Friday, July 30, 2010

Anne Rice leaves her church

"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."

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." - Famed novelist Anne Rice, from her Facebook page.  Anne Rice's Facebook fan page

Anne Rice published the above on her Facebook fan page this past Wednesday, July 28, 2010.  My first reaction was "good for her."  I'm all for people, especially public figures, coming out against hatred and ignorance.  I'm especially happy when they do it in the name of Christ.

My enjoyment faded pretty quickly to sadness, though.  Look at that list anti's in her church.  Among other things anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-secular humanism.  What does it say when a large, mainstream Christian church endorses -- even enforces -- that long list of anti's?  What's worse, I think, is that this perception extends to all Christian churches in the United States.  I submit that if you polled most people in the United States about Christianity, they'd describe our faith in this manner.  Either they'd reject the worship of Christ because of these perceptions or they'd actually welcome a church that countenances these attitudes!

How did we get here?  Certainly, there have always been churches that endorse these anti's, but how did the face of all Christianity come to be associated with narrow mindedness?  First, I think, we saw the rise of churches that grew huge and rich and decided to acquire political power.  Second, some politicians decided to exploit these churches and their members for their own political ends.  Third, our news media have become lazy enough not to look past the surface into the reality of Christianity in the United States -- the reality being that there is no one Christian church in this country and no one televangelist is the sole spokesperson for God.

At least, Ms. Rice notes farther down on her page that the Lutheran church has publicly stated that they welcome non-celibate gays as clergy.  I imagine she's aware of the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy in the Episcopal church, too.  In fact, I wanted to post that she should consider her local Episcopal church, where she'll find LGBT members, feminists, and even secular-humanists welcome.  I may still.  Unfortunately, that isn't true of all Episcopal parishes, and that makes me saddest of all.

We all have a lot more work to do.  With God's help, we'll do it.


Friday, July 9, 2010

A message from our rector

Please read the entire letter here...

In the conversation around human sexuality, we have been talking in the Episcopal Church for over forty years. Innumerable numbers of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons have died waiting for us to make up our minds about what we (the "normal people") think of them. Enough is enough, and it has been enough for a very long time now. As Moses was commanded by God to tell Pharaoh: "Let my people go." Anglican Communion, let's stop talking about being pastoral and true to God‘s word, and let us start acting like pastors and allow God‘s word to live in and through us.

All I can say to my dear brothers and sisters who hear themselves being talked about is: I am sorry. I am truly sorry that so many people who call themselves Christians do not love you the way God does. I am sorry that despite its cries for justice for all people, the Anglican Communion is so blind to its own repressive attitudes and actions.

Finally I say to each of you: GOD LOVES YOU, JUST AS YOU ARE.

Here is my Bible thumping moment:

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Rom 8:31–39)

Though others will always try to find a label to put on my currently clean-shaven head, I am not a liberal, nor am I a conservative. The one label I will whole-heartedly put on myself is Christian. As such I will continue, and I invite each of you to join me, to strive to be more like Jesus, a champion for those who society, not God, have labeled outcasts.
Pray for peace, God‘s peace; work for justice, true justice.

Faithfully yours in the service of Christ, Mauricio J. Wilson