Can you leave religion & keep Christ?
Leaving the Church: Anne Rice
Ann Rice isn't a name you often associate with the Christian Church. Wildly famous for her numerous novels about vampires, she rediscovered her Christian Faith, in the Catholic Context, several years back in a time of deep grief. She then wrote 2 novels in a planned trilogy telling the story of Jesus in the first person. A challenging endeavor to undertake: Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt; The Road to Cana and a memoir about her spiritual transformation: Called Out of Darkness.
In August she announced that she was leaving the Church, quitting religion, but in no way renouncing Jesus the Christ, nor abandoning her life-path of discipleship. [Belief Net Blog] [NY Times Article] [Christian Science Monitor Article] The news came out in early August, yet it seems to have gone much un-noticed, being overshadowed by religious comments and conflicts around Glenn Beck [site]. She claims that she could no longer be identified with a group that she feels has little, or no, identifying links to Jesus of Nazareth, his teachings and his life.
We can agree or disagree with her. Yet I find it interesting that her departure over what she deems to be an essential tenant of Christian Faith went under-reported in our 24/7 Media Blitz culture. Was it because she's not important? Her thoughts are not relevant? Her actions to trite? Or is she just out-to-lunch? I find that in the recent brouhaha about Christian Religion, and religion in general in our pluralist American society, her thoughtful articulation of her beliefs and consequential actions should be more prevalent. How many people don't darken the doors of our church communities because of similar thoughts, suspicions or fears? Wether concluded in ignorance or from thorough experience, such perspectives are important wake-up calls for those of us steeped in church culture, convinced that we live in a Christian Nation, or with the conviction that folks will just naturally come to church. Can you be religious without church? Can you be faith-full with out community? Have we - as the Church in our context - lost sight of the essential tenants of who Jesus was and was for, and what he was about?