the poll from March 29th is now closed
There has been no further voting or vote changes in the last 2 weeks.
The final result is 9 to 2 (approx. 82% to 18%) in favor of changing Rainbow Ark's designation from progressive Christian to being intentionally interfaith. And so we will consciously make those changes within our community. I'd like to take a moment to talk about the implications....
Does this mean we are no longer a Christian organization? Well, it's a bit of a loaded question. We were never really a "Christian" organization per se, because organizations cannot "personally" follow any particular faith's precepts, or be granted grace; Rainbow Ark doesn't have a soul and cannot "believe" as an individual entity does.
The reasoning behind our Christian designation from our inception is chiefly because much of the opposition to LGBTQ is from modern Christian teaching, where Christian and LGBTQ are viewed as mutually exclusive. So it has been important for us as an organization to state that individuals can be Christian and LGBTQ, being true to yourself and to your faith. We've promoted dialog between Christians and LGBTQ, and we've been a safe place for LGBTIQA Christians to fellowship together. This is one sense where we are just as Christian now, as we've ever been.
Am I still welcome to share my Christian faith here? Yes. Sharing has always been encouraged, just not ever to procelytize. From our beginning we've acknowledged that there are more than just Christians here, but former Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Taoists, Pagans, Buddhists, and many more. If you were Christian, you were assured you could share your faith here. The others, they could share ...somewhat, but mostly were welcome to just sort of nod and follow along.
Interfaith means for us that there are no "others" but we are all encouraged to share and participate equally.
To the Christian, the cross can be a symbol of hope and loving sacrifice. To ones not of the Christian faith, the cross has often come to mean oppression, hatred, superstition, or judgment. Christian members of a Christian-centric community might feel it's their duty to "educate" non-Christian members by further exposing them to things which make them uncomfortable.
But interfaith means I accept you as you are, without you pretending to believe something you don't. It means cooperation across all faiths working toward common goals. It's acknowledging the humanity of each individual regardless of belief, but it's also acknowledging the variety of beliefs themselves and celebrating that diversity, as we all continue on our individual paths.
In actuality, this isn't a big step for us. We were already doing many of these things in our slow evolution from our beginning stages. A lot of the new designation is just aligning our terminology to reflect many of our current practices, so that those looking in from the outside will have clearer understanding of who we are.
I agree with Hastka, that a Christian value should be to be this welcoming. But unfortunately, that is not the perception, nor is it the projection from a vast array of organizations and individuals who call themselves Christian.
It's not that we are ashamed of calling ourselves Christian. I personally am not ashamed to be a Christian. But I would guess that the majority who voted for the change were seeing the need to adjust our description to match our actions, to be more universally understood by prospective new members.