I’m saddened by the news of Anne Rice’s departure from the church.
Perhaps if she had the same view of the church that Graham Ward articulates in his CIties of God or that Rowan Williams describes in his recent work on Dostoevski, she would be slower to take her ball and go home.
Trust me, I know that living with people in the church with whom you disagree is difficult. But the church is an irreducible feature of the Christian life. It is an icon of God, that is, a participation in God, who is a community. It is the Body and Bride of Christ, such that to reject her is to reject him.
What the church is not, much to the chagrin of Anne Rice, is an “organized religious institution.” Not, that is, unless secular reason is our primary vantage point. Of course secular reason and secular culture (founded upon the former) will view the church as an “organized religious institution.”
But this is to view the church through a secular lens. An equally rational approach, however, would be to look at secularity through lens of the church and her scriptures. This is equally rational, but much more beautiful, much more mysterious, much more fruitful.
Christian community, centered on God’s Word and the breaking of bread in fellowship (yes, even with people who might make my skin crawl) is a — some would say the — sine qua non of following Jesus and knowing God.