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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
I don’t know many college students who, during their spring break trip to Florida, take along and read Discovering Biblical Equality. But there I was, just a few years ago, sitting on a beach and devouring the 528-page book. Road trips, beaches, and scholarly essays—I felt like a living example of the Sesame Street children’s song, “One of these things is not like the other things…” Read more
At the age of six, I was known to climb on top of snow banks in Ontario, Canada and proclaim the gospel. I successfully converted the neighborhood children one by one. Whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, without hesitation I said, “A pastor.” At first, I didn’t catch on to the meaning behind the sidelong glances and pejorative knowing smiles the grown-ups gave me. But, it didn’t take me long to figure out my answer wasn’t “right” somehow. Read more
“So, how many female pastors have you had at the evangelical churches you’ve attended?”  The question was asked by a good Mormon friend, himself a former evan­gelical. I had been complaining about his church and its policy of not ordaining women, but my friend's question caught me off guard. 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
If you’re looking for a powerful film to watch this summer, consider Iron Jawed Angels, a dramatization of the American suffragist Alice Paul (1885–1977). Her legacy is one-of-a-kind, and few leaders exhibit more genius in responding to the rhetoric and strategies of their opponents. For egalitarians today, her struggles and ours have significant parallels. We learn much from observing the masterful way Paul challenged the illogic that portrayed women as wholly different from men and unfit for decision making responsibilities. Read more
If you’re looking for a beautiful model of an egalitarian relationship in the midst of a decidedly non-egalitarian culture, the love story of Angelina Emily Grimké (1805–1879) and Theodore Dwight Weld (1803–1895) is especially inspiring. A fearless pioneer for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery, Angelina Grimké had some initial misgivings about relationships and marriage—she wondered if it would be possible to find a partner who would view her as a spiritual and moral equal, rather than just a fulfillment of a culturally perpetuated stereotype of womanhood.  Read more
“The worship pastor there is full of the Holy Spirit. She is so gifted at what she is doing.” A group of young adults from my new church sat in a local Chinese restaurant, listening to our friend and pastor describe his recent visit to a nearby worship service. Another friend expressed out loud what I was thinking: “Wait, what denomination did you say the church belongs to? And they have a woman pastor?” Read more
The Holiness and Pentecostal movements that erupted after the Civil War gave women new opportunities to preach the gospel with a freedom that was unprecedented in American religious history. Two experiences well-known to the Holiness and Pentecostal movements— sanctification and Holy Spirit baptism — were understood to empower women, as well as men, without regard to ethnicity or class; to gift them as the Spirit willed; and to release them to be fully engaged in the work of the Lord. These movements generally provided gifted women more freedom to minister than their sisters in other denominations, giving them places as equal partners in preaching the gospel on the camp meeting and revival circuits, and as founders of flourishing congregations and denominations of every ilk and size.  Read more
My Southern Baptist parents taught me to open doors for women. But in the polite culture in which I grew up, I didn’t see too many pastors practicing that habit. Sure, they allowed women to teach children’s classes, take care of babies, have prayer meetings and cook fellowship meals. But women weren’t allowed near a pulpit unless they were singing a solo. 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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