Term of Award

Spring 2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

William L. Smith

Committee Member 1

Pidi Zhang

Committee Member 2

Ted Brimeyer

Abstract

Particular biblical scriptures are used to justify the Southern Baptist Convention's position on leadership, including female ordination. The author uses interviews to examine how women within a Southern Baptist congregation in Southeast Georgia assign meaning to leadership roles and understand particular biblical scripture. The interviews revealed (1) knowledge gaps between the women's stated beliefs and their basic knowledge of their faith, and (2) contradictions between their views and their practices. The interviewees rationalized these gaps and contradictions using explanations of cultural memes and religious male hegemony. The respondents defined leadership in various ways, yet few recognized the power and authority involved in leadership roles.

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