Only once in my entire life did someone tell me I couldn't be a minister because I was a female. I remember the experience well. I was a junior in high school, I had just realized my call would lead me to seminary and ultimately to ordination. I was sharing my enlightenment with some friends when one of them told me, "You can't do that."
I was taken aback. Upon asking why I couldn't do that he responded, "Because you are a girl."
For the next two weeks we went back and forth proof-texting one another. (For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, proof-texting is when you pull one or two verse scriptures to prove your point. It is simplistic and wrong.) Eventually, neither of us won and we had to agree to disagree. Today, I don't even remember his name.
I took a couple of things away from that conversation. First, biblical faith is a complex web of understanding. How I have been raised to understand the bible and how the person I was communicating with was raised made our conversation almost impossible to engage in an easy way. If you are reading today to have your mind magically changed about female ministerial leadership, well, you should probably stop reading. A real change in your biblical faith requires discernment and reflection.
Also, I realized being a woman in the bible belt meant I needed to have a strong biblical argument for female ministry. It didn't matter if I was spiritually and prayerfully engaged in this life changing decision. (Which I was and I am) If I wanted to be taken seriously I better be able to talk about it from a biblical standpoint.
God calls women. Before there were kings there were judges, and guess what one of those judges were? That's right, a woman. Deborah. Look her up. When God needed a leader to save the Israelites from destruction guess who was called? That's right, a woman. Esther, look her up. When Jesus needed a message shared with the Samaritans guess who got to share it? That's right, a woman. The woman at the well, look her up. When Jesus wanted to share the Easter story guess who was given the right to tell it first? That's right, a woman. Mary, look her up. We can proof-text anyone out of accepting a call. In the end actions speak louder than words.