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Mutuality

My world changed in 2008 when I listened to a Namibian woman speak about her experience of being raped three times as a teenager. I was aware that violence against women was an important issue, but it had not affected my heart. I felt God challenging me about what kind of world we had created—a world of broken relationships, in which many women suffer horrific violence and some men commit crimes against them with apparent impunity. Read more
Just a year ago a slender, 13-year-old South African girl was healthy and active, but now she lies on a straw pad, unable to walk or feed herself. She is HIV-positive. Read more
At the beginning of 1981, I became invisible. The occasion for this strange phenomenon was my return to New Zealand, with four young daughters, after the death of my husband when we were missionaries in Nepal. Read more
In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln noted the hostility and conflict between Christians across the Mason Dixon line. As the American clash over slavery split families, churches, and the entire nation, Lincoln pondered why the lines of hostility were drawn down the middle of the Church. Lincoln said, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other…The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.” Read more
Look what God is doing in the lives of women and men partnering together to bring the whole gospel to the whole world! These portraits of Chinese, Nigerian and Indian women in ministry are excerpts from papers given at the Lausanne Conference for World Evangelism. Read more
When we talk about mutual submission, unconditional love or service through giftedness rather than gender, we are often conscious of the tension between these biblical ideals and the realities of a Church that is still “under construction.” While we pray for and envision a Church in which all Christians may serve through giftedness rather than gender, class or race, we are often sideswiped by the tenacious presence of sin that weakens our witness and drains our effectiveness. At times we are, as Soren Kierkegard suggests, “a glorious ruin.” We seem caught between what theologians call the “already and the not yet.” Church reformers such as Sojourner Truth, Frances Willard and William Wilberforce experienced this tension deeply as they pressed into God’s Spirit to build a society few had dreamed possible — a world without slavery. Read more
Princess Kasune Zulu learned about a disease called AIDS in her early 20s in Zambia. Even though she was healthy and didn’t suspect she had it, she felt compelled to check her HIV status. Read more
Sister Peng pays a high price to be a Christian in China. She has been arrested many times, and she will go to jail again if the police catch her preaching the gospel. Forced to live as a fugitive, she must sneak into her home at night to visit her husband and young daughter. The first time Peng was taken into custody, just after the Tienanmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989, she was delivering a fresh shipment of Chinese Bibles to some unregistered pastors. She was thrown into a dirty detention cell and tortured with an electric cattle prod in an effort to force a confession of her “crimes.” She shivered in that cell for months. Guards offered no coats, blankets or feminine hygiene supplies. “For eight months I had no contact with anyone. I just ate soup in my cell,” Peng told me when I visited China three years ago. “It is really God’s mercy that he fed me and kept me warm.”  Read more
Imagine waking up one day without sensations in your body. You make a cup of hot tea and drink it without noticing the burning to your hands, mouth and throat. You sit through a long meeting forgetting to shift in your chair, because you cannot feel the loss of circulation in your legs or back. Dr. Paul Brand noted the devastation of patients living with leprosy, a crippling disease that robs the body of its capacity to feel pain and therefore protect itself. Read more
As the Mutuality editor, I pride myself on keeping the publication organized by planning ahead. Each issue follows a series of deadlines — dates when articles are due, editing is completed and the issue is published. This planning also applies to the themes addressed in each issue, as these are determined about a year in advance. Except this time. Read more

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Book Review: Forgotten Girls: Stories of Hope and Courage

A Tibetan girl named Sonam used to spend her days collecting dung for fuel and desperately trying to patch the worn sides of the tent she shared with her mother. That is, until something as simple as a basic cinder-block house freed her family from the elements and allowed her to attend school. Then there's Meerim, an accomplished young Kyrgyz woman who was kidnapped and forced to reject her Christian faith for an unwanted Muslim marriage. And Mai Lin, a Chinese AIDS orphan. After years of rejection by her community, she was educated and cared for at a Christian school.

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.

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