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Mutuality

Book Review: Forgotten Girls: Stories of Hope and Courage

A Tibetan girl named Sonam used to spend her days collecting dung for fuel and desperately trying to patch the worn sides of the tent she shared with her mother. That is, until something as simple as a basic cinder-block house freed her family from the elements and allowed her to attend school. Then there's Meerim, an accomplished young Kyrgyz woman who was kidnapped and forced to reject her Christian faith for an unwanted Muslim marriage. And Mai Lin, a Chinese AIDS orphan. After years of rejection by her community, she was educated and cared for at a Christian school.

Book Review: Singles and the Church: A Match Made in Heaven?

At my former church, I offered a suggestion to the pastor. I told him that his morning sermon had been geared toward the married members of the congregation, but did not have application for singles. I suggested that he try to include messages relevant for single churchgoers as well. He looked at me and straightforwardly replied, "I don't know how to include singles because I am married."

Book Review: What Science Says About Superiority: Shattering the Myth of Race

Shattering the Myth of Race by Dave Unander is a thoughtful discussion of the conflict of race and ethnicity against the backdrop of the history of Western Europe and the United States.

Unander speaks of many people's lack of family roots in his Chicago neighborhood in the 1920s and 1930s to suggest that people can lose a sense of racial or cultural identity. In his multiethnic neighborhood, what people were like had more bearing on what he thought of them than their racial or ethnic background.

Book Review: Unmarried But Not Unimportant: Single Women: Challenge to the Church?

Intended for single women and the churches they attend, Single Women: Challenge to the Church? tackles the unique challenges faced by single, Christian women through the eyes of nearly 100 women who were surveyed and interviewed for the project.

The book also addresses the church's response to these challenges and provides practical suggestions for the church on how to serve its single members. This work is an encouragement for single women because it views singleness as a gift that holds a distinct purpose for a woman's service to God.

Margot Starbuck's Unsqueezed: Springing Free from Skinny Jeans, Nose Jobs, Highlights, and Stilettos: A book review

I will be honest about this. Margot Starbuck's Unsqueezed: Springing Free from Skinny Jeans, Nose Jobs, Highlights and Stilettos (InterVarsity Press, 2010) is not a book I would typically pick up, let alone excitedly read. With its giant, bright red, high heeled shoe on the cover, and a different pair of shoes gracing the first page of each chapter, I worried that it would be a "fluffy" message about how all women are beautiful—a Christian "chick lit" book that would provide milk when I was longing for meat, to use the metaphor of Hebrews 5.

The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James: A book review

James begins by giving her readers an in-depth look at what it means to be a widow and a barren woman in Old Testament times, a heart-wrenching reality for both Naomi and Ruth. Her treatment on barrenness is particularly full of insight as she describes how God uses pain to engage his people on a deeper level, while also making it clear that the pain of loss can never be glossed over. She writes, "Even when we can pinpoint 'something good' that came out of tragedy, it never balances out what we have lost . . .

Susan McLeod-Harrison's Saving Women from the Church: A Book Review

I had just finished teaching an adult Sunday School class on spiritual gifts when a friend ran up to me and asked, "Did you hear what pastor said today in his sermon—that women can't teach men—and he used you as an example?" In processing my pain and confusion from that day, I found resources from Christians for Biblical Equality that helped me heal, and led me to Jesus. Now, there's a new publication that offers similar hope and healing for women: Susan McLeod­Harrison's Saving Women from the Church—How Jesus Mends a Divide.

Book Review: Jo Anne Lyon's The Ultimate Blessing

JoAnne Lyon feels the way all of us do sometimes—depressed, bitter, lonely, helpless. But she also remembers what we often forget—that through the pain and frustration of human existence, we are blessed by a transcendent God who loves us and promises to be with us always.

