Is your church giving life to young people, or draining it away?
In 1998, author Anne Rice shocked readers and the publishing world when she announced she would never write another vampire book again. She wrote the bestselling "Vampire Chronicles" series including Interview with a Vampire which some folks credit with launching the whole vampire (and now zombie) obsession seen in our culture. But in 1998 Rice said she would never write those kinds of books again.
Why? Because that year she committed her life to Christ. She said, "My life is committed to Christ the Lord. My books will be a reflection of that commitment." Her fans pushed back begging her to keep writing about vampires, witches, and ghosts. Rice said, "Is Christ our Lord not the ultimate supernatural hero, the ultimate outsider, the ultimate immortal of them all?" Instead she went on to write two novelizations of the life of Jesus based on the Gospel of Luke—absolutely brilliant books.
In 2010 she made another surprising announcement on her Facebook page: "Today I quit being a Christian. I'm out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being "Christian" or to being any part of Christianity … 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." Her post triggered a frenzy on social media with tens of thousands of people reposting and "liking" her statement.
Anne Rice's story represents what more and more people are reporting. They are drawn to Christ, they want to follow him as Lord … but the church? Institutional Christianity? ...
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Skye Jethani is the executive editor of Leadership Journal, an ordained pastor, and the author of numerous books. He co-hosts the weekly Phil Vischer Podcast and speaks regularly at churches, conferences, and colleges. He makes his home with his wife and three children in Wheaton, Illinois.