Anne Rice leaves Christianity

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Postby ich1990 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:17 am

Just for the record, this is what she actually said:

[I]“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 “Christianâ€
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Postby rocklobster » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:24 am

All I can say without muddying the waters is that she's probably believed all the popular misconceptions about Christianity.
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Postby TheSubtleDoctor » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:45 am

There is so very much I want to say but would get in trouble for saying. I will simply point this out (I think this is also what ich is getting at): it seems to me that many are applauding her for leaving her church, as in detaching from a particular congregation or even a denomination. That is not what is going on. Ms. Rice is leaving the church, as in separating from church altogether. She does not intend to find another church. She plans on being a Christian totally apart from any church or organized or regularly meeting body of believers.


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Postby Cognitive Gear » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:17 am

TheSubtleDoctor (post: 1417436) wrote: Ms. Rice is leaving the church, as in separating from church altogether. She does not intend to find another church. She plans on being a Christian totally apart from any church or organized or regularly meeting body of believers.


I think that there is a difference between abandoning the label of "Christianity" and leaving "The Church". The intention she seems to have is to separate herself from the group of people that, in her opinion, have become synonymous with the word "Christianity" while they are doing things that she believes to be against the teachings of Christ.

In her own words, "In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.â€
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Postby Etoh*the*Greato » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:55 am

[quote="Cognitive Gear (post: 1417441)"]I think that there is a difference between abandoning the label of "Christianity" and leaving "The Church". The intention she seems to have is to separate herself from the group of people that, in her opinion, have become synonymous with the word "Christianity" while they are doing things that she believes to be against the teachings of Christ.

In her own words, "In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.â€
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Postby Nate » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:25 am

Wow, Anne Rice feels exactly the same way I do. I understand her perfectly now because she's going through the same thing I'm going through. I guess I'm not alone after all!
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Postby Cognitive Gear » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:38 am

Nate (post: 1417460) wrote:Wow, Anne Rice feels exactly the same way I do. I understand her perfectly now because she's going through the same thing I'm going through. I guess I'm not alone after all!


I think that there are a good number of us here that do feel this way, but I sort of avoided talking about it as I know that it bothers a lot of Christians. I'm trying to avoid the theological debate! :lol:
[font="Tahoma"][SIZE="2"]"It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things."

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Postby Kunoichi » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:50 am

There is a book called "I hate church" and i forget the author. Kind of speaks on what is being discussed (outside of Anne Rice that is). I won't speak about my own experiences, good or bad within the buildings of where fellow believers met or experiences on the street. I will say I'm glad she recognized that being a Christian was more than just meeting in a building. I hope this isn't theological? (sorry nervous posting on these)

EDIT: The book i spoke about is from a Christian viewpoint and speaks about legalistic building churches, rather than speaking poorly of the body of Christ.
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Postby rocklobster » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:23 pm

Her ideas remind me of a quote from GK Chesterton: "The Christian way has not been weighed and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." She seems to have found Christianity too demanding.
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Postby Radical Dreamer » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:39 pm

[quote="rocklobster (post: 1417498)"]Her ideas remind me of a quote from GK Chesterton: "The Christian way has not been weighed and found wanting]

I don't know that I would describe the situation that way. Based on her statements, it seems to me that she's not finding Christianity demanding; rather, she's finding that its followers aren't following Christ's demands. It's no secret that there are plenty of nominal Christians out there. I agree that this decision of hers seems to be more of a way to separate herself from a label that has gone sour in a lot of ways, instead of separating herself from being a follower of Christ.

