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Book Review: The Christian Family in Changing Times

In the last three decades, Christians have endured intensive teaching about the family— marriage and parenting seminars, books and tapes, even radio broadcasts and Web sites. Yet the more resources thrown at families, the more the family has eroded.

“Perhaps it’s time to rethink the evangelical sound byte we call the Christian family,” says Robert M. Hicks in The Christian Family in Changing Times.

Book Review: No Place for Abuse

“When abuse strikes, there is no home.”

So say Catherine Clark Kroeger and Nancy Nason-Clark in their book, No Place for Abuse. This quote struck me, as I grew up in a fundamentalist church where mentioning some personal abuse brought blame to me and sympathy to my father. This book is refreshing in its directness as it addresses the ticklish issue of how churches have traditionally dealt with abuse.

Book Review: 10 Lies the Church Tells Women

In a conversational, no-nonsense approach to a controversial issue, 10 Lies the Church Tells Women discusses 10 traditional ideas many Christian churches have used to claim the Bible restrains women from leadership. J. Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma magazine, counters these unscriptural mind- sets with his message of freedom for women to be all that God is calling them to be.

The book looks carefully at biblical texts used to support traditional church teachings in ten major areas. Among the lies Grady challenges are:

Book Review: Domestic Violence: What Every Pastor Needs to Know

The only thing wrong with Domestic Violence: What Every Pastor Needs to Know is the title. This book contains information essential to every person, not just pastors.

Motivated by what he terms “the magnitude of pastoral neglect” of domestic violence, Rev. Miles has written a compelling and practical book, based on years of experience in hospitals and interviews with 158 clergy members, 52 survivors, 46 professionals working in the domestic violence field and 21 former batterers.

Book Review: Good News for Women

When I was asked to review Good News for Women, I groaned. Not another evangelical book going over the same few texts and putting forward the same old arguments. Having read most of the books written by evangelical egalitarians and hierarchalists in the last twenty years, I did not expect to be excited by this book.

Book Review: When Momma Speaks

“The purpose of the stories about biblical mothers falls on literary and socially deaf ears unless they mean something to twenty-first-century mothers,” Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder writes in chapter ten of her book, When Momma Speaks: The Bible and Motherhood from A Womanist Perspective. This is the essence of Crowder’s mission: to forge a story connection between biblical mothers of color and modern African American mothers.

Book Review: Grit and Grace: Heroic Women of the Bible

When I was a little girl, I loved acting out Bible stories with my mom, especially the one about Mary Magdalene meeting the Risen Lord. I would be Mary, kneeling in front of the old Franklin stove that passed for the garden tomb, my shoulders heaving with imagined sobs. My mother would be Jesus. We’d run through the dialogue, and when my mother said “Mary,” I’d gasp and throw my chubby arms around her legs. It was a fun way to pass a winter afternoon, but it also brought up questions I wouldn’t have thought of if I hadn’t immersed myself so fully in the story.

Book Review: Making Marriage Beautiful: Lifelong Love, Joy, and Intimacy Start with You

A few months ago, an acquaintance confided that her marriage is in trouble. She asked about egalitarian marriage resources, and I enthusiastically recommended Dorothy Greco’s new book, Making Marriage Beautiful.

The book’s eleven chapters survey a range of topics, from managing expectations to navigating in-laws, gender roles, communication, conflict, abuse, addiction, community (outside of marriage) and healthy response to external challenges and crises.

Book Reviews: Naked: Reclaiming Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

Naked is a marriage book thoroughly steeped in egalitarian theology and completely free from gender stereotypes and tired “male headship” language. Tim and Anne Evans bring decades of counseling and ministry experience to their work, and the result is an extremely helpful and approachable guide for married couples.

This book is presented in three parts, the first of which presents a healthy theology of sex and counsels the reader through deconstructing any unhealthy views of sex they may have learned throughout their life, whether from church, family, or culture.

Kristina LaCelle-Peterson's Liberating Tradition: A book review

Kristina LaCelle-Peterson writes a compelling outline of Christian feminism that serves as a valuable tool for the average evangelical seeking more refined and informed thinking about gender from a biblical perspective. The book's title hints at its ambitious purpose: to liberate evangelicals from cultural trappings that have misdirected our reading of Scripture, our family structures, and our models of church participation.

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Volume 10

Princess Kasune Zulu learned about a disease called AIDS in her early 20s in Zambia. Even though she was healthy and didn’t suspect she had it, she felt compelled to check her HIV status. Read more
The pace of CBE’s ministry is surging breathlessly. Organizations, churches and institutions ask us to hold booths, speak at events, and join their board of directors. We have more requests than we can possibly respond to. The deluge is both exciting and overwhelming. More importantly it represents a change. It suggests that the message of gift-based rather than gender-based ministry is in demand as never before. How did this happen? Read more
Acclaimed author Walter Wangerin Jr. discovered the power of story in a childhood Sunday School class. “I remember that a teacher of mine would tell a biblical story, and I literally just packed up my bags and moved into that story,” said Wangerin. “I was Zaccheus in the tree.” Read more
The Uptown neighborhood of Chicago is a crowded urban setting where the skies are smudged with pollution, and pavements have stifled out most greenery except weeds and a few stunted trees. Is this a place where the message of God’s care for humanity can be heard? 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
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
Even as a young teenager, Catherine of Siena refused to marry so that she could serve Christ,” I started to tell my young friend Betsy. “Catherine was so respected in the 14th- century church that she was able to instruct Pope Gregory about the problems of the church and charge him to return to Rome to deal with them.”  The stories I’d been reading about women in church history had gripped my heart, and I wanted to share them with someone. Betsy listened eagerly, her eyes growing big with wonder. “I didn’t know there were women like that in the church,” she said. “Why have we never heard about them?”  Why indeed? From the time of the early church, women have been actively serving Christ and holding respected positions of leadership, but church historians have virtually ignored them. Take a look at just a few key women across history. 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
Quick Bible quiz: Name one African person in the Bible. Did you mention Hagar, Simon of Cyrene or Apollos of Alexandria? What about the Ethiopian eunuch, or Queen Candace? If none of these characters came to mind, perhaps it’s due to a lack of understanding of the cultural and ethnic forces at work in the Bible. Understanding these forces can bring new light to familiar passages.  Read more

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