Book Review: Crossing the Divide: Daughters of Islam

Daughters of Islam: Building Bridges with Muslim Women is a wonderfully relevant book for Christians who have little knowledge of Islam or the people who subscribe to it. This book helps readers peer into the hearts of Muslim women, to perceive what they feel and think, and to understand how they live.

Book Review: Kate Hurley's Getting Naked Later

Are you still looking for a way to use those two-for-one coupons you long to share with a spouse? Or, are you constantly giving your single friends advice on how to snag a mate? There's something for you in Getting Naked Later, by Kate Hurley. Don't be put off by the title—she never gets into specifics.

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Volume 23

My marriage was killing me. Either my marriage needed to end or my belief in this “all-loving God” who had “allowed” my husband to abuse me had to end. Thanks to the “godly” Christian counsel I received, I attempted to submit to emotional abuse in order to be faithful to God and to my marriage. But this was a far cry from what marriage was meant to be. My marriage could not be approved by a loving God. Submission to an abusive man results only in destruction and death. Read more
There has been much hand-wringing in the African American community over the steep decline in the number of black couples marrying. From 1860 to 1960, black people thirty-five and older were more likely to marry than white people in the same age bracket. These numbers began to flip in the 1970s—white couples were more likely to marry than black couples. The continuing rise in the number of black people who have never married has led to efforts by both the black church and governmental and non-profit agencies to reverse this trend. Read more
In the stillness of rural Kenya, I received a priceless gift—hours of absolute silence to read Scripture, observing Christ’s pursuit of outsiders. From Samaria to Syrophoenicia and into the lives of outcasts and untouchables, I began to notice how confusing and challenging these encounters were for the disciples. As Jesus disclosed his identity, and as outsiders responded in faith, the disciples struggled to welcome, as colleagues and kin, people very unlike themselves. And, they did not suffer silently the challenge to their assumptions and privilege. Read more
Tim Krueger
A professor of mine once remarked that the task of a history student was two-fold. First, unlearn the “history” you were taught as a child—the oversimplified, misleading, or plain false stories that paint history as simple and clear. Next, embark on the humbling but rewarding task of relearning a richer history—one of messy motives, nuanced accuracy, and unfiltered humanity. Read more
We are shaped by our stories. In fact, our stories, once in place, determine much of our behavior without regard to their accuracy or helpfulness. Once these stories are stored in our minds, they stay there largely unchallenged until we die. And here is the main point: these narratives are running (and often ruining) our lives. That is why it is crucial to get the right narratives. Read more
When I first met Melinda, my senior pastor and soon-to-be mentor, I sat in the congregation staring at her. I took in her block-colored suits, her no-nonsense pumps, and the platinum blonde hair that she curled around her ear as she preached. I listened to her talk about the strategy for our church and her vision to influence one million people for Jesus in her lifetime. I watched her speak authoritatively to all our leaders and boldly challenge our attitudes in her sermons. Read more
Tim Krueger
I was a heartbroken twenty-one-year-old. My relationship with my girlfriend was falling apart, and I was desperate to figure out what had gone wrong and how to make it better. Deliverance came in the form of a popular Christian relationship book. It taught me the principle that many evangelicals know so well: “women need love, men need respect.” Suddenly it all made sense. I could hardly contain my excitement when I shared this good news with my soon-to-be-former girlfriend. Read more
Who would think we would find important truths about marriage from the ancient agricultural implements found along the highways and byways of South India? Read more
The bloody tale of Jezebel’s daughter Athaliah’s rise to power has been used as a model to speak out against female leadership. Time and time again I have heard theologians, bloggers, preachers, and teachers refer to Athaliah’s attempt to assassinate her grandchildren to remain in power as clear evidence that women should not be leaders. Athaliah, they assert, is a typical picture of a woman in leadership: power hungry, blood thirsty, and downright unqualified for any leadership position. Read more
I hear You cry, "I thirst," / and I cry tears I would gladly share / with Your cracked lips. / It is drier than any desert / to hear my Wellspring say, "I thirst." Read more

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