July 29, 2010
I understand her concerns and share many of them myself. Unfortunately, however, the trend today seems to be to point out all the right criticisms and then offering worse alternatives or bailing on the church all together. The Bible calls us Christians, so I wouldn't dismiss that name so easily. The church is always a picture of something that is broken and beautiful at the same time. The church is also God's chosen redemptive institution. Again, I share her concerns on the one hand, but believe she is taking the wrong action. As a pastor, it hits close to home as I have run into my share of church members over the years who decide to jump ship, thus worsening the problem, and not being part of the solution. The result, of course, is the church is left with only the trouble makers, etc.
Whether her objections are fair or unfair, right or wrong - the fact is, you cannot follow Christ and separate yourself from His Body. She doesn't have to call herself a Christian, but there is no such thing as a LONE follower of Christ. It's not just wrong, it's not possible. The Bible makes that clear. How do we follow Christ? By loving one another and Christ has loved us. Where is Christ found? Where two or more of his followers are gathered.<br><br>If she really is a believer, the Holy Spirit will not let her go on her own. He'll draw her back to the Body. Prayers for her.
Amy,<br><br>As I hinted at in the post, I don't buy the notion that Anne Rice is completely severing all ties with all of Christianity. It seems more like a falling out with a specific group of Christians--namely, the outspoken, fundamentalist, divisive group that is becoming more and more visible in the United States. <br><br>She uses very broad language (I'm guessing, in order to make a "splash") but I don't believe she means it quite so broadly as the language would suggest. There are many, many Christians (myself included) who are right there with her in refusing to be anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-artificial birth control, anti-Democrat, etc. So in that way, she isn't a lone follower--she is still part of a Christian community.
Every year I become a little more thrilled with the Bible. The multiple layers of wisdom contained within its pages is liberating. One of Anne Riceâ€™s major issues has always been, both before and after her conversion, her support for homosexual marriage and homosexual relationships. Unfortunately this is an area where the Bible is clear in both old and new testament in a way that transcends culture. Homosexual people are beloved of God, homosexual practices are not. That being said however, I find no Biblical support for being anti birth control. That is a weird Catholic fetish. <br><br>The Bible heartly endorses the role of women in the church from Junia the Apostle mentioned in Romans to the many women ministry teams, prophets and teachers Paul mentions. I can understand Annâ€™s dismay at the Roman Catholic Churchâ€™s inability to recognize the equal priesthood of all believers. The exclusively male priesthood and it rejection of marriage is creating a toxic environment that fosters sexual perversions. The pentecostal wing of christianity, the fastest growing segment of the Church worldwide, has ordained women pastors for many decades. The Bible is neither Republican nor Democrat. And the more I read, the more I am convinced it is philosophically pro-science and is not a textbook on the particulars of creation.<br><br>Christianity is not a belief system, it is a living relationship with a personal God who is present and accessible in our space and time. The Holy Spirit, who is our daily companion, actively distributes His charismatic gifts to all who will receive them and over time this intimate relationship produces character growth that the Bible calls fruit.<br><br>As GK Chesterton says, Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. I spent my first 20 years knowing about Him, and the last 40 years coming to know Him. Iâ€™m hoping that now that Ann Rice has been rightly disappointed by sectarian cultural christianity she will press in to know Him and search out others that know Him as well.<br><br>If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.<br>1 Peter 4:16
I don't know that her frustration/comments are from a narrow view of what being a Christian means; aren't they rather in response to a narrow yet widely-held, broadly- brushed view of what being a Christian means? In my experience, all she lists not only describes what our non-believing culture thinks "Christian" is all about, but also what many many American Christians of the fundy/evangelical stripe would say "amen" to.<br>Before we criticize her and others (so many friends on my list) for "jumping ship" out of frustration. may we realize that not everyone can fight or struggle or lead, but need the encouragement and healing, the community of the church. If all that "being Christian" turns out to be on a daily or weekly basis is having to be defensive, continually the apologist, where is the healing and the support? I assume Ms. Rice will become a reclusive and extremely private believer, like many who refuse to have their faith be politicized or a point of debate. If our churches have become places where the gospel merely proof-texts a political rant, people will and should leave. It is up to church leadership to be faithful to good preaching/teaching/worship, for sake of the members.
