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Mutuality

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
I heard a preacher recently declare, “Don’t let the facts blind you to the truth.” Can facts overshadow truth? Consider the Cross. Imagine how the disciples must have felt as they watched Jesus die on that hill. Though the Romans nailed Jesus to the tree, though his corpse was bound and sealed in a cave, within a few days these facts were swallowed by the truth — that Jesus, the Lord of the universe was alive, as he had promised. Read more
When I hear the words, “home economics,” I think of a class of high school girls from the 1950s, their hair in flips and wearing frilly aprons. When most people think of plain-old “economics,” they think of things like interest rates and stock market values. But home economics is far more serious than either of these ideas. It is fitting that Mutuality devote an issue to this subject, because the original economics of the home is the source of patriarchy — the ultimate lack of mutuality, not only between men and women, but also among men themselves. For as professor of Christian origins S. Scott Bartchy points out in his article, “Understanding Ancient Patriarchy,” patriarchy is not just the subordination of women to men, but the dominance of a few men over everyone else, male and female.  Read more
Sam had a hard time with the concept at first. He grew up as a Southern Baptist, so the idea of a woman pastor seemed sort of heretical to him. He had always subconsciously imagined that his wife would do everything that his mom used to do for him (cook, clean, pick up after him). The first time we really talked about it was after a Bible study we attended together where Pastor Dora Wang led us to the truth that God doesn’t intend for women to be silent in the church. After that, we had heated debates and arguments and very productive conversations about its implications. We talked about it all the time — in emails during the day, while cooking in the evening, while brushing our teeth late at night. It was an ongoing conversation for days and weeks.    Read more
Hospitality conjures ideas of cookies and coffee or magazine covers of gracious living. We think of entertaining in the home, and of women making guests comfortable. In fact, the more hospitality has become associated with the home and women in the last century, the more it has been sentimentalized and trivialized. A Christian view of hospitality is so much more. It is God’s welcoming work through both men and women in the world. When we reduce hospitality to the domestic sphere only or assign it to “women’s work,” we lose the spiritual power of this counter-cultural and life-changing witness of our faith. I call this powerful witness “gospel hospitality,” or the radical welcome God offers to all people throughout Scripture. God’s welcome is the ground of all hospitality that we practice in Christian life. Read more
Classes include housekeeping, budgeting, being your husband’s best friend, keeping an organized house, and sewing. There are “leadership” classes, but the brochure and class descriptions make it clear that this is leadership intended to be used exclusively in women’s and children’s ministry. The counseling classes make it clear that women are to counsel only other women — according to the Titus 2 model. My favorite class module was this one: Read more
A few years back, I spent a week assisting third graders as they traveled through “The Great Adventure,” the theme of my local church’s Vacation Bible School. After beginning each morning singing the books of the Bible to the tune of “La Bamba,” we settled down for Bible story time. Read more
American historians have noted how the vastness of our country — our immense physical space — contributes to our culture as Americans. One historian suggests that “space and race” are the two most prominent features that characterize America. We are a diverse people with lots of room to move. And, we possess the freedom to move through our vastness largely as we choose.   Read more
Q:  My church is unwilling to address the gender debate, feeling that it is too divisive. I have tried many times to advocate for women, but I am labeled as a trouble-maker and a radical. How do I, in a non-threatening way, encourage my church to examine the issue? A: This is a familiar dilemma and there are no easy answers. Perhaps some of the following suggestions will be helpful: Read more
As a history major in college, one of the first lessons I learned was the persuasive power of the phrase even if.  This phrase relates to how historians use documents — such as diaries, court records, letters, and other texts — that hold clues regarding the past. Far from being neutral “fact-containers,” however, documents from previous eras, just like documents written today, contain and reflect the experiences and biases of their authors. The power of even if comes into play when historians use documents of a certain bent, that is, those with an inclination to tell one side of the story, as evidence in favor of the other side.  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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