Mission Accomplished?

There are moments that mark a movement, just as there are moments that mark a life. For me, so many of those moments in the More Light Movement seem intimately embedded in the moments of my own life.

The moment of my birth, for example.

Occurring almost exactly the same time that David Sindt first held up a sign at the Presbyterian General Assembly asking, ‘Is anyone else out there gay?’ A question that launched the lgbt equality movement within the Presbyterian Church. Meaning that my entire life has been marked by the struggle of the More Light movement for justice and equality.

The moment of beginning my ministry within the Presbyterian denomination, for example.

Occurring just two months after the ‘fidelity and chastity’ clause prohibiting lgbt ordination was ratified in our Book of Order. And leading to an agonizing decade of national church ministry with my integrity and my job constantly on the line. And a commitment once I left the national church that I would never again put myself in a professional situation that required me to ‘toe the line’ when it comes to lgbt justice.

The beginning of an interim parish ministry with a congregation of nearly 40% lgbt parishioners, for example.

Occurring just two months after the ‘fidelity and chastity’ clause was removed from the Book of Order. And receiving the prayerful request of my parishioners to officiate their marriages. Which I did with great joy, no matter what the consequences might be.

And now in my fortieth year, beginning a long-term parish ministry with one of the early congregations to join the More Light Movement, with the ratification of marriage equality in our Book of Order, pending this very week.

I almost do not know what to do with myself, now that the final institutional barrier is falling. Now that we demonstrate God’s inclusive love as a movement ‘in compliance’ with our denomination’s policies, rather than ‘in defiance’ of them.

I honestly do not know how to adjust.

I want to celebrate, of course.

To shout ‘alleluia’ from the rooftops, even though it is the Season of Lent.

But I also want to cry for a really long time.

I want to show the world the wounds that have hurt so deeply in this struggle. Yes, for me as an ‘ally,’ but so much more for those for whom this struggle has been personal. For those we have lost. For those we never had the chance to welcome because our very name as a religion spelled ‘do not enter.’

For those I hurt when I was still living ‘in limbo’ as denominational staff with an unethical assignment to ‘represent’ the policies of our church.

And I want to pray.

For guidance as to what to do next. And how to ‘be’ next. And how to love, beyond measure, the church that has finally caught up with Christ’s commandment to ‘love one another, as I have loved you.’

Because if ‘love matters,’ the way we in the More Light Movement have said it does—and I believe it does—we will have to forgive the church for being ‘the church,’ in so much of its messy, mixed-up hurtful ways

And we will have to continue to help it become ‘The Body of Christ.’

So let’s get to work.

gustiWritten by Gusti Linnea Newquist, one of our Regional Coordinators

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