Moving Sale 2: Anne Rice

Good morning bloggers! 

First of all, good news! The J-Blog move is going a lot smoother than I had originally hoped, so the new site will launch officially on Friday! We'll wrap up the moving sale this week and then move over there for the first post in the new digs! Should be great!

Until then, check out this gem from the J-Blog's history. I wrote a quick piece on Anne Rice, and what her decision to leave Christianity was teaching all of us. It is to this day the single most commented on story in the J-Blog, so it deserves a second look. Enjoy!

Quitting Christianity: What Anne Rice is teaching us all

Posted by Jason Freyer at 9:42 AM Thursday, August 26, 2010
Anne Rice1 thumbGreetings bloggers!
A few months ago, Anne Rice stated on her Facebook page that in the name of Jesus Christ, she was quitting Christianity and was no longer a Christian.
It's taken me this long to get around to this post because that sentence is tough to wrap your mind around. How can a person quit Christianity in the name of Jesus? What's really at the heart of Anne Rice's comment here? What does it mean for those of us who are in the Church and in Church leadership?

Rice's comments make sense in a world where we're told it's perfectly ok to be spiritual but not religious. On the plus side, it would appear to this casual observer that there are more people than ever who are interested in the life and teachings of Jesus. People are opening the scriptures and seeing the God of the Universe who cares for and loves their souls. These people fall head over heels for the savior.

But they simply can't stand his followers.

These folks read the scriptures, particularly the teachings of Jesus, and as their eyes glance up from the page they notice that the people in the pews around them are nothing like the savior has asked of them. They see the horrible things we are capable of doing in the name of Jesus, the way we treat each other, and the way we treat people who disagree with us, and they want out.

So the question is, can you be spiritual, but not be religious? Is it possible to lead a life of devotion to Christ but not be a part of the community of faith? Yes and no I think. I understand the heart of this feeling, the desire to distance oneself from "organized religion" (a phrase I find pretty funny, because as someone who works in the church I realize that it's seldom organized). I can even understand feeling like you're capable of accomplishing more on your own than you could with a group of infighting Christians.

But the truth is, you need that connection. You need that community. You need encouragement when things aren't going your way and challenge to see things differently when needed. You need to have your viewpoints challenged by caring and loving people who are willing to invest in you. I personally think everyone should be a part of a small group, a team of people who will listen to your life stories and help you put things in perspective. Sure, the Church can be ugly. To quote Augustine, the Church may be a whore, but she's my mother.

So Anne, I see where you might have felt compelled to quit Christianity. But I also beg you to seek out those of us who are trying to make authentic and purposeful communities, trying to live the life that Jesus has laid out for us.

Perhaps we should spend less time worrying about being Christians and worry more about being disciples.