Anyways, you guys are handling this thread excellently so far; keep it up! XD
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Postby TheSubtleDoctor » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:16 pm

Cognitive Gear (post: 1417441) wrote:I think that there is a difference between abandoning the label of "Christianity" and leaving "The Church". The intention she seems to have is to separate herself from the group of people that, in her opinion, have become synonymous with the word "Christianity" while they are doing things that she believes to be against the teachings of Christ.
Why didn't she just come out and say something like, "Hey, there are some so-called Christians who are not following Christ. They aren't true Christians." Rather, it seems like she is equating the televangelists and radicals whose actions she decries with the religion as a whole. Hurley's Logic calls this a hasty generalization.[quote="Cogzilla"]In her own words, "In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.â€
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Postby ich1990 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:18 pm

TheSubtleDoctor (post: 1417436) wrote:There is so very much I want to say but would get in trouble for saying. I will simply point this out (I think this is also what ich is getting at):


Actually I was trying to get at this:[quote]What is the point of continuing to call myself a Christian? Why not just bow out? Some days that’]

So I guess if this is Anne Rice trying to disassociate with Christians because they're weird and messed up, I don't think she is in the right. We are all weird and messed up. That is the point of grace. If you don't like that negative connotation with Christianity, why did you call yourself one for a decade, even though we have the Crusades to our name?

If, on the other hand, this is Anne Rice telling the world that she doesn't condone Christians acting like hate mongers, then I think she will find herself in good company and I readily support her.

The question is which is she doing, and how can we tell from her vague statements?
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Postby Rusty Claymore » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:37 pm

Call her and say: "Hi, I'm from the CAA, and the vague statements on your predicament have made us desire to know truly what was on your mind."?

Of course, that's from a person who wants to contact the author of a book to find out exactly what he was thinking rather than come up with could be's. XD
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Postby Mr. Rogers » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:06 pm

The problem with leaving The Church altogether is that a relationship with God is not just all about me. God doesn't save just me, he saves US. For a book which further develops this idea, I would recommend Embracing Grace by Scot McKnight. All throughout the history of humanity, God did not just act through individuals, He acted through communities, churches, groups of believers and the like. If someone needs a break from the church for a bit to rehabilitate, fine I suppose, but this cannot be a permanent state for someone who wants to follow Jesus.

If she was mistreated, then that is something that needs to be dealt with. We are to love everyone regardless of anything. As Christians, though, we are called to live in certain ways. We can't just do whatever we want and then say "God loves us" as a way to not deal with things that really do need to be dealt with. God is good (we should pray for ourselves so that we really understand every aspect of what that means). When we come into genuine contact with God, our lives should begin to reflect that goodness.

The church is not a perfect place and, until Christ Himself returns, it will not be. That's where a little thing called Grace comes in. Grace is not only between God and me, it is also between me and others. Forgiveness is not just between God and me, it is also between me and others ("forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us"). I would like to recommend Embracing Grace a second time here.

Some of the core values of Christianity are not just to be lived between me and nonbelievers, they are also to be lived between me and fellow believers (unconditional love and forgiveness). I wonder how many of us really realize this. I am also to love my fellow believer. The letters of John are great for reviewing this point.

Guess what? Love and Grace are hard, but they are also what need to be in our lives if we have genuine faith.

The most unfair thing that ever happened was for a good God to be nailed to a cross and have the collective evil of the entire human race heaped on him. That is the same kind of love and forgiveness that God calls us to demonstrate in our own lives.

I can criticize the entire church for their failures, but I am the church and I can just as easily criticize myself. If you are a Christian, you are the church. There is no way around it. We need to fix the things in the church that are wrong, but at no point will I ever have the right to say "I'm better than those failures and don't need to be around them". I need God's love and forgiveness and new life just as much as the most obnoxious fundamentalist does.

We often read stories about how Hagar the prostitute would always run away from the prophet with other men and he would always take her back. We read about the constant falling away and repentance of Israel. We think about how great God's love is and how nice these stories are. Well, this is the same thing. If you want to really take the love of God to heart and bring it out of the abstract into reality, then go love the church.
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Postby Nate » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:20 pm

TheSubtleDoctor wrote:Why didn't she just come out and say something like, "Hey, there are some so-called Christians who are not following Christ. They aren't true Christians."

Well, two reasons. One, that doesn't get news coverage the same as say, Fred Phelps protesting a funeral holding his signs. In other words, the hatred and crazy makes for better headlines than "Someone says Christians shouldn't do that."

