Things to Consider

An interview with Anne Rice on the Colbert Report the other day sent me on an internet search for answers about her walking away from Christianity. Condensed version of the story: she wrote vampire books, became a Catholic and started writing Christian books, then walked away from religion and has now written a werewolf book. I knew the first part of the story but was unaware that she had denounced Christianity, so being the curious google-lover that I am I set out to find some answers. In my searching I stumbled on an interesting opinion piece written on the subject by Rev. Bill Shuler. It’s an interesting piece, and I recommend reading the whole thing, but the 10 Thoughts Pertaining to Jesus and the Church were so great I wanted to share them here.

The following are 10 thoughts pertaining to Jesus and the Church:

1. Jesus saved his harshest criticism for the Pharisees who elevated rules and tradition but failed to recognize God when he stood before them.

2. Jesus modeled the proper balance of forgiveness and righteousness when he said to the woman caught in adultery, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

3. Jesus came from a lineage that was dysfunctional and included prostitutes. He loved and identified with those who were judged by others and through loving them redeemed them.

4. Jesus chose women to be in his inner-circle and shocked his disciples by going against the cultural mores of the day and conversing with the woman at the well.

5. Jesus called Judas “friend” at the very moment Judas was betraying him with a kiss exemplifying his love for the most hated man in Christianity.

6. Jesus called Peter to put away his sword and then healed the wounds that Peter caused when Peter attacked a servant of the high priest. With this one act he showed that it is better to heal and win the heart than to harm.

7. Jesus was neither a Democrat nor a Republican and clearly delineated between politics and faith when he said “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” Romans 13:1.

8. Jesus would not allow his followers to exclude Peter from being recognized as a disciple even after Peter had betrayed Jesus. He told the first witnesses of his resurrection to go tell his disciples “and Peter also” lest they exclude Peter because of his actions.

9. Jesus placed science and the gathering of knowledge about nature in context with God’s design and authorship. Matthew 6:28-30.

10. Jesus called the church, “my church” showing that it is not an idea of man but of God. Matthew 16:18.

Pretty great stuff, huh? Now I’m not here to tell anyone how or what to believe. There are enough voices out there screaming at us day in and day out and I am not even remotely interested in joining in that roar. But I do think it is important for all of us to take a moment to consider what Christianity is really about, what Jesus was really all about. Religion is so frequently used as a weapon, especially during election seasons when “faith” is used as a sledgehammer to crush the opponents, causing people like Anne Rice to run from the church. Let me be clear, I do not say this because I want to wander into the black lava pit of political discourse, but because it is the number one reason I hear from people for their aversion to Christianity. It just seems like it might be a good time to take a step back and consider what Christianity is really all about, and then do our best to live according to our conclusions. So I offer these thoughts for your consideration. I offer no conclusion for you beyond that we should each consider the life of Jesus for ourselves and come to our own conclusion.
*As a side note, Anne Rice’s The Feast of All Saints is a fabulous book about the gens de couleur libre (free people of color) in New Orleans before the Civil War. If you like historical fiction, check it out. I absolutely loved every single page!
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