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And yet another response to Anne Rice… August 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — paintingmama @ 4:20 pm
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I have been debating all week whether or not to publicly, via blog, jump in and voice my opinion on the Anne Rice leaving Christianity in the name of Christ subject. I have followed the story since the beginning, reading both sides of the story in various blogs and news articles. I have recently faced the same decision she has made. I wasn’t Catholic, but Protestant, yet found myself having the same problems with the church.

I was not as bold as Anne Rice to publicly announce  my decision, so for many of my friends and family this post will be the first time they are hearing of this. It’s not that I wanted to hide my decision, but that I needed time to further study the whys and confirm if this was truly how I felt. The small circle of people around me that do know I have made such a step have made it clear, in usually a loving way, they disagree with me and I love them so much for voicing their concern over my soul.

The explanation for my exodus from the church lies in my quest for purity, a stripping away so to speak. I love history and have poured over books and documentaries since I was very young. I knew roughly the time line of certain historical events that changed the church forever, such as Constantine’s rule. I began to trace the church backwards, looking at timelines of the church making little changes here and there, blessing rituals of different areas as they spread the church throughout Europe. I have questioned since I was a little girl why things were so different from the Jewish religion, when Jesus was in fact Jewish and taught in the synagogues. Why didn’t we celebrate the Jewish holidays that we read about in Sunday school, when Jesus had Passover with His disciples immediately before being put on the cross? Continuing on my timeline I found little changes here and there, a fork in the road here and there, yet nothing to convince me that this was what Jesus intended for his church.

This began the stripping away process for me. What was before the Protestant sect, The Church of England, the Catholic church? How did the disciples carry on the church and in what way? I’m not on a quest to convert anyone, I am simply relaying the questions that arose for me during this process. A quick answer to what I consider myself today is Natsarim (a form of Messianic Jewish), but for the most part I am choosing for now to follow God on my own. I choose not to tithe to a physical building if the family next door can not pay their power bill this month; I choose not to argue over legalism, but rather spend that time counseling a friend in need; I choose to drop organized religion and run to my God with freedom and purity of heart. In the name of Yahushua ha Mashiach, Amen.

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33 Responses to “And yet another response to Anne Rice…”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ANDREW and Barb Ann Snow, Anne Rice. Anne Rice said: Here's another personal response to my leaving organized religion for Christ. http://fb.me/v03xtl7J […]

  2. eastiopians Says:

    You should be getting a lot of blog hits now, haha. This is a hot topic and an important one. Thanks for your insight. Your soul sounds perfectly healthy to me. A personal relationship with God without the confines of organized religion can be a very holy place to dwell.

  3. Stacie Says:

    I commend and admire you for having the courage to speak up to the world about what is truly in your heart. It takes a very brave person to do that. I share many of the same sentiments with you and I wish you the best of luck in your Journey with Papa.

    P.S. Have you read The Shack? If not, I encourage it! Changed me!

  4. Joseph Says:

    I have followed a similar path, being Jewish, I’ve had some of the same questions about how Jesus was raised and how different “his” church is from his religion. Now when people ask me about my religion I simply tell them that I surround myself with G-d and hope whatever he has planned for me doesn’t hurt too much……

    • paintingmama Says:

      I haven’t “joined” a religion per say, but Natsarim is what I found myself aligning with belief wise. I agree, you never know what path he will lead you on.

  5. I_am_Tulsa Says:

    I hope you have a wonderful spiritual journey! I am on a similar path myself and have found that by stepping away from the church I actually admire Jesus a lot more!

  6. Michael Iott Says:

    Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I too am a stickler for history and always have been. II am a follower of Jesus (“Yeshua” in his native Aramaic). I’m a little more tolerant of “Churches” but not much. I host a house church…loosely affiliated with the “Independent Catholic” movement that has been around since the first Vatican Council (1867-70). A group of Bishops in Europe broke communion with the Papacy when that council proclaimed the Dogma of Papal Infallibility. Any way…good for you. Continue your Journey and try to have fellowship with everyone genuinely seeking a way to the Divine…however it one chooses to define it.

    • paintingmama Says:

      I converted in April, so I haven’t found a house church. I have been looking for one, it just seems like the right path for me. House churches have a certain intimacy that is hard to find anywhere else.

      • Michael Iott Says:

        Start your own.

        “One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.” Morihei Uesheba

  7. Laura Says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your journey and wanted to recommend a book to you, in case you haven’t read it. It’s called Girl Meets God, by Lauren Winner. It’s a memoir about a woman who converted to Judaism and then back to Christianity, and talks so lovingly about both traditions. It’s a wonderful book!

