Over the past two weeks I’ve read several different articles and responses to author Anne Rice’s recent Facebook declaration regarding Christianity. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can catch up here (and you might want to pull yourself out from under that rock. Only kidding.).
The topic of Anne’s decision has been blogged and flogged like a dead horse. No need in my adding extra commentary. It is her decision, and one I’m convinced she labored over longer than the two weeks the rest of us have been debating it . To argue about it seems arrogant and insensitive toward something that’s highly intimate, even if she opened the door to public consumption. Perhaps the the article that best mirrors my own hard-earned conclusions on this matter can be found in a blog post by Anam Cara. I don’t know this author; I simply stumbled upon her blog. In her words I found echoes of my own. I wrote something similar in June.
About two years ago I listened to a Christian radio interview of Ms. Rice, during which she spoke passionately about her newly rediscovered faith in Jesus Christ. I found it to be an inspiring and impassioned interview that wrapped itself around me like a blanket of hope. This is in part why I groaned several weeks ago when Ms. Rice announced her departure from Christianity and the Church due to it’s less flattering qualities (namely the poorly-handled conflict and backbiting). She claims she’s hanging on to Jesus, but not his followers.
Fair enough. Any judgment I could possibly conjure up is tempered by the fact that I’ve considered making a similar exit at times, for similar reasons. If I could take Jesus without all the humanity, that would be a great deal indeed. Unfortunately, humanity is inescapable, as long as I live with myself. I’d like to think otherwise, but I’m as inclined to the same conflict and backbiting that Anne witnessed and grew to loathe within the church. I could exit the ornately steepled buildings, but I cannot escape myself. I’ll leave it at that.
For now, I’m most intrigued by how this connects with my recent postings on conflict. I find it telling that the mismanagement of conflict within Christianity is pushing so many toward the door. At the least, we should see this as a shooting flare signaling our need to grow in this area.
Do you see this as a trend? If so, what do you think should be done about it?