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Mutuality

Sister Gertrude Morgan made a record. She made it using crayons, poster paint, pens, and even shoe polish on all kinds of surfaces from cardboard to canvas. She made it using spirituals, gospel hymns, shouts, chants, and songs she made up on the spot, sometimes accompanied by piano, guitar, and always with percussion. She made it in orphanages, prisons, street corners, jazz festivals, art galleries, and her living room. She made it in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Read more
“You’re what?” “Are you kidding?” “Is that some sort of a joke?” “How do you make that work?” “Aren’t you a walking contradiction?” These are the typical responses I get when folks find out that I’m an evangelical male college professor who teaches feminist studies. I’ve been teaching courses on history and gender for over a dozen years now; I’ve also spent most of that time as a volunteer leader with my church’s senior high youth group. Both in my career and ministry, I am committed to reconciling what many think can’t be reconciled: feminist principles and Christian faith. Read more
I was born into privilege thrice over. I am white; I am male; I am American. And all that privilege provides me with the shortcut, the front row seat, the illusion of my own sufficiency. Yet, I need help, and I need it terribly. How terribly? Let me tell you a little about it. Read more
I can’t remember a time when I did not think women were equal to men. My parents’ upbringing must have indoctrinated me before I was old enough to know that some people disagreed with them. What did my parents tell me? My guess is, it was never mentioned. But I clearly remember being impressed when I was very young with my father’s utter devotion to my mother and my thinking that girls and women were about as close to angels as you could get on earth. (My understanding has since expanded, but I still think some of them are.) Read more
“How many babies does she have in there?” I exclaimed as my seven-year-old daughter altered my drawing of a pregnant woman. Sarah giggled and proceeded to make my stick figure ten times the size of any mother of multiples. Read more
I believe that left-handed people are fully capable and called by God for ministry. I believe left-handed people can serve in ordained ministry or any other capacity, just as right-handed people can. However, some oppose left-handers. They believe that God made left- and right-handers equal in essence only, while denying them access to certain vocations. Ordained ministry is for the right-handers only, as the claim goes. Believe it or not, the Bible does portray left-handers in ministry. Take Judges 3:15: “Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer — Ehud, a left-handed man...” I’m guessing you have never heard of Ehud, I know I hadn’t until I met a few left-handers trying to respond to their calling…. Read more
As a spiritual director, I recommend to people who are trying to heal childhood religious experiences that they return to the scene of the crime and forgive people for what happened. Little did I know that I had another important step in my own process of forgiving people for my childhood religious experiences. It caught me completely by surprise. A religious women’s book group chose to read my book, The Critical Journey, and asked me to speak to them about the journey of faith. I arrived at the leader’s home eager to have a dialogue about faith with this group. The hostess greeted me and I met a few of the other women over coffee and cookies before we started. Then we all met in the large family room for our conversation. After introductions, the leader asked me to give my personal testimony, so I told my faith story, including the ups and downs of my faith, a few of the gifts and pains of my early religious experiences, my training as a spiritual director, and my role as a healer in the arena of domestic violence.  Read more
I’ve always been puzzled by forgiveness. With little experience of God’s power to renew and heal — but a lot of “shoulds” in my head about how I needed to be a loving person — I thought forgiveness was about silencing my intellect, shutting my mouth, squelching my anger at unjust situations, and then forcing a smile that was so automatic, even I believed it communicated how I felt. What does it mean to forgive someone who has hurt me? What does unconditional love entail? How is forgiveness related to my convictions about justice and truth? And how, if at all, is my loving and forgiving another related to God’s love and forgiveness for me?  Read more
As a spiritual director, I recommend to people who are trying to heal childhood religious experiences that they return to the scene of the crime and forgive people for what happened. Little did I know that I had another important step in my own process of forgiving people for my childhood religious experiences. It caught me completely by surprise. Read more
Going down the stairs on that last day, I intentionally kept my hand on the rail, trying to burn the memory of its feel in my mind. This would be the last time I would ever go down these stairs — the last time I would touch this railing. Beginning the weeks and days before, the weight of what I would be losing grew and I wanted to hold on to whatever memory I could. 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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