Two, when someone DOES say something like that, most of the mainstream Christian denominations tend to denounce that person and say "No SHE is the one who isn't a true Christian, she isn't following Christ by not following our doctrines!" It gets nowhere and accomplishes nothing.

It's kind of like when the Catholic Church split back in history, and the Pope condemned the new Church and said "You're excommunicated!" and the new Pope was all "No, YOU'RE excommunicated!"
Rather, it seems like she is equating the televangelists and radicals whose actions she decries with the religion as a whole. Hurley's Logic calls this a hasty generalization.

It doesn't seem hasty to me. I can look at news headlines right now and see it isn't just the televangelists and radicals who are souring the name of Christianity, it's not the extremists, it's the regular folks. Now are they the majority? It's hard to tell, because the examples I can cite are single towns, and polls aren't always 100% accurate. Still, it's safe to say that it's not just one or two prominent people, there is a following.
She wants to distance herself from "Christianity" so she can live according to her commitment to Christ but without actually being Christian. Huh?

Makes sense to me. I don't see what's confusing about that at all. She's getting rid of the label, not her beliefs. One can still write without being an author. One can still sing without being a singer. One can still play video games without being a gamer. So why is it so hard to accept one can still follow Christ without being a Christian? It's not even like Christianity has exclusive claim to the guy.
ich wrote:We are all weird and messed up. That is the point of grace.

Okay, here we go. XD First of all, yes, we are all weird and messed up. Her point is that the "weird and messed up" part of modern Christianity is being hailed as good and holy and a necessary doctrine to be a Christian. She thinks these things are intrinsically part of the religion. Whether that is true or not, it's how she feels (and how I feel to a large degree).

I'm trying to think how to explain it in words. It's not coming well. But what she's getting at is...okay, if you or I think a lustful thought, we can go "Wait, that's sinful and wrong. I shouldn't do that." We're messed up, yeah, but we admit it and know we're wrong. What she's saying is that what she's seeing as wrong, as a sin, is being held in some Christian circles as "You should totally think that way. That's the right way to think. You should be more like that." That's a fundamental difference, and explains why she wants to discard the label. I don't blame her. I support her wholeheartedly.
If you don't like that negative connotation with Christianity, why did you call yourself one for a decade, even though we have the Crusades to our name?

One, the Crusades were thousands of years ago. We weren't personally involved. This is a bit different from things that are being done and said right now. Second, not everyone comes to this distaste for the label immediately. For me it didn't happen until a year or two ago. The church is especially good at making the label "Christian" be intrinsically tied to belief in Christ. Heck, look at what SubtleDoctor was saying up there about "I don't understand how she can say she believes in Christ but doesn't want to be a Christian." Again, the church has done an excellent job of making "belief in Christ" mean "Christianity" even though this isn't the case at all. It may have taken her a few years to realize that this wasn't true, and then realized she can dump the label but retain the beliefs.
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Postby Htom Sirveaux » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:22 pm

Okay, so I get what she's saying, but it sounds almost self-righteous, her putting herself above Christianity in general. She's not the only one who knows the difference between religion and faith. Millions of Christians, in fact, do. I understand being frustrated with overzealous, small-minded, loudmouth holy roller types, but anyone with any sense knows these are a minority. You can't just make a blanket statement about Christianity based on a few Christians you don't like. It's unfair, short-sighted and foolish. I applaud her for asking questions rather than just swallowing anything any Christian tells her, but she doesn't seem all that interested in getting answers.
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Postby Mr. Rogers » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:23 pm

The failure of the church are not just a modern thing, it is something we have struggled with since the beginning. The failures of the church are a large part of why a large deal of the New Testament was written, i.e. Corinthians.

There were also be souring the name of Christianity back then, too. Which is why Paul said, "for good or bad, I am glad the gospel is being preached".
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Postby Nate » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:35 pm

The failure of the church are not just a modern thing, it is something we have struggled with since the beginning. The failures of the church are a large part of why a large deal of the New Testament was written, i.e. Corinthians.

