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Mutuality

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 7

Like most of the other kids that grew up in Good News Baptist Church, my testimony begins with the day I asked Jesus into my heart as a 5-year-old girl in Vacation Bible School. But 20 years later, as I prepared my statement of faith for my application to seminary, I realized something about my testimony that I had never noticed before. As I bowed my head to pray, I remember feeling disappointed that the pastor’s wife was praying with me instead of the pastor. Although she was a godly woman, I thought that somehow if he led me in prayer it would count more than his wife’s prayers. I wished that I could sneak away and join the children who got to pray with the pastor. Read more
“I felt angry as I observed a woman dressed in a robe seated where our pastor normally sits. Was she actually going to preach from behind the pulpit? Women never addressed women and men in our church, let alone clothed as a pastor and from behind the pulpit. “Listening attentively, I waited for her to utter something heretical to confirm my feelings that God had not called women to preach or teach adults. Even though it was surprising to hear a female voice, I had to admit that I really couldn’t find anything wrong with what she said. Her message was definitely biblical, and she was excellent! The more I thought about it, the more it made sense that women could talk about Jesus too. After this I began to seriously study the Scriptures, and I found that the Bible doesn’t condemn women in ministry; it actually supports them! I continue to ponder my prejudice.” Read more
A product of middle-class suburbia in the 50s and 60s, I was raised in a world well defined by gender-based stereotypes. A woman’s place was in the home and a real man wouldn’t be caught dead doing “women’s work,” which was less important and less valuable than real work you got paid for. In athletics, I learned not to run or throw like a girl, and when hurt, not to cry like a girl. At home, at school, and at play, I learned boys did things better than girls and men were superior to women. Read more
“Lord, help me to know where you have gifted and motivated me to serve, so that I might be more fully used by you.” This had become my heart’s cry, yet as I began to sense the direction of the Lord in my life like never before, the doors of the church seemed to close. The words were different each time but the message was always the same: “There’s no place for you ... woman.” Women. The very word has become a dirty word in society: drugs, sex, parties, rock’n’roll, women. While my husband and I served as missionaries in Brazil, my heart wrenched in agony at the pornography so openly displayed on all the street corners of our city. The pictures were always of women, distorted and disfigured. For the first time in my life I became indoctrinated to the fact that womanhood carries an inherent sense of shame in our world. Something about it hurt me to the very core of my being. Those women in the pictures seemed so different from who I am, but they were, after all, women, just like me. Read more
A wise man once told me, “Chose carefully which hills you are willing to die on.” When I first heard that statement, I was not sure what it meant, but as years have passed, I now know well what that man intended to tell me. My story began as a 9-year-old girl growing up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One day after school I was standing on top of the jungle gym at the school playground down the street from my house. (I always stood on the top because I thought I was closer to God there.) I was the only person there, and as I looked up at the sky, I sensed a deep longing from within me to be used in some way — in whatever way God wanted — to change people’s lives. I believe God heard the prayer that came from a small girl’s heart, and years later, when I was home for a weekend away from college, I returned to that playground. At that time, I began to feel God’s pull on my life to begin work in ministry. Read more
Imagine my surprise after becoming a Christian to learn that God does not consider women to be equal with men! I grew up in a non-Christian home. My mother and father were divorced when I was a year old. Mom remarried when I was three years old, and subsequently had four more children by my alcoholic stepfather. I didn’t realize until much later in life that my mother was also an alcoholic. To briefly describe my world as a child, I would tell you that I was hurt deeply by rejection, emotional abuse and favoritism. In stark contrast to my early world, becoming a Christian in my early 20s set me free! I will never forget the overwhelming joy when I learned that God loved me unconditionally, that I was his special child, and that he had a plan for my life. I had a hunger and thirst for the Word, and I dug in. Read more
"For the husband is the head of the wife, is that not what the Bible says?" my friend asked in all earnestness. "No," I replied, "that is not what the Bible says. Paul says that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. How is Christ the head of the church?" "I guess," he responded, "he is the Holy Spirit." On the way home from church, my preoccupation with our conversation puzzled me. Why is it, I thought, that someone like my friend had spent so much time serving as pastor and yet had not grasped this basic truth of which Paul spoke? A lifetime of sermons and I had rarely, if ever, heard about how Christ is the head of the church. The essential exposition is not the husband as head of the wife. The critical question is, "How is Christ the head of the church?" Read more
When I was growing up in small towns in East Texas, I heard many a minister refer to some older man as his “father in the ministry.” It was only as I neared my own retirement that I realized that I had been blessed by having a “mother in the ministry.” If you can have a father, you can certainly have a mother! Read more
It was all I could do to keep from applauding as I sat in church last week listening to the pastor speak about submission: a characteristic of Christian life. My many amens were mostly “heard” by those who lip-read, though a few were audible enough to reach those sitting nearby. I was visiting this church for the first time, and did not want to disrupt what I perceived to be their decorum during the sermon. When I mentioned this to the pastor afterwards, he smiled and said, “We could have handled the clapping and amens!” Read more
I was standing on the edge of a Hawaiian country road with the proverbial thumb stuck in the air signaling my need of a ride. Several months before, I had met the Lord. What I discovered was that not everything spiritual was of God. There is an evil element in the world that masquerades as good. I only wanted to know the truth. With my bold young faith in God’s goodness and ability, I told God I wanted to know what was of God and what was of Satan. So, I stuck my thumb out and told God to take me where I could learn this truth. I knew he could do it. After all, he is God. Read more

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