I heard a story on NPR earlier this week about Anne Rice's decision to "quit Christianity." From her web site:
For those who care, and I understand if you don't: 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. For ten ...years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.
07/28/10 As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I'm out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of ...Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
07/28/10 My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn't understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.
07/29/10 I quit Christianity in the name of Christ on this page so that I could tell my readers I was not complicit in the things that organized religion does. I never dreamed others would be so interested, or that they would feel the need to talk about their own religious struggles. But they do. And the public conversation on... this is huge, and I think important.
I must say that I agree with about 99.9% of the things she says. I would say that most thinking Christians realize that organized religion will naturally contain the same faults that mankind shoulders. If you expect the organization to be perfect, you are sure to be disappointed. However, the gist is to follow Christ while in the midst of other believers.
Rice is correct that too many people tend to put a spokesperson or leader on the pedestal, and it's clear that God knew this would happen. That's why He makes it clear that the leaders and teachers will be held to a higher standard.
To publicly eschew organized religion is a bit haughty and a sure sign of spiritual immaturity. To be so disillusioned with it is to mean that you put too much faith in it to begin with. Keep your sights on the Son and you will not be disappointed.