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My world changed in 2008 when I listened to a Namibian woman speak about her experience of being raped three times as a teenager. I was aware that violence against women was an important issue, but it had not affected my heart. I felt God challenging me about what kind of world we had created—a world of broken relationships, in which many women suffer horrific violence and some men commit crimes against them with apparent impunity. Read more
Forgiveness is at the heart of the good news of the gospel, isn’t it? Last summer I took a Bible class called, “What’s Good About This News?” because I liked the positive emphasis. Our assignment during the two-week course was to prepare three messages on passages from the Gospels that expressed the good news of Jesus Christ. I chose to write about a passage on forgiveness. Then I got a call from my mother with news that devastated me. Read more
Going down the stairs on that last day, I intentionally kept my hand on the rail, trying to burn the memory of its feel in my mind. This would be the last time I would ever go down these stairs — the last time I would touch this railing. Beginning the weeks and days before, the weight of what I would be losing grew and I wanted to hold on to whatever memory I could. Read more
Imagine waking up one day without sensations in your body. You make a cup of hot tea and drink it without noticing the burning to your hands, mouth and throat. You sit through a long meeting forgetting to shift in your chair, because you cannot feel the loss of circulation in your legs or back. Dr. Paul Brand noted the devastation of patients living with leprosy, a crippling disease that robs the body of its capacity to feel pain and therefore protect itself. 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
Because attitudes and actions begin as an idea, Paul reminds us to “take every thought captive to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). What have been the attitudes and actions that have resulted from the church’s teachings on male-only authority? Few Christians today deny the equal value of females, yet when Scripture is used to justify the unilateral submission of females to males, it is hard to avoid the conclusion (conscious or unconscious) that females are less valuable and are even inferior to males. To require male authority throughout the whole of life not only devalues females, but it also places them in positions of dependence and vulnerability. To exclude women from positions of decision-making in their lives and in the lives of their children also places far too many at risk for abuse. For this reason, abuse is often an unavoidable issue in churches and Christian communities because biblical ideas regarding authority and gender have daily consequences.  Read more
Slavery. Domestic violence. Sexual harassment. Child-trafficking. Little words. Big sins. And especially cruel when they apply to you or your loved ones—a job denied, a frantic trip to the emergency room, a child lost forever. Our misuse of power and manipulation of others is one of the oldest patterns of human behavior on the planet. Read more
In the counseling room, I often hear women say, “I never saw it coming….” Or, “I saw the signs but didn’t act on them.” When it comes to spiritual abuse, what are warning signs we can look for? How do we recognize spiritual abuse, and what should we do about it? Consider these examples.  Read more
As I reflect on my call to ministry, my heart and mind take me back to the book of Exodus, when God calls Moses to deliver his people out of Egyptian slavery. I identify with the Exodus story because of the deep burden and calling that God has placed in my life to guide his people out of slavery and the trappings of this world’s philosophy into his guiding way of life that is grounded in God’s son, Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Read more
The struggle for power has always been part of the human story. Sometimes the quest of a person or group of people to dominate another is easy to see, such as in the rising and toppling of civilizations throughout history. But other times the struggle for power grows right under our noses, while we remain largely unaware of its serious consequences. Such is the case with misogyny, which is rapidly mutating and infecting society in the viral form of pornography. Pornography is growing more violent and abusive toward women. It is also becoming more culturally acceptable. And, alarmingly, most of us don’t even recognize how much it is seeping into our everyday lives.  Read more

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