Quitting Christianity

The blogosphere (at least the Christian one) is abuzz with Anne Rice’s announcement that she’s quitting Christianity.  On her Facebook page earlier this week, she said “For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. 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.
With the following clarification: “As I said…I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, 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. In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”

There are as many opinions about this pronouncement as there are blog entries about it.  Rachel Held Evans wondered on her Twitter feed what others thought (but didn’t weigh in with her own opinion).  Michael Geertsma said, on ThinkChristian, that he initally was agreed, but later thought she has a narrow view of what being a Christian looks like.  The Celestial Navigator seems to agree with her action.  There are others weighing in on either side; some agreeing, some accusing her of playing semantics.  Perhaps the best analysis comes from Jason Boyett, of “O, Me of Little Faith“.  Like many of us, he understands her frustration but disagrees with what she’s said.  According to Jason, “Look, if you follow the religious figure Jesus Christ, then you are aligning yourself, whether you like it or not, with his other followers. That makes you a Christian, and that makes you part of the Christian religious system. You’re not making a legitimate distinction by trying to separate the religion from your personal faith. ”  I agree with him, but also have my own two cents to add.
Anne Rice isn’t the only person to come to this conclusion, people disgusted with the way Christians act are leaving the Church in droves.  This same dissatisfaction is what brought about the Emergent movement (or conversation or whatever else they’re calling it today).  I, myself, have severe reservations about the very same things that drove Anne to “leave” Christianity.  But, here’s the problem with that: if you leave, you can’t make things better.  In fact, if Christ is our rabbi, we have a duty to show our rabbi’s yoke (personal theology) in the best possible light.  Otherwise, how will we interest others in taking up that yoke?  And, make no mistake, that is a part of following our rabbi.
I, personally, am Christian.  I will remain a Christian, no matter what some other misguided Christians decide is the proper way to live out their faith.  I will attempt to respect their beliefs and interpretations, even when they don’t respect mine.  I do, however, reserve the right to speak out when I disagree.   Otherwise, I might as well leave, too.