenial to women. We were both evangelical, both soft patriarchs, and both interested in the life of the mind. It was a match made in heaven. Read more
When Bob Dylan sang “the times they are a-changin’,” he wasn’t kidding. Recently I glanced over at my seventeen-year-old son doing his homework. While he was online doing research for a paper, he was also instant messaging four of his friends-all of this while listening to his iPod and typing words into his research paper. He explained to me that he’s able to work better when he has a lot of stuff going on. It helps his concentration. What a contrast from the time I got irritated at the librarian at the University of Northern Iowa for whispering too loudly while I worked on a research paper. The times they are a-changin’. Read more
Imagine yourself a teenage girl, strolling through your local Christian book store, when a small book that sounds too good to be true catches your eye. Someone actually wrote a book that claims to expose the workings of teenage guys? “It’s the inside scoop you’ve been waiting for! You’ll come to not only understand him, but also know what he might really be thinking about you,” the back cover reads.  Read more

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