I can understand some of Anne Rice's concerns - irritations - at the 'church', as a believer now for 38 years in a country where the church has been shaped by Anglican class conciousness & Kiwi middle class morality that extends even to cleaning the car to 'keep up appearances' - & lately a large helping of American T.V. preachers & Super churches.I am a Christian in New Zealand who is a socialist & doesn't seem to fit into the mold the institutional church has for me. But I know I belong in the Body of Christ, like Anne I may be a 'part others don't like to see' but it is Christ who joins us to The Church-His Body so what right have I to remove myself from it?
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. (NLT)
Amy, you nailed it here. That's exactly right and I couldn't agree more. What Rice is doing here is what frustrates me with a lot of people who take this line â€“ they think that being a Christian is entirely linked to how you live. And while there is a direct link between the two â€“ I certainly would not deny that being a Christian necessitates striving to live a holy life â€“ the fact remains that while we are redeemed, we are still sinners and the things we do in this life will still bear the marks of that sinfulness. Christianity and the Church is fundamentally about <i>Christ's</i> action of drawing a people to himself, and calling them his own. It is not about us.<br><br>We're going to be quarrelsome, we're going to be hostile, we're going to be disputatious. We need to try not to, of course, but we won't be able to get it out of our systems entirely. When you take the focus off Christ and look for humanity to be righteous on its own, of course you're going to be disappointed. Praise God that our righteousness is not dependent on us! Prayers for her, indeed.
How can one remain committed to Christ and reject His Body? How can one be committed to Christ and reject His Bride? How can one be committed to Christ and reject His very own fullness (Eph. 1:22-23)?
Perhaps we need to witness not just to unbelievers, but to other Christians. We all have failings. We all need support.
Only being able to take her reasons at "face value" and knowing no other details, there's many things troubling about this decision. <br><br>- Anti-gay - Perhaps the most divisive issue for the Church is taking a stance on not supporting the homosexual lifestyle while trying to love people. Should be no different than loving adulterers, divorcees, murderers, pedophiles, drunks, drug addicts, or prostitutes. Oh... We're not vocal about those issues because people are trying to hide in those lifestyles. Gays are not but much can be learned about loving people...and agreeing to disagree.<br><br>- Anti-feminist - To me a feminist is a woman who believes all women should be able to do everything. Women CAN do everything. However, there's nothing wrong with a house having a husband and he leading that household. Nor is there anything wrong with a man being shepherd of a church. If that's anti-feminist, then buy me a vowel.<br><br>- Anti-artificial birth control - Sounds fundamentalist to me since I don't know of any Christians against birth-control. Against pre-marital sex and abortions, sure.<br><br>- Anti-Democrat - There's a reason why Christians are conservative and/or Republican. But some are liberal and/or Democrat. Agree to disagree.<br><br>- Anti-secular humanism - I don't support anything that places man's reason, ethics and justice above God's wisdom.<br><br>- Anti-science - Big Bang and Evolution are the only scientific issues that I'd have an issue with. That doesn't make me or anyone who feels the same way anti-science. I love science! <br><br>- Anti-life - Um, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life...so this one totally confuses me.<br><br>Now, for Anne to describe Christians as "quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group"...that might be accurate. But what gave her this impression. Congregations? Online exchanges? <br><br>Anne Rice has had several unfortunate experiences and seemingly has allowed cultural and worldly issues to distract her. <br><br>Seems to me there's a great deal of online chatter about how the Church is broken, how people have been hurt, and maybe some suggestions on what to do...but I've found very few posts that focus on what the writer is going to do about it. If you have an issue with something, voice the concern. Then share what you're going to do about it. If it means going to a new church or denomination, ok. But quitting Christianity completely?
there is legitimacy to her frustration, we need to be honest, & accept that.
