October 16, 2017

Anne Rice Through With Christianity

Anne Rice, the novelist best known for Interview With A Vampire, announced that she is through with Christianity.

On her Facebook site, Rice wrote this comment on Wednesday:

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.

Five minutes later she added this:

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-feminst. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanist. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

Ok. First thing is to get this woman a copy of Mere Churchianity. She could have been an endorser! Seriously, is she not hitting on so much of what Michael Spencer said on this site and in his book? What we have continued to say on this site? Rice is not saying anything new or unique. She just happens to have a very large megaphone through which to say it. If I said I was leaving Christianity, it wouldn’t merit a blip in the church bulletin. Anne Rice says the same and it is worldwide news. And, if you ask me, it is probably a good thing.

We have been saying all of this for a long time. Michael wrote his famous The Coming Collapse of Evangelicalism posts in January, 2009. He had written much of the same thoughts for years before. Culture wars and political affiliations had taken over the pulpits of so many churches, it was as if Jesus had retired and moved to an island in the South Pacific. It has not let up. I heard a TV preacher this Sunday (hey, I was at someone else’s house and he had it on; I wouldn’t watch these guys on a dare) talking about the morality of those who live in Hollywood as if they could only be persuaded to think like he does, all of America would soon be holding hands and singing praise choruses instead of watching filthy rated R movies. Then I went to a service where I heard a Christless sermon (the name of Jesus was never mentioned–not once) where the story of the prodigal was taken out of context to teach us about the stages of maturity we should all be going through.

I may not be far behind Anne Rice.

Please note: She is not leaving Jesus. She made that clear with another Facebook comment yesterday.

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 will become.

She is upset at his followers–or, if I may be so bold, those who claim to be his followers. She is upset at being crammed into a box labeled “Good Christians do this.” Now she wants to follow Jesus, but not be associated with all of the falderal that goes with that. Michael Spencer said it best:

The investment of evangelicals in the culture war will prove out to be one of the most costly mistakes in our history. The coming evangelical collapse will come about, largely, because our investment in moral, social and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. We’re going to find out that being against gay marriage and rhetorically pro-life (yes, that’s what I said) will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence and are believing in a cause more than a faith.

Obviously, in the circles Anne Rice has been in, she has heard more about the wrongs of homosexuals and Democrats than she has heard the Gospel of grace. Could it be that we Christians no longer even know what that Gospel is?

I’m saddened by Rice’s decision to a point. She, like all of us, needs community in order to grow. I pray she can find it outside of the church. But I rejoice with her if she is being truthful about her desire to follow Christ. For some, the greatest obstacle to an intimate relationship with Jesus is the Church. How sad is that?

Comments

  1. Score one more for Newton’s third law. IMonk contributor’s understandable disgust with evangelicalism surpasses the concept of a pendulum effect and, for me, resembles a dial stop watch that just won’t quit spinning.

    • I understand Newton’s Third Law (colloquial version: “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”) and how it would relate to Anne Rice’s (and Jeff Dunn’s) disgust with the state of American evangelicalism — but you lost me on the stopwatch part. Could you amplify that, perhaps?

      • Closest metaphor I could think of in trying to describe a pendulum that has swung so far the other way that sooner or later it’s bound to pass 12 o’clock and start slidin down the other side.

  2. Well, her reading Churchianity is a good step. But, I am coming to the realisation that the term “church” on this continent has an entirely different meaning than elsewhere. Here it is closely related to s specific cultural AND political paradigm – and this is the same across the denominational divide. The term “church” here implies a sort of bourgeois respectability, with a primed set of politcal values – take your pick republican / democrat. It is similar on this side of the 49th, but less overt.

    The ironical thing is that the anti-church establishment is another bourgeois institution. Rebellion / revolution today are just more items on the shopping list.

