11.25.2013

An Open Letter to LifeWay Christian Bookstore

To the fine people at LifeWay Christian Books:

It has come to my attention that you are currently selling a book called Any Day a Beautiful Change: A Story of Faith and Family through your online store. I am writing to inform you that this book is entirely inappropriate and out of line with your usually impeccable standards for Christian books.

A few examples:

1. It is well-documented that you do not carry books that use the proper word for female anatomy. After all, this proper word is obviously completely improper. And yet, consider this quote from Any Day a Beautiful Change:
It's impossible to explain the situation without talking even more about my soon-to-be-traumatized ladyparts, but let's face it: childbearing generally involves vaginas. (pg. 18)
And it's not even just one vagina, but plural vaginas! There's even mention of a cervix, and the word "nipples" is in the manuscript six times. The horror!

2. It is also well-known that you do not carry books that promote newfangled ideas about women's lib. Case in point:
And yet there is an entire chapter in this book that supports women in ordained ministry.
One of my childhood pastors was female. As a teenager, some of my best mentors were female pastors. I went to seminary for three years (where many of my professors were ordained female clergywomen) and earned a Master of Divinity degree. My home church as well as the regional committee on ministry discerned that I have a call to ordained ministry. The General Minister and President of my denomination is a woman. My first church unanimously called me to be their first female solo pastor. I have a phenomenal support network of clergy friends, many of whom are women. 
When I called upon that circle for a little encouragement, they lovingly echoed the voice of the Holy Spirit, confirming in a hundred different ways that God calls women into ministry and that God had called this woman into ministry. (pg. 45)
It sounds like the author of Any Day a Beautiful Change is a Jesus Feminist.

3. As you may know, last week the state of Illinois officially became the sixteenth state to allow same-sex marriage. This controversial issue is only addressed briefly, but the author's stance is quite clear.
Mazel Tov! (pg. 43)
4. Your first Core Value listed on your web site relates to the Bible: "We believe the Bible is the eternal, infallible, inerrant Word of God and is the plumb line for everything we say and do."
[1 Timothy 2:11-15] alternately angered and fascinated me; I couldn't imagine how I'd been a Christian -  pastor - for so long without having ever seriously considered these words. My previous tack had been to simply ignore them, to write them off as culturally irrelevant drivel and as a sign that while the Bible may be inspired, it is far from inerrant. (pg. 46)
Emphasis mine.

5. Language, language, language.
I found myself undertaking projects I'd previously considered to be Martha Stewart bullshit (not to put too fine a point on it). I pureed homemade baby food, started collecting fabric scraps to sew a sundress for Juliette, and convinced Benjamin we should invest in cloth diapers. And, in my new-to-me Williams Sonoma bread machine, I baked loaf after aromatic loaf of increasingly delicious bread. (pg. 92) 
On the other hand, maybe the author practices biblical womanhood after all.

Sincerely,
Katherine Willis Pershey
author, Any Day a Beautiful Change: A Story of Faith and Family


p.s. I'm not usually this snarky. Really. Sometimes it just can't be helped.

EDITED TO ADD:
Sure enough, I kind of regret having let the snark take over. Not exactly a retraction, but a little more context and explanation here

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