I read a while back that Anne Rice, the writer of the Vampire Chronicles, and who is/was a Catholic, has decided to leave the church because of the rampant hypocrisy that she sees there. In an article of the Los Angeles Times dating back to August 2010, Anne was quoted as saying:
“The author Anne Rice, best known for her vampire novels, made waves last week when she declared on her Facebook page that she had “quit being a Christian.” Twelve years after her return to Catholicism, Rice said she still believed in God, but that, “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.”
I can understand in theory Anne Rice’s frustration with some of the “leaders” who are esconced in the church, and who are against everything and everybody in the name of holiness. Humans tend to get things wrong and if those wrong things benefit us, we tend to latch on to those wrong things and justify those wrong things. The list of issues that Anne Rice says she can’t be a part of is the same list that many people feel is so prevalent in too many churches today. But at the same time, I feel that Anne makes a mistake by dramatically declaring herself a non-Christian. If she would study her Bible, she’d realize that the issues she sees happening in the church today, happened in the church back in the Bible times. In fact they happened on a larger scale back then, as there used to be “temple prostitutes” and all that implies, as well as all kinds of other abominations. But that didn’t stop Jesus from coming to save us.
What Anne Rice and others who feel this way should do is stay in the church and become a beacon of light to these lost. They who are righteous ought to let their light shine. Be a blessing to the people who you see that need help! Enough of us have got to be brave enough and willing to counteract the wickedness we see in the church, and do the work that Jesus gave us to do, instead of always expecting and waiting for “the leaders of the church” to do the work. As Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said, “The greatest sin of our time is not the few who have destroyed but the vast majority who sat idly by.” The fact that there are wrong doers in high places should make us want to do something to change it, not run away from it.
Jesus went about picking regular people to do great works. He started equipping those so called simple, uneducated people to fight against the “leaders” by preaching God’s Holy Word to everyone with ears to hear! The truth is what sets us free and empowers us against the workers of iniquity! Jesus set the example by strongly railing against the hypocrisy of Pharisees and Saducees in the sight and hearing of the people! The Pharisee and Saducees were the “leaders of the church” in those times, and they were known for rampant and pious hypocrisy. Jesus also showed us how to deal with the con artists and hustlers who also defiled the church by using it as a backdrop to their slick money making schemes. Jesus actually got physical with them, pulling out a whip and driving them out of the sanctuary with it! The one thing that Jesus didn’t do—He NEVER allowed these people to stop Him from doing His God given work. These wicked people could never make Jesus hightail it and run from the church!! But this is another of the great lessons that Jesus was always teaching us. The lesson is this: if Jesus, the Son of God, had to deal with this stuff back then, we should know that we will have to deal with the same kinds issues in the church today! Yet many of us feel inconvenienced to have to deal with these issues. We expect the church to be a place where everyone is so pious and perfect as we ourselves believe we are! Can we then truly call ourselves disciples of Jesus Christ, if we aren’t willing to do those things that he taught us by His own example?
Too many people fall into what I believe is satan’s trap, believing and expecting the leaders to be above humanity, without human shortcomings. Of course we then we become disillusioned when those same leaders prove themselves to be human, with every last human shortcoming! When God told us that we ALL fall short, He meant it!!! That includes the “leaders of the church”. In my opinion what worse is using their human failings as an excuse fall away so we can do our own wicked thing. In others words, we then turn away from Jesus. We should all be thankful that Jesus didn’t use the weaknesses of humanity as an excuse to turn away from us! He obediently and lovingly did the work His Father gave Him, which was to save us and to minister to our hurts, illnesses and emotional needs, in spite of every last obstacle and all those who came against Him.
So although I understand Anne Rice’s frustration, I don’t agree with it, because it’s shortsighted, it’s immature, and it shows that she wasn’t a true disciple of Jesus. I feel that she used her “frustration” as a weak excuse to deal with her own double mindedness. After all, she became very successful with the cast of sexy vampire type characters that she created for her series of books called the Vampire Chronicles. These vampires are supernatural spirits, which lean toward anti Christianity, and she fully understands this, I’m sure. She’s not ignorant. Maybe she had a crisis of conscious with the clash between Jesus and Satanic vampires. Maybe that’s why she returned to the Catholic Church after being an atheist. And maybe, the church forced that crisis all the more as she worshipped along side the other parishioners. Or maybe she is just being an opportunist and using the current political climate to her advantage, which would call for such a declaration, as (“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.”) It makes her look like she’s taking a strong stand against hypocrisy in the church to the general onlooker. She preferred her vampires to the Catholic Church apparently. I guess she wasn’t willing to to be anti-vampire for Jesus’ sake!
Jesus tells us to forsake all others, and Anne Rice may not have been ready to do that. Alot of people who claim to be Christian are not ready to do that. It requires dying to self daily. That simply means that we have to overcome those emotions and desires that are not in line with what God requires of us as Jesus’ disciples. God doesn’t leave us alone to struggle with this: He gives us the help of the Holy Spirit, who renews our human spirits. So when someone mistreats us, we are able to overcome the desire to get revenge, with the Holy Spirit’s help. When we are attracted to sin, the Holy Spirit helps us to overcome that attraction. And even if we succumb to it, Jesus has secured our forgiveness! When we choose to study the Bible and seek the Lord continuously, He empowers us, and that power is actual. You actually can feel it working in you. You know that it has worked because you are changed bit by bit as time passes. You find yourself strong where you were once weak. But you have to diligently seek the Lord and believe in the depths of your heart to experience this power. As disciples of Jesus, whenever we doubt that this power can truly exist, we seek strength by reading Proverbs 3: 5-6, or which ever Scripture speaks to us, and choose not to rely on our own limited understanding. This is very hard and it’s the place that many people fail, but it is essential. Thankfully, God gives us second, third, fourth and fifth chances if we are sincere to try.
So do not throw your hands up in frustration over those workers of iniquity who are in the church. They are merely a distraction sent by satan to keep you from all the wonderful spiritual gifts that God has promised you when you diligently seek Him, continuously ask Him, and unceasingly knock at His door.