    No: Church is where you receive the body and blood of our Lord, for the forgiveness of your sins and the strenghtening of your faith. It is where you hear law and Gospel. It is where you enter the body of Christ (baptism). The church is the bride, and to disdain her is to disdain the bridegroom. However, I’ll reiterate – if church is just a conservative society promoting conservative bourgeois values and lifestyles, then damn it. No – it is where the sick and lame and sinful come. It is for the proletariat as much as for the bourgeois.

    It seems that she has rebelled against the conservative bourgeois ‘church’ (there is also a liberal bourgeois ‘church’, mind you). What she needs to understand is that, if my summation is correct, that she has rebelled against that churchianity, aginst the respectable religiosity of the bougeoisie. That does NOT equate with the bride of Christ.

  3. Kenny Johnson says:

    I first saw this on Bruxy Cavey’s (“The End of Religion”) Facebook page, and then on Scot McKnight’s blog. Now you’re posting it as well. It sounds like Mrs. Rice has a lot of sympathetic ears within the church. I hope she realizes that. I hope she realizes we love her when we disagree and when we agree with her. That we want to journey together with her. We all know the pain the church can cause, but I also know the great joy that can be found in the church as well.

  4. Sorry for the rant, but here goes.

    The way to object to another person’s definition of “Christian” is not to refuse to fall under it, but to offer them an alternative. I’m tired of seeing people claim that they can’t call themselves Christian because of certain political leanings or the way they might be perceived. If you believe Christ is your savior because he died for your sins, then you are a Christian and should wear that label proudly.
    The word “Christian” has no permanent definition and its current popular definition needs changing. Definitions of words change all the time. You need only look at the words “ironic” and “bemused” to see how popular understandings of words can drastically change. The way I wish to change the understanding of “Christian” is microscopic in comparison. “Fundamentalist,” “right-wing” and “intolerant” are not words which define movements with longevity, so we clearly need to dissociate Christianity from them. Defining “Christian” yourself with words more like “generous,” “understanding” and “selfless” (words that describe Christ himself) is necessary for the good of Christianity. These words are all most evident at the individual level, so this issue comes down to individual responsibility.

    The best way to counter the common perceptions of Christians is not to deny your Christianity, but to defiantly assert it. If abolitionists or civil rights supporters had quit their support because they disagreed with John Brown or Malcolm X, America would be a far worse place. Instead, these people asserted their beliefs in defiance of the more extreme elements in their midst and helped their causes eventually win out. Being an active agent in the changing of the definition is critical. My mom has a sign that hangs in our house that says “You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips” and I think this is the best way to prove that Christianity is not completely right-wing intolerance. The way I present Christianity to the world is by being nice, being kind and telling people when they ask that I am a Christian.

    Finally, let’s consider what if everything I’ve said above is a lie. What if you proudly wear the label of “Christian” and have people judge you, hate you and shout at you? We need look no further than the Beatitudes. Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

    • Most of those who wear the label of “Christian” go about their lives quietly, living in kindness toward others. But these are seldom in places where their voices are heard above a whisper. On the other hand, those who have been given a platform seem to then want to proclaim what Christianity is against. I hear it all of the time. I’m glad if you have avoided it, but I am surrounded by those who want “Christianity plus ____” Fill in the blanks with anti-whatever you can imagine. That is what Anne Rice is wanting to put behind her.

      I pray she can find a community of believers where she can regularly receive the body and blood of Christ, find a place of confession and forgiveness, a venue for teaching and learning. One where quietness and kindness are the norm. These exist, I know. But they must be sought out past those who continue to tell us what we should be against.

