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Mutuality

How is it that any man who walks through our church doors—whether once a year or once a day—can walk away believing that domestic violence is justified? Perhaps because precious little is being done to challenge it. A 2014 Sojourners survey revealed that only thirty-five percent of pastors have spoken more than once about domestic abuse. This statistic is alarming, but must not blind us to this truth: all pastors teach their congregants about abuse one way or another. When we preach, lead Bible studies, or interact pastorally or socially with people, the language we use and the way we present topics will either reinforce or challenge an abuser’s narrative. Read more
This is the third in our sermon series called “Breaking the Silence,” where we’ve talked about some hard issues, such as mental health, suicide, and now, domestic violence. These three things are somewhat interconnected, and one thing they have in common is that they cross racial, gender, and socioeconomic lines. You can’t look at someone and know “there’s someone struggling with mental health” or “there’s somebody struggling with domestic violence.” Read more
My marriage was killing me. Either my marriage needed to end or my belief in this “all-loving God” who had “allowed” my husband to abuse me had to end. Thanks to the “godly” Christian counsel I received, I attempted to submit to emotional abuse in order to be faithful to God and to my marriage. But this was a far cry from what marriage was meant to be. My marriage could not be approved by a loving God. Submission to an abusive man results only in destruction and death. Read more
My name is Muylen Orng, and God has called me to serve the women of Cambodia by bringing them a message of biblical equality. My journey began when I was very young, when God placed in me the dream of going to college. I was born and raised in Kompong Thom Province, in central Cambodia, north of the capital, Phnom Penh. I am one of three siblings, and the second daughter in my family. Most Cambodian women do not attend college, but when I finished high school in 2002, I asked my parents for permission to continue studying at a university in Phnom Penh. (In my culture, it is important to have the approval of your family and relatives before making major decisions.) Read more
我的名字是翁美倫,上帝呼召我服事柬埔寨的婦女同胞,將聖經男女平等的信息傳遞給她們。我年紀還小,上帝已將上大學的夢想放在我心中。我出生成長於柬埔寨中部,首都金邊以北的磅通省,是家裡三個兄弟姊妹中的老二。柬埔寨大部份的女子都沒有唸大學,我在2002年高中畢業的時候,請求父母允許我到金邊一所大學繼續深造。(在我們的社會,做重大決定前獲得家人和親戚的贊同是非常重要的。) Read more
I will never forget that day in November 1999. I was serving as associate pastor in a church in the urban slum area of Lima, Peru. My wife, Loida, and I decided to visit Juliet (not her real name), one of the most faithful and endearing women from our congregation. She had been active in the church since childhood and had most recently served fervently as a deaconess. As she aged, she still delighted us with her voice. When she sang, it was as though a choir of angels had descended from heaven. Those of us who had the privilege of hearing her were always spellbound and captivated by the beauty of her singing.  Read more
It reads like a tragic novel: Nearly two-thirds of the world’s 876 million illiterate adults are women. Approximately 6,000 girls are subjected to female genital mutilation each day, and 30 percent of girls subjected to its most radical form die from the effects. Four million women are sold each year as slaves. In sub-Saharan Africa, 55 percent of HIV-infected adults are women, and teenage girls are five times more likely to be infected than boys. These numbers, gathered from a variety of sources and published by Global Women, an organization that supports the global ministry of women, are only the tip of an iceberg adrift in developing countries across the world. Read more
Each time I read Ephesians, I shuddered inwardly upon reading Chapter 5: “Wives submit to your husbands.” This passage was a neon light blinding me to the rest of the book. I felt the same shame when I read other passages with directives to women regarding silence, submission or authority. The worst was 1 Timothy 2, which implied that a woman could not be trusted with God’s word because of Eve’s deception. “Why, Father, did you make women this way?” I asked again and again. 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
“Lord, help me to know where you have gifted and motivated me to serve, so that I might be more fully used by you.” This had become my heart’s cry, yet as I began to sense the direction of the Lord in my life like never before, the doors of the church seemed to close. The words were different each time but the message was always the same: “There’s no place for you ... woman.” Women. The very word has become a dirty word in society: drugs, sex, parties, rock’n’roll, women. While my husband and I served as missionaries in Brazil, my heart wrenched in agony at the pornography so openly displayed on all the street corners of our city. The pictures were always of women, distorted and disfigured. For the first time in my life I became indoctrinated to the fact that womanhood carries an inherent sense of shame in our world. Something about it hurt me to the very core of my being. Those women in the pictures seemed so different from who I am, but they were, after all, women, just like me. 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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