News Flash: Anne Rice is no longer a Christian. This seems to be everywhere this week. (Here’s one of my personal favorite blogs: Simul Iustis et Peccator) apparently, since she’s converted to Christianity a whopping decade ago, she’s decided that Christians are just too mean for her. Truthfully, I could understand someone departing the church because of child molesters and other such heinous things as this. That is heartbreaking that this occurs and heartbreaking and there are many, many victims of such things that are beyond just physical abuse but are quite literally spiritual abuse. However, this does not seem to be her issue and as far as I can locate in her quite generalized and sometimes inaccurate diatribe against the church, it just seems like we’re all too mean for her.
Well, you know what, we are mean sometimes. And you know why? Because Christians are, at least up until now and for the forseeable future, humans. We screw up. A lot. But we also do things right, too.
Now, I completely agree with those who say that, particularly while looking at the whole span of history, Christians are frequently violent in both word and deed and not at all what we would hope to be. Is repentance necessary for all of us both as persons, congregations and churches? Certainly. Do we need to be reliant upon and returning to our God for help in all things? Again, certainly. Do I, do we, hope and pray for a future of justice, peace and love, not as the world gives but as God alone can give? With all our hearts. Is the church herself Simul Iustis et Peccator? Well, those of us who make up the body certainly are. If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But, if we confess our sin, God who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness.
Does Anne Rice (or anyone else who has left organized religion because of similar ‘reasons’) believe herself less in need of these things? That’s the only reason I could see that one would leave the church in its entirety, as she claims to have done, while still stating a belief in Christ. Can she, or anyone for that matter, do a better job of believing in Jesus on their own and have no need of a community of believers around them? I seriously doubt it. Though it would be an excellent way to start one’s own personal, private religion. That is, after all, soooo much easier than being part of the church because no one argues with you or tells you that you are wrong about anything or challenges you or accuses you of sin or holds you accountable for prayer and devotion and disciples when you go off on your own to believe in Jesus all by yourself. You don’t have to deal with anyone else’s pesky differences from you or the portions of the wider culture you choose to embrace.
I am agnostic as to both the validity and the efficacy of that kind of life. Or so called ‘faith’.