If you hang around my church long enough, you might hear a pastor or a teacher ask about how our faith should “taste” to others. Taste is one of those words that is descriptive and purposeful at the same time. Taste matters when it comes to telling others about who you are and what you believe. Ask celebrity author Anne Rice.
On her Facebook page this past week, Rice caused quite a stir when she posted,
“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.”
Whether or not you agree with her or want to argue with her, Anne’s taste buds are her own. The bitterness she describes is real to her and to others.Sometimes we quibble. Sometimes we do make it so hard for others to want to follow. Rice has since updated her status several times this week, asking fans to understand what she meant. (That she still loves Jesus and will follow Him, but without the church and without His people.) She says from now on she is going to write her own story, thank you very much.
Here’s where get and entirely different taste about what it means to be Christian. The author and guest speaker shared this weekend about how, as a young boy, his family lived in Ecuador where his father was a missionary pilot along with four others who were killed by Waodani Indians.
Today Steve travels and speaks with the very warrior who speared his father to death. But he is quick to point out that “Grandfather Mincaye” is not that same man–that God’s love transformed him into a new creation. (Steve’s story inspired the movie, The End of the Spear.)
This weekend Steve shared something with Christ The Rock that Mincaye often tells American audiences: “God does not see it well when we walk His trail…” and then he adds for emphasis, “alone.”
I was thinking about that today, wondering what it would be like to go it alone. To be completely in love with Jesus, but devoid of the whole “Love Your Neighbor” thing. Can one really have a two-way relationship with the Creator of the universe without loving His people? Or does he truly long for us to be one with Him, together?
The answer is found in those hard chapters when it is difficult for us to love each other and we somehow find the strength to do it anyway. As I looked around at the sea of faces at second service, I started thinking about what Jesus meant by calling us His Bride; his body of believers. His “church” is made up of young, old, those seeking a new path and those who’ve journeyed here a long time.
Anne Rice, for all of her fame and fortune, does not have a family like this. Sure, we’re not perfect. (boy, are we not perfect!) But there is something about taking this journey together and picking each other up when we fall down that is more precious than silver or gold.
I am glad that we don’t have to walk his trail alone. I am thankful that He can write our story.