Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

Legendary author Anne Rice is quitting Christianity.

The famous author of “Interview with a Vampire” published a book in 2008 about her conversion to Christ titled “Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession.”  But last week she went public again and said that she refuses to be “anti-gay,” “anti-feminist,” “anti-science” and “anti-Democrat” and is feeling compelled to part ways with the organized version of Christ followers.

Rice blogged on Wednesday, “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.”

She then added another supplementary post on Thursday amplifying her decision:

“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 said. “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.”

What do you think? Is it possible to follow Jesus and yet distance ourselves from his followers? Allegiance to Jesus is a “team sport.” But how can we honor our personal convictions when those on our team seem to be headed in different directions.

Personally, I don’t have all the same issues with Christians that offend Rice. But I admit to other objections. Sometimes the family embarrasses me with her meaningless traditions acceptance of shoddiness. and Sometimes I’m ashamed to be associated with the Church. But it’s family… My response isn’t Rice’s response. I’m committed to Jesus and yet may not want to associate myself with “Christianity.” Still, I won’t leave my association with other followers of Jesus. Painful as it is, I’m in the family.

What do you think?

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Offended? A 25-year-old Northwestern graduate student named Joseph Holland was charged with disorderly conduct for praying in front of a Planned Parenthood facility in Chicago. Holland claims he was standing still praying the rosary on a public sidewalk on July 3 when police arrested him for violating the city’s new “Bubble Zone” ordinance, a law passed last October that prohibits approaching or interfering with anyone entering or leaving a health care facility.

Were Holland’s prayers “interfering” with people entering Planned Parenthood?

What do you think? Does prayer on a public sidewalk constitutes interference and should be grounds for arrest?

Repentance finishes with change – conversion. How will I now live and be different? With each of the specific sins connected to each of the specific Commands I have broken I will seek God for a counter move, a contrary action from a contrary motive deposited in me by His Spirit.

I cannot change on my own. I accept grace by faith for pardon; I also accept grace by faith for transformation. Each confessed sin which I share with my confessor will also meet a commitment of new action, new life, revealed then empowered by the Spirit in me. 

“Lord, keep me true to these promises!”

The work of repentance begins with confession. Confession is agreeing with God about my condition. I have asked God to search my heart and to show me sin. I have acknowledged this in detail and confessed the specifics to him. Now I go the next step…

“If we confess our sin he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

“Lord, I have confessed my sin to you, according to the Light of your Spirit shining in my life the specific law of your Word. I now ask for mercy. David himself, when he saw his sinfulness turned toward you not away from you. He asked for pardon. ‘Have mercy on me oh God, according to you never failing love.’ I see my sin and it is clear before me. Now I ask you to cleanse me and pardon the guilt. I lean now upon the work that you have already done in this. I am not asking for some fluky accident, or for you to randomly forget your justice. No! I am asking you to credit to me the pardon purchased by Jesus on the cross, that my sin would be substituted for his righteousness. I embrace this exchange in all the specifics I have acknowledged. I accept the exchange… I am pardoned and with that, cleansed and liberated and washed pure and made new!”