The magazine Gospel Today was pulled today from the Lifeway bookstore's shelves. You see, Lifeway is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention. The cover of the magazine features 5 attractive women dressed in black. That's not so unusual. The fact that they are all women Pastors is indeed unusual for this magazine. And the Southern Baptist do not ordain women (how come I have the urge to type "wimmen"?)
This comes on the heels of my preaching last week at a Baptist church. I was probably the first woman in that pulpit in it's 150 year history. I was told by the little Baptist ladies that they had never hear a woman preach before -- and that I "out-preached" some male preacher that they have heard. I also heard someone say, "Well, looky! The walls of the church didn't fall down!" Yes, imagine that.
The call to ministry is hard -- it's not exactly something I would wish upon just anyone. It's lonely and isolating. It's doubly isolating to be doing this as a woman. It's hard to read this in juxtaposition with my previous story. Emotion washes over me -- feelings of anger of course but also a deep abiding sadness. Attitudes like this not only devalue my ministry, but it also tarnishes yesterday's baptism a bit. Was that indeed a second class baptism done by a second class minister? Or can it possibly be that God is bigger that all that? That the only value that there is to ministry is that it points to that higher power -- to God?