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Mutuality

Welcome to the “Creative Writing” issue of Mutuality! This is a new adventure for us, as we have never before published an issue entirely filled with creative writing. Much prayer has gone into this issue—which has been in the works for nearly three years—and we hope that you find it to be refreshing, encouraging, and challenging. Read more
In the upcoming film Courageous (by the makers of Fireproof), four men make a commitment to love, protect, serve, and teach their wives and children, as “the spiritual leader” of their homes. “The Bible actually has a lot to say about fatherhood,” the main character asserts. The conclusions he reaches throughout his study of Scripture prompt him to write a resolution for fathers, which the men in the movie each sign, affirm publicly in a formal ceremony, and display proudly in their homes. Read more
Several years ago, I was speaking with undergraduates at a well known Christian college. As we discussed the biblical material related to gender equality and service, a male student raised his hand and said, “Look, I have no aspirations of becoming a preacher. I know I will never be like Billy Graham. But that does not bother me. I don’t see why women should be upset either.” With eyes flashing and cheeks flushed a woman in the class immediately responded with, “Limiting service because of gender does not impact your life. But imagine how I and other women might feel!”   Read more
I will admit that I love New Year’s resolutions. I love to imagine new adventures and projects. And I love to set goals, taking care to write them each down and share them with friends and family (which, my psychology professors in college assured me, make us much more likely to successfully complete them). Just a few days ago, I was catching up with an old friend and happily comparing our “2011 lists.” He is going to learn a new language; I’m going to run a half-marathon. And our lists went on and on.  Read more
Kimberly’s story left me speechless. She had believed that, as a Christian woman, she was to play a secondary role in ministry and in her marriage. “I was determined to be the kind of Christian wife God would be proud of. Yet nothing worked like it should have. I did all the submitting I could think of and more, but I could not do a thing about the abuse,” she wrote. After enduring terrible emotional and physical abuse from her husband and feeling certain that she was worthless to God and everyone else, Kimberly found herself at a breaking point. Then, in a seemingly meaningless chore—taking out the garbage — she discovered a book that would change her life: Gilbert Bilezikian’s Beyond Sex Roles. Kimberly had believed she was garbage, and yet, in the dumpster, she found a book that told her otherwise. Read more
If you’ve been a passionate egalitarian for any length of time, you’ve probably heard someone say, “Yes, the egalitarian position is biblically sound, but it is not a “primary issue!” What is at the heart of such a comment? Primary issues are generally understood to mean those issues that focus on the gospel, evangelism, and the leading of the lost to Christ. Is women’s shared leadership and authority a primary issue? One’s perspective on gender and authority most certainly advances or diminishes the good news of the gospel.  Read more
As a person who examines words for her profession, I am consistently amazed at how often we (myself included!) use certain words and expressions and assume that we all understand what they mean. For instance, consider the phrase “spiritual leader.” For as long as I have been a Christian, I have heard this concept applied to men, as a way to explain “male headship.” Read more
In Half the Sky, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Kristoff and WuDuun document the global exploitation of women—an abuse to which we have become indifferent. According to WuDunn and Kristoff, the wholesale degradation of women is not often considered newsworthy. Read more
While this may not be at all surprising to the CBE community, I loved discussing the question of women in leadership with my friends in college. We would stay up too late, sitting in the halls of our dorm, whispering reflections and arguments for our particular position on the matter while trying not to disturb our sleeping (and clearly far more responsible) roommates. The most frequent response I would hear during these sessions was, “Well, I think that God is probably okay with women in ministry, but I’m just not comfortable with it.” For many of my friends, this wasn’t a question if the Holy Spirit gifts women for leadership—it was simply a question if we could step outside of our comfort zone to recognize and utilize those women. Read more
In a startling study, researcher Ryan Burns found a direct correlation between men’s porn use and their beliefs in traditional roles for women. As the amount of pornography a man views increases, so does the likelihood that he will “describe women in sexualized and stereotypically feminine terms; approve of women in ‘traditionally female’ occupations; and value women who are more submissive and subordinate to men” (Ryan Burns, 2002, as cited on againstpornography.org). Read more

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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."

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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