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Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Bride of Christ?

First off, let me clarify that the title of this post does not read as follows; "The Church.  The Bride of Christ?".  It should be read, "The church.  The Bride of Christ?"  I read the following article and had to scratch my head:

Anne Rice leaves Christianity
Legendary author Anne Rice has announced that she’s quitting Christianity.
The “Interview with a Vampire” author, who wrote a book about her spirituality titled "Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession" in 2008, said Wednesday that she refuses to be “anti-gay,” “anti-feminist," “anti-science” and “anti-Democrat.”

Rice wrote, “For those who care, and I understand if you don't: Today I quit being a Christian ... It's simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”

Rice then added another post explaining her decision on Thursday:
“My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn't understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me," Rice wrote. "But 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.”

It's not that a famous author abandoned ship that got me.  It's that someone spent 10 years in a church and found those around her so "quarrelsome" and "hostile" that she would rather choose to leave the organized religion of Christianity all together than continue on in their midst.

But what REALLY got my head spinning was the 1,500 comments to this article.  Let me share with you what it appears the world thinks about our beloved Bride:

Whatever!!!! Religion is man made by controlling hypocrites. There are so many religions out there so which one was God talking about..Really come on. As long as we have good moral character and follow in God's ways we will be fine. Or should I just continue to follow a religion where the preachers spend their time molesting boys and girls and then covert it up...then tell me I'm going to hell because i denounce to practice or follow a denomination. WHATEVER!!!!

Christianity is the worst thing to happen to Christ, 2000 years of history prove that! 

Well said! The sort of ridiculous bickering, self-rightousness, and hypocritical behavior that comes from the Christian CHURCHES is what led me to Buddhism many years ago. I chose to follow God rather than his followers, and I've been very happy ever since.

Bob of West Virginia
I can understand Ms Rice's frustrations. I was raised fundamentalist Baptist. Christ was on the right path. It's the Christians that have screwed things up! They have become what Christ dispised most "Pharisees."

Richard Slater
Well put Anne Rice. Exactly why I also left going to church many years back.
All the petty bickering and back stabbing and hypocritical people just drove me away.

Good for her. Church is all about business, not religion.

I, too, know what she is talking about. American Christianity is a joke, merely an arrogant self-righteous social gathering. Compassion and acceptance have no place in the American Christian Church.

dejah_thoris, cambridge, ma
I understand what she means. I left Christianity behind when it became clear that many of its followers cared more for hating their fellow persons than embracing human dignity. I left it when it became clear that people's money was more important to the churches than fostering a sense of loving community. I left it when it became clear that the simple teachings of Christ were no longer important to those who would kill, maim, torture, and hate based on what their Christian "leaders" told them to do. I left when it became clear that being a Christian meant surrendering the brain you were given to think for yourself, and instead letting someone else occupy your brain and tell you how to run your life.  Today, I am a happy, fulfilled person, an atheist who finds love everywhere.

I quit Christianity 30 years ago and have never been happier.  I am a happy atheist and all those hostile, divisive Christians could go to hell...if there was one.

I do not believe that some of their followers really know what it is like to love thy neighbor. I have not gone to church in years because of the negative aspects of the church, some of their leaders and the fanatics.

Brilliantly put. She pretty much sums up what many of us who are spiritual feel. We believe in God and Jesus but chafe at the hostility, hatred and controlling tactics put forth by modern right wing Christianity.

I can identify with Ms. Rice. I have always loved Jesus but I have a hell of a time with Christianity and Christians. I'll just stick to the old New Age cliche-I'm not religious;I'm spiritual.

gunther tooty
FAVORITE QUOTE: When asked if he believed in Jesus Christ, Mahatma Ghandi replied, "Absolutely! It's Christians I don't believe in!!!
FAVORITE BUMPER STICKER: "God, protect me from your followers!".

Amen to that sister! Why stay with a group of people that are the exact opposite of what they say they are. They hate themselves, they hate anyone that is not like them, and they hate everyone that disagrees with them, in short they simply hate. Why one insists on calling themselves Christan but loathes all that Christ and God has given is beyond comprehension to me.

Certainly, Christianity has nothing to do with the Christ, most likely never did, and he was a devout Jew as we know from your scripture. But for all who believe Jesus is The Christ (Messiah), his excellent life should be emulated not worn on one's sleeve. . I have known all kinds of christians in my 70 years: protestants, catholics, pentacostal, baptist, mormon, etc, but not one of these individuals emulates the life of Jesus, NOT ONE.
I chose NOT to raise my kids as christians years ago and never regretted it for a minute and neither do they.

You go, girl! My own town of Williamsburg, VA is a perfect place to live; however, if you look under the bridges and in the corners of most buildings on any given night, you will see plenty of homeless people. Yet the churches here prefer to ignore this group of humanity.

Jonny K
I also left Christianity but to a greater extent and it doesn't really matter. I was brought up as a Protestant, and at first I was very religious and once even wanted to be like a Saint. But I became disenchanted due to blantant hypocrisies and contradictions and for many of the same reasons Anne Rice left, I also did.  I am a happy and a very moral ex-Christian too but also a wise and good atheist. I am not lost and confused and I am not ever going back. Finally enlightened.

Church is nothing more than a way to control the masses and make money.

THIS IS WHAT THE WORLD THINKS OF US!  Within three hours of the article appearing on CNN.com there were almost 1,000 comments....90% of them saying the same thing; "I used to be a christian, too, but couldn't take the _______ of the other christians/church, so I left".  I have heard it time and time again from the mouth of an unbeliever, "Why would I want to be a Christian?  They are worse than I am!"

Unbelievers are watching us, Church.  Why are they seeing how we live our lives and choosing atheism/buddhism/any-other-ism over the truth of the Gospel?  Most of the comments on this article were from people who went to church looking for something.  They sought out God.  But what they found was apparently darker than the darkness they walked out of.

I read those comments for over an hour.  When I finally pulled myself from the computer, I was challenged to look in the mirror and pray that God would make me like salt (Luke 14:34-35).  The lives of unbelievers we come in contact with should be improved by us simply being around them.  And the love generated when a body of believers comes together should be the most incredible experience for an unbeliever who walks into Church for the first time.

Church member, I challenge you to examine yourself.  Do you display the love of Christ to those around you?  Would someone who crosses paths with you write something similar to the comments above?  We are not perfect, Church, but what the world is seeing is so far from the standard that Christ set.  We must do better than this.


FONTY said...

hi, excuse me....
do you like typography?

Jay said...

Nice post, brother. That's my prayer too... that I be salt and light. Otherwise, what are we doing?

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