You can't love Christ and hate His body. Patience with the failings of others is one of the things that makes the church sanctifying. The other thing that makes it sanctifying is that by being part of an alternative polis, we identify with Christ in His death. Following Christ requires being constantly at odds with the prevailing society. It will always feel like swimming up stream... like carrying a cross. But if our eyes are on Christ, then this burden is light.
I can identify with Anne Rice's struggle. I can also empathize with the pain and at times ostracizing reactions that come along with challenging, not necessarily Christian theology, but instead Christian cultural assumptions. However, Anne Rice's post reminds me of a quote I heard in seminary and that I recently learned were the words of St. Augustine:<br><br>"The church is a whore, but she's my mother." <br><br>So, while I feel compassion for Anne, I am also sorrowful that another artist, writer and cultural prophet has left the church. And as I reflect, I am struck by my responsibility as a Christian. I hope that I can make my home and my local congregation a place where Christians like Anne Rice can feel accepted , loved and empowered - to challenge the Church, to encourage its reevaluate of cultural/scriptural conclusions, to learn from other Christian perspectives and when necessary, to move the Church forward and toward healing from WITHIN.<br><br>
Christian, suggests "One Who follows Christ." Christ taught certain things are wrong, others right. His teachings were not "easY' and required many to "go and sin no more." To attempt to re-write who Christ was as if some modern day Yogi with no judgement, no call to change is impossible for anyone who reads Scripture....which is after all the only way we encounter Christ to begin with. Don't let someone re-write history........read the text. Know Christ....be redeemed......
I'm definitely with Anne Rice here. Amy B is surely right that it's nonsense to talk of a follower of Christ who is separated from the body. But it's also wrong to suggest or pretend that being a part of the body of Christ means adopting or endorsing the confused culture of North American evangelicalism. I am reluctant to call myself a Christian as long as that label implies membership in that twisted system. And that's exactly what the label implies.
As an update, Anne now posted this on her Facebook page: <br><br>"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. 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."
Rick,<br><br>As a small point of clarification--Anne Rice is (was?) Catholic, which is why she included "anti birth-control."
What Christian hasn't at some time looked at the state of the church and its followers and wanted to separate from the whole mess, albeit for different reasons. My issues would be different from hers- like, "Why if we claim to Christ followers do we live as the world does?" I Peter calls us "aliens and strangers" in relation to the world- we are citizens of heaven. Yet, as others have already said, that part of loving God is loving other believers with all their foibles (I John 4). Love places the limits on legalism (which Ann Rice seems adverse too) and license (which I am adverse too). Yet, both extremes will always exist just as they did in the New Testament.
<i>Perhaps the most divisive issue for the Church is taking a stance on not supporting the homosexual lifestyle while trying to love people.</i><br><br>You presume that the Church is united in "not supporting the homosexual lifestyle." I, and many of my fellow Christians who believe that the "homosexual lifestyle," as you call it, is fully compatible with the Christian life would disagree with your presumption.<br><br><i>To me a feminist is a woman who believes all women should be able to do everything. Women CAN do everything. However, there's nothing wrong with a house having a husband and he leading that household. Nor is there anything wrong with a man being shepherd of a church. If that's anti-feminist, then buy me a vowel.</i><br><br>There is nothing wrong with those things. There is, however, something wrong with saying that those things should be the norm. There is definitely something wrong with telling women who want to head a household (or women and men who *gasp* believe that such a responsibility can be shared equally between two people) or women who want to shepherd a church that they are wrong to have such desires. That <i>is</i> anti-feminist.<br><br><i>Sounds fundamentalist to me since I don't know of any Christians against birth-control.</i><br><br>The Roman Catholic hierarchy is pretty decidedly against it, as are many among the "Christian" Right who either follow the Quiverfull movement or who (erroneously) believe that the birth control pill is an abortifascent.<br><br><i>There's a reason why Christians are conservative and/or Republican. But some are liberal and/or Democrat. Agree to disagree.</i><br><br>Sorry, no. I can't "agree to disagree" with people who willingly ally themselves to a political movement designed to perpetuate an economic system that continually oppresses the poor. I don't think all Christians should be Democrats - partially because I think the Democrats are only marginally less wedded to corporatist consumer capitalist oligarchy than the Republicans - but I cannot simply "agree to disagree" with those who would allow <i>and encourage</i> the wealthy to greedily hoard their wealth while their brothers and sisters starve.<br><br><i>Big Bang and Evolution are the only scientific issues that I'd have an issue with. That doesn't make me or anyone who feels the same way anti-science. I love science!</i><br><br>That actually kinda <i>does</i> make you anti-science, in that you apparently seek to place your own religious dogma above the scientific method as refined throughout the centuries. Those who don't accept evolution or the Big Bang - two theoretical frameworks for which we have a great deal of evidence, both empirical and theoretical - are anti-science.<br><br><i>Anti-life - Um, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life...so this one totally confuses me.</i><br><br>And yet, many American Christians supported things like the Iraq War, an action that has needlessly taken hundreds of thousands of lives. Many American Christians support the death penalty. Many American Christians continued to support President Bush even after it was revealed that his administration had ordered the torture of prisoners. If <i>the support of perpetual war, the murder of prisoners, and torture</i> isn't anti-life, then I don't know what is.
