Fri, 25 June 2010
Ian Lawton is executive minister of C3Exchange: An Inclusive Spiritual Community, in Spring Lake, Michigan. Michael Dowd engaged Ian in conversation just two weeks before the scheduled removal of the 65-foot cross of this former affiliate of the Reformed Church of America. (Soon after, Ian was interviewed on Fox News about the controversy.) Independent since 1997, the congregation called Ian in 2004. Many more changes ensued, leading to the removal of the cross and a new identity in 2010. The former Christ Community Church is now C3 Exchange, and it is in the vanguard of liberal/evolutionary religious reform in America. According to his church profile, though trained at a conservative Anglican seminary in his native Australia, "Ian was always more interested in connecting with the people who don't go to church: the homeless people, the broken people, the creative people, the liberated people, the recovering people, the inquiring people, the family people, those who put their humanity before their ideology." A local news report on the cross removal quotes Ian as saying, "We honor the cross, but the cross is just one symbol of our community." The news article explains, "Lawton gave a sermon March 21 likening using the cross as a symbol of Christ's life to using a bullet to remember Martin Luther King Jr." A community-wide meeting generated an outpouring of support for the way C3 is evolving.
The C3 website offers an archive of all sermons online in audio or video format, and is accessible in podcast form as an RSS feed. Note: If you google "Ian Lawton," the primary choices (including Wikipedia) pertain to an unrelated Ian Lawton who researches and writes books on spirituality, reincarnation, and past lives. That Ian is not our colleague Ian Lawton.