Pastor Lisa the Conversation Continues

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 Pastor Lisa the Conversation Continues

Last week I wrote about Lisa Larges, an amazing woman who has struggled to be ordained by the Presbyterian church for over 20 years. This week, I got to talk to her. She blew me away.

Lisa’s calling out the church for making an “idol of heterosexuality,” misusing its power by “asserting heterosexual normativity” and “enforcing gender” at the cost of its spiritual integrity. Um, wow.

Read on for the rest of our conversation…

When did you know you wanted to be a minister?
I was one of those over-earnest, pious religious kids, who probably was pretty annoying. Even so, the language of faith really spoke to me. I can remember thinking that as far back as 10 or 11. As time has gone by, I think I've become less annoying in that pious sort of way, and more annoying in others, I hope. But what has stayed with me is this sense of calling to serve the church.

When and how did you come out?
By the time I got to college, admitting that I was lesbian was pretty inescapable, though I tried to run away for as long as I could. What's interesting (you be the judge) is that even though I had grownup in a very evangelical Bible reading church, I always knew that being gay was not in conflict with Scripture. The mentors in my church growing up taught me to take the study of Scripture seriously, to know the historical background, to understand the context, to investigate issues of translation, and to read with humility. Coming out was a deep spiritual process, learning to have faith, trust God, and live with integrity.

How did you reconcile the two - coming out as lesbian and a minister?
After college I went on to Seminary, hoping I could figure things out, and planning to live closeted and work in the church. I went to seminary in the mid-80s in the SF bay area, when the AIDS crisis was omnipresent and almost cataclysmic. Working at that time with gay men who were dying made it clear that for me, living in the closet was a luxury I had to give up.

After over 20 years of seeking ordination in the Presbyterian church, why are you still fighting? Is it worth it?
I think it's worth staying as long as there is someone who would be happy to see me leave! But the bedrock reason is that