I’m continuing my study of “mutuality” for a presentation in Atlanta in March. I ran across a very interesting paper relating mutuality and missions. However, I think many of the concepts will carry over into relationships among believers not in a missions context.
Here are some of the interesting passages:
[M]utuality is the sharing of “power-with” by and among all parties in a relationship in a way that recognizes the wholeness and particular experience of each participant toward the end of optimum flourishing of all. (Dawn M. Nothwehr, “Mutuality and Mission: A No ‘Other’ Way,” Mission Studies 21.2 (2004), 254)
[T]here are four forms of “mutuality”: cosmic, gender, generative, and social. These forms of mutuality are retrieved from classical Christian theology, and define the maximum flourishing of humanity in relation to four areas: the cosmos, gender relationships, divine-human co-generativity, and human sociality. (Ibid., 256)
By the way, my research is in the fourth area: mutuality in the area of human relationships, which she calls “Social Mutuality”:
The fourth and final form of mutuality is social mutuality. This form of mutuality is exemplified in the life and ministry of Jesus and is the moral goal for the Christian life…. Living as Jesus lived, with a commitment to mutuality, enables us to bear God into the world. Fidelity to mutuality frequently requires making sacrifices for the cause of radical love, creating and sustaining relationships, or righting wrong relationships, and it is exemplified by countless persons, both named and nameless, who have suffered for the sake of mutuality…. The Holy Spirit animates and empowers people enabling them to choose to share in a common power with those less powerful or oppressed. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, people become friends with God and seek the good for one another. It is fidelity to this power of mutuality that motivates people to make sacrifices for the sake of the Reign of God, in freedom and with full integrity. Jesus demonstrated this fidelity through his kenosis of patriarchy, proving that “power-with” is of greater value than “power-over” in bringing about the Reign of God in history (Ibid., 258-60)
I think this a good start for my study of mutuality. What do you think?