"[Rice], 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".I point this out not because there is anything more significant about Anne Rice than anyone else, but rather because it reflects a similar thought process that I have been finding my way through. Just as Anne experienced, my conscience will not allow me to be a rank and file "Christian": supporting all the popular causes, backing all of the religious-claiming candidates, perpetuating prejudice and judgment toward people who do not believe what I believe. Jesus did not judge or ridicule imperfect people. He loved them. Clearly going to church does not make you like Jesus, in the same way that sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken. I have instead chosen to distance myself from following the lead of mainstream, fundamentalist American Christianity.
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."
"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."
I refuse to be a single issue voter.
I will not throw my lot in with a single political party.
I am unwilling to judge those who have different beliefs than mine.
My place is not to look down on 'sinners' or feign perfection.
I enjoy being around salt of the earth, honest, screwed up people.
Like Anne, I too am an outsider to much of the Christian community, but this is not something I am ashamed of or concerned with. My reaction to being an outsider is to seek a middle ground between myself and the ubiquitous entity that is known as 'church'. As I search for ways to love people and work for the good of humanity and remove judgment like Jesus did, I hope to see 'church' - and churchy people - do the same. But until that common ground is located I am going to try to follow Jesus, rather than follow his followers. I think Gandhi would understand, just as Anne Rice does.
And so on...