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Mutuality

We are shaped by our stories. In fact, our stories, once in place, determine much of our behavior without regard to their accuracy or helpfulness. Once these stories are stored in our minds, they stay there largely unchallenged until we die. And here is the main point: these narratives are running (and often ruining) our lives. That is why it is crucial to get the right narratives. Read more
When I first met Melinda, my senior pastor and soon-to-be mentor, I sat in the congregation staring at her. I took in her block-colored suits, her no-nonsense pumps, and the platinum blonde hair that she curled around her ear as she preached. I listened to her talk about the strategy for our church and her vision to influence one million people for Jesus in her lifetime. I watched her speak authoritatively to all our leaders and boldly challenge our attitudes in her sermons. Read more
During my PhD studies at the University of Durham (Durham, England), I lived and studied beside some of the most dedicated Christians I have ever known. Separated for years from their families, they worked without ceasing, seven days a week, indebted to the communities that supported their education. Often struggling with English and the bitter cold climate (and culture) of Britain, they shouldered many heavy burdens. Keenly aware that each hour of study meant greater capacity to serve their churches and communities throughout India, China, Europe, and the Middle East, they worked without ceasing. Though they were young compared to most graduate students in our department, their disciplined passion was extraordinary, giving them that singular focus of an exceptional leader. Read more
The choice was simple: it was time to get a new stereo in my car. My classic rock ‘n’ roll eight track tapes—yes, this was a number of years ago—worked well except for one issue: the music was coming out of the speakers on only one side of the car. That would be like listening to Crosby and Stills, but tuning out Nash and Young. Of course it was time for a change; who would choose to live with an unbalanced speaker system? Read more
When we met with the committee for the first time, we were nervous. This meeting was the first step for my husband Jeff, who had sensed God calling him to go to seminary and become a pastor. After the meeting, the committee would either recommend him to come under their care as he went through seminary, or they would recommend that he pursue something else. Read more
Tim Krueger
I sat uncomfortably rehearsing how I’d ask the question that had to be asked. I knew it would initiate a painful conversation, but we couldn’t ignore it forever. I was not wrong. It became clear in that meeting that yes, our pastoral candidate was a staunch complementarian. Our church, with its egalitarian tradition, governing documents, and leadership structure, was poised to hire a pastor firmly opposed to the leadership of women. Read more
“Having a woman in church leadership is just not biblical.” To say I was shocked would be an understatement; my jaw may have actually dropped. These words were addressed to our church board (half of which are female) from a long-time member of our congregation. I could have understood if it was a newcomer, but this man and his family had been attending our church for over five years. How did he miss it? And maybe even more important, how did I, the lead pastor, miss it? Read more
I was twenty years old when God called me to pastoral ministry. At the time I was a theatre major hoping to build a career as a stage actress. My backup plan was stage management, not ministry. Though raised by supportive parents, I grew up in a denomination that had a very narrow view of women’s roles in the church and the world. I saw few women leading in any capacity at church and had never seen a female pastor in action. So when God called me, there were moments of panic and weeks of bafflement when I asked, “Who am I to do this work?” I had enough trust in God to say yes to ministry but it took several years, two theological degrees, successful ministry experience, and tons of affirmation before I could say yes to myself as a pastor and leader in the church. Read more
When two of Jesus’ disciples suggested they should be given places of honor with him,  Jesus presented a different model for living. It is one of servanthood and submission to God. Not of seeking after positions of power, not exercising authority, but of becoming a slave for the gospel. Read more
Veteran US preacher Iverna Tompkins, well known for her tongue-in-cheek humor, once famously said: “For a woman to be accepted as a preacher and church leader, she has to be twice as good as a man. Fortunately, that isn’t difficult.” Read more

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Book Review: The Christian Family in Changing Times

In the last three decades, Christians have endured intensive teaching about the family— marriage and parenting seminars, books and tapes, even radio broadcasts and Web sites. Yet the more resources thrown at families, the more the family has eroded.

