Anne Rice 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 minutes later, she wrote:
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.I am quite sympathetic to the disgust that led her to that declaration and to flee the Roman Catholic Church … though I wish she had found the Episcopal Church before she wholly repudiated Christianity.
And we’ve all seen the news stories about the people who define themselves as “spiritual, but not religious.”
Of course, many of you will remember those videos, modeled on the Mac vs. PC commercials, that distinguished “Christians” from “Christ-followers.” The “Christians” were the narrow-minded stuffed shirts, of course.
God knows, I can understand those moves. I am mortified by the “Christians” who are often quoted in the media when reporters want to find a “Christian’s” response to some current issue. Almost always, the “Christian” articulates the voice of judgmentalism at best and hatred at worst.
Far too many Americans have been led to believe that people and groups like Westboro Baptist Church or James Dobson articulate the views of Christianity in the U.S.
Very often, I observe this debate in myself: When discussions of religion arise outside a church context, I do not identify myself as a Christian. I identify myself first as an Episcopalian. And why? Because, in my view, the name of “Christian” is hideously identified with narrow-minded bigotry. When pushed further, I will also say I’m a Christian, but I generally hasten to add, “But I’m not that kind of Christian.” I know many of you regular readers have had similar experiences.
It seems to me that – for many people outside the church in this country – “Christian” and “Muslim” mean about the same thing: hate-mongering zealots who would just as soon kill those they perceive as infidels. One of which I am not, of course. Just tonight, I heard a Christian candidate for Congress talk about "taking those people out." Of course, that means "kill them."
Today I did some catch-up blog reading, and MadPriest pointed me to a new website: Tea Party Jesus. Each day, the author posts an historic image of Jesus, with words spoken by a current “Christian,” plucked from today’s headlines. And the irony is profound. When I explored that site today, I cringed at the words that supposed “Christians” speak in the name of Jesus.
Here's a sample from Tea Party Jesus.
No wonder I want to hasten to say I’m “not that kind of Christian.” The Muslims have their jihadists. Likewise, we have our “Christianists.” Both are full of hate, rage, and condemnation … and perhaps even murderous zealotry. Both seem to want their opponents to die … actively or passively.
But how in the world can “my kind of Christian” invite people into our churches, invite them into the loving embrace of a God who loves them beyond their wildest imagining, invite them into a community that calls our whole selves, our souls and bodies [as the BCP puts it] into engagement with God?