I stumbled across Anne Rice’s decision to “give up” on christianity through the PatrolMag.com posting. She had originally made the declaration on her Facebook Fan Page. After reading her statement, I felt compelled to write the below letter:
I am sure that this post is one among many responding to your announcement that you are disassociating yourself from Christianity. You wrote that your disgust with “this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group” has led you to the conclusion that you “simply cannot belong” to us.
I feel you, Anne. I really do. I’ve had similar thoughts and even expressed them publicly. I don’t mind at all the desire or even the need to stand at some distance from the label of christianity. It may well have been worn through. But I take issue with the notion that you must disassociate yourself from ‘christian’ people. I mean sure, we’re a motley lot. Belonging to this family can often feel like you’ve adopted a few thousand drunk uncles. It’s incredibly embarrassing at times and frustrating at least as often. I get it. But I also read that you’re making your move “in the name of Christ” and that presents a rather perplexing dilemma for someone who wants to quit on people. You see, Christ hasn’t quit on us and if you choose to align yourself with Him, then neither can you.
Aligning yourself with Christ means aligning yourself with Someone who not only declared his love for all God’s children (believer or not), but suffered and died in order to establish and maintain a relationship with those children. It is this redemptive sacrifice that defines His love as characteristically His. Having chosen to follow His example, it seems that at least part of the redemptive sacrifice you are being challenged to make is to associate and identify yourself with this shabby batch of miscreants who are often quite bad at practicing the religion you love. It comes at the cost of your ego and likely some book sales. But that’s the nature of sacrifice; it costs you. It will cost you if people see you as being family to those “anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-artificial birth, anti-Democrat, anti-secular humanism, anti-science” types among us. Just as it costs Jesus to be seen as their Savior and Lord. Just as it cost him to be seen with prostitutes and whatnot. It is the same social role-play with a different set of cultural lenses on. All your statement does is trade in “bigots” for “whores” when the heart of Christ is that they’re both beloved of the Father.
It’s simply reasonable that if you set yourself against people who set themselves against people you are only adding to the friction. If part of your issue with christianity is it’s exclusivity, you aren’t helping by only including those who “get it” the way you do. True christian inclusivity means embracing the homosexual and the gay-basher in the same embrace; working for the release of the oppressed while praying and working for the redemption of their oppressor; loving the beautiful game of baseball and yet, somehow, also loving the Yankees. It means loving the Lord with all of yourself and also loving those who grossly misrepresent Him.
I think you’re smart, Anne. I think you’ll hear some thoughtful feedback and realize you stepped across a line and might have to retract your statement. You will also likely have to speak directly with Christ about the way you roughly labeled and dismissed the ones He’s drawn to himself and suffered to love. Lucky for you, lucky for all of us, He’s incredibly forgiving and eternally patient.
In the name of Christ,