Yup, it's true. This is why I'm wary of any church that claims to be trying to get back to how the original churches were. I'm like "Uh, you DO realize some of them were pretty messed up and that's why Paul wrote letters right?" There was never in Christian history any gold-standard for a church and so trying to "get back to how it was" is pretty much pointless and annoying buzzwords.
There were also be souring the name of Christianity back then, too.

But...wait, didn't someone in the thread say earlier that "Christian" was originally an insult, a derogatory term? I don't know that you can sour a term that (at the time) was being used insultingly.
Htom wrote:Okay, so I get what she's saying, but it sounds almost self-righteous, her putting herself above Christianity in general.

I don't see how that's self-righteous. Saying "I believe most modern Christians have gotten it wrong and are not living how Christ would want them to" doesn't seem self-righteous to me, any more than it would seem self-righteous to tell a person "You know, you really shouldn't steal stuff."
You can't just make a blanket statement about Christianity based on a few Christians you don't like. It's unfair, short-sighted and foolish.

So you can't make a blanket statement about Christianity based on a few Christians you don't like, but it's perfectly okay to make blanket statements about people who are disillusioned and annoyed by the people representing the term? :p

Sorry, that was mostly meant in jest, but it's the same deal. You say "Not all Christians are like that!" but you know, not everyone who dislikes the term Christian is being unfair, short-sighted, or foolish. At least, I like to hope I'm not being that way. I can only look at the world through my own eyes, and there are those of us who dislike modern Christianity and dislike the label genuinely, because we feel it's hurtful and carries negative connotations. We're not being short-sighted or hardheaded or anything. It's just how we see things.

See it's stuff like this that makes me stay quiet and ashamed to speak out about how I think, because then I just get insulted and called names... :\
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Postby CrimsonRyu17 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:36 pm

I honestly don't think Anne Rice did what she did because of a few extremists. I think we need to remember her situation.

Regardless of if you believe homosexuality is a sin or not, I can guarantee you she got a lot of flak from fellow "Christians" because of her son. I've seen and read about it myself. Homosexuals are treated like the worst possible sinner you could ever be and the only way to react to this is total abandonment and disassociation. It's disturbing but true.

I can only imagine what kind of pressure she's gotten from people like this and there are many, many of them.
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Postby ShiroiHikari » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:44 pm

Crimmy makes a good point.
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Postby Etoh*the*Greato » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:48 pm

Nate (post: 1417460) wrote:Wow, Anne Rice feels exactly the same way I do. I understand her perfectly now because she's going through the same thing I'm going through. I guess I'm not alone after all!


Your disgust with organized Christianity stems from the bigotry expressed against your homosexual son?

On topic contribution tiems.

A lot of people within the Body go a long way to revile the homosexual way. I'm not gonna come out in favor of or against it, except to say this... No one is blameless. We all sin, near constantly and there is no reason they should be treated any worse than the rest of us. If the major message she gets is that she should make her son miserable until he just stops... well, I can see why she as a mother would make the decisions she has. And bear in mind, she's making this decision because she feels the things she's being told she should be doing don't strike her as being terribly Christ-like. Honestly, they don't often strike me as being terribly Christ-like.

This summer, an handful of my oldest brother's daughters spent the summer with my parents. My Dad is a very strong Christian but he can be somewhat overzealous... The oldest of the girls is herself homosexual and was very reticent to the idea of doing anything religious, even though my Dad was basically forcing it on the lot of them. Anwyay... some stuff happened and she came to Christ, but only because we showed her... you guessed it... love. She's returned home this weekend, and one of her very good friends has actually abandoned her because of her conversion for fear of that same hatred.
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Postby Radical Dreamer » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:48 pm

Htom Sirveaux (post: 1417535) wrote:Okay, so I get what she's saying, but it sounds almost self-righteous, her putting herself above Christianity in general. She's not the only one who knows the difference between religion and faith. Millions of Christians, in fact, do. I understand being frustrated with overzealous, small-minded, loudmouth holy roller types, but anyone with any sense knows these are a minority. You can't just make a blanket statement about Christianity based on a few Christians you don't like. It's unfair, short-sighted and foolish. I applaud her for asking questions rather than just swallowing anything any Christian tells her, but she doesn't seem all that interested in getting answers.


