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Why this blog

If you are wondering “why” this blog and just wondering in general, “what’s up,” maybe I can answer some of the questions!

My name is Carol McLaughlin.  I am a woman in her 50’s, living in Washington State, responding to God’s call toward full time ministry.  In the fall of 2007 I began seminary studies at George Fox Evangelical Seminary toward a Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership.  I discovered you can go back to school, I do have brain cells and they’ve been stretched!  It’s all good.  Truthfully I love my studies.  The seminary professors and staff are amazing.  I have the greatest group of people in my cohort ranging in age from 24 to 56, comprised of at least eight different denominations or none (non-denominational).  There are six women and thirteen men.  We have developed community together as we discuss, ponder, wonder, and even press back when we see things differently.  Through it all we have come to value and appreciate the uniqueness of God revealed in each one.

The Table Together is the fruit developing from a year-long seminary special study class in an area of our choosing.  As a woman who essentially grew up in the church, steeped in traditional conservative evangelical values, the decision to focus on women in ministry leadership has as much to do with “me” discovering and owning my own call to ministry as it has to do with articulating my deepening and growing conviction that our failure to affirm both men and women in ministry leadership has weakened the body of Christ and left the Church increasingly ineffectual in its witness to our risen Lord.

I knew it is important for me to grasp from a Biblical viewpoint what it is to be a woman preparing for ministry – both for myself and for other women that will join these ranks.  In recent years I have become acutely aware that passions run deep concerning the Biblical basis for women in ministry leadership – including pastoral leadership.  Unfortunately I have witnessed the polarizing effects from debate and assumptions.

I hope the name; The Table Together will provide a visual reference for what the kingdom of God should provide—a place, a seat at the table.  As a woman of faith this has at times been challenged, for I have felt as if there was not a place at the table.  In fact when I began my special study the title was, “Is there room at the table?”  The question mark was intentional.  For some – both men and women – it still belongs.

So to my brothers in Christ I hope you will join in and come along on the “blog” journey.  Many men think it’s just a “women’s issue.”  I assure it is not.  It is a body of Christ issue and that involves you.  Your voice is important, so please do not be silent observers.  It is critical that we walk together if we are truly to be at the table together.  So guys you will be encouraged to lend your voice to our discussions and journey.

To my sisters in Christ I know and understand that to venture into the realm might be difficult for some.  I “get” the reluctance.  Last year I was encouraged by someone I have not met (and I have only read her blog) to stay the course.  The wounds in this area go quite deep.  Christ is a compassionate healer and restorer and I hope this will be a safe place for you.  We have much to offer one another as we learn, support and encourage one another.

I affirm Biblical equality, perhaps the word mutuality feels more compatible.  What does that mean?  That will be an ongoing development of our discussion.  To be upfront with you, it does mean that this blog will be written from the standpoint of Biblical equality:

“Biblical equality denies that there is any created or otherwise God-ordained hierarchy based solely on gender…because women and men are made equally in God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:27), are equally fallen (Rom. 3:23),  equally redeemable through Christ’s life, death and resurrection (John 3:16),  equally participants in the new-covenant community (Gal. 3:28), equally heirs of God in Christ (1 Pet. 3:7), and equally able to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit for life and ministry (Acts 2:17).”[1]

I do not expect that we will always agree, in fact I hope that men and women will read and participate in this blog that have different opinions and convictions.  If you have had a different viewpoint or understanding then I ask that you participate with an open mind to consider the other.  My study over the past several months has further convinced me concerning the statement I quoted above, not lessened it.  In fact I ask those that would disagree to consider what exceptions might reveal for us in Scriptures.

For Christ’s sake.

[1] Ronald W. Pierce & Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, General Editors, Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Academic, 2005], p. 13-14.

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