I read with interest this article about how Anne Rice is giving up Christianity but keeping Christ. Rice posted her reasons on Facebook,
"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"
Now,there is nothing in Christ's teaching that requires any of those things, and I think Rice is more "Christian" than she thinks. She is a little unjust in her blanket condemnations, not all churches are homophobic and bigoted, and I do worry that her declaration will fuel the far too common perception that all Christians are made in this mould. On the other hand, there is also a lot of truth in what Rice says. When it comes to the complexities of sex, sexual identity and human relationships, most churches don't even deal very well with straight people, let alone gay ones!
It is also true that sometimes, just sometimes, church can be a place where you find Christ, and sometimes grace breaks through, as I wrote in this post about ASBO Christians last year.
So, if you are tempted to give up church, why not stay and be an ASBO Christian ? You don't have to put up and shut up, you could be a challenge, irritation, embarrassment and a thorn in the flesh instead. Jesus always was.