Saturday, September 20, 2008

I guess I won't be buying items from Lifeway Bookstores anymore

Gospel Today magazine pulled from Christian bookstores’ shelves
Fayetteville-based publication features women pastors on cover

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Smiling women on the cover of a slick magazine. Sold from under the counter. Must request it from store clerk.

That’s not something a buyer would typically find in a Christian bookstore. Not unless it’s one of the more than 100 Lifeway Christian Bookstores across the United States, including about six in metro Atlanta.

Gospel Today, the Fayetteville-published magazine, was pulled off the racks by the bookstores’ owner, the Southern Baptist Convention. The problem? The five smiling women on the cover are women of the cloth — church pastors.

Southern Baptist polity says that’s a role reserved for men.

Teresa Hairston, owner of Gospel Today, whose glossy pages feature upbeat articles about health, living, music and ministry, said she discovered by e-mail that the September/October issue of the magazine had been demoted to the realm of the risque.

“It’s really kind of sad when you have people like [Gov.] Sarah Palin and [Sen.] Hillary Clinton providing encouragement and being role models for women around the world that we have such a divergent opinion about women who are able to be leaders in the church,” Hairston said. “I was pretty shocked.”

Chris Turner, a spokesman for Lifeway Resources, which runs the stores for the Southern Baptist Convention, said, “It is contrary to what we believe.”

It bases those beliefs on their interpretation of New Testament Scriptures.

Southern Baptist representatives at national meetings have adopted statements saying women should not be pastors, but each church is independent. A few churches have selected women, such as Decatur First Baptist, where the Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell preaches each Sunday from the pulpit.

Pastor Tamara Bennett of California is one of the featured pastors on the magazine cover and talks in the article about the challenges of breaking through the stained-glass ceiling.

“God’s assignment is that no souls are lost and all are saved,” Bennett said. “Gender is not how God sees it. We are about winning souls, period.”

Southern Baptists are not the only ones to frown on women preachers. Catholics, the largest Christian denomination in the nation, do not allow women priests. And some conservative evangelical groups, such as the Presbyterian Church in America, do not ordain women.

“We weren’t trying to pick a fight,” Hairston said. “We just did a story on an emerging trend in a lot of churches.”


Timothy said...

>"Catholics, the largest Christian denomination in the nation, do not allow women priests"

For Catholics its not a matter of "Don't allow", buy "there's no authority to ordain".

God bless...


Bug said...

Like you said, just don't buy anythng from 'em. You should not support businesses that have beliefs that you think are fundamentally wrong. Get Online and order anything you want from Cokesbury, the Methodist book publisher.

As you know I was raised Baptist, and, now I am married to a Catholic. I go to mass with him occasionally and I believe the Catholic church and Baptist church have many things right. I believe, however, they are WRONG, on this issue.

In Biblical times, men were in charge of all things. Men wrote the Bible and demoninations still use their sexist biases to find what they want to in the scriptures. There was "no authority to ordain," because there was no authority for women to do anything but stay home, cook, clean and have babies. (Which by the way, is FINE, if that is what a woman wants to do. I enjoyed my time at home being a mommy, wife and homemaker. I, now enjoy my time being a teacher and making my own money.)

If Catholics and Baptist believe so strongly that only men should be leaders, they should not let women teach their children in school, they should not go to women doctors, and they should not have voted for Hillary in the primary. Baptists and Catholics are conservative (as am I) but they should NOT vote for John McCain (even though he is against abortion) because his running mate is a woman.

As you can see, this has pushed one of my buttons. This blog has gotten me "riled up" early this Sunday morning. Think I'll skip my service at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church and go on over to St. Mark Lutheran where I can hear the Rev. Lori Lowe deliver the message.


P.S. Beth, you know you are a little prejudiced on this issue because you were raised by me. AND, your first pastors (that you remember) were a husband and wife team. Remember, John and Carol Winn at FUMC in Houma?