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Mutuality

As a spiritual director, I recommend to people who are trying to heal childhood religious experiences that they return to the scene of the crime and forgive people for what happened. Little did I know that I had another important step in my own process of forgiving people for my childhood religious experiences. It caught me completely by surprise. A religious women’s book group chose to read my book, The Critical Journey, and asked me to speak to them about the journey of faith. I arrived at the leader’s home eager to have a dialogue about faith with this group. The hostess greeted me and I met a few of the other women over coffee and cookies before we started. Then we all met in the large family room for our conversation. After introductions, the leader asked me to give my personal testimony, so I told my faith story, including the ups and downs of my faith, a few of the gifts and pains of my early religious experiences, my training as a spiritual director, and my role as a healer in the arena of domestic violence.  Read more
I’ve always been puzzled by forgiveness. With little experience of God’s power to renew and heal — but a lot of “shoulds” in my head about how I needed to be a loving person — I thought forgiveness was about silencing my intellect, shutting my mouth, squelching my anger at unjust situations, and then forcing a smile that was so automatic, even I believed it communicated how I felt. What does it mean to forgive someone who has hurt me? What does unconditional love entail? How is forgiveness related to my convictions about justice and truth? And how, if at all, is my loving and forgiving another related to God’s love and forgiveness for me?  Read more
As many of you know, I served as the convener of the Gender Forum at what is considered the most important missions organization for evangelicals: the Lausanne Conference for World Evangelization (LCWE). Because I value the work of Lausanne as much as I cherish the leadership of Lorry Lutz (my co-convener), I knew God was leading CBE into an important opportunity! Our task was to generate discussion on the impact of gender on missions and evangelism, while also exploring the important issue of abuse. Our goal was to voice the experiences and vision of Christian leaders from around the world. Read more
What do evangelical Christians mean when they use words like “equal,” “complementary,”—or even “biblical”—to describe the truth about gender? Egalitarian and complementarian scholars discussed these issues at sessions hosted by the Evangelicals and Gender study group at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) annual meeting entitled, “What is Truth?” Read more
Our daughter Christy was born in Congo and spent her childhood there while my wife Joy and I were missionary professors with the Evangelical Free Church Mission seminary serving French- speaking Africa. Our son Mark heard about our ministry in Africa all his life, but had never seen it for himself. Although Joy could not join us for this trip, the three of us were heading back. Read more
Look what God is doing in the lives of women and men partnering together to bring the whole gospel to the whole world! These portraits of Chinese, Nigerian and Indian women in ministry are excerpts from papers given at the Lausanne Conference for World Evangelism. Read more
On a Sunday morning in downtown Portland, Deborah Loyd stands to offer the message to a crowd of 150 at the church she planted with her husband, Ken, and best friend, Crystal. Her white-blonde dreadlocks tucked neatly in a colorful scarf, tattooed arms outstretched so she can read the text for today’s sermon — Deborah defies the modern church’s definition of what a pastor should be. Read more
I only look 16. I preface my column with that statement because I have often been mistaken for a high school student. While getting my hair cut, my 19-year-old stylist asked me what grade I was in. My financial planner thought I was my husband’s daughter. At a church I visited, people in my demographic put on their “talking to a teenager” voices and asked if I was having problems meeting people “my own age.” And I am intimately familiar with the patronizing looks people give teenagers — I’ve been the recipient of those looks for 14 years. Read more
The memories of child prostitutes on the streets of Bangkok are still swirling in my head. Even as the Lausanne prayer team walked and prayed through the streets of Thailand, one prostitute begged them to take her home. How can we encounter such suffering with- out longing to make a difference? Read more
When Rebecca* saw the notice in the church bulletin about a short-term mission trip to Haiti, she was elated. For years she had felt called to the small, impoverished nation and she believed she could offer much to the islanders. After the service, Rebecca approached her pastor and told him she wanted to sign up for the trip. She was shocked when he scoffed. 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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