Respected American author, Anne Rice, announced on her face book page the other day that she was leaving Christianity. While she was raised Roman Catholic as a child, in her adult life and, for the bulk of her life until about twelve years ago, she was a self proclaimed atheist. She returned to Roman Catholicism and had a profound experience with Christ. The following are the posts from her face book page on July 29, 2010:
"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."
A few hours later she posted this:
“As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. 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.”
And finally one hour later she posted this:
"My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn't understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become."
The above quotes show thoughtful, painful reflection and, an honesty that is completely refreshing. I personally think it is sad that she had to make this choice but I understand why she did. Yet, certainly it would be unthinkable to believe that Christianity has missed the mark for two thousand years... I mean it couldn’t be that orthodox doctrine has it wrong... could it? My answer is a resounding yes! In a world that has 38,000 plus denominations, many that will not share communion with each other... many that will not allow the possibility that the others are even followers of Christ... that the others have salvation and on and on... in this world of Christianity, in the now, I personally cannot see how it could be any other way. It cannot be the case that orthodoxy has it right... especially in view of Paul’s words in Ephesians chapter four stating that there is one Lord, one faith and one baptism. Really?
Still, Ms. Rice demonstrates that she has had a profound relational experience with God through Jesus. She has an unshakeable faith in the Lord and his mercy, love and, grace. There are many, myself included, who feel this same way. In fact, I believe that if people are honest with themselves that there are millions who share this view. There are many things that need to be rethought and reexamined; Theology, hermeneutics, eschatology and our view of the bible are but a few. The key is in examining what Jesus taught his followers about himself, the scripture, redemption, judgment etc. Maybe orthodoxy has a few things wrong. In the next post we will examine what these may be.