Truly, Anne Rice’s comments on ‘quitting Christianity’ have stirred a great debate. I’m thankful for every comment left on my blog and Facebook yesterday. Personally, it’s helped me gain perspective. Hopefully is has caused each us to examine our lives, think about what we truly believe, and see if our actions and behaviors are consistent with those beliefs.

One of the best responses to this has come from Brian McLaren. He was interviewed by CNN in an article entitled “My Take: Why I support Anne Rice but am still a Christian.” He makes this statement regarding what you call someone who makes the claim they love Christ but are quitting Christianity: 

Some might say you call such a person a Protestant: Anne’s reasons for leaving Catholicism aren’t terribly different from those of Martin Luther nearly 500 years ago. But speaking from personal experience, being a Protestant doesn’t solve the problem. You can find as many “quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous” Protestants as Catholics, if not more, and they enforce the same list of “antis” as boundary markers. To more and more of us, the differences between standard Catholic and Protestant Christianity seem to pale in comparison to the differences between either of them and what many of us perceive as the radically compassionate way of Christ.”

Then he goes on to make a profound statement: 

“I’ve decided that if I’m going to have solidarity with one failed religion, I might as well have solidarity with them all. So rather than surrendering my identity as a Christian, I’ve redefined it so it doesn’t mean that I feel superior to anybody. Instead, it means that as a failed member of a failed religion, and I’m in solidarity with all other failed members of failed religions … and with people who have dropped out of failed religions as well. Perhaps it’s this truly catholic (small-c) solidarity in failure that really counts most, for Catholics, Protestants, and everybody else. Those who leave religion and those who stay can work to expand that gracious space of solidarity, which, I think, is what Jesus called “the kingdom of God.”

So no matter what we do or what we call ourselves, sooner or later that group will break down. 

Yes, my paradigm is blown from what I though Christianity was growing up. I was taught that being a Christian meant going to church on Sunday, singing a few hymns, and listening to a preacher for an hour. That was it. I don’t believe in that kind of Christianity anymore.

I am more committed to Jesus Christ and his teachings than ever before. I believe in following HIm and following Him means to live like he lived: caring for the poor, loving my neighbor, giving sacrificially to those in need, embodying compassion, living for justice, forgiving, etc. If that’s what we were known for, nobody would really care what we called ourselves. I think that is what Anne is after. 

Please read the entire article and tell me what you think about Brian’s thoughts.

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