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Editor’s Note: Mary Katherine Campbell, a 60-year-old veteran missionary to Togo, West Africa, and a cancer survivor, returned to her field of service on Sept. 3, using her savings and contributions from friends. Campbell was one of the missionaries terminated by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board for not signing the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. She wrote this letter to family and friends explaining her situation. I was among the nearly 100 foreign missionaries who could not in good conscience sign the oath of affirmation of the revised 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. Many of my colleagues in our worldwide missionary force of 5,000-plus were able to sign it; some gladly, some reluctantly. Among those of us unable to sign, most either resigned or took early retirement, but 13 held out until “termination” was voted on May 7, 2003, by the board of trustees. Why couldn’t I sign the document? For 18 months, my mind and heart churned with the doctrinal changes made to the statement and the motivation behind the request to affirm it. I listened to colleagues as we debated it and the so-called “statement of accountability,” and read everything I could about the arguments, pro and con. I prayed, read scripture and sought God’s will for my own life. I reviewed the changes made in my beloved Southern Baptist Convention during the last 20-plus years, and I deeply resented the more recent accusations of heresy against the missionaries made by some of the current Southern Baptist leaders. I listened to respected colleagues say, “Just sign the piece of paper and go on with your work.” But I couldn’t honestly do that. Read more
Over the years, one of the themes I have heard regarding marriage is the need for the husband to love his wife and for the wife to respect her husband (Eph. 5:33). It is an excellent theme, especially regarding husbands loving as Christ loved the church. Another theme that I think is excellent is that the husband needs to respect his wife. Unfortunately, I have not heard much along these lines. There may be various reasons for this, but I wonder if the net effect is rather like short-sheeting a bed: it’s still a made bed but the sheets just don’t fit the way they should. When I have heard discussion about love and respect it is often applied as gender specific: a woman needs love, a man needs respect. But it isn’t that cut and dry. Men need to be loved as well, and women need to be respected, too.  Read more
How do we forward the cause of biblical equality? The same way wise people forward any other cause: Understand to whom you are speaking and/or writing. What are their interests? What do they feel strongly about? What do they understand about their own position or yours? Read more
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
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
A college student shared a story about his family opening gifts at Christmas in his living room. His father walked over to his mother and presented her with a large, heavy package. The student remembers the excitement on his mother’s face as she unwrapped the present. Just as quickly, her expression changed to dismay as she slowly lifted the cold, steel shotgun from the box. The young man’s own spirits fell as he realized what his father had done; the gun was something he, not his wife, had always wanted. 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
In the Christian single world, many people equate purity with sex—or lack thereof! But just as our sexuality is more than intercourse, purity is far more than sex. Purity stems from the heart. It is a way of being, seeing, speaking, and living. It is a gift of grace from God. Read more

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Scot McKnight's Junia is Not Alone: A book review

"Let me be clear once more. The editors of Greek New Testaments killed Junia. They killed her by silencing her into non-existence" (p. 14).

Such strong words are echoed throughout this short e-book from Scot McKnight, illustrating how a historical person was systematically eliminated from Bible translations. The record of how this happened is detailed very clearly in Junia is Not Alone: Breaking Our Silence About Women in the Bible and the Church Today—Scot McKnight has definitely done his homework.

Book Review: Resources for Egalitarian Men's Ministries: Coming of Age

Coming of Age is a result of the Young Male Spirituality Project, a joint effort of Lutheran Men in Mission, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Luther Seminary (St. Paul, Minn.) to find out why young men are staying away from the church in droves, a pattern that surveys are showing is increasingly alarming.

Book Review: Coming to Know Christ as Lord: A review of Anne Rice's novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt

Anne Rice's writing is usually associated with vampires, witches, and devils. The twenty-six books she has written over the last 30 years included two cycles chronicling the lives of her characters. Paralleling her return to the faith of her youth, Rice's new novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, marks the beginning of a profoundly new cycle in her authorship.

Book Review: Rise Up: A Call to Leadership for African American Women

I applaud Sylvia Rose for writing an impassioned plea for African American women to step forward, rise up, and take leadership in the world. One challenge I had in reading this book was identifying the intended audience. It seems most likely to appeal to African American women who are well-educated or in the church already. But I believe Rose's message is valuable for readers with a broad range of education and church experiences.

Book Review: Tracing God's Women from Genesis to the New Testament: God's Women Then and Now

This book, written by two ordained women, deals in a winsome and loving way with the issue of women in leadership in the church and home. While solid in scholarship, the book is easy to read and full of personal and biblical illustrations.

Book Review: Mirror Mirror Reflects God's Love for Teens

When I heard about Mirror Mirror, I was immediately skeptical. Given the general genre, I was surprised and delighted by the thoughtful, creative egalitarian content of the book. I quickly realized I was wrong to judge this book by its cover.

Is There Any Good News About Injustice?: A Book Review of Good News About Injustice

Educating ourselves about the manifestation of injustice in the world can be painful, and as a result many of us try to avoid it. Like children who bury themselves under the covers with flashlights in fear of the dark, some of us are guilty of averting our eyes from the results of injustice by pretending the victims do not exist. However, for those who have been victims of injustice, the results are impossible to avoid.

Book Review: What Bible History Says About Women in Ministry: From Bondage to Blessing

If you want one book that clarifies controversial biblical passages about women in leadership, documents God's use of women in both the Old and New Testaments, and explains how and why the church grew away from equality after the time of Christ, this is it. In From Bondage to Blessing, Dee Alei traces the argument for biblical equality chronologically through the Bible and history. She also takes readers through the questions to a greater depth of understanding of biblical equality.

Book Review: Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage

Let me tell you about my car. It's your typical sedan. It doesn't have many special features, but I honestly appreciate what it offers (all-wheel drive). The trouble is, when the mercury drops below zero, which happens all too frequently in Minnesota, it probably won't start. But it will toy with me, turning over just enough to inspire hope. Sadly, it rarely comes through for me. It's the kind of car you don't drive if you have a better option. But if you have to drive it, you'll survive, as long as you can manage its many problems.

Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge: A book review

While enjoying Valentine's Day dinner this year, my husband and I talked about the joys of being married. When he asked me what has been the most pleasant surprise of the past three years, I thought for a moment, slowly smiled, and said, "Marriage has been a lot easier than I thought it would be."

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