Author Anne Rice quit Christianity this past week. She had been an atheist and became Christian a decade ago. The way she phrased it, I think she had issues with the Church, not Christ. She said she would continue to follow Jesus. She said, "... It's simply impossible for me to 'belong' to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group." While I don't agree about quitting, I have met (and been) the same people she experienced. Church is not for the faint-hearted.
Now I know that you cannot dump the Church and embrace Jesus. The Church is "The Body of Christ." The Church in, her currently unvarnished state, can be pesky, however. Sin is real both in and out of Church.
I think I will simply love Anne as a sister. We all go through rough patches in our spiritual life. Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart. We, the Church, can look pretty bad (and, maybe, un-Christlike,) when we are all Judgment and no Mercy just as we can look pretty impotent when we are all Mercy and without Judgment. It takes a mature In practice more than emotionally) person to embrace the tension between Judgment and Mercy. I haven't quite got the hang of it, preferring (depending on my mood) to camp in either pole and through epithets at the other side. Retched man that I am!
I chose to love Anne in her search. I know the pain of following and having more questions than answers. I know the guilt of being a tyrant myself. I know the hurt of church people who have no boundaries for themselves, a ton of rules for me and little love.
Oh, and I will pray for her to come around to Jesus and his Church. Pray for me, too.