>The internet is abuzz with Anne Rice’s very public announcement that she is through with Christianity. When you read a bit more closely, she’s really leaving church. She’s said that her faith in God remains intact, but she feels like an outsider in the church. She’s quoted as saying
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.
I first saw the news on a friend’s FaceBook page. He regularly posts items that show the very human foibles that make the church more a reflection of the broken world we live in than the Bride of Christ. I can understand this, given the way that his family and the church hurt him as a young man. The same things that have pushed Anne Rice, my FaceBook-posting friend and many people I love out of the church- they break my heart, too.
And yet, I cannot leave. I am called to leadership in the church. I am called to speak hope and life to my friends, my child, my husband, and all those who find God’s church a barrier to loving and trusting God. I am called to faithfully reading the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal how we are to live and love together as God’s people on earth. Together, all of us who are Christ-followers need to be asking how we are to be part of the world as it ought to be, here on Earth as it is in heaven.
Yes, Jesus was and is anti-sin. But Jesus was not anti-woman. He treated them with the same dignity as the men he encountered. Jesus was not anti-leper or anti-sinner. He showed them love even before healing and restoring them to community. Jesus was tempted in every way that we are today, and he managed to continue loving, respecting, and forgiving. We have access to the same power to rise above the hate, disrespect, and fear that binds us. We who abide in God, we who are the branches of the vine, we who are new creations can give God’s love away as freely as Christ. The love that drives out fear, ushers in forgiveness and restoration, and revives hope. It’s more than what we can do, it’s what we must do. That’s our job.
That’s my job. And I’m no quitter.