The Women in Ministry Series: Permit a Woman to Speak

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Though most readers know her as Tamara Out Loud, Tamara Lunardo has made her noise by writing powerful, hilarious, and deeply honest blog posts that often leave her readers laughing out loud. We’re fortunate to have her guest post today:

I’ve heard it from both sides, each passionate, each convinced, each sure of God’s design.  I’ve heard them trace threads of their own theologies throughout the scriptures, winding them tightly around what they hold true. I’ve heard them tear up Paul’s letters over whether to permit a woman to speak, preach, teach, minister, or lead. I have heard them and heard them and heard them, and I am tired of hearing it.

I am tired of the arguments, the anger, the divisions, the hurt; I am tired of it all. And so I think the most subversive thing I can do amid the fight is to do what I am passionate about, what I am convinced of, what I am sure is God’s design: I can write. I can write because God gifted me to, and when He gives you a gift, you do not debate the merits of using it. You say a humbled thank-you, and then you use it.

And when I write, a funny thing happens: Neither complementarian nor egalitarian need argue. God permits a woman to speak.

When I write stories of Jesus’ meeting me at the well or of His barging in on my Damascus road, God permits a woman to preach. When I write stories of seeing grace light dark places or of learning love in unexpected form, God permits a woman to teach. When I write stories of painful struggle or of raucous laughter, God permits a woman to minister. When I write stories of baring raw honesty or of poking at man-made taboo, God permits a woman to lead.

When I write, God permits a woman to speak, and I am only a whisper in a beautiful, growing chorus.

When God permits a woman to lead, people can share stories long pressing their hearts because they first saw me share mine. When God permits a woman to minister, hurting hearts who would not venture inside a church building can find community in my written spaces. When God permits a woman to teach, a worship leader can pray new hope with thoughts I have put to paper. When God permits a woman to preach, a pastor can reach his congregation with a sermon infused with my imagery.

And for now this is enough; I don’t need to hear the arguments. God permits a woman to speak, and I do.

About Today’s Blogger

profileTamara works out her thoughts on life and faith at TamaraOutLoud.com, occasionally with adult language, frequently with attempted humor, and hopefully with God’s blessing. Editor of What a Woman is Worth through Civitas Press, she holds a BA in English and her five children, when they let her; she almost never holds her tongue.

About the Women in Ministry Series

The Women in Ministry Series is a collection of guest posts that aims to:

  • Provide an alternative to the women in ministry debates by telling the stories of women in ministry.
  • Encourage women to explore their God-given callings.

You can stay updated on the latest post each week by signing up for the weekly e-mail list. (You also get a free E-book!)

Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome to leave a comment. However, this series takes for granted that women are called by God into every facet of ministry. This is not the place to debate that point and such comments will be removed. Women have been told “no” in far too many places. This is one place that is committed to saying “yes.” For more about the comment policy, read here.

Next Week’s Blogger: Cortney Dale

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51 thoughts on “The Women in Ministry Series: Permit a Woman to Speak

  1. Jen Luitwieler

    I awoke again to the same gnawing, growing ache in the pit of my body. Yesterday was a flurry of hatefilled debate, and I want to burrow down deep in the blanket, pretend it never happened.

    Thank you. Both. I don’t have to engaged in the debate. This much is settled for me. Let the noise rage about me. I can do what I was born to do, whatever that is.

    1. Tamara Lunardo

      Oh yes, you can and you do. Your “Run with Me” book fills me up with encouragement and strength every time I pick it back up. God certainly has permitted you to speak, my dear.

  2. Nicole

    Agreed. I am so tired of this debate. I recognize that I am in a community in ministry where my gifts are honored (and that is not everyone’s experience.) But these places–yes, CHURCHES–exist where the men/women debate is not front and central because leadership is busy doing what Tamara said…living out the gifts they have been given. Thank you, for such beautiful words. God has certainly given you a gift through your ministry of writing (teaching, leading, ministering, comforting)….

