Ann Rice started this by saying she was leaving Christianity, not Christ. Leonard Pitts echoes her concerns in the title document. What I say is that the media and popular culture have defined Christianity as something very unpalatable. To read Leonard Pitts article, click on the title of this entry.
Mainstream Christianity does not have a voice on cable news or commentary. The only views given are those of the far right, a very mean-spirited, dying branch of Christianity. That many Christians find solace in so-called grace churches is ignored by media and politicians. Others follow different paths to an on-going relationship with God. Some still attend old-line churches whose messages of love and care for your fellow man echo through the ages. Others do find their path to God is a solitary one. I don't think God cares what brand of Christianity we choose as long as we seek him and remember that the Creator is the great I AM, Jesus is God in Action, and that which binds Creator to Son is Love (sometimes called the Holy Spirit. The Supreme Being I worship defines himself as "I AM Love in Action."
Some of the lack of diversity in the media is the result of a clever ploy by the Republican party to co-opt Christianity as a branch of the Republican party. Republicans did hoodwink the right-wing, anti-abortion crowd by putting anti-abortion in their party platform. These "Christians" are so focused on the single issue of abortion that they have ignored the other positions of the GOP that can only be characterized as hostile to the precepts of Christianity. Remember the parable of the sheep and the goats,Matthew 25:31-46 "whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me". The GOP characterizes "the least of these" as malingers, lazy bums, parasites, and generally scum that does not deserve to be helped. The success of the Republican party is only partly due to their own cleverness, most is due to the failure of mainstream Christianity to engage the right. Just as Muslims have been identified with their fringe, so have Christians.
My goal is to make it clear that the followers of Jesus of Nazareth form a vast church outside the confines of hierarchies, buildings and petty politics. Attendance is voluntary, but the closer to God you want to be, the more you must participate. Participation means reading the Bible, reading the works of great Christians and prayer. Yes, you do have to read the Bible, just not worship it. The writings of C.S. Lewis put me on the path to Christ as well as those of Dorothy Sayers and Thomas Merton. I believe prayer is the key to knowing God - everything from your babble of problems and pain throughout the day to an always listening Creator to the deeply contemplative moments alone with the Comforter. God is always near.
To both Ann Rice and Leonard Pitts I say,"Look around, churches come in all flavors. Find the one that nourishes you." If none do, then seek God on your own. She is always there and always whispering "I am love in action."
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