Like Steve, I definitely get where Anne Rice is coming from, and have sometimes felt that way myself. <br>However, I don't see myself making a move like hers for a few reasons: first, ceding the label "christian" to political hammerers makes the situation worse, not better. Second, as others have said, following Christ includes being in community with the church, and loving even those whose opinions you find repulsive (I get this notion from the book of Galatians among others).
I'm not sure who she's calling out specifically, and I don't want to speculate. But Christianity as a movement has become increasingly divisive, and a divisive church isn't a church at all.<br><br>If her words are at all true, rather than justify, explain or qualify them, we should just bow our heads and weep. What kind of a bride are we?
Much appreciation to Anne Rice's frustration. Maybe Anne needs to have the same attitude towards Christians that she wants Christians to have towards everyone. And Christ came to leave *none* behind. It's His ole to judge, not ours. <br><br>Grace, grace, grace.
Your statement implies that it's possible to be a gay Christian. This would presume that being gay is not a choice but is by design. Is it possible for a person who actively, perpetually, and unrepentantly lives a homosexual lifestyle AND be a follower of Christ? This is where Christians have to come to grips with interacting with people. People choose to be married, single, gay, commit adultery, divorce, etc. These are real decisions with real people and Christians need to love the people who make those choices being in the Body and out of the Body: <a href="http://www.gotquestions.org/gay-Christian.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.gotquestions.org/ga...</a><br><br>Why shouldn't the husband leading the house be the norm? Fact is, many men in the World and the Church have allowed women to take the lead out of laziness and complacency. My wife and I have a partnership. We make all decisions together, raise our daughter together, and each have chores around the house. We communicate. But we agree that I have the final decision because she views me as head of our family and even if she strongly feels a certain way about something, she will respect my decision if it differs. That's a partnership and a marriage.<br><br>Is this the norm? Probably not but does that make it not worth striving for? Men are to set the example in spiritual leadershipâ€”in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. <a href="http://www.gotquestions.org/women-pastors.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.gotquestions.org/wo...</a><br><br>Your description of conservatives or Republicans is typical of misinformation. So, Republicans are oppressing the poor and hording money, but it's acceptable for Democrats to enslave the country in debt because they feel throwing money at the situation will solve it? By that line of thinking, I'd say neither party is effective in dealing with the needs of the poor, because it's not the government's place to help the poor, the widows, and the orphans - this is the purpose of the Church and where we have failed miserably. <a href="http://www.gotquestions.org/Republican-Democrat.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.gotquestions.org/Re...</a><br><br>Your view is very slim on the beauty of science. My articulation of your thoughts is that if I don't accept a random explosion of matter and random reactions in nature as means to create life, then I am against science. Fascinating. My view is Creationism and Intelligent Design: <a href="http://www.gotquestions.org/creationism-vs-evolution.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.gotquestions.org/cr...</a><br><br>God supports war. Jesus is not a pacifist. War is sometimes needed to prevent even greater evil. Thinking this is not so is foolish. If Hitler had not been defeated by World War II, how many more millions would have been killed? If the American Civil War had not been fought, how much longer would African-Americans have had to suffer as slaves? <a href="http://www.gotquestions.org/war-Iraq-just.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.gotquestions.org/wa...</a>
Rick, you are making Anne Rice's point very effectively. The reason I am currently struggling with calling myself a Christian is because I don't want the label to lead others to conclude that I share your debatable opinions about the issues you have so confidently lectured us on. Like Anne Rice, I'm saying 'yes' to Christ and to the faith of the apostles, and 'no', most emphatically NO, to your peculiar beliefs. Sadly, as long as your beliefs are identified as "Christian," I'll have to equivocate on whether I, too, should be identified as such.
