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Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’

This Wednesday, author Anne Rice, of Interview with the Vampire fame, announced on her Facebook page that she “quit being a Christian,” but “remain[s] committed to Christ as always.”   Says Rice, “It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.”  She elaborated a few minutes later in another post: “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.”

Before I comment, I should note that for Rice, “Christian” means “Roman Catholic,” the faith in which she was brought up.  Although she renounced Catholicism at age 18, she returned about 10 years ago.

I’m not particularly concerned with the personal lives of celebrities, and yes, it seems like Rice is rejecting institutional religion (viz., Catholicism) rather than Jesus Himself (hence being able to espouse commitment to Christ while simultaneously declaring herself a non-Christian).  And yes, it’d be interesting to see how one can reconcile something like secular humanism with following Jesus.  And yes, I doubt that there was ever a papal bull declaring that Catholics must be Republican.  We could pick apart and critique Rice’s comments ad nauseum, and perhaps engage in a point by point expose of what Christianity is really about, and what it really says about the issues she raises.

If I had the stomach (or the Facebook account) I could read all the comments on her post, and probably find such a defense.  But I don’t have the stomach, because I can hardly escape feeling nauseous when I think that Rice is probably not alone in believing the following equation:

Christianity (thus, Christians) = quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-science, etc.

Why does this hurt?  Because it’s our fault.  People reject Jesus because of the Church that’s supposed to bear witness to Him.  They reject the Church because of the Church.  If only the equation were:

Christianity (thus, Christians) = peace-loving, unified, humble, loving, thoughtful, etc.

How would the world be different?  Before we rush to speculate about Rice throwing up a smoke screen so she can live a lifestyle better in-line with what’s culturally popular, or decry her own sinfulness, or mention anything else that gets us off the hook, why not look in the mirror instead?  When people think of me, what are the words that come to mind and why?  Are they words like those in Gal.5:22-23?  Do they think of the many things I am for, or do they only think of what I am against?  How well do I live the life Jesus won for me?

The degree to which you are feeling defensive or offended right now is probably proportional to the degree you need to examine your own heart.  Some of the harshest words in Scripture are reserved for those who should know better, or worse, think they are above criticism.  Praise be, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” but woe unto us if we do not live like it.

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