Anne Rice's defection: The tip of the iceberg?

Culturally, America is still a Christian nation. The majority of us still attend church at least occasionally, celebrate Christmas and Easter, and pepper our conversations with “God bless you” and “I’ll be praying for you.”

But judging by the behavior of most Christians, they’ve become secularists. And the sea of hypocrisy between Christian beliefs and actions is driving Americans away from the institutional church in record numbers.

Some, such as Anne Rice, are continuing their spiritual journey on their own, unable to reconcile the Gospel message with religious institutions covered with man’s dirty fingerprints. Others have stopped believing in God. Those with awareness who remain Christians are scrambling to find ways, like St. Francis of Assisi, to rebuild God’s church.

But remember, St. Francis offered a radical example during a time when the institutional church had grown corrupt and flabby. He was a wealthy young man who took a vow of poverty and devoted himself to the poor. His motto: “Preach the Gospel at all times — and when necessary use words.”