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Mutuality

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.

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.

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Volume 9

You look my way, but don’t see me. Looking through me, past me, I am not present in your eyes. I am not seen, I am not heard. Yet God says to me, “I love you, my child. You are my daughter, lovingly created in my image.” Read more
Christy Fleming’s friends at Wheaton College have noticed she is different. From Minnesota, 20- year-old Christy loves theater, traveling and singing — nothing unusual there — but then she mentions soccer. “I enjoy that it’s a physical sport,” Christy says, adding that it’s in the same insurance risk category as football. “You have to give it all you’ve got; you can’t hold back.” 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
Fly as you might, you have to land somewhere, sooner or later. Weeks became months as my wife, Trish, and I cruised the smorgasbord of Southern churches — the comfortable pews of conventional denominations; folk festivals spilling lots of latte-slurping Peter, Paul & Mary but rather less God; small, sad country independents whose land and members were dying in suburban sprawl; a church where we gritted our teeth as we passed the hyper-Christian greeters at the door, wondering what theology fuelled their hopped-up, wide-eyed grins. We moved on. Read more
Dr. Emily Obwaka, a graduate of the University of Nairobi, has worked in a variety of humanitarian and health service settings including with John Hopkins University. Recently, Obwaka has been set free to more fully follow her heartbeat of service to God and to the women of Africa. Read more
My Lebanese uncle appeared in our home for the first time when I was 9 years old. Dressed in a long robe, he held prayer beads and spoke Arabic with great animation. He was an avid collector of icons that revered our ancient Christian heritage. I was ashamed of his oddity. My father explained that we needed to love him, regardless of his clothes and mannerisms. With pride my father recalled how his brother spoke many languages, was highly educated and ran a successful international business. To my young mind, however, my uncle’s otherness seemed insurmountable. 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
Whether it’s a church with about 85 members, one with 850 members, or one with around 8,000 members, three gift-based churches, as described by their pastors, practice a model of church life that is not typical, regardless of size. These three pastors — Austin Stouffer, Jo Ann Kunz and John Ortberg — have steadily guided their members to use their spiritual gifts in an environment of gender equality. And each states that their giftbased church acquired its egalitarian stance from one fundamental: studying the Scriptures with other Christians. Read more
Many people who believe in biblical equality find themselves in churches that don’t share their beliefs. How does one decide whether to stay and work for change, or leave to find a church with a similar interpretation of Scripture? Read more
A church is like a group of cold porcupines, I once heard someone say: Each one needs the others’ heat to stay warm, but as they draw closer together, they run the risk of jabbing each other with their sharp quills. They are faced with a choice: freeze on their own, or forgive each other for the pokes? This seems like an apt comparison, as few of us have escaped church-related stings. Especially when many churches today limit ministry based on gender, it’s no wonder that so many people bear the scars. In the CBE office we often hear stories of the aches — stories that prompted us to devote this issue of Mutuality to the church. But with these stories we have also sensed a yearning for a church like the image given us in the Bible — where each member is a vital part of a well-functioning body. Read more

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