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. simcha Says:

    Mazel Tov! 😉 it is sadly funny how no church teaches/admits that if it believes in the bible, the time is coming when we will all be going to Yerushalim for festivals, either before or after this whole world is cat into a lake (not sea?) of fire bigger than this planet … or its all literary devices:) Blame Wise Widow Rice for you having to read this 🙂

  9. Dana Says:

    Excellent!

  10. Aslanspal Says:

    I found you via Ms. Anne Rice

    great article

  11. Greg Gibbs Says:

    This is Perfectly written! I am in 100% agreeance and accordance with the last part of your (Blog?) !!

    We are all walking temples of God’s love and word, which in its’ self makes us living/breathing churches. True love and sin lay behind the action of our words and deeds. We all do different things for different reasons and only God knows our heart. Your relationship with God is a pure one. We should all have our own relationship with him, instead of counting the blood of the covenant (thinking you can keep sinning and washing your hands clean through forgiveness) by attending church once a week and tithing. When we feed the poor, clothe the homeless and visit the condemned in prison, we are doing these things unto Christ…and you, darling, are very Christ like! You don’t belong in a church because you are a ‘True Christian.’ Christ was rejected and thrown out of many churches for many of the same things you touched in this blog. Sorry to ramble, but am glad you wrote and posted this! Keep the faith and always remain close to your source! ❤ Greg Gibbs (Crystal Mystique)

  12. Paula Says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog.. I am on a search myself, I lived in Utah most of my life and at times dabbled with Mormonism. I was raised Catholic, but in Utah to “fit” in and be accepted it’s what I think many people do.
    I have found myself questioning my faith, seeking answers that go with the history I have read.. wondering where did all the “laws” of the church come from.. I have not found a church family, I am actually very happy praising “God” on my own. I think god knows I am here! I will continue to do charity work on my own and not pay tithing for something I question..

    Sincerly, Paula

  13. Margaret Nichols Says:

    My friend said it was a sader, spelling, I have no idea, But when it comes to how they celebrated later, I found a piece on the internet, that siad they , the man speaking being an early Christian, celebrated much like the pagans, in their homes, but without the “fire” and the excitement of the pagans, quietly. Looking at them, they tried to blend in, and not cause undue notice I think, at home.

  14. Great post! I too love history and I love watching “biblical” history documentaries. I stopped participating in organized religion many years ago but I do have a relationship with God and I know that he guides my way in life! I also totally get what you’re saying about tithing…..I do not give to a building but I WILL give to the homeless man on the street…..offer rides to people who are walking……lend a hand when I am needed, even when it’s uncomfortable! I have found that there are many “church going people” that I know who would never give money to anyone but their church!
    I also believe that there are many people out in the world who feel the same way as we do but are too afraid to be judged by others!
    Thanks for the post
    Have a GREAT day!
    Sincerely,
    Kim Melin (I am using my husband’s account)

    • paintingmama Says:

      Thank you, Kim. I’m pretty much on the same page as you as far as helping people first, not furthering ANOTHER building fund. It seems like every church I have ever been to has a building fund, even the giant churches I attended. Some of these funds top $1 million dollars while several members are loosing their homes due to this economy. This is a severe imbalance. Thank you for reading!

  15. For several weeks I’d been meditating on the notions of Heaven and Hell and was becoming more and more troubled, more concerned and distressed. As evangelical Christians, we were taught that unless a person accepted Jesus Christ as his-or-her personal Savior and gave his-or-her heart to Him that person would be consigned by God to spend the rest of eternity in Hell to suffer everlasting punishment. I considered this teaching for weeks on end and really started hurting inside. I knew I was ‘saved’ but I also knew my best friend M was not a Christian when he died (he was tragically killed in an automobile accident) and as such was destined to spend eternity in Hell.

    One night I was home alone and could take it no longer. I realized it wasn’t enough that I was ‘saved’ and as such would escape the Wrath of God and eternal damnation. I wanted to figure out a way for my friend M to also escape eternal damnation. I knew that because I had the knowledge of Christ in my heart I could go to Hell and still have peace of mind, but what about poor M? I started crying uncontrollably and shaking so violently I couldn’t hold myself upright. I fell to the floor and wailed. I gritted my teeth and clenched my fists. I did this for one hour, two hours, three. I shook and shook. Exhausted and aching, like Jonah I fought from doing what I knew I had to do in order to try to save M from the torments of Hell. Another hour passed until I finally surrendered. With singleness of mind and unwavering sincerity I called out to God:

