Monday, August 9, 2010

precious pearls: a response to Anne Rice's quitting Christianity

Jesus warned us: "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

despite years of boldly (though perhaps, unwisely) expressing myself and thereby collecting injuries from those ready to criticize and "correct" me, i remain shocked –not shocked that people have differing thoughts or feelings than mine– but shocked at who the pearl-tramplers have turned out to be: my fellow Christians.

when i began asking questions and gathering insight in an attempt get to the core of my faith and strip it down to the bare bones to seek Christ without the hundreds of years of non-organic pesticides, additives and preservatives the church threw into the mix (every denomination included) i never imagined that the ones who'd oppose me would be fellow Christians --despite the fact that history more-than-proves that those who question the ways of the church are met with opposition from none-other than it's own members.

and since i have been in the process of stripping everything away --with God's leading-- i have accepted that the central focus of the Christian faith is found in the following passage from scripture:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

and let's face it, this is where the Christian Church/the Body of Christ on this earth (myself included) has failed. it appears that we would rather judge and criticize everything --and i do mean EVERYTHING-- than actually humble ourselves, examine our hearts and start loving God and one another. can you imagine if we did?! talk about a revolution!

the reason i bring all of this up is in response to the recent announcement author Anne Rice made, stating that she has quit Christianity:

"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 outside. My conscience will allow nothing else...

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."

by saying this, Anne Rice has riled-up the Christian world. but i have to admit that am proud of her --not only because i love a rebel, but because i have been where she is, though on a much smaller scale, of course-- and it is obvious from the supportive response Anne has received that her view is shared by many.

some of the other responses to Anne have been of the trampling kind. these seem to come from Christians who do not believe that God is in control and live in the fear of Satan wreaking havoc in their lives and the lives of others if they “stray” from the Christian norm. they think that Anne is opening herself up to all kinds of evil.

then there is another group of Christians (some call this group the "self-righteous") who undermine and tiss-tiss Anne for her “spiritual immaturity” and “ignorance”.

i readily (and sadly) admit that i was once part of the fearful, as well as the self-righteous Christian camp, and i regret the knee-jerk, hurtful reactions i inflicted. then, by the grace of God and by no merit of my own, God revealed a precious pearl of truth to me: there is tremendous peace in knowing that He is, indeed, in control --from giving us the ability to call Jesus our Lord, to the trials we encounter, the truths revealed and the process of our growth-- He is the author and finisher of our faith –including the faith of Anne Rice.

what Anne Rice has done, by announcing she has quit Christianity, is similar to what so many believers have done throughout history: examine the faith, belief system, doctrines of the church and the ways of Christianity, to see if they truly revolve around loving God and loving one another.

didn't Jesus ask the Jewish people to take a look at their beliefs? didn't the apostles? and Luther? even in the past decade we have had people like Brennan Manning and Rob Bell ask the church to seriously examine itself!

so maybe, instead of haphazardly running out to criticize Anne Rice, we, as Christians, should stop and consider that what she has said is being echoed by hundreds of other Christians in the world, and why that is?

maybe we should take a look at ourselves and the words we say and the way we have portrayed our faith to the world?

maybe (hold onto your hats now) we should ask if perhaps God is trying to say something to His church through Anne Rice???

yes. stop and consider. and please be careful how you tread.