If your familiar with Anne Rice, you know she is a prolific writer who is most famous for her Vampire Chronicles Series that yielded the movie Interview With a Vampire in the 90’s. She has sold more than 100 million books, and in 2005 she publicly returned to the “catholic church” because of some health struggles, while she verbally made sure everyone knew she was not anti-gay (her son is openly gay) nor anti-abortion (she wouldn’t get an abortion, but says she would never deny someone the option).
She keeps a pretty active Facebook account, and here is what she posted about 3 weeks ago…
“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.”
With this rant, she wasn’t trying to stir up controversy and she wasnt trying to grab some publicity, she was serious. Since that time she has given several interviews clarifying her comments further cementing her stance that organized religion is the problem, she is still following Jesus, just not in the organized “Catholic” way.
She further posted…
“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.”
Let me start by saying, “I disagree, but I understand Anne”! I understand because I have been there too, I have felt like giving up on a religion that seems to be defined by what it is against, rather than the love of a savior it’s named after. I too have been ready to abandon the ranks of the religion that has so many different views within the prism of faith that it gets confusing for a guy like me who actually studies what all these different perspectives are… I too have wanted to distance myself from the label of “Christian” when people wearing that same label have hurt the people I care about most, and this hurt has been hurled at them in the name of Christ… I too have lamented at my affiliation Ms. Rice.
My disagreement comes because I have settled on a different set of conclusions. I recently concluded that I too have been the perpetuator of such things. I have defamed the name of Christ more times than I care to count, and I too have the tendencies of a hypocrite. I want to do right, but fail often. I desire to be that guy who always encourages and lifts other up… but I fail in my own home all the time let alone with people I don’t even know. I don’t want to gossip, but when it’s true it just seems so hard! These facts (about me), forced me to realize I wasn’t better than these people I was trying to distance myself from, and the main reason for the distance wasn’t their imperfections as I was prone to believe, the distance was because they didn’t think like me or act like I wanted them to. They didn’t believe the “right” things about the issues and the theology that I felt so strongly about, and my human nature was to abandon ship and point the finger at everyone else except me! That Figures, I can be a hypocrite like the best of them!
Instead of running, I decided I wanted to be a solution to the problem. I want to be a bridge for the people who think Christianity is just another four letter word. I want to help re-define the term and bring it back from the dead. I want to resurrect the word “Christian”. It’s a good thing Jesus is into resurrecting dead stuff : ) Some have opted to use the phrase follower of Jesus because it carries less baggage, but the problem is that term will soon carry the same baggage because both terms define people who are… broken and sinful.
I do appreciate Anne Rice and her contribution to the literary world as her most recent books have been unapologetically about Jesus, and I think her further comment I noted above is a glimpse into the heart of a woman who has her head on straight about Jesus as her savior and redeemer… I just hope she finds a community of people to join in life with, because her rant seems to indicate she can handle this life alone with Jesus as her only community, all the while thinking she has it right, and everyone else has it wrong!
May we all come to realize that broken people in a fallen world radically saved by a gracious God, will make life both beautiful and messy… and that includes me and you! We are all a part of this beautiful mess we call The Kingdom of God… most importantly I want my family and friends to know… If ever my life resembles a pharisee, a hypocrite, or a lone ranger Christian you have the permission to shine the light on my darkness with love and steer me with grace toward a life more focused on Jesus and less on myself!
Grace and Peace!