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Mutuality

Worship is at the heart of one of the most beloved passages in the Bible: 1 Corinthians 13. In this familiar passage, Paul describes the characteristics of love. After a long list of what love is not, he concludes:  Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Read more
“God gets up early and stays up late.” One of my seminary professors uses this phrase to remind us that God is never caught off guard by our crises. Our time of need is never too early or too late for God to meet us then and there. Read more
Who gets to be a human being in our day and age? This may seem like a silly question because the answer is so obvious—everyone! But we don’t have to go back too far in history to see that perfectly rational people have considered others less than fully human on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, or social status.  Read more
This is one of the most amazing verses in the Bible. How could any of us do greater works than Jesus? If Jesus himself had not explicitly said we were capable of works greater than his, such a thought would probably never occur to us. Read more
My mother’s Bible always looks like it’s about to burst at the seams. She circles, stars, and underlines verses with special meaning. Some passages have dates written in the margins, sometimes with notes about a particular occasion, or about what the verse meant to her at the time. Read more
After September 11, 2001, the news was bursting with reports of women in Afghanistan, who were required to follow a restrictive dress code, banned from working outside the home, and denied access to medical treatment and education. 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
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
Their stories are strikingly similar. I was lying in bed one night reading Hillary McFarland’s Quivering Daughters, which artfully weaves together the stories of several women caught in a patriarchal branch of Christianity known as the Quiverfull movement. Even though it was very late at night, I couldn’t put the book down. I ached for these women. Under their patriarchal system, they could never be selfless enough, they could never submit enough, they could never be good enough. Abuse, shame, devastating guilt, and suicidal thoughts marked many of their experiences, some on a daily basis.  Read more
“Why do you care so much about the women’s issue in the church?” The question came from a friend, as I was trying to express why a sermon on gender roles in marriage had deeply upset me. It wasn’t an accusatory or dismissive question; it was a curious one. But I knew that, as a pastor, my friend was weary of debates in the church, and that he was tired of self-righteous Christians arguing with one another over matters both small and significant. I had been busy highlighting to him all of the errors I saw in the sermon’s logic, so I paused before I answered his question, examining my motives.  Read more

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Book Review: Kate Hurley's Getting Naked Later

Are you still looking for a way to use those two-for-one coupons you long to share with a spouse? Or, are you constantly giving your single friends advice on how to snag a mate? There's something for you in Getting Naked Later, by Kate Hurley. Don't be put off by the title—she never gets into specifics.

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.

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