Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sticking with God's choice...

Dear Friends - 

A love story this morning. Unabashed and unrelenting....for Lisa Larges, the Minister Director of That All May Freely Serve. 

At the end of this week, Lisa will find her case for moving toward ordination coming before the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Synod of the Pacific. Lisa has been a candidate for ministry for well over 20 years, held back because of her openness as the person God ordained her to be, a Lesbian - created in the full glory of the Creator.

Unable to deter Lisa's love for God and the courage that has filled her from that place of call and creation, the opponents of LGBT folk are turning ever more diligently toward the "protections" they can find in the process for ordination and our polity. Some wonder whether these efforts have gone too far, raising the process and the polity to an ideologically rigid and idolatrous level, in effect, relegating the Spirit to second-class status.

In fact, the topic of idolatry is among some of Lisa's writings being raised up in the hearing as "evidence" that she is not fit to serve:

From the docket of Mary Holder Naegeli, J. Mark Stryker and Margaret H. Gelini, Complainants, v. The Presbytery of San Francisco.

"She [Lisa] is is a self-affirmed lesbian who has not been shy about her sexual orientation or behavior. The complaint culls from many of her written statements prepared for the presbytery. They include: 
  • She says she believes that “holy relationships of homosexuality … have parity with marriage.”
  • She calls “celibacy is morally repugnant.”
  •  She says Presbyterian polity “does not bar Presbyterian ministers from marrying same-sex couples.”
  • And she declares that G-6.0106b “makes an idol out of heterosexuality in a relationship of marriage between a man and a woman.”

These and other statements, my friends, clear expressions of Lisa's truth and love - are among the credentials for ordination. 

And, this kind of truth and love will always be targets; we are reminded of that directly during this time of Lent. Just follow the Scriptures...

 I am always struck by the irony that this time of the year, just like 2000 years ago, is a time chosen by the frightened and fearful who try to limit God's call in others. Especially, and almost exclusively, seeking to deter those of us who are LGBT and openly witnessing to the Spirit that insists we come out into the light.  

I am unsure, honestly, whether I love the love of God that is in Lisa more than I love Lisa herself for her courage and faithfulness. Then I remember that such love is always God, embodied in God's messengers, and that they are one and the same. 

God has chosen Lisa and I, in my growing wisdom, am sticking with God's choice.

Please remember to keep Lisa and the Synod of the Pacific in your prayers, praying that the Light of the Spirit gives oppression and marginalization little space for hiding.

3 comments:

Dave Moody said...

Ray,
Are there any particular scripture(s) we're to follow, that would bring us to the same assumptions you hold?

thanks,
dm

Reformed in Herrin said...

I wonder - if call alone qualifies, why do we require a seminary education that includes Greek and Hebrew studies?

I had an opportunity to grade ordination eams once. That year 40% of the candidates who were created to reflect the full glory of the Creator, who were called by God to serve the church, who were approved and endorsed by their respective congregations and presbyteries failed the exam.

If call qualifies candidates then a seminary education, our care process, and ordination exams are all an affront to God who calls - and by calling qualifies candidates for ordination.

Why not scrap all this and simply allow Presbyteries to ordain any they find to be suitable?

Or then again, maybe we should recognize that those who live in sin and those who promote sin offer prima facia evidence that they are not called, and are in no way qualified to serve the Church in ordained positions.

Debbie said...

Really interested to see your response to Dave Moody!

Also--you referred to "the frightened and fearful". Please don't take that easy way out of dismissing your opponents' views. I actually know of no evangelical/orthodox/whatever believers who are frightened or fearful. Please take the time and thought to deal with our views as we express them, instead of ignoring them by dismissing them as mere fear.