Eh, I wasn't impressed with the parts I read of her book, "Christ the Lord, Outof Egypt". IMHO, she seemed to have a triffling view of Christianity in the first place. <br>To me, what she's saying isn't new. Claiborne, Boyd, Wallis, Mclaren, etc have all said similar things on occasion, and others have been far more divisive in their rejection of elements of Christianity they don't like. In the end though, it won't lead to anyhting positive, because she's placing herself as the sole decider of what's good and right. Notice that her conscience is deciding factor, not God or His Word. I've done that enough in my own life to know, that's not wise.
<i>Your statement implies that it's possible to be a gay Christian.</i><br><br>Oh, did I imply that? My mistake; I meant to say it outright. It is possible to be a gay Christian; in fact, I think it's <i>more</i> possible to be a gay Christian than it is to be an anti-gay Christian. Gay Christians are generally much more in tune with Christ's law of love than are those who use the name of Christ as a wallpaper for their hatred and bigotry.<br><br><i>This would presume that being gay is not a choice but is by design.</i><br><br>Another place where those who believe that being LGBT is a choice would also be anti-science. There is a great deal of scientific evidence now - both in genetics and in psychology - that strongly suggests that people are born gay or lesbian. In order to remain in line with science, those who deny that LGBT people are born that way are thus expected to present scientific evidence, from well-regarded peer-reviewed journals, that would suggest otherwise. Let's see some links.<br><br><i>People choose to be married, single, gay, commit adultery, divorce, etc.</i><br><br>This list reminds me of that song from Sesame Street: One of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong.<br><br>When did you choose to be straight?<br><br><i>Why shouldn't the husband leading the house be the norm?</i><br><br>Because it's sexist.<br><br><i>Men are to set the example in spiritual leadershipâ€”in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. </i><br><br>If you believe that, okay. But don't go claiming that such a belief isn't anti-feminist, because it most certainly is. Feminism is based on the idea that men and women are equal; saying that "women are to take a less authoritative role" is to place them in a hierarchy of power <i>below men</i> and thus say that they are unequal. If you're going to hold anti-feminist beliefs, at least have the intellectual honesty to admit that you're anti-feminist.<br><br><i>So, Republicans are oppressing the poor and hording money, but it's acceptable for Democrats to enslave the country in debt because they feel throwing money at the situation will solve it?</i><br><br>No, it isn't. We shouldn't be enslaving the country in debt. The United States has <i>by far</i> the lowest marginal tax rate on its highest income earners - and even <i>that</i> is skewed such that the investor class (i.e., those who produce nothing of actual value to society) pay even less in taxes than entrepreneurs or small business owners. We shouldn't enslave the country in debt at all; we should be actively transferring wealth from the rich and greedy to those who haven't got enough to make ends meet.<br><br>Further, even if one <i>doesn't</i> accept that government should be involved in wealth redistribution, there is no question <i>at all</i> from an honest reading of the Bible that <i>the Church</i> should be involved in wealth redistribution. The American Church in particular denies Jesus Christ's statement that "it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom." If the libertarian elements of the church are going to say that government shouldn't be involved in redistributing wealth, they need to get more serious about prophetically calling the wealthy - both within and without the church - to forego most if not all of their wealth, live modestly, and engage the surplus of their wealth in the task of social justice. To prop up the immoral luxuries of wealth in the name of Christ, as the American church does (to say nothing of the Republican Party), is deeply and profoundly sacrilegious.