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Mutuality

I sat in a worn, squeaky auditorium chair at my elementary school, feeling goose bumps as I was suddenly consumed by a vision of my future. I was in fourth grade, and I had just witnessed my music teacher demonstrate every instrument in the string family. Each instrument was impressive, but none of them compared to the cello. Later that night, still caught up in my new dream career of “world-famous cellist,” I announced my plans to start cello lessons to my parents at the dinner table. Read more
In college, I first learned the difference between peacemaking and (what I thought was) peacekeeping. I read Michael Emerson and Christian Smith’s Divided by Faith, which highlights racial inequality and segregation in American churches. While it was easier to ignore the facts in front of me, the answer was simple: I knew racism and division in our churches should no longer be allowed to continue on, unrecognized and unnamed for what it truly was. And while earlier on in my faith walk I might have preferred to “keep the peace,” or “avoid stirring up trouble,” I finally understood then that what we were “keeping” was not the “peace” that God intended for us.  Read more
Some of the most popular Christian books right now seem to equate being a faithful Christian with being a certain kind of man or a certain kind of woman.  Through countless sermons, TV and radio programs, devotionals, articles, best-sellers, podcasts, and blog posts, evangelical Christians are being told that the Bible requires them to conform to gender roles of male headship and female subordination. Many evangelicals have heard this teaching so many times and in so many ways, they’re shocked to learn that the words “role,” “headship,” and “subordination” do not even occur in the Bible. Is there any biblical basis for making gender roles a key component in Christian discipleship?   Read more
What does the word “advocate” mean to you? No one wants to be thought of as apathetic, but is advocacy the best alternative? Before exploring the examples of advocacy in this issue of Mutuality, I would like to take a look at some common misconceptions about what it means to be an advocate. Read more
My friends Paula and Eric welcomed their first baby just three weeks ago. Visiting them a few days after they returned from the hospital, I held baby Avery tightly and stared at his tiny face and unusually thick white blond hair—for only ten minutes before I was overcome with anxiety that I would drop him. Struck by the enormous responsibility that my friends now face, I gratefully (and gently) transferred Avery back into his parents' arms.  Even with nine months to prepare for their new son, in an instant, Eric and Paula’s lives were dramatically and irrevocably changed. All of my friends who have welcomed babies into their lives have embraced the responsibility with joy and patience. Observing them adjust to diaper changes, middle-of the-night feedings, and crying fits has been a lesson to me about trusting God, and having grace for one another and ourselves as we navigate new challenges. Read more
Lot’s wife. Let’s be honest: the story seems pretty bizarre to us. And sad. Two angels tell Lot and his family that their city is doomed. Because they are the only righteous people around, Lot and his family will be spared. “Flee, and do not look back,” the angels say, but Lot’s wife turns around to look at her burning city and is transformed into a pillar of salt (see Gen. 19:1-29). I used to read that passage and, with a bit of discomfort, quickly turn to another chapter in the Bible that was easier to grasp.  Read more
The CBE staff didn’t miss the irony of attending a “global celebration” less than a week after the September 11 terrorist attacks. How dare we ask the world to celebrate when nearly 7,000 people died in one day? Should we laugh and rejoice when people around the world are weeping and mourning? Read more
Women who are called to teach or preach face opposition to their ministries from people who believe that women’s role is to remain quiet in the church and submissive at home. This view of women’s role is so pervasive that women themselves may mistake God’s call for the devil’s temptation. They may resist preaching the gospel in order to fulfil expectations based on their gender. They may remain focused on staying within their own four walls instead of going out into the world to spread the good news. Read more
I was a junior in college when I first discovered biblical equality. Mimi Haddad had come to lecture in one of my classes. Almost a decade later, I still remember it vividly—my perspective from the fourth row of tables where I was situated, the blue and green background colors of Mimi’s PowerPoint slides, the Bible I was using as she directed us to look up particular passages. Most of all, I remember the rush of emotions—shock, which quickly turned to relief, and then to excitement, and finally to determination to do something about all I had learned. I had spent the previous few years wrestling with the idea that the God I loved preferred men over all the gifted women I saw around me. It was like a terrible itch that just wouldn’t go away. But now Mimi was guiding me through biblical passages that affirm the dignity and worth of women, showing me Phoebe the deacon, Priscilla the teacher, even Junia the apostle. The message was, as a CBE member described once to me, a healing balm for my soul. And how grateful I am to Jesus that it came when it did—as I was young and sorting out my gifts and calling and dreams.  Read more
Twenty-three years ago an economist from India, Amartya Sen, reported the largest human holocaust in all of history. His research showed that over 100 million females were missing! Though Sen was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, few were mobilized by the horror he had uncovered. Even the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalists Kristoff and WuDunn said that “when a prominent dissident was arrested in China, we would write a front-page article; when 100,000 girls were routinely kidnapped and trafficked into brothels, we didn’t even consider it news” (Kristoff and WuDunn, Half the Sky, xiv). How could the world be so disinterested in the sufferings of females? Read more

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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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