True, but given the vague nature of many of her statements, we can't even really be sure she doesn't realize that. Basically, the way I see it, there's not a lot we can say about her decision on a judgement level. Following Christ and the transformation found therein is a daily process, not a one-time deal. I think it's good that, if she's feeling disillusioned with the institutional church, she can take a step back, study God's Word, and look to Him to lead her to the next stage of her relationship with Him. Whether she takes some time to spend alone with God, or whether she feels led back to a different institution, or if the Lord leads her to build relationships with other believers (who are the Church, after all) outside of an organized institution, it's all part of her journey in following Christ.
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Postby Nate » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:55 pm

Etoh*the*Greato wrote:Your disgust with organized Christianity stems from the bigotry expressed against your homosexual son?

All I can think of now is that Mr. Show sketch "We Love Our Gay Son."

But yeah, obviously THAT part isn't the same. :p I don't think I have any sons, gay or otherwise.
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Postby Htom Sirveaux » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:08 pm

I guess I just struggle with the idea of practicing Christianity while not being a "Christian." I mean, what then does she call herself in terms of summing up her religious beliefs? It seems unnecessarily complicated.

But y'know, I guess the lesson here is that you can affiliate yourself with any of the seventy-million-and-two Christian denominations out there, or you can say that there are none that you completely agree with or that would fully accept you. I personally call myself "Anamethabaptacostaterianite", or "saved" for short. (yes, I am aware that that sounds unnecessarily complicated too, but at least it's something). But the truth is, God doesn't care about that. So long as you believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, then yours is the kingdom of Heaven.
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Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:00 pm

I think we all need to know what she means when she's using the term "Christianity". It's clear by her context that she's not referring to it as a religious ideal, rather its practice in society.

The reason why she makes the blanket statement "Christianity" is because to many people, things like neoconservative evangelicalism IS the one true religion. To many people, that is the only Christianity that exists (or ought to exist).
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Postby Etoh*the*Greato » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:44 pm

Mr. SmartyPants (post: 1417580) wrote:I think we all need to know what she means when she's using the term "Christianity". It's clear by her context that she's not referring to it as a religious ideal, rather its practice in society.

The reason why she makes the blanket statement "Christianity" is because to many people, things like neoconservative evangelicalism IS the one true religion. To many people, that is the only Christianity that exists (or ought to exist).


Well, and I suspect the context in which she uses the word is in the way in which Christianity has become inseparably tied with the negative, but almost none of the positives. The statements imply she finds herself to be a "follower of Christ" but that she can no longer be "Christian."
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Postby Nate » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:52 pm

The fact is though that if the negatives are strong enough they outweigh the positives. I mean, if someone invented a machine that could produce nutritional food out of thin air but 40% of the food it produced was deathly poisonous, even though statistically it's doing more harm than good the negatives would still outweigh the positives of such a device.

Also it depends on how you define what the "positives" are since one person's positives could be another's negatives.
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Postby airichan623 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:28 pm

Mr. Rogers (post: 1417536) wrote:The failure of the church are not just a modern thing, it is something we have struggled with since the beginning. The failures of the church are a large part of why a large deal of the New Testament was written, i.e. Corinthians.

There were also be souring the name of Christianity back then, too. Which is why Paul said, "for good or bad, I am glad the gospel is being preached".


Mr. Rogers (post: 1417528) wrote:The problem with leaving The Church altogether is that a relationship with God is not just all about me. God doesn't save just me, he saves US. For a book which further develops this idea, I would recommend Embracing Grace by Scot McKnight. All throughout the history of humanity, God did not just act through individuals, He acted through communities, churches, groups of believers and the like. If someone needs a break from the church for a bit to rehabilitate, fine I suppose, but this cannot be a permanent state for someone who wants to follow Jesus.