    1. ed Post author

      It’s so encouraging to see so many churches just getting on with the business of the Kingdom without fighting over theological fiefdoms.

  3. Shawn Smucker

    Preach on, Tamara.

    I was just expressing a similar thought to my mom the other day, that no matter what you believe about the “women in leadership” debate, blogs have given women a huge platform to teach and preach and encourage. I think that our generation will become so used to being taught and challenged and lifted up by women (in blogs) that it will not be so much of a stretch for the broader Christian world to begin accepting that same teaching and admonishment, preaching and encouragement, from women on the stage or behind the pulpit.

    Thanks to you (and all the other incredible women bloggers out there) for paving the way for my two daughters.

    1. ed Post author

      Right on Shawn. I’ve been saying lately that I’m willing to let any woman who believes in complementarianism to “teach” me about it and if she convinces me, I’ll submit to her authority. ;) But seriously, these debates just drive me crazy, so it’s really refreshing to just focus on the stories. It’s the stories that convince me. If God really is God, then he is powerful enough to convince women about what they should and should not do.

  4. Lizzie

    Amen, Tamara! You’ve got me in tears, and I doubt I’ll be the only one today because this argument hurts. It wounds the hearts of women and sparks little insecurities that quickly fan into flames, I know this personally. Your voice is so strong, and it’s a gift – to you and your readers. Thanks SO much for this!

    1. Tamara Lunardo

      We all have to do our own thing in our own way. Perhaps now you need to hear the arguing so that you will know where you’re most needed. Because you surely have a voice for speaking.

  5. Alise

    My sister, I love your bold words! I’m so grateful for your voice and for the way that you allow yourself to be used by God for his good work. You’re one of the fearless ones and I love your for that.

  6. Lisa notes

    You read my mind. You speak my heart.

    I get so weary of the arguments, too. Of trying to gently convince others to spare the crumbs from the table. We do speak in many ways; God hears every one.

    And today we all hear you, loud and clear. Thank you, sister.

  7. Marilyn Gardner

    Tamara – I am stunned and so grateful for the truth of your words. Thank you for living your gift out loud, for speaking truth through the written word and for bringing others along. That’s all!

  8. dan mcm

    I see a chorus of amens going by, and I just have to add mine to the pile.

    Amen!

    Just keep doing what you’re doing, Tamara (which happens to be greatly blessing people) and say “whatevs” to the white noise out there.

  9. Kristin T. (@kt_writes)

    This is beautiful and true and inspiring, Tamara:

    “I think the most subversive thing I can do amid the fight is to do what I am passionate about, what I am convinced of, what I am sure is God’s design: I can write.”

    I am so glad you can and do write, and you inspire other women to share their stories. We are fortunate, I guess, that writing is our gift and there seem to be no “rules” in the Bible about women not writing. I only wish that all women were able to use and share all their gifts, whatever they are. It’s hard to be content with just the writing (or nursing or mothering or singing) until that is the case.

    (Thank you so much, Ed, for hosting such an important series.)

    1. Tamara Lunardo

      It is hard. It’s hard to enjoy flourishing when I see others dragged down. But my hope is that in answering our own callings, we can strengthen those who feel called in ways that some of the world doesn’t understand. I think our friend Ed has done a good, gracious, healing thing here in shining a light on some of the ways that can happen.

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  12. erin a.

    thank you tamara. this is very good & very encouraging. women should just be emboldened to use their god-given gifts & tell their life message. thank you for your doing your part to strengthen us up!

  13. Elizabby

    Great post! Thanks for reminding me that I don’t have to *fight* these issues all the time – just keep speaking/writing. That’s good. I get so tired of the fighting sometimes…

    1. ed Post author

      That’s what this series is all about. We’re just telling the stories for everyone who wants them. Those who don’t want them, don’t have to read them. We’re not fighting anymore. We’re just encouraging one another as witnesses of what God has done… which basically sounds like the kinds of things the Holy Spirit liked to do in the book of Acts: send out witnesses.

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