After years of struggle, Lisa Larges will be ordained and installed October 10 at Lake Nakomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. Here Statement of Faith is unusually creative and spot on. Last Tuesday, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area approved her call to ordination with standing applause. Here’s Lisa’s statement of faith:
And from love grace.
And through grace we claim what is beyond us to know:
That the source of all that is, is for us.
And that this source, expressed love, is sovereign over
all of life and death, all that is, has been, and is yet
And because love is not in itself alone, therefore love
In love, through love, by love, we were created.
Created together with the whole world.
And not world, worlds.
So that star and worm, soil and sea, rock
and leopard – life known to us and life unknown was
claimed by the Holy and called by the Holy,
And still there is this in us:
Something that fights life.
Something broken, even yes, violent.
Call it sin.
Sin in me, in this world.
In this world, but also in me.
So that love, and by love grace Must come in to this
Must be here in the midst of us.
Abiding in this broken, wrecked world, to bring life,
So call this love, this grace, God.
And this breaking in to the world, call Christ.
Christ in a person who was Jesus.
And this Jesus among us, healing, teaching, confronting,
In everything, one of us. In everything, holy.
And then, death came.
Because death comes.
Christ. The resurrection of Jesus.
And, that restoration, that wholeness, that life, call it
And we now, seeking in the Way,
We have the gift of one another.
Call that gift church – “God’s provisional demonstration”
For he was love in a time of terror.
And love is always a threat to usurped power.
So by injustice, fear, and force, he was put to death.
– – – – –
Then life came.
Then life came.
Then, life came.
Life the last word.
Life, the Word.
Life for us, for freedom, for love.
Life that is resurrection, the resurrection of the
of the holy intention for all living things.
And we learn with and through one another forgiveness
and reconciliation, repentance, and beginning again.
And this love in us, this capacity to turn to one another,
to learn and forgive, is grace at work in us – and
that work is the mystery we call the Holy Spirit.
And together we enact the eternal promise of welcome
and belonging, of community and service, and
enactment we call sacrament: Baptism and
Communion, by which community is made with
and through us.
So that by this love, and through this grace, and in the
gift of the spirit and by the tending of community and
the call to lay our hearts down in service, we may be
love for this world.
This world that God so loved.
Thee years before the decision, Lisa wrote a long description of her personal journey as a very public focus of church debate and discussion. An excerpt is republished here:
My friend and mentor Janie Spahr has counseled many LGBT folks like me struggling with the questions of whether to stay in the church, whether to pursue a call in our church, or come out to their congregation. The question she will ask is, “Are you willing to be curriculum for the church?”
All of the ups-and-downs and ins-and-outs of this long judicial process have been part of what it means to be curriculum for the church. We have to learn together, and we don’t seem to learn well in the abstract. And I can’t say that it’s been anything but a privilege to do this work. At the same time, even as I understand in a deep way that the whole of this journey, and the good work of being “curriculum” has been a part of my sense of calling, this judicial process has also been personally painful. The many delays, and the waiting, have exacted a cost. There’s a kind of spiritual pain here that I’m still figuring out. Suffice it to say that our judicial process, as necessary as it may be, is hard on everyone, from the commissioners to the legal counsels on both sides, to the individuals whose lives are directly affected.
But we believe in a God who is the redeemer of time, and we strive for that equanimity of thanksgiving that Paul speaks of and practiced in his own life. “Gratitude in good times,” Calvin said, “patience in adversity, and [most of all] a wonderful security respecting the future.”
Thank you Gordon for sharing this very deep and personal testimony. Thank you Lisa for your courage, strength, and clarity in expressing so beautifully what most of us struggle to explain…the mystery and simplicity of God and Love and Grace. I look forward to your continuing ministry.
Linda, I know your comment will bring joy to Lisa and others in the great cloud of LGBT fiends and witnesses.
I haven’t wept over anything “religious” in years and years, and I wept at this. Was touched. This is truly a remarkable being.
Barb, Lisa is, indeed, a remarkable human being. I didn’t mention that she has no sight because that tends to turn the conversation away from the writing and the person. She sees things very clearly.