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Mutuality

Have you had a hard time bringing the principles of egalitarianism into your church? If so, you’re not alone. Getting biblical egalitarian principles accepted in a local congregation can be a daunting task, but there are a few things anyone can do to help this vision become a reality. Read more
Quick Bible quiz: Name one African person in the Bible. Did you mention Hagar, Simon of Cyrene or Apollos of Alexandria? What about the Ethiopian eunuch, or Queen Candace? If none of these characters came to mind, perhaps it’s due to a lack of understanding of the cultural and ethnic forces at work in the Bible. Understanding these forces can bring new light to familiar passages.  Read more
In the movie Swing Kids, a German teenager joins the Hitler Youth and is assigned a job delivering packages. At each house a child or woman answers the door, and as the teenager turns to leave after making his delivery, he hears screaming and crying from the house. Shaking with fear, he opens one of the packages to find a gold wedding band in a pile of ashes. Tears of rage and guilt begin to flow as he realizes he has been unknowingly participating in a cruel system: delivering the remains of husbands and fathers who have been murdered in the name of Hitler. To be white and middle class in America is to be a participant in a privileged power structure. Often unknowingly, we lay poverty and discrimination at the door of communities of color. The challenge to white middle-class people who follow Jesus is to begin to notice the cries of pain from these communities.  Read more
Since I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, I never questioned all the gender stereotypes that society generally accepted as normal in the 1950s and ’60s. For example, women were expected to stay home instead of going out in the workplace. Men were the main breadwinners. Women were not generally represented in professional life and men were not expected to do chores like preparing meals, house cleaning, laundry, ironing, or washing dishes. Women were considered physically and emotionally frail and in constant need of men’s care and protection.    Read more
Maybe you can relate to some of these experiences:  Friends are telling us about a prisoner they have been visiting who has recently become a Christian. The latest news is that his wife has also accepted Christ and is just beginning her walk with God. Our friends tell us how they have already encouraged this woman to submit to her husband now as “head of the house.” Should we speak up about this hierarchical view of marriage or just let it pass? Read more
White Privilege a. A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities.  b. A special advantage or benefit of white persons; with reference to divine dispensations, natural advantages, gifts of fortune, genetic endowments, social relations, etc. c. A privileged position; the possession of an advantage white persons enjoy over non–white persons.  (Source: WhitePrivilege.com) Kathy: White Privilege is a term that gets tossed around in many advocacy circles. I remember getting in touch with the word very clearly, because I benefit from White Privilege. I am a white woman, blond-haired, blue-eyed. I am automatically granted certain privileges that an African American or Hispanic or Asian woman is not, even in the year 2007 in the United States of America. Add the fact that I have a college education and my privileges increase.  Read more
Maybe the biblical character you best connect with is Daniel in the lion’s den, or Mary when the stone was rolled away. Sometimes we connect with the well-known figures we would have chosen for ourselves. But sometimes Creator appoints us to walk in the company of stranger biblical fellows—companions we would not have chosen, but who enrich our lives even so. This is the story of how I found myself walking the path of the Proverbs 31 woman, identifying with her story, and becoming what I call a “Proverbs 31 man.”   Read more
Ask one hundred people “What does it mean to be masculine?” and you will likely get a hundred different answers, along with a fair amount of blank stares and blinking eyes. When I posed the question, rather unscientifically, to a few people hanging around our campus’s social science building, I got a variety of answers with no two being the same. Read more
“Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Jesus asked this question of the disciples (Matt. 16:13–19) after warning his followers about the false teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who had been hounding Jesus for a sign from heaven to validate his identity as Messiah. This was done to test or disprove Jesus. Asking for a sign from heaven when the prophecy of Isaiah foretold him to be the sign denoted a level of distrust in both the being and doing of Jesus. If he took the bait, he’d annul his identity as the Messiah. If Jesus was not the fulfillment of prophecy, his miracles and profound teachings would lose their value in the marketplace of beliefs and ideas. Read more
We have always liked the idea of an equal marriage, but there are vexing questions. Do we both need to earn the same income, or is it better for us to work an equal number of hours? How do we share all the responsibilities of maintaining our home? If we’re both going to work full time, who will raise our children? There are many options, but one solution is to spend less time at work. In fact, for most of our marriage, we have both worked part time.  Read more

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Book Review: Singles and the Church: A Match Made in Heaven?