“Perhaps it’s time to rethink the evangelical sound byte we call the Christian family,” says Robert M. Hicks in The Christian Family in Changing Times.

Book Review: No Place for Abuse

“When abuse strikes, there is no home.”

So say Catherine Clark Kroeger and Nancy Nason-Clark in their book, No Place for Abuse. This quote struck me, as I grew up in a fundamentalist church where mentioning some personal abuse brought blame to me and sympathy to my father. This book is refreshing in its directness as it addresses the ticklish issue of how churches have traditionally dealt with abuse.

Book Review: 10 Lies the Church Tells Women

In a conversational, no-nonsense approach to a controversial issue, 10 Lies the Church Tells Women discusses 10 traditional ideas many Christian churches have used to claim the Bible restrains women from leadership. J. Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma magazine, counters these unscriptural mind- sets with his message of freedom for women to be all that God is calling them to be.

The book looks carefully at biblical texts used to support traditional church teachings in ten major areas. Among the lies Grady challenges are:

Book Review: Domestic Violence: What Every Pastor Needs to Know

The only thing wrong with Domestic Violence: What Every Pastor Needs to Know is the title. This book contains information essential to every person, not just pastors.

Motivated by what he terms “the magnitude of pastoral neglect” of domestic violence, Rev. Miles has written a compelling and practical book, based on years of experience in hospitals and interviews with 158 clergy members, 52 survivors, 46 professionals working in the domestic violence field and 21 former batterers.

Book Review: Good News for Women

When I was asked to review Good News for Women, I groaned. Not another evangelical book going over the same few texts and putting forward the same old arguments. Having read most of the books written by evangelical egalitarians and hierarchalists in the last twenty years, I did not expect to be excited by this book.

Book Review: When Momma Speaks

“The purpose of the stories about biblical mothers falls on literary and socially deaf ears unless they mean something to twenty-first-century mothers,” Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder writes in chapter ten of her book, When Momma Speaks: The Bible and Motherhood from A Womanist Perspective. This is the essence of Crowder’s mission: to forge a story connection between biblical mothers of color and modern African American mothers.

Book Review: Grit and Grace: Heroic Women of the Bible

When I was a little girl, I loved acting out Bible stories with my mom, especially the one about Mary Magdalene meeting the Risen Lord. I would be Mary, kneeling in front of the old Franklin stove that passed for the garden tomb, my shoulders heaving with imagined sobs. My mother would be Jesus. We’d run through the dialogue, and when my mother said “Mary,” I’d gasp and throw my chubby arms around her legs. It was a fun way to pass a winter afternoon, but it also brought up questions I wouldn’t have thought of if I hadn’t immersed myself so fully in the story.

Book Review: Making Marriage Beautiful: Lifelong Love, Joy, and Intimacy Start with You

A few months ago, an acquaintance confided that her marriage is in trouble. She asked about egalitarian marriage resources, and I enthusiastically recommended Dorothy Greco’s new book, Making Marriage Beautiful.

The book’s eleven chapters survey a range of topics, from managing expectations to navigating in-laws, gender roles, communication, conflict, abuse, addiction, community (outside of marriage) and healthy response to external challenges and crises.

Book Reviews: Naked: Reclaiming Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

Naked is a marriage book thoroughly steeped in egalitarian theology and completely free from gender stereotypes and tired “male headship” language. Tim and Anne Evans bring decades of counseling and ministry experience to their work, and the result is an extremely helpful and approachable guide for married couples.

This book is presented in three parts, the first of which presents a healthy theology of sex and counsels the reader through deconstructing any unhealthy views of sex they may have learned throughout their life, whether from church, family, or culture.

Kristina LaCelle-Peterson's Liberating Tradition: A book review

Kristina LaCelle-Peterson writes a compelling outline of Christian feminism that serves as a valuable tool for the average evangelical seeking more refined and informed thinking about gender from a biblical perspective. The book's title hints at its ambitious purpose: to liberate evangelicals from cultural trappings that have misdirected our reading of Scripture, our family structures, and our models of church participation.

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