<br><br><i>Your view is very slim on the beauty of science. My articulation of your thoughts is that if I don't accept a random explosion of matter and random reactions in nature as means to create life, then I am against science. </i><br><br>No, my thoughts are that if you don't accept science, you're against science. Science overwhelmingly points to an old universe, and can accept no other explanation for the order of things than natural, non-supernatural causes. To say "God did it" and leave it at that is profoundly anti-scientific. Again, if you're going to deny the scientific method and the conclusions derived by that method, at least have the intellectual honesty to admit that you're doing it. Don't paper over anti-scientific beliefs by saying that you're engaged in science. You're not.<br><br><i>God supports war. Jesus is not a pacifist.</i><br><br>Which part of "turn the other cheek" are you not comprehending here?<br><br><i>War is sometimes needed to prevent even greater evil.</i><br><br>And that evil is often the result of prior wars. Stop the wars, you've stopped a lot of the evil. If World War I hadn't happened, and the French and English not demanded crippling reparations for the destruction of that war (thus leading to greater economic distress in Germany), Hitler would never have had the means to rise to power.<br><br>And I strongly disagree with the site you cite there (ad nausaeum) about the justice of the Iraq War. It was a war waged on false pretenses of WMDs and faulty intelligence, pushed through in an election year by a group of amoral demagogues who believed that misinforming the public into supporting a war in which hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died is an acceptable and moral practice. Looking back at the Iraq War, I think I can categorically say that anyone who continues to believe that the war was just has absolutely no acquaintance with anything remotely resembling justice.<br><br>I did notice that you didn't touch the issue of torture, and the policy of "legalized" torture that was in place under George W. Bush while he continued to enjoy the uncritical support of right-wing American "Christianity." How can anyone who claims to be a Christian support a man who didn't just tolerate but <i>ordered</i> the torture of human beings created in God's image?
Rick,<br><br> It is entirely possible to be a gay Christian. I think we would all presume homosexuality a matter of attraction, which it turns out isn't really a choice. Gay is broadly defined as people who are attracted to the same gender, not who does what with who. Sex isn't the defining attribute of sexuality, attraction is (otherwise what would single heterosexual folks be?).<br><br> Anyway, as such, it is entirely feasible to be both a devote Christian and attracted to people of your our gender. I have a couple of friends who are, and still quite within the Christian conservative mainstream. Additionally, there are even some well know Christians that fall into this camp, Henry Nouwan for example.<br><br>Just thought I should clarify that small point.
Anne's comments resonate with me but reading these posts and the ones on Jon Acuff's "Stuff Christians Like" leads me to believe that the Church has a chance to live up to Christ's expectations (with His help of course). Keep the conversation going on and outside the web.
So now she is anti-christ.
"Itâ€™s simply impossible for me to â€œbelongâ€ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, Iâ€™ve tried. Iâ€™ve failed. Iâ€™m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else." I can totally relate to that from my own experience.
It is absolutely vile to say that God actually supports people going to war with each other.
Let us remember the parable that Jesus told of the two men asked to do a job:<br><br>One of them said that he wouldn't do it, but ended up changing his mind and doing it anyway.<br>The other said he would do it, but didn't do it.<br><br>So, given the choice between actually following Jesus while not making a big show of it, or claiming to follow Jesus yet doing the opposite, the former is much better. It seems that this is what Anne Rice is actually doing, yet she is being attacked for it.
I have had some of the same issues trouble me that Ms Rice proclaims but this so far is my conclusion:<br><br>I believe Ms Rice is being far too simple-minded with a god she wants to fit in her own little box.<br><br>God has a right to write the rules of the game for normative Christian living. Apparently Ms Rice cannot wrap her mind around that. Sad.
