Saturday, 14 August 2010

ASBO Christians

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.


  1. Church is family. It has (in my own theological model) a father and a mother, and we are children.

    This woman is saying the equivalent of:
    'Becasue I don't like my dad's dancing and my mum's cooking; because dad's habits are not my habits; because I am apt to vote differently to mum - what I am going to to is keep the name but abandon you my family. I'd like my name to stay on the will and I expect my room to be ready when I deign to return - but I won't'

    I am quite sure that, whilst I haven't discussed this issue with him specifically, that My Lord and my God will be saying of her, in love:

    "silly sod"

    Good post - thank you

  2. Thank you!
    Interestingly enough I was reading this post from Good in Parts about the idea of church as family,

    I suppose some people DO break off from their families because of deep hurts. It is the same with the church. I think it is petty if it is over trivial disagreements, but I can understand if it is over condemnation of relationships, sexuality, divorce etc.

    I have to say that I am a bit wobbly about church. I did once leave for 18 months and walking away is always an option at the back of my mind. I don't see the church as family_ because then how do you feel if you are rejected or condemned? I see church as a group of fallible individuals, some of whom I will feel close to and will offer christian fellowship and support, others not . It is also a place where you can find God and worship God. I think it can be hard to keep up the habits of christian life without the support and structure of worship, prayer and contact with other believers that is offered by church.