Great posts about (and with) Anne Rice

August 14, 2010

Exit Christianity

Photo by C.P.Storm (license), adapted by Jon Reid

In addition to my own thoughts on author Anne Rice’s announcement that she was leaving Christianity, I wanted to point you to some posts by three of my online friends.

Act One. In Anne Rice — Called Out of Christianity, Chad Estes asks some great questions:

  • What are you to do if you love Jesus but don’t want to be an official member of his somewhat crazed fan club?
  • Is ‘Christianity’ a label that you really need to follow Jesus?
  • Who does Anne’s statement impact? Does God care? Do non-religious people care? Or is it just the fan club that isn’t happy with this decision?
  • What is the appropriate response when you don’t agree with the party line?
  • How could Anne have made a difference from the inside of Christianity. Did she actually have the clout she needed to make any needed changes or is she better off outside of the walls?

He spawned a lot of discussion with these questions — 59 comments at last count. Chad then followed up with his own thoughts, Calling Ourselves Christians, in which he shares some thoughts about the Bible passage where the term “Christians” was first used to identify Jesus’ disciples.

Act Two. In Christ, The Other & Anne Rice, Jamie Arpin-Ricci explores identification with “the other” in rejecting hatred and bigotry. But at the same time, he offers a caution against disassociating ourselves from unsavory elements of Christianity. Are we too easily overlooking those same qualities within ourselves? Does Christ welcome the bigot?

Act Three. Finally, while I and others speculate on Anne Rice’s faith — maybe she is saying this, maybe she is doing that — Mike Morrell interviewed her! (The podcast itself is a little hard to find. Scroll down halfway and look for an on-screen player.) The first seven minutes is the hosts of the podcast introducing their show and other things they have coming up, but then it’s over half an hour of Anne sharing her thoughts, her struggles, and her heart. If anyone has any doubts about the earnestness of her faith, try this quote on for size:

The most important thing for me is to keep Christ the center of my life. …I want to know more about the mystery of Christ, the beauty of the incarnation …he is God and man. That story still compels me, and I do not want the followers of Christ to come between me and that story.

Can I have an Amen?

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

5 responses to Great posts about (and with) Anne Rice

  1. While I accept the earnestness of her faith, I am troubled by her comment. I think it is arrogant to presume one can grapple with the mystery of Christ by oneself. Christians do a lot of stupid things in the name of Christ, but God never intended for us to be one-man wolf pack Christians. We are adopted into God’s family and are supposed to function as part of a body. It’s not perfect, but it’s what God has called us to do. It does nothing for the cause of Christ in this world to watch the body of Christ fight and divide itself.

  2. As usual, Jon, you bring out interesting and thought provoking discussions. 🙂
    I think Anne’s challenge is that there are at least two definitions of Christian in widespread use today:
    (1) A person who believes in Jesus Christ and God as defined in the Bible and uses their faith as a reminder to treat heir fellow humans with dignity and respect.
    (2) A person who reads the Bible and uses that knowledge looking for excuses to treat others judgmentally. (This would be the “somewhat crazed fan club” you allude to in summarizing Estes’ article.)
    I think Anne’s struggle could be expressed as something like: “How can I be a (1)Christian without being a (2)Christian? Or … how can I not be associated with the (2)Christians?”
    I’ll admit I did not read her original article, but it seems to me that she is essentially ceding the term “Christian” to the (2)Christians and that seems unfortunate. Those of you who are (1)Christians should not give up the word lightly. 🙂

  3. [Deleted by Jon. Your comment wasn’t offensive, just identically blasted across the blogosphere. I don’t mind you sharing a link, but maybe we could have a conversation?]

  4. …But is that what she is saying, Frances? I don’t know. You certainly voice some reservations I’ve had. But is disassociating yourself with a church — even all churches — the same thing as separating yourself from the Body of Christ?

  5. Eric, I go back-and-forth on whether to abandon certain words, or reclaim them. Your kind challenge, and means a lot coming from you. Thank you.