At my former church, I offered a suggestion to the pastor. I told him that his morning sermon had been geared toward the married members of the congregation, but did not have application for singles. I suggested that he try to include messages relevant for single churchgoers as well. He looked at me and straightforwardly replied, "I don't know how to include singles because I am married."

Book Review: What Science Says About Superiority: Shattering the Myth of Race

Shattering the Myth of Race by Dave Unander is a thoughtful discussion of the conflict of race and ethnicity against the backdrop of the history of Western Europe and the United States.

Unander speaks of many people's lack of family roots in his Chicago neighborhood in the 1920s and 1930s to suggest that people can lose a sense of racial or cultural identity. In his multiethnic neighborhood, what people were like had more bearing on what he thought of them than their racial or ethnic background.

Book Review: Unmarried But Not Unimportant: Single Women: Challenge to the Church?

Intended for single women and the churches they attend, Single Women: Challenge to the Church? tackles the unique challenges faced by single, Christian women through the eyes of nearly 100 women who were surveyed and interviewed for the project.

The book also addresses the church's response to these challenges and provides practical suggestions for the church on how to serve its single members. This work is an encouragement for single women because it views singleness as a gift that holds a distinct purpose for a woman's service to God.

Margot Starbuck's Unsqueezed: Springing Free from Skinny Jeans, Nose Jobs, Highlights, and Stilettos: A book review

I will be honest about this. Margot Starbuck's Unsqueezed: Springing Free from Skinny Jeans, Nose Jobs, Highlights and Stilettos (InterVarsity Press, 2010) is not a book I would typically pick up, let alone excitedly read. With its giant, bright red, high heeled shoe on the cover, and a different pair of shoes gracing the first page of each chapter, I worried that it would be a "fluffy" message about how all women are beautiful—a Christian "chick lit" book that would provide milk when I was longing for meat, to use the metaphor of Hebrews 5.

The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James: A book review

James begins by giving her readers an in-depth look at what it means to be a widow and a barren woman in Old Testament times, a heart-wrenching reality for both Naomi and Ruth. Her treatment on barrenness is particularly full of insight as she describes how God uses pain to engage his people on a deeper level, while also making it clear that the pain of loss can never be glossed over. She writes, "Even when we can pinpoint 'something good' that came out of tragedy, it never balances out what we have lost . . .

Susan McLeod-Harrison's Saving Women from the Church: A Book Review

I had just finished teaching an adult Sunday School class on spiritual gifts when a friend ran up to me and asked, "Did you hear what pastor said today in his sermon—that women can't teach men—and he used you as an example?" In processing my pain and confusion from that day, I found resources from Christians for Biblical Equality that helped me heal, and led me to Jesus. Now, there's a new publication that offers similar hope and healing for women: Susan McLeod­Harrison's Saving Women from the Church—How Jesus Mends a Divide.

Book Review: Jo Anne Lyon's The Ultimate Blessing

JoAnne Lyon feels the way all of us do sometimes—depressed, bitter, lonely, helpless. But she also remembers what we often forget—that through the pain and frustration of human existence, we are blessed by a transcendent God who loves us and promises to be with us always.

Book Review: Crossing the Divide: Daughters of Islam

Daughters of Islam: Building Bridges with Muslim Women is a wonderfully relevant book for Christians who have little knowledge of Islam or the people who subscribe to it. This book helps readers peer into the hearts of Muslim women, to perceive what they feel and think, and to understand how they live.

Book Review: Kate Hurley's Getting Naked Later

Are you still looking for a way to use those two-for-one coupons you long to share with a spouse? Or, are you constantly giving your single friends advice on how to snag a mate? There's something for you in Getting Naked Later, by Kate Hurley. Don't be put off by the title—she never gets into specifics.

Scot McKnight's Junia is Not Alone: A book review

"Let me be clear once more. The editors of Greek New Testaments killed Junia. They killed her by silencing her into non-existence" (p. 14).

Such strong words are echoed throughout this short e-book from Scot McKnight, illustrating how a historical person was systematically eliminated from Bible translations. The record of how this happened is detailed very clearly in Junia is Not Alone: Breaking Our Silence About Women in the Bible and the Church Today—Scot McKnight has definitely done his homework.

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