    • I understand the point that you are making. I understand the idea of stealing the definition of Christianity back from those who sold us out so long ago. That said, I also understand why she would denounce the church culture and want nothing to do with it. We both know that as soon as we begin to talk about redefining the word Christian that a target is placed on our backs. I for one am tired of dealing with the consequences of trying to lead churches towards a Christianity that is less about what we are against and more about what Christ has called us to. I am tired of having church boards, pastors, and pew-sitters cast aspersions on me because I do not buy into the Jesus votes Republican and hates homosexuals rhetoric that so many blindly follow. I am tired of having my job threatened and being the odd ball at gatherings because I don’t buy into the same garbage that the church seems to have sold out to. The kicker is that I am only a pastor… a small time local church guy with no national “name” that everyone recognizes. I see what they go through and want nothing of it. The fact that we have given up on giving our brothers and sisters in the faith the benefit of the doubt, and instantly assume that they are the anti-Christ is sickening, and I don’t blame Anne Rice for wanting nothing to do with it…

      My hope and assumption is that she will continue to be in community with Christ followers and pursue Christ with that community… I have read nothing so far that leads me to believe that she isn’t.

    • This sounds almost like an inverse of the No True Scotsman Falacy. Instead of “he can’t be Christian because he believes x” it’s “I can’t be Christian because I believe y.” (Unless Y is something along the lines of atheism or a religion that denies the divinity and saving grace of Jesus.)

      Either way, I see it as a logical falacy. Like you said, if you believe Jesus is the savior, then you’re a Christian.

      From my point of view, she’s renouncing her Catholocism, not her Christianity.

  5. I completely understand where she’s coming from, however, I decided quite a while ago that it wasn’t right for me to associate myself only with the successes of my spiritual family. If I’m going to reap the rewards of two thousand years of Christianity, then it’s right for me to bear the shames that come with it as well. I’m part of this family, and this family is evil and good, but being redeemed. That said, I hear where she’s coming from.

    • Kenny Johnson says:

      That’s a good point. Perhaps in addition to reading “Mere Churchianity”, Rice should also read, “Life Together.”

      • Along with the other suggested reading, I’d recommend Andrew Marin’s ‘Love Is An Orientation’. It is possible for a Christian to build bridges instead of throwing stones.

        I’d also suggest she read about anything by Marcus Borg just to expand her view of Christianity.

  6. “I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminst. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanist. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. ”

    Her justification here seems unclear to me. Does she object to how she perceives the church treats gays or feminists, et cetera? If her experience of church has been of a bunch of judgmental hypocrites than I can understand this. Or does she object to the Bible’s clear teachings on sexual morality and that sort of thing because it just doesn’t suit her? That’s a different matter entirely.

    Some of these objections seem like straw men to me. Anti-science? That sounds like the sort of ridiculous claim the “New Atheists” like to make about Christians. Aside from a noisy minority that insists their ‘literal’ reading of Genesis is the only way, I don’t think any Christians are “anti-science” (other issues like global warming and stem cell research are not the exclusive territory of Christians, at all.) Isn’t secular humanism by definition contrary to Christian belief? While perhaps she’s upset at her church or other Christians scorning these people because of their beliefs, which I think is wrong, I can’t help but think she’s upset that the church doesn’t conform to her own expectations.

    • Kyle, you make very good points. Yes, it seems she is wanting the church to project her agenda, and is upset that it isn’t. I’m glad you pointed this out.

    • I believe her son is gay, so you can see how she might have an issue with the attitude of many Christians and the Catholic Church.

      Seriously, Christians aren’t anti-science? If someone roots their science in the Bible rather than scientific inquiry, then I would argue that person is anti-science. They may not see it that way, I’m sure.

    • cermak_rd says:

      I get the anti-science thing. I hear on a Christian broadcasting channel (Moody’s) that science shouldn’t just be about what’s observable. Science is very much about that which is observable. It may be directly observable (with an electron microscope or a Hubble telescope) or indirectly observable (Pluto was first noticed via Neptune’s wobble if I recall correctly) or for a current phenomenon dark matter.

      Making room in science for a deity or deities makes as much sense as leaving room for unicorns or magic shillelaghs. The former is as provable as the latter.

