Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lifeway Hides the Women (Pastors)

I found this news about Lifeway's "hiding" of the magazine 'Gospel Today' under the sales counter (by request only) interesting on several fronts. The magazine's cover and feature article is apparently about women who are pastors, with five women on the cover who fill the role of pastor.

While the discussion over women in ministry is and will continue to be a hot-button issue in evangelical churches, Lifeway's choice is interesting to me in a much broader light.

Lifeway is notorious for its slick marketing and sales of a wide range of products ("Christian bookstore" is only a part of what these stores should be known as). A typical Lifeway store carries so many items on its shelves which are arguably antithetical to what the Bible calls the church and Christians to be that one must be in shock that Lifeway is actually "hiding" anything at all.

As a minister who is baptist, I would only recommend a fraction of the books on the shelves in Lifeway to begin with, and I would strongly caution most people about reading a percentage of the books there. Most people place too much trust in the title "Christian" on the sign of any Christian bookstore, and then they go in expecting everything on the shelves to be sound. (If you're looking for something good to read, ask your pastor or check one of these lists for starters - and btw, most of the books on this list will probably not be on the shelf of a typical Lifeway store - try ordering them from CBD - - or, Amazon, if the price is better.)

The problem is not with Lifeway drawing a line as to what they will put on the shelves. The problem is that Lifeway has been all things to all people for so long that when Lifeway decides to draw a line many of its customers are going to cry "foul."

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