According to author Rachel Held Evans, LifeWay Christian Resources will not stock A Year of Biblical Womanhood at its bookstores when it is released later this month, possibly over the book's inclusion of the term "vagina".
- (Photo: Twitter/Rachel Held Evans)
Although Evans, an award-winning Christian author and blogger, affirms that she is not positive as to the exact reason for LifeWay's decision, she believes, presumably, that it may have something to do with the "vagina controversy," also known as "Vaginagate," which occurred in summer 2012.
"I'm disappointed, of course, and not just because I'll take a hit in sales," Evans wrote on her personal blog in reference to LifeWay's decision.
"While LifeWay certainly has every right to choose its own inventory, I think the notion that Christians should dance carefully around reality, that we should speak in euphemisms and only tell comfortable, sanitized stories, is a destructive one that has profoundly affected the evangelical culture as a whole," she continued.
"I hope that by being honest about this journey through the publishing process, we can start engaging in conversations that will bring about change."
In March 2012, Evans received advice from her editor that she should remove the word "vagina" from A Year of Biblical Womanhood, to better accommodate Christian bookstores.
Although Evans initially acquiesced, she received a large rebuke from her fans, urging her to keep the word "vagina" in her book.
As Evans notes, those supporting the use of the word "vagina" contacted Evans' publisher, Thomas Nelson, made t-shirts and started an Amazon petition to keep the word in the book.
Evans agreed to keep "vagina" in her manuscript, and published another post on her blog describing Christian bookstores' "chokehold" on the Christian publishing industry.
"The Christian bookstore experience is, in a word, safe. But safe is not how Christians are called to live, and safe is not what artists who are Christians are called to create," Evans wrote.
"Christian bookstores have a chokehold on the Christian publishing industry," Evans went on, adding, "As a result, the entire Christian industry has been sanitized, while its best artists look elsewhere for publication."
Although Evans believes she was right to keep the word "vagina" in her manuscript for A Year of Biblical Womanhood, others have argued that she is a controversy-seeker.
"[Evans] looks like someone who doesn't know how to take sound advice, [and] she looks like someone who is more concerned with what she thinks is right instead of being concerned with how many hear her message," Pastor Duke Taber of Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Pine Haven, Wy., wrote on his personal blog, Taber's Truths.
"Sorry Rachel, she who lives by controversy, shall die by controversy," he added.
Evans's book, which is a memoir of her one-year experience living as a woman according to the Bible's instructions, has the following description on Amazon: "Strong-willed and independent, Rachel Held Evans couldn't sew a button on a blouse before she embarked on a radical life experiment -- a year of biblical womanhood. Intrigued by the traditionalist resurgence that led many of her friends to abandon their careers to assume traditional gender roles in the home, Evans decides to try it for herself, vowing to take all of the Bible's instructions for women as literally as possible for a year."
According to the book's description, Evans grew out her hair, made her own clothes, covered her head, remained silent in church and even camped out in her front yard during her period.
Although A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master" will not be sold by LifeWay Christian Resources, it will be available at most other retailers, including Christian bookstores. Evan's book is slated for an Oct. 30 release.
Neither Evans nor LifeWay responded to The Christian Post's requests for comments.