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Mutuality

The Blind Side is a powerful story of redemption that struck a resonant chord with me because the heroine is a Christian mom with grit. Spunk. Pluck. Call it whatever you want. Leigh Anne Tuohy can and does go toe-to-toe with obstinate high school teachers, coaches, skeptical friends, drug pushers, and gang bangers. Leigh Anne is smart, sensitive, compassionate, and generous. And she’s no cream puff. You don’t mess with Leigh Anne. You especially don’t mess with her family, which includes Michael when the Tuohys become “Big Mike’s” legal guardians. Read more
Three tightly intertwining strands create a strong cord. The well-known words in Ecclesiastes —“a cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccles. 4:12b) — are often used to create a visual icon in our minds of the marriage bond. If “a picture is worth a thousand words,” then this simple graphic can transmit a lot of information about unity and oneness. But what if someone completely redesigned this icon and placed the three strands end to end and connected them with small knots? I wish this were merely a hypothetical question. Back when I was a new believer, my Christian education imprinted my mind with this altered image. Read more
Luke had just returned from a conference in California. Our only contact over the past week had been a brief fifteen-minute phone conversation. The conference was going well, and he couldn’t wait to return and share the details. He was eager to see me again. The feeling was mutual. Even though at that time we were traveling through a difficult period in our relationship, I missed our daily conversations and his presence, his embrace. Read more
God, the Holy Trinity, created humanity in his image—in the context of mutual, loving, intimate relationships. In creation, God declared everything as good, except one thing— being alone (Gen. 2:18), so God created the woman. The man and woman were equal and complementary (Gen. 2:23), completely vulnerable to one another and interdependent (Gen. 2:25). In the garden, then, marriage is characterized by cooperation, intimacy, mutual dependence, and mutual support.  Read more
Many churches have mission statements. Families can have mission statements, too. Our family’s sense of mission derives from Isaiah 61:1–3. Jesus cited this text as the foundation for his earthly ministry (Luke 4:18–19), and we have adopted this as a cornerstone passage that drives and guides the decisions we make as a family.  The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion — to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory (NRSV).— Isaiah 61:1–3  Read more
A man raced through the streets of Capernaum searching for the one person who could help him. He glimpsed an animated figure preaching, pushed through the crowd, and fell exhausted at Jesus’ feet.  “My daughter is dying; come heal her,” begged the father with his last breath.  Read more
The landscape of the debate between egalitarians and hierarchists (self-styled “complementarians”) has changed drastically owing to decisive gains that have been achieved by egalitarians on scriptural grounds. Read more
My friends Paula and Eric welcomed their first baby just three weeks ago. Visiting them a few days after they returned from the hospital, I held baby Avery tightly and stared at his tiny face and unusually thick white blond hair—for only ten minutes before I was overcome with anxiety that I would drop him. Struck by the enormous responsibility that my friends now face, I gratefully (and gently) transferred Avery back into his parents' arms.  Even with nine months to prepare for their new son, in an instant, Eric and Paula’s lives were dramatically and irrevocably changed. All of my friends who have welcomed babies into their lives have embraced the responsibility with joy and patience. Observing them adjust to diaper changes, middle-of the-night feedings, and crying fits has been a lesson to me about trusting God, and having grace for one another and ourselves as we navigate new challenges. Read more
Picture this: A young American couple arrives in York, England with their two-year-old son to start their new life—the mother to return to school and earn a PhD at the University of York, the father to become a stay-at-home-dad. Amidst a light drizzle, they walk the streets of York on their first day in the country, obtain library cards, relax at a café, and then saunter back to a quaint bed and breakfast. They fall peacefully into a deep and restful sleep, and visions of their delightful prospects dance through their dreams. They, indeed, are ready to live out England’s World War II motto: Keep calm and carry on.   Read more
“I made an A on my math exam!” your child exclaims.  “Great! You are so talented!” you respond. Or you might say, “That studying really paid off. You’ve worked hard!” On the surface, both sound like compliments. Both congratulate the child on a job well done. Both convey your pride. Yet, they are different in ways we often do not recognize. The first response praises a quality that is inborn and not subject to change—something that is part of the essence of who the child is. An inborn quality is likely to endure and be replicated the next time she or he takes an exam.  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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