Small Wonders: Why I'm still a Christian

August 07, 2010

As a columnist, I'm given some latitude in expressing how I feel while reporting the facts. I do so in hopes that my thoughts will resonate with readers and, agree or not, generate productive dialogue.

With this in mind, let me tell you how I feel about a vampire book author's renunciation of Christianity and fur coats.

An uproar on Facebook trickled into mainstream media recently. Anne Rice, a Christian and the only living author of vampire books worth reading, formally announced that she has "…quit Christianity in the name of Christ."


To summarize, she said: "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 ..."

She refuses to be "anti-gay," "anti-feminist," "anti-artificial birth control," "anti-Democrat," "anti-secular humanism," "anti-science" and "anti-life."

She continued: "Following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become."

While somewhat over-generalizing and not reflective of many denominations' views, her description of "Christianity" is a commonly held stereotype. And in my humble opinion, more accurate than not.

The response Rice is getting emphasizes the schism within this quarrelsome and hostile group. As a public figure, her words add fuel to this bonfire. She could have kept her spiritual struggles private. But she didn't. And I'm glad. Because I agree with her. Mostly.

I too want to divorce the flawed and fractious manmade institution, disassociate myself from its politicized views and hypocrisy. But I cannot renounce its people. I could no more deny certain embarrassing relatives than I could certain opinionated members of the collective church. But I will disagree with them.

The church is people. Not a building, an organization, a dogma or the formal written declarations of a few. To embrace Christ — within a formal institution or in one's heart — is a personal and therefore unique relationship. But not private.

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