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Mutuality

What do evangelical Christians mean when they use words like “equal,” “complementary,”—or even “biblical”—to describe the truth about gender? Egalitarian and complementarian scholars discussed these issues at sessions hosted by the Evangelicals and Gender study group at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) annual meeting entitled, “What is Truth?” Read more
I only look 16. I preface my column with that statement because I have often been mistaken for a high school student. While getting my hair cut, my 19-year-old stylist asked me what grade I was in. My financial planner thought I was my husband’s daughter. At a church I visited, people in my demographic put on their “talking to a teenager” voices and asked if I was having problems meeting people “my own age.” And I am intimately familiar with the patronizing looks people give teenagers — I’ve been the recipient of those looks for 14 years. Read more
The memories of child prostitutes on the streets of Bangkok are still swirling in my head. Even as the Lausanne prayer team walked and prayed through the streets of Thailand, one prostitute begged them to take her home. How can we encounter such suffering with- out longing to make a difference? Read more
On a Sunday morning in downtown Portland, Deborah Loyd stands to offer the message to a crowd of 150 at the church she planted with her husband, Ken, and best friend, Crystal. Her white-blonde dreadlocks tucked neatly in a colorful scarf, tattooed arms outstretched so she can read the text for today’s sermon — Deborah defies the modern church’s definition of what a pastor should be. Read more
The walls of my dining room are umber and the ceiling glows warm red. Mike and Alicia are here early, as usual, and they circle the room lighting all the little tea lights on the plate rail. There is soup on the stove in the kitchen and I have prayed for each member of my crew as I chopped and stirred until the kitchen is covered with peels and splatters. There is a chalice on the table, a plate with bread from the bakery down the street. Sean is in charge of music and pro- vides a CD he has named “The Sanctified Mix.” We gather round the table. We sing a Peruvian tune in call-and-response. We pray our Sabbath prayer: Blessed are you, Oh Lord our God, who has given us the fruit of the vine, the grain of the earth, the blood of your vein, the pulse of your heart. We break bread. We pour soup. We drink wine. We keep Sabbath. We are a house church, a neo-monastic order. We are Thursday Night Gathering. Read more
When Rebecca* saw the notice in the church bulletin about a short-term mission trip to Haiti, she was elated. For years she had felt called to the small, impoverished nation and she believed she could offer much to the islanders. After the service, Rebecca approached her pastor and told him she wanted to sign up for the trip. She was shocked when he scoffed. Read more
“You need to find a husband,” my stylist announced, briskly clipping my curls. Ignoring my silence, Janet (not her real name) bubbled about an eligible male customer of hers who was “just right” for me. There was a time when such comments about my single state would rub me raw. To Janet and the others who meddled in my personal life, a woman my age should be in the happily-ever-after set — not still searching for Mr. Right. If a thirty-some-thing woman hadn’t tied the knot, folks thought something was wrong with her. For many years, I agreed with them. The word single sounded like a disease to be avoided at all costs. Sometimes the Bible’s support for the single life helped me feel less weird. But if being single was so great, as the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7, then why did most of my friends constantly date in an effort to head toward the altar? And why did the few single women I knew seem like miserable misfits? I concluded marriage and motherhood equaled “success” for a female; singleness branded her a failure. Read more
Growing up, my father’s esteem was the most important in my life. Throughout my childhood I attempted to meet — and exceed — his expectations for me. I longed for his approval. If he thought I was smart, I was. If he thought I was pretty, I was. If he thought I was worthy of love, I was. My father’s sense of who I was shaped who I wanted to be. And it shaped who I wanted to be with. Whether a girl’s relationship with her father was good or bad, existent or not, he is still the first man in her life. As girls move from child-hood to adolescence to adulthood, their fathers are often the first people they turn to discover their worth. Read more
Did you know that the Bible is filled with single people who were loved, called and used by God? Whether prophets or widows, eunuchs or church leaders, these single souls served God “with gladness and singleness of heart.” And the greatest among them was the Son of God. Read more
Christians condemned to death by fire were asked by their anxious families and friends to raise their hands if the suffering was endurable. Onlookers awaited the signal. As the flames began to rise and consume their victims, one by one these noble martyrs waved their hands overhead exuberantly as if to say God’s ecstatic presence met them in the flames. What seemed a horrific death to onlookers was, in reality, a participation in God’s boundless joy. Things are not always as they appear. God, as C.S. Lewis has suggested, is not safe, but he is always good. 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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