The following articles have appeared in various news sources.
Bringing Neighbors Together
Cairn Christian Church in Lafayette Colorado
(submitted for publication to the Disciples News Service)
Cairn Christian Church, Lafayette, formerly First Christian Church in Boulder, has been enjoying its new neighborhood in Lafayette for over three years. The new building is situated between a veterinarian’s commercial property and a quiet established residential area.
In early spring, 2013, some neighborhood residents brought to the church’s attention the condition of the commercial plot, which had become burdened by fallen trees and brush overgrowth, and expressed concern about a possible fire hazard. Discussions between the groups had not been fruitful. Cairn saw an opportunity for mediation and outreach. A small group of members worked quietly to explore solutions, under the direction of trustee Steve Crowder, who met with each of the parties several times to explore a mutually beneficial solution.
Cairn set up a Neighborhood Clean-Up Day for June 1, when about 30 church members, friends and Stonehenge neighbors turned out with energy. Two dump truck loads of trash debris, two more loads of organic yard waste and a load of scrap steel were hauled away from the commercial lot. Trees were trimmed and a ditch gate cleaned up. A new tree was planted on Cairn’s grounds, and bushes trimmed and flowers planted. Rosie Campbell and a church food committee provided coffee, breakfast treats, cold drinks throughout the day and a welcome lunch for all the workers.
Steve Crowder summed up the event this way: “Many thanks to the workers, and to the other folks who contributed quietly behind the scenes in various humble ways. A heartfelt gratitude to those who could not be present, yet were with us in Spirit. It makes me feel so good to be a part
of this community of faith at Cairn. You always rally to the call when needed. Your participation and sacrifice have sewn many seeds of goodness in our neighborhood and within our own community.”
As a Community of Faith, We Affirm the Right of Two People to Express Their Love in Marriage—No Matter Their Gender
(Response to an article in the Boulder Daily Camera. Submitted to various newspapers as a Letter to the Editor. Published in the Longmont Times Call)
Recently, a local church made headlines (Daily Camera, April 30) by stating their opposition to gay marriage. As another Christian community of faith in Lafayette, we at Cairn Christian Church, an Open and Affirming congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), formerly First Christian Church of Boulder, openly affirm the right of any two people to express their love in marriage, regardless of gender.
We believe this because love was the number one value for Jesus; Love of neighbor, love of self, and love of God. People who show love are part of the kingdom of God. If our sexuality, like any other part of our personhood, expresses love and does no harm to another human being, it is far from sinful—it is godly.
We remember that Jesus treated the marginalized – the diseased, women, children, the poor—with equal dignity and even invited them to eat at his table. He did not treat them as sinners and ask them to change their health status, gender, age or social status in order to be welcomed. His actions were completely against the norms of his day. As followers of Jesus we must then be on the side of the oppressed which are in this instance gays and lesbians seeking equality.
Though we understand the Bible to be a sacred text that has been normative for Christians for hundreds of years, we also understand it is a text written and compiled in a culture far different than our own, thousands of years ago. We remember that the same Bible that is used to condemn homosexuals also condones child abuse, genocide, slavery, and rape. The Bible prescribes that disobedient children are to be stoned. The Bible thinks touching a woman in public is a sin. The Bible says divorce is a sin. The Bible says disease is a sin. Further, we understand the Bible has been used to justify slavery, misogyny, racism, and more—all within our own country no less.
Trying to define “Biblical marriage” is very slippery. The Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, allows for multiple wives, allows the man to have a mistress, allows a man to sleep with any other woman without impunity as long as that woman is not herself married. Further, there is no equivalent word in the original language of the Old Testament for marriage. In New Testament marriage was thought of as unnecessary in expectation of Jesus’ soon return. The Apostle Paul grudgingly conceded marriage but preferred celibacy. So if we are going to define marriage as “Biblical,” which definition are we going by? Who gets to pick? And why are they right?
We recognize that the definition of marriage has changed over time. Marriage once allowed for multiple wives. Marriage once was a formal financial contract between families and tribes. Marriage once had little to do with love. It was once impossible to marry across classes. Only a few decades ago it was illegal to marry between races. Our definition of marriage has changed with our changing ethics and our deeper understanding of the human psyche, the human body, and the human community.
Therefore, we of Cairn Christian Church, an Open and Affirming congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) affirm the right of two consenting adults to express their love in marriage—no matter their gender.
On behalf of the members of Cairn Christian Church,
Senior Minister Rev. Dr. Charisa Hunter-Crump (BD,MDiv, DMin)
Youth Minister Dustin Adkins (BA, Min)
Seminary Intern Loren Richmond Jr. (BS, MDiv student Phillips Theological Seminary)