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Mutuality

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
Imagine my surprise after becoming a Christian to learn that God does not consider women to be equal with men! I grew up in a non-Christian home. My mother and father were divorced when I was a year old. Mom remarried when I was three years old, and subsequently had four more children by my alcoholic stepfather. I didn’t realize until much later in life that my mother was also an alcoholic. To briefly describe my world as a child, I would tell you that I was hurt deeply by rejection, emotional abuse and favoritism. In stark contrast to my early world, becoming a Christian in my early 20s set me free! I will never forget the overwhelming joy when I learned that God loved me unconditionally, that I was his special child, and that he had a plan for my life. I had a hunger and thirst for the Word, and I dug in. Read more
I once stood in front of 65 of my students and read Mary’s song from Luke 1:46–55 loudly, with the emotion of protest. I asked this question: What kind of woman would have sung this song? Read more
When Jesus announces His public ministry in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, He presents a holistic call which brings about spiritual transformation through salvation. In his teachings and example, Jesus also models social transformation, especially in the case of children and women. Jesus’ earthly ministry had both spiritual and social implications, and to recognize this is to understand the whole Gospel message. Read more
Walter Wangerin, Jr. is a storyteller by profession and character. Wangerin brings to life the stories and characters of the Bible with vivid imagination as the author of such works as The Book of the Dun Cow (which won a 1980 National Book Award), The Book of God, and Paul: A Novel. As a writer-in-residence and professor of English and Theology at Valparaiso University (where he holds the Jochum Chair), Wangerin shares the value of biblical imagination with students studying the foundations of Christianity. In his new book, Jesus—A Novel, he shares Christ’s message of discipleship, love, and equality. Read more
On issues of the family and scripture, Christians are in a bit of a pickle. It is not always clear how our convictions about “family values” mesh with what the Bible teaches, especially the Gospels. Jesus, for example, did not assign the great spiritual and sentimental significance to family life that many Christians do today. How then do we reconcile the expectation that all good Christians should marry with his example of lifelong celibacy? Or our championship of family with Jesus’ warning that following him will set sibling against sibling and parent against child? Endorsing family values poses particularly interesting issues for biblical egalitarians, since many of our fellow Bible-believers hold that these values should include a hierarchical model of marriage. Read more
Divorce, domestic violence, school shootings, living together, gay lifestyle, affairs, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and the list goes on… The family is definitely under attack. As a result, the last decade and a half has seen the rise of the pro-family Christian message. Pastors, churches, books, Bible studies, and even whole movements are, with the purest of intentions, working feverishly to strengthen the family. Seeking to motivate apathetic husbands and indifferent dads, some Christian ministries have anointed men “Prophet, Priest, and King,” “Point Man,” and “High Priest of the Home.” The only problem is, these labels aren’t scriptural. Read more
I can’t remember a time when I did not think women were equal to men. My parents’ upbringing must have indoctrinated me before I was old enough to know that some people disagreed with them. What did my parents tell me? My guess is, it was never mentioned. But I clearly remember being impressed when I was very young with my father’s utter devotion to my mother and my thinking that girls and women were about as close to angels as you could get on earth. (My understanding has since expanded, but I still think some of them are.) Read more
I believe that left-handed people are fully capable and called by God for ministry. I believe left-handed people can serve in ordained ministry or any other capacity, just as right-handed people can. However, some oppose left-handers. They believe that God made left- and right-handers equal in essence only, while denying them access to certain vocations. Ordained ministry is for the right-handers only, as the claim goes. Believe it or not, the Bible does portray left-handers in ministry. Take Judges 3:15: “Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer — Ehud, a left-handed man...” I’m guessing you have never heard of Ehud, I know I hadn’t until I met a few left-handers trying to respond to their calling…. Read more
Harriet had conscientiously served the ministry’s leaders, Rev. and Mrs. Smith, for twenty-five years. The Smiths were a godly couple, and their work for the Kingdom had flourished over the years. Theirs was a model of a faithful marriage, and they were seen as blessed by God. Working for the Smiths had not always been easy, but Harriet was deeply committed to the ministry. She had left once, but God made it clear that she was to return. God promised her that he understood, and that he would allow her to birth a project of her own that would be of value to the Kingdom. 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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