Yesterday, a story in the Huffington Post, a publication I freely admit I do not regularly read, caught my attention. The article title was simply: “Anne Rice: ‘I Quit Being A Christian’.” Now, I am not a fan of Rice’s work. I can’t really say I am a non-fan of her work, though. She is the author of Interview with a Vampire and other vampire novels. Vampires are not my thing. They are not something that interest me. I know movies have been made from Rice’s books and that she is very successful in her genre. I have just never felt the desire to see any of the movies or read any of her books. However I did feel the desire to read this article. (If you have that same desire, click here.)
Apparently, Ms. Rice used her Facebook page to announce that she is no longer a Christian. In her post, she said, “I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life” (as quoted in the Huffington Post article). Her words made me think. Is this really how Christianity is defined in today’s culture? By all of the things a so-called Christian is supposed to be against?
I prefer to look at my Christianity in terms of the things that I am for rather than against. For example, love. There are things that I believe to be wrong. It is my belief that the Bible is God’s word and His law for humans. I believe that anyone who is living outside of those laws is living outside the will of God. I also believe that God (as stated repeatedly in His word) wants to me love everyone and judge no one, regardless of how they are living their lives.
Abortion is murder, and murder is against God’s law. Yet I don’t feel that I have the right to condemn a woman who chooses abortion. It doesn’t matter that I cannot imagine any situation where abortion would be an acceptable alternative (including rape, as I know children conceived in rape that are still very well loved by their mothers). God wants me to love each person He has created. I can show that love not by attempting to force a woman to continue a pregnancy she does want or even by “preaching” at her every day that being unmarried and pregnant makes her a disgrace. Rather, I show love by accepting who she is and the choices she has made, and praying for her. My home is very near a clinic where abortions are routinely performed. When I drive past it, I say a silent (and sometimes not so silent!) prayer for the women who enter that clinic. Whatever choice those women make, I pray that someone, somewhere shows them the kindness and love of God.
The Bible is very clear that God made man and woman to love each other. One man, one woman. It’s made very clear throughout the Bible that God does not condone homosexuality. Does that mean He doesn’t love gay men and lesbian woman? No, I don’t believe so. And I don’t believe that He intends for me to shun them, either. I have gay friends and family members. In fact, one of the most generous, kind, and loving couples I know are gay. I love them dearly and couldn’t imagine my life without them. They know, however, that I do not agree with their lifestyle. And that is OK. They don’t agree with everything that I believe and everything that I do. There are some areas where we have to agree to disagree.
I don’t believe that God created women to be better than men, nor men to be better than women. I believe He wants us all to be equal, as He loves us all equally.
I don’t believe that He is concerned with the type of birth control that we use. I don’t believe He cares much about American politics. I don’t believe that everything God does can be explained by science. At the same time, I don’t believe He intends for us to not use to science to improve our lives. And I certainly don’t believe God is in anyway anti-life.
Anne Rice goes on in her statement to say that while she will no longer wear the label of Christian, she remains committed to Christ. In the end, I think this is all that God asks of us—allegiance to Him and to His son. Following the “quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group” of Christians often portrayed in the media is not what we should do. God wants us to reflect His love, not man’s hatred.
I don’t mind being called a Christian. However, I do find the term “Christ-follower” to be more accurate. Christians are seen as following religious laws, laws that were often written by men. Christ-followers follow the teachings of Christ and strive to be more like Him in all they do. That is who I want to be—a person constantly striving to be more like Christ, reflecting His love to everyone I meet.
What about you? What does a commitment to Christ mean to you? How does it look in your life?