(Thanks to Steve for making me aware of this.)
Famous author, Anne Rice, is making waves recently for "Quitting Christianity...in the name of Christ..". There are all sorts of responses someone or some group can have to an occurrence like this. Anywhere from Catholics biting their thumbs at her (making horrible youtube videos explaining why she's "going to hell" now), to Vampire Novel fans yelling "Hooray!!!" and then awkwardly quieting when they realize she still loves Jesus, to being accused of all of this being a publicity stunt to sell books (as if she needed one?), to entire denominations creating a website that tries to sell her on joining them instead of the Catholic Church.
I'll take a brief moment to say, in case she's reading this (she's read my blog before...boo yah), Anne - I'm still looking forward to book 3 of your "Christ the Lord" series! Any planned release?
I agree with Anne that sooooo much of what is done and said in "the name of Jesus" does not represent Jesus well at all. It's easy to point fingers at the Catholic church....very easy, in fact. Which is probably why I'm not Catholic. Not that I'm a hater, either...there have been many wonderful things that have come from Christ-centered people within' the Catholic Church. But her beef is not with the Catholic church alone, in statements she's made publicly the focus seems to be how "Anti-______" most Christians in general are.
It will likely cause some people to look more closely at the picket signs they're raising, and think more about how much they're living toward the Love of God that desires to make all things New. Unfortunately, it will also cause more than a few who have become disenchanted with organized religion to get hazy stars in their eyes about the ambiguous notion of leaving the local church, and doing "something else" in it's place...still loving Jesus.
She's not the first person to hesitate at the label "Christian", because of how many horrible things are being done by those who also claim the title. It was the same thing C.S. Lewis struggled with. As noted in chapter 8 of his book "Mere Christianity", Pride and Self-Conceit is something that every human being deals with. Humility in our walk with God, and with fellow humans...MUST be foundational in our love for them.
To quote from Chapter 8, "Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good--above all, that we are better than someone else--I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil."
I'm as guilty as many others, in experiencing this kind of sin. I confess it. I ask God for His forgiveness and redemption from it. But I am thankful for the label "Christian", not always because of the group of people it connects me to, as much as the Loving Savior it points to communion with. A God who Loves and offers some pretty amazing Grace, but also infinitely compels us to be transformed and calls us to join in offering this New Life and freedom from sin to others. May God be with Anne Rice as she continues to seek Him "in fear and trembling"...and may God use what is being discussed to bring repentance/revival...
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