Yesterday, author Anne Rice caused quite a stir when she publicly announced on her Facebook page that she has decided to “quit” Christianity.
For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.
In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
The news saddened me because Anne Rice was one of my favorite authors when I was a teenager, and I had embraced her newfound faith when she first announced her return to Christianity a few years ago (she had been raised a Catholic but left the church while in college).
I am saddened because Rice seems like one of the many people who have turned away from Christianity for the faults of its believers;
For the people who attempt to conform others to become more like them, or at least the “socially acceptable” version of a Christian, rather than to help others become more like the person God created them to be and to become more like Jesus.
For institutions like the Westboro Baptist Church who, in my humble opinion, seek to spread the Gospel through hate rather than love.
For everyone throughout history who have (many times, wrongfully) used the name of Jesus to further their own agendas. For those who stand on the fringe, shouting the loudest and most vociferously, leading the public to believe that all Christians are like this.
I am saddened because many of Rice’s statements about Christianity are false. (Would she have had the same reaction if she attended another church? Another denomination?) I am saddened because being a Christian has become so “uncool” and politically incorrect in our society. But unfortunately, this is the viewpoint that the general public seems to have on Christians as a whole and there isn’t much that I can do about it.
I am saddened because despite what many non-Christians claim, the percentage of Christians continue to decrease as the years go by…just as the Bible predicts. I know that I will continue to be ostracized for my beliefs (and this has certainly been increasing in the past few years), and that one day, I might even need to choose between Christ and everything else in my life.
I am not perfect. Heck, I have broken all Ten Commandments (because Christ says that even having thoughts that go against a commandment is breaking it) over and over in my lifetime. I have done many many things that I am too embarrassed to write on this public blog.
However, I am a Christian.
And I accept that not everyone is perfect, the least of whom are Christians because we are all convicted in faith.
So many people I know are dead-set against Christianity for the wrongdoings of the Church and of its members. They ask how I can align myself with an institution that is so close-minded, so hateful, and have made so many mistakes.
To them I ask: We are all human. God may be the focus of the Church, but He has still given us free will. We can do the best we can, but we are still bound to make mistakes. Is there any religion out there that is perfect? Can you honestly expect any religion, affiliation, group, or institution to be perfect? So why do you demand this from Christianity?
Christians are taught to hate evil, not people. Reading stories like the so-called Christians who advocate for the execution of gays makes me weep for their misinterpretation of the Bible.
The Christian Church is not about a group of like-minded people living in a storybook world. To me, the Church is about imperfect people living in an imperfect world, seeking to be like Jesus. (And still failing! But we continue to try!)
Now I am not one to say that Christianity is all about rainbows and unicorns. It is anything but, as a matter of fact. Christians are constantly in battle — with spiritual forces, with our innate evil, and with the evils of the world. It is quite tiresome and discouraging at times. And as the popularity of Christianity decreases, we are ridiculed and mocked for our faith.
But what keeps me coming back to Christ is grace. Knowing that we are all imperfect, and by God’s grace we are saved.