Francisco Franco, one of the most brutal and forgotten dictators of the 20th Century, memorialized himself by erecting a 500' tall cross inscribed with the words "Fransisco Franco, Soldier and Christian." He did so in the thinking that when all the other statutes of himself were torn down, the cross would remain untouched and serve as an immortal testament to his reign. <br><br>When I think of that as how some people associate themselves "as Christians," I don't have any problem with someone wanting to dissociate themselves from the term. I've even been to Churches that prefer the term "Christ-follower."
There is a time for war and peace. As long as this Earth exists, there will be war. Do you believe America should've never entered into World War II? I'm not comparing that war to others. And because people are people, mistakes will be made by flawed humans. However, greater evil was stopped in that recent example. War was unavoidable and the only solution.<br><br>Consult this link and others on this site for insights into Scripture on the topic of war: <a href="http://www.gotquestions.org/war-Iraq-just.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.gotquestions.org/wa...</a>
Steve, thanks for your reply. In response to "I don't want the label to lead others to conclude that I share your debatable opinions about the issues you have so confidently lectured us on."<br><br>We worry too often about what others think. You're concerned that if others hear you're a Christian they'll think you're all the things Anne mentioned? If they do, perhaps it will warrant you the opportunity to express your thoughts. Maybe your views will align with theirs. Maybe not. But agreeing to disagree is okay.<br><br>Lecture to me is a negative word to me as it implies you feel I know more about a subject than you. Perhaps that's not what you meant. If so, I claim not to know more than another. <br><br>My perceptions are my own and I share them here as "iron sharpening iron." I may likely be wrong on some perceptions and you on others. We learn. We grow. And we do it all by the grace of God.<br><br>Ultimately, on the topic of this thread, I say this: as we are people, we will always have misunderstandings and different perceptions. We should share and grow and mature. But we do this together. Saying one is not a Christian when they follow Christ is like divorcing / disinheriting one's family. Sure, one has the choice...but is it wise? Is it healthy for all involved?
You're backtraking. You said that God supports war. That's not even in the same ballpark as saying that war is inevitable.<br><br>That is why I so strongly reject what you have to say.<br><br>I'll also say this: the United States fought to defend itself in WWII, since the Axis powers declared war on them. The better question is : should Germany have invaded Poland? Was God on the side of the Axis? The frightening thing is, most German Christians who supported their nation's military regime did believe that God was on their side.<br><br>Think about
Somtimes, in bad situations, divorce can be a healthy situation.
Perhaps those of us who follow Christ should examine whether we, personally, are known for what we are for rather than what we are against. Perhaps we should choose to attend fellowships that want to be known as pro-love, pro-grace, pro-service, and pro-integrity. Perhaps we should be better known for our compassion than for our condemnation. I understand Rice's frustration with the "anti-" voices, however I think there are far fewer Christ followers who hold these sentiments than she thinks. <br><br>She's doing the same thing as the "anti-" crowd by becoming anti-Christian. She's lumping all of us in with the judgmental voices that she disagrees with. She's rejecting Christians as a group, which seems to be what she thinks the church is doing to the groups she thinks Christians are against. Thankfully God's Holy Spirit is gentler that we are with one another. May He comfort and convince her where her church seems to have failed her.
The Bible gives two clear grounds for divorce: (1) sexual immorality (Matthew 5:32; 19:9) and (2) abandonment by an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:15). Malachi 2:16 says, "I hate divorce, says the Lord God."<br><br>llawhsoj, you're correct. In bad situations, divorce can be healthy. The problem is that in those situations - spousal abuse (emotional or physical), child abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual), addiction to pornography, drug / alcohol use, crime / imprisonment, and mismanagement of finances (such as through a gambling addiction) - a couple may not have tried to reconcile or seek Godly counsel. <br><br>Divorces among Believers are reported just as high as with non-Believers. Does this point to selfish motives and desires being placed higher?
Cammie, can you tell us a bit more about what happened in your life that helps you to relate to Anne Rice's assessment?
You know what? I don't care what Augustine says, the church is not a whore, and she's not my mother. She is the pure, spotless, bride of the Lord Jesus Christ...and I am, as part of her, the bride of Christ.<br>The greatest gift Christians have for one another is a clear understanding of who we are in Christ - forgiven, washed, redeemed, spotless, repentant sinners; we are grace-filled, we are His Bride. That we don't show it much on this earth is no excuse for mangling what the church really is...<br>To all who think Christ's bride is a whore and that whore is their mother, I can't change your minds. But I disagree vehemently with you.
Quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, are these fruits of the Spirit?<br>Are you saying God is not able to produce a peculiar people?<br>The fear of the promise land! <br>We are predestined to be godly and God does not fall short.
Please read The books of Samuel, Kings and a good Part of Psalms.<br>Yes God does support people going to war. <br>Let God be with you all in the greatest of wars that has ever been waged, that which is happening in heaven.
Yikes. This is disturbing.<br><br>I was specifically mentioning whether or not God was on the side of the Nazis. Is it really too much of a stretch to say that God was not supportive of Nazi Germany?
I very much can relate to Anne Rice - a crisis of conscience in the church. If we define any group as an abstract amorphous blob or define "them" in a 'sin category' rather than as a collection of individual people, we fail to see Christ. If we fail to see Christ in people, how do we bind the wounds? We often - just judge the wounds as we are afraid. <br>It reminds me a bit of the story of St. Francis of Assisi - the social stigma of his day was leprosy. Until he was able to kiss the leper - he was bound by fear. After, he was able to enter into a ministry of deep compassionate, life changing ministry to the poor - as he entered into the poverty himself, he was able to be Christ. He attracted many followers. Attraction rather than promotion....<br> I share in that frustration of Anne Rice. However, I do think it is a dangerous place to be without like minded people. That is the key - likeminded. We have recently distanced ourself from our church body to discover a community of likemiinded people who have encouraged us in discovery what our leprosy to be encountered is. It is here - freedom is found - instead of "anti" anything, we are pro God - suspending judgement to be useful to our 'social lepers'. This radical way of following Christ through service to these marginalized groups is what will keep the church from being so repulsive to unbelievers and difficult for believers to stay connected to. Love over judgement. It is Christ's way. Eventually, we will be the change we want to see in the church we distanced ourselves from. Otherwise, how will they know?<br>Beth<br>.<br>
Sarah, <br><br>Well what is "Cristianity"? early followers of christ didn't called themselves "Cristians", they didn't have organizational religion as in the big churches we have today. They were in a believers community of faith and christ was present. ms. Rice had not left christ, God will look after her.<br><br>p.s. the scripture used by Amy about two or more poeple gathered is in regard to prayer, not church atendance.<br> Sarah 14 years old
I will respond to Sister Anne thus: In the name of Christ, I reject that Church which, speaking in His Name and claiming His Authority, justifies, practices, supports, condones or tolerates hatred, greed, lust, abuse of trust, abuse of children... <br>Amen.
I don't get it. Why can't Christians see thru the eyes of Jesus? Isn't that what we are trying to achieve? I read this and was so full of hope, then I read the comments of narrow-minded, fundamentalist religious people. Look through the eyes of Jesus for one second! Anne was saying she was no longer going to be a bumper-sticker, cross necklace wearing attendee of a local body of religious folks and she was going to start looking at the lost through the eyes of love. Some of these writers are the same people who railed Jesus for healing on the Sabbath! I'm with her. From now I'm going to stop wearing a stupid tag and tie and stop judging people from my pew and actually BE like Christ! To reach out to the homosexual dying from aids and hug him, to pray for all political parties that God's will be done, to talk one on one, face to face and ask a scientist what they believe. Stop being all the anti-junk that the pulpit sometimes preaches and look through the eyes of love. To love my enemy even if he's throwing stones at me. People are going to hell and I will not stand back and let a bunch of "Christians" tell me how to be like Christ. I will let God Himself as the Holy Spirit do it. To all of the anti-anti-groups, I love you too and I will not judge you either. I have as much hope and love for you as Christ does me... now saved by grace. All my love and praise be to the Lord Almighty.
It is not about "I" it is Jesus first and formost. Alone we are weak together we are whole. Can the eyes, ears, arms, legs work alone? Look not upon yourself Ms Rice look up while bending your knees.<br><br>
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