    Dear Heavenly Father. Although I am content with the knowledge of You and feel the presence of Your love in my heart, I could never be content in Heaven knowing my friend M was suffering in Hell. I could, however, be content in Hell knowing M was in Heaven. So, God, here’s the deal. Let me take M’s place in Hell. I know Jesus was supposed to do this, but He didn’t do this if M is in Hell. I know what I’m asking and I know precisely what this means. I’m asking this with open eyes. Because, don’t you see, God? How could I accept Heaven with M in Hell? I could not! It would be Hell for me. But I could accept Hell knowing M was in Heaven. I would rather suffer an eternity of physical torture than to live with the mental anguish of knowing my friend was in Hell while I enjoyed the fruits of Heaven. How could I enjoy anything? What kind of person would that make me? And M doesn’t even have to know how it was done, Lord. The deal that was made. He never has to know what I did for him, that I traded places with him, that I took on his punishment. I don’t need acknowledgment or recognition or thanks. I don’t need anything from him. I just want to save him! Please, God! Please! Allow me to take M’s place in Hell! Please take back my Salvation and give it to M!

    As soon as I said all this—after meaning it with all my heart, from the core of my being—something began happening in me, a multitude of things simultaneously: (1) I felt a rush of warmth like hot water pour down through my head and into my body; (2) I felt the door to a hidden ‘room’ in my head swing open and reveal a chamber I never knew existed; (3) I heard a ‘voice’ speak directly to me, saying:

    If you, as a human being, a mere mortal, can conceive of unconditional salvation and are willing to take another’s place in Hell without need of acceptance or thanks or acknowledgment, how much more might a God do? If you don’t need acknowledgment and acceptance, why do you think God does? What kind of God would that be, what kind of Savior, that requires words of acknowledgment and acceptance when a mere human being does not? Is a human being more forgiving, more loving, more godlike and less petty than a God? Would a God ever find fault in His creation in the first place? Would a God ever put his creation at risk? It is His creation, after all. If anyone’s at fault, it’s the Creator, He who conceived, understood, and foreknew every act, then created anyway. The notion of the creature needing to be saved from the Wrath of God is an affront to God, it limits God, has made God out to be small and judgmental and mean-spirited and tyrannical. God is so much bigger than this, infinitely bigger! So, if you can conceive of unconditional salvation, how much more do you suppose God has already done? But you know, don’t you? Now you know! In your willingness to surrender your soul for the sake of a friend, to give up Heaven without requiring anything in return, to return your Salvation as a pure act of love, now you know! Now you know God! Now you know yourself! Now you know the mystery of life and there is no turning back!

    The ‘voice’ (whatever it was) was absolutely correct. Now I knew. I knew!

    I thought of several Bible passages in a whole new light:

    o Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
    o You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31)
    o A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you,
    that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you
    have love for one another. (John 13: 34-35)
    o Many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14)
    o Many that are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:30)

    Because I was willing to lay down my eternal life for my friend, a secret door opened inside me and I was able to understand the nature of God and the meaning of love. This was the FIRST STEP of several more that would follow over the next thirty years, but it was the most important step. It pulled my head out of the stars and set me on the path back down to the ‘real world’. It LIBERATED me for all the other steps that would follow, especially the next step, the SECOND STEP, without which there would have been no others. It also liberated me to take as many steps as I needed, to mis-step if need be, to go off on the wrong path, to trip and fall, get lost and fight my way back to the light. It gave me COURAGE without need of hope and PASSION without need of promise. It gave me back my LIFE by taking away my Salvation, and invested me with the MIRACULOUS by allowing me to accept death. I no longer needed eternal life, or heavenly reward, or Salvation of any kind. I had Today. Anything else was just a mind-game, wishful-thinking, play-acting. I had Today. Here and Now. Today! What else was there?

  16. Sharon Says:

    Maybe you should go a step further and study Judaism without Jesus. You will find out why the followers have a different hope for the Messiah.

  17. Noelle Says:

    Girl, I am all the way with you. I imagine there are a lot of us out there. People who pulled away from religion and found themselves closer than ever to God.

  18. dsimple Says:

    spending the past season of my life “churchless,” I can honestly say I feel like healing has happened in my heart and in my spiritual life after moving on with God but out of the idea of organized “church” … your journey and quest for the truth about “church” sounds very similar to my own … thanks for sharing!

  19. clink Says:

    Found this through Anne Rice’s page and wanted you to know you are not alone, I have been going through a very similar journey with similar conclusions. I find it fascinating that so many of us have been silently thinking, praying, meditating, investigating about Jesus life and what it was really all about, what it really meant… and we are all, on our own, coming to the same conclusions.


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