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Mutuality

Late February 2008: “Someday you will write,” Mother said, “and your tears will be the ink you use.” A static cell phone connection, and 190 miles could not mask her deep emotions as she spoke to me. After hours of grief, my eyes were swollen. I was silent. She did not understand I was trying to breathe. “Honey, are you there?” 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
The phone rings twice before she answers, after reaching for it in her purse, “Hello?” She was on the bench behind me in a moderately packed van used as public transportation in Moldova. Inevitably, I became witness to a conversation that made my heart go out to this woman. And I wanted to scream, “Ditch that man and never look back!” Read more
Twenty-three years ago an economist from India, Amartya Sen, reported the largest human holocaust in all of history. His research showed that over 100 million females were missing! Though Sen was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, few were mobilized by the horror he had uncovered. Even the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalists Kristoff and WuDunn said that “when a prominent dissident was arrested in China, we would write a front-page article; when 100,000 girls were routinely kidnapped and trafficked into brothels, we didn’t even consider it news” (Kristoff and WuDunn, Half the Sky, xiv). How could the world be so disinterested in the sufferings of females? Read more
I first noticed it when I bought my Nook. Erotica. Everywhere. Written by and for women. So much for letting my kids peruse the free e-books section! It seems that e-readers opened up a whole new world to women, a world they were too ashamed to admit interest in with a bookseller judging their literary choices through chunky hipster glasses. What the internet did for pornography, the Kindle does for erotica, providing unrestricted access to titillating titles no one else has to know about. Read more
Recently, a fellow blogger wrote a great piece about the problems with modesty rules in Christian culture. She rightly pointed out how these rules unfairly shame women into particular behavior patterns, often resulting in lasting emotional and psychological damage. It was an honest, personal story of one woman’s struggle to reconcile her freedom in Christ with the rigid behavioral codes often handed down to women from the pulpit or from Christian culture in general.  Read more
Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see an online sermon excerpt from a well-known complementarian pastor, challenging his audience to stand up for victims of assault and abuse. It was a powerful message. The pastor read from one female congregant’s heartbreaking letter recounting her rape, her abusive marriage, and the destructive, victim-blaming “counseling” she received from her former church afterwards. He challenged his church to rise above this example. He called particularly on the men of his congregation to follow Paul’s example and “treat younger women as sisters” (1 Tim. 5:2), never exploiting or taking advantage of another person. As an egalitarian watching at home on my laptop, I wanted to clap. Sure, this pastor was a long way from espousing biblical equality, but it was still encouraging to hear this message from such a popular pulpit. What a relief to assault survivors in his church! Surely this message of love and support from such a prominent Christian would inspire his listeners to critically evaluate their assumptions on survivors and assault. Right? Read more
In the United States, the average age of entry into prostitution is between twelve and fourteen years old, and in some parts of the world, it can be as young as three to five years old.  Read more
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Susan was a sophomore at a small Christian college. Working on campus during summer break, she was walking to her dorm alone one evening when a man suddenly appeared on the path. “It’s not safe to be out here by yourself,” he told her in a kind voice. He said he was going her way and would accompany her back home to ensure she would be protected. When she reached her door, he pushed it and her inside. Read more

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Luke Reynold's A New Man: A book review

Kings of smut Larry Flynt and Joe Francis made a lot of Americans uncomfortable in January when they requested $5 billion of stimulus cash from Congress. It is unclear whether the request was earnest or a cynical joke, but most commentators in the media expressed disgust that Flynt and Francis wanted taxpayers' dollars to fund porn. What often went unsaid in these discussions was the awkward fact that taxpayers were pitching in plenty of their own cash for Flynt and Francis already. Government assistance wasn't needed to keep the porn industry afloat; we were taking care of that ourselves.

Book Review: Felicity Dale's The Black Swan Effect

The enduring sidelining of women exists in the contemporary church because so many are convinced that this is the way it is supposed to be—that it is a biblical mandate, a divine commitment to a patriarchal order. The notion of women leading, preaching, and planting churches is still unheard of in many corners of Christendom. The idea of Christian women fulfilling the mission of the gospel on their own without the permission or leadership of men seems about as likely as a flock of black swans flocking into a church yard.

Rachel Held Evans's "A Year of Biblical Womanhood": A Book Review

The topic of "biblical womanhood" is what we could deem a "hot button" topic in certain circles of Christian culture. While many books, conferences, speakers, and pastors have spent a great deal of time and energy encouraging Christian women to pursue "biblical womanhood," the concept itself has also generated a great debate and begs the question: What does the Bible really say about being a woman of faith?

Vulnerability Makes the Man: A Review of Man Enough: How Jesus Redefines Manhood by Nate Pyle

They say clothes make the man. Translation: appearance counts for a lot, even everything. When image is paramount, vulnerability becomes the enemy. It threatens to shatter that image, exposing the person underneath. Nobody says “vulnerability makes the man.” Until now.

Nate Pyle’s new book, Man Enough: How Jesus Redefines Manhood calls Christian men to disregard elusive cultural ideals of masculinity in favor of Jesus-like vulnerability, love, and relationship.

Book Review: Borderline by Stan Goff

Stan Goff’s Borderline: Reflections on War, Sex, and the Church offers a fresh, if controversial perspective on the relationship between the church, war, and patriarchy. Goff’s central argument is that war loving and women hating are ultimately two sides of the same coin, driven by the same fears that allow for the rationalization of conquest and colonization.

Book Review: Mentor for Life by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

In Mentor for Life, Natasha Sistrunk Robinson gives us a fresh challenge to develop committed followers of Jesus through mentoring. I found her model and exhortation fresh for its small group approach (in contrast to one-to-one) and for its balance between recommending structure or content and encouraging adaptability as mentors get to know their mentees. The book provides a solid framework rather than a prescriptive “ how-to” manual—or maybe it is inviting because the ample “ how-to” is situated among reminders that God’s gracious work is primary.

Jesus Feminist | Reviewed by Naomi Krueger

“Are you a feminist?” I ask him, purposely provoking a conversation.

“No.”

“Do you believe that women and men are equal in the sight of God and should be treated with mutual respect?”

“Of course! But I’m not a feminist.”

This is a conversation I’ve had many times with male friends and family members. Many times these people tend toward a complementarian perspective and the response is no surprise. Others really do subscribe to egalitarian theology and are simply opposed to using the term “feminist.”

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