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Anne Rice “Quits” Christianity, Cites Church Intolerance

Posted on

via HuffPo

She made the announcement via Facebook:

She then added a follow-up post:

It’s worth noting that Ms. Rice had returned to her Roman Catholic roots in the wake of her husband Stan’s tragic illness and death.  There were hints of her renewed spiritual connection with Catholicism in “Memnoch the Devil,” (1995), an installment of her Vampire Chronicles in which the Vampire Lestat appeared to be caught in the midst of a struggle between God and the devil.

She wrote “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt,” in 2005, the first of two books in which she brought her formidable fiction skills and historical research to bear on the Jesus story.  “Out of Egypt”  focuses on the unknown aspects of his childhood, and reflects her own theological self-study.  She interviewed leading theologians and delved into the diverse library of canonical and non-canonical Christian writings.  In 2008 her follow-up book, “Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana” was published, and it seemed as though the world of Christian fiction was about to gain a unique luminary, as this former chronicler of vampires and witches had set her sights on mining the rich and diverse veins of Christianity.

And now a word from the Department of “On the one hand, then on the other”

On the one hand, Ms. Rice would appear to speak for the millions of disaffected people who have either left or completely avoided the many expressions of Church in our time.  In truth, the problems afflicting so many churches have to do with the very issues Ms. Rice enumerates as her reasons for quitting the Church.  She presents a subtext that reflects the views of many, that Christ was great and all, but the Church–especially the neighborhood Church–doesn’t do much to reflect Christ or His message.

On the other hand, Ms. Rice would also appear to represent the many folks who refuse to see the good church work being done in the trenches by faithful people of all stripes.  True, there is good reason for Ms. Rice to turn her back on the closed-in, rigidly conservative Catholic Church represented by The Catholic League, and its firebrand president,  Bill Donahue.  But she also turns her back on other, more open and tolerant strands of Catholicism, such as the strand represented by the Catholic Worker.  She turns her back on the many ways Christ and His message are revealed through the diverse expressions of Church you can find quietly doing their business in their respective communities.

Anne Rice quit Christianity for the very reasons many of us struggle with our particpation in the Church and also with our identity as church-going Christians.  But her litany of Church offenses fails to take into account what many of us also experience through the Church: profound moments of grace, in which we find ourselves connected to a loving Spirit.  We find acceptance in the Church; we find meaning in the Church; we also find forgiveness, hope, courage, and strength.  So much so, that I think I can say with confidence–speaking as I do from this tiny pulpit on the ‘net–that though Anne Rice has left the Church, the Church will always be open to her should she ever return.  Vaya con Dios.


2 responses »

  1. What happens if everyone was to quit. At least she still believes. Although she may end up being a very lonely person, Church is also about fellowship, with other followers of Christ. We need that fellowship.

    Hi JD how was your week?

  2. Hey, Pat. I’ve once again been out of the loop taking care of some essential business, so sorry for the late response. I agree that fellowship is essential in the Christian journey. There’s a reason Jesus called together a group and then sent them out in groups to invite other people into the movement. I like what someone has said about Christianity, that it’s a participatory, full-contact sport. I say it’s also one you can’t really appreciate by watching it on TV.

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