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.
-Anne Rice, on why she's leaving the church
While I still choose to participate in (and thereby identify with) a local church, it's worth never losing sight of how quickly religion can become a stumbling block rather than a help to those seeking God. No institution is so sacred that its preservation should be a higher priority to any Christian than following the example of Christ, who favored the company of "sinners" over the blessing of the religious leaders.