boo on women…
…so says the southern baptist convention/lifeway resources. well, to be fair, they’re actually saying boo on women pastors and the publishers who choose to feature them on the cover of their magazine.
what you see to the right is the cover of the september/october edition of gospel today. their cover story dealt with breaking the glass ceiling of female leadership/pastors within the church. great idea, right. not so much according to lifeway/sbc.
shortly after receiving their shipment of magazines, lifeway decided to pull every magazine from the shelves of their over-100 store chain of christian bookstores. women pastors is the devil, apparently.
hopefully you just read a small glimpse of my feelings about female leadership and pastors (and gender roles, in general), so i won’t go into some long diatribe about female leadership (obviously, i strongly affirm it and will actively be seeking it out for our church here in little rock). in this case, though, it’s more than just them being against female church leadership. the broader issue is the paternalistic nature of the southern baptist convention (and, certainly, others…but they just happen to be committing the offense here…and are often guilty of this crime).
one of my values—that i would like to believe is also a jesus value—is engaging dialogue that encourages personal decision-making and intellectual biblical self-discovery. in other words, the church, sadly, has a tradition of trying to think for people, rather than encouraging people to self-discover and be led by the holy spirit. in this case, the southern baptist convention—on record—is against women being pastors and other forms of female church leadership that is “over” men. so, when a magazine runs a cover story about female pastors, they find it threatening to their thought control and pulls it from the shelves.
to me, it shows a lack of faith in people’s judgment and personal scholarship (not to mention faith in the holy spirit to lead us to truth) and would rather just tell people what they should believe. that certainly doesn’t reflect the leadership and teaching of jesus.
look, in the end, lifeway is a business and a business has every right (and it sometimes makes sense) to pull something from their shelves that they think is “wrong” or “false teaching” or whatever. but…when you make the big deal be women pastors, that’s pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. if gospel today is running a cover story that says “f**% god” or something like that, then i, by all means, have got your back, lifeway. go ahead and pull it from your shelves. but women pastors? come on. spend your time with real theological issues—not whether people with vaginas should preach a sermon.
(just for the record, i have many friends who are a part of the southern baptist convention and they are great and good people and christians. i just happen to disagree with many of the stances of the convention—just like i sometimes disagree with own denomination’s stances. disagreeing doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. it just means we disagree.)