If she was mistreated, then that is something that needs to be dealt with. We are to love everyone regardless of anything. As Christians, though, we are called to live in certain ways. We can't just do whatever we want and then say "God loves us" as a way to not deal with things that really do need to be dealt with. God is good (we should pray for ourselves so that we really understand every aspect of what that means). When we come into genuine contact with God, our lives should begin to reflect that goodness.

The church is not a perfect place and, until Christ Himself returns, it will not be. That's where a little thing called Grace comes in. Grace is not only between God and me, it is also between me and others. Forgiveness is not just between God and me, it is also between me and others ("forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us"). I would like to recommend Embracing Grace a second time here.

Some of the core values of Christianity are not just to be lived between me and nonbelievers, they are also to be lived between me and fellow believers (unconditional love and forgiveness). I wonder how many of us really realize this. I am also to love my fellow believer. The letters of John are great for reviewing this point.

Guess what? Love and Grace are hard, but they are also what need to be in our lives if we have genuine faith.

The most unfair thing that ever happened was for a good God to be nailed to a cross and have the collective evil of the entire human race heaped on him. That is the same kind of love and forgiveness that God calls us to demonstrate in our own lives.

I can criticize the entire church for their failures, but I am the church and I can just as easily criticize myself. If you are a Christian, you are the church. There is no way around it. We need to fix the things in the church that are wrong, but at no point will I ever have the right to say "I'm better than those failures and don't need to be around them". I need God's love and forgiveness and new life just as much as the most obnoxious fundamentalist does.

If you want to really take the love of God to heart and bring it out of the abstract into reality, then go love the church.


Complete agreement with you Jim.

As for me, while I am sad that she has given up on Christians, I am simultaneously wary of her. Why? Little Story: I work at my local library, and one day, after my youth pastor warned us against the "prosperity gospel", I picked up one of Joel Osteen's books to evaluate it for myself. As I read, the way God was being treated in the book made me literally sick to my stomach. A wave of unease and horror washed over me as I read further. [sry if u like him,this is just my opinion, feel free to send me a PM cuz i rly would like to hear a defense-anyone can be wrong]. It was as if my moral compass was screaming for me to run. I recently read the inside flap of Anne Rice's Christ the Lord books, and once again, the sense of foreboding filled my heart. The way the Lord was being portrayed just didnt sit right for me.

I am just as angry with the church's reputation and those who make it worse of fundamentalist unloving pigs who condemn everyone who doesnt agree with them. Going to a Christian school, I know this firsthand. I understand her spiritual confusion about her homosexual son as well. The first rule of being a Christ follower is love, all else should flow from that.

However, I believe we/she cant throw away the entirety of being part of the church. Every church has its bad Christian examples, but then there is the good examples that make me proud to stand beside them. Those who throw being a Christian all away usually either have something of the world they refuse to give up. (knowing from a girl who called the church judgmental cuz she wouldnt get rid of her drugs)


On the name Christian, its not the name's bad reputation that gets me, its the way it is so flippantly used. the majority of America says they are Christian when it basically means it is "Im not anything else, so im the norm i guess".


PS. how can Christianity be anti-life? even the overzealous fundamentalists are pro-life, not anti-life...


i apologize for my probably incoherrent rant.
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Postby Htom Sirveaux » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:22 pm

airichan, there probably are Christians who are pro-choice (but here again, if she's saying "Christianity" rather than "Christians", she's in error). But that's a whole 'nother kettle o' fish. . . .

In regards to her Christ the Lord books, it was disappointing to see her go from the famous and excellent Vampire Chronicles to Jesus fanfiction. It always saddens me to see this happen to any writer or musician who gets saved. It's like they just lose their edge.
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Postby Nate » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:28 pm

Htom Sirveaux wrote:airichan, there probably are Christians who are pro-choice

Someone called for me? :O
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