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Mutuality

I believe in the full equality of men and women in both marriage and ministry. The widespread misunderstandings and mistranslations resulting in gender hierarchy are damaging to people, marriages and the body of Christ. I am going to start by diving into the most famous (or infamous) passage on marriage in Ephesians Chapter 5. It’s amazing to discover what this passage really says! Read more
I grew up in fundamentalist churches where women were taught to know their “place” and stay there. My parents accepted these ideas in theory, but not so much in practice, and at the same time they questioned many of the other things these churches taught. During my freshman year of college, my parents ended their lifelong affiliation with this denomination and began attending a new church. Read more
When I reflect on my childhood and young adulthood, it’s not difficult to see why I struggled to understand God’s intent for gender roles. I was surrounded by mixed gender messages from my denomination, my family and my Christian college. Read more
Jon and Carol Trott are members of Jesus People USA (JPUSA) in Chicago, a group of believers practicing gender-equal relationships while living in community and working in ministry. Living with 500 other people gives the Trotts a unique perspective on gender roles in relationships and in the church. Read more
Karen and Mark are both pastors with vibrant ministries, but their marriage is at a crossroads. Karen has been offered a large church in a growing area that sounds like a perfect fit. Mark has no desire to leave his flourishing ministry. They love the Lord and each other, but they can‘t agree. How can they decide? Read more
Jennifer and Tony Kang have found through experience that people don’t always know how to treat a couple when the wife is in a formal ministry role and the husband is not. Read more
In the first century church, Paul and his fellow workers fought mightily for the Lord. Many Christians then — and throughout the following centuries — suffered persecution, loss, torment and death to serve the Lord and proclaim the gospel message: Christ has died for our sins; he is our salvation, our redeemer and our most holy Lord. But today, the Church itself persecutes some Christians simply for believing God equally gifts men and women. These persecuted Christians believe so earnestly in the truth of biblical equality that they are willing to stand firm and accept loss rather than turn their backs on that belief. For over a decade, Christians for Biblical Equality has bestowed Priscilla and Aquila awards upon those who have stood firm in their convictions. • Joe and Audra Trull, who accepted early retirement from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary rather than agree with the Southern Baptists 1998 “Family Statement,” which stated that women were to “graciously submit” to their husbands. • Dan Gentry and Barbara Kent, who resigned their positions at a Southern Baptist seminary after they were asked to sign the new statement. • Alan Brehm, a New Testament professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, resigned his professorship rather than sign his name to the statement. Read more
Americans lead busy lives, and Vanessa Chitwood was no exception. Since the beginning of her marriage, Chitwood had worked to part-time as a nurse support her growing family. She also enjoyed volunteering at her local church. Still, she felt God wanted more from her. “There were areas of my life I kept under my own control. God was speaking to me about the need to give everything to him.” One day in 1996 she pulled her car into a parking lot and breathed a prayer of complete surrender to God. Eighteen months later Chitwood felt called to full-time ministry, but uncertainties kept her silent. It was not a direction she would have imagined for herself. “I kept these feelings to myself for about a year, thinking I was crazy, but the desire to serve just grew deeper, and in 1998 I acknowledged the call to my family and pastor and the process began.” 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
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

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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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