    • Fundamentalists are frequently anti-science, particularly when they perceive that scientific inquiry may threaten their particular scriptural interpretatiion or system of interpretation. However, the Catholic church’s official position as I understand it seeks to integrate faith and science and does so fairly intelligently and faithfully, so I suspect her objection on this point must be coming from actual attitudes and practices on the ground here in the US.

  7. Do you think it’s possible that her understanding of her faith as primarily a “conversion” may have influenced her decision? It seems like the Gospel should mean a great deal more than a simple conversion from languid atheist to upbeat believer. I realize that her conversion was a major “scandal” among her readers and fans, and therefore was probably of utmost importance to her and those she’s most familiar with, but if she thinks that that’s the most “crucial” part of her faith commitment to Jesus, I think she needs to look a bit harder for a supportive community of believers.

    • She seems to be pretty solid in her commitment to following Jesus still. Yet how successfully can one do that without a community of supporters. But finding a community that wants to follow Jesus rather than a cultural or political agenda is very hard these days…at least where I live.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Like she’s now wandering through the Post-Evangelical Wilderness herself.

        Another Bozo on this bus… 🙂

        • Bozo on this bus…?

          Firesign Theatre?

          You rock, HUG!

          What if God was one of us?
          Just a slob like one of us
          Just a stranger on the bus
          Trying to make his way home

      • Jeff, doesn’t Ms. Rice need a church? A “community of supporters” sounds like a self-help group. My understanding is that the Bible describes ‘church’ as something more than just a loose affiliation with a group of people who like Jesus. It sounds to me like Ms. Rice is giving up on being a part of the body of Christ because she disagrees with certain ideas held by a particular brand of Christian. That’s not a good reason to leave.

        The body of Christ is admittedly filled with broken, prideful, angry, and desperate people who, hopefully, have been rescued by the Christ. We are all messed up. And I suspect that Anne Rice is messed up too. So then, we need each other. We simply cannot love Jesus unless we love His Body. The scripture makes this clear. And loving Christ’s body means laying our lives down for her, serving her, encouraging her, and ‘reforming’ her unto Christ, by the Word and Spirit, over and over again. Nowhere does the Bible justify ‘isolation’ from His body. Covenant belonging is like marriage. Ms. Rice seems to be acting like a divorcee.

        Is she angry that the church is not perfect according to her ‘definition’ of perfection? Maybe she should consider that the patience it may require of her to stay in covenant with believers is the same patience it takes other believers to stay in covenant with her. My wife and I have been married for 22 years. We love each other deeply. But in those 22 years, we have had many disagreements. We have hurt each other, disappointed each other, and generally acted like big fat sinners. Yet, the sanctifying grace of Christ has worked in us over the years as we stayed together in covenant love. In that time we have changed. We have grown. We have listened. We have forgiven and been forgiven. We have prayed, worshiped, repented, and called out to Christ. And we have remained in covenant with Christ’s church.

        If indeed Ms. Rice is a true believer in Christ, I pray that she will come to understand the blessed power that comes from honoring the covenant love of Christ and repents of breaking fellowship with Him and His Bride.

        • Is she angry that the church is not perfect according to her ‘definition’ of perfection? Maybe she should consider that the patience it may require of her to stay in covenant with believers is the same patience it takes other believers to stay in covenant with her.

          As much as I appreciate Anne’s views, this same thought hit me hard as well. We’ll see where her journey takes her, but those who say they love the Savior make SOME kind of effort to love HIS body. Granted, this love looks like different things to different people, but isolation is just not on the table. As mentioned in the other thread, sometimes we log large amounts of ‘hall time’. Understood. I hope she chooses to align herself with some gathering of Jesus followers, in a package she can live with (and THEY can live with), sooner rather than later.

          Nice post TIM
          Greg R

  8. Watchman says:

    Christianity is only a label. A way of placing our beliefs in a box. Unfortunately, Christianity has become tainted with culture, politics, and the world. For that matter, I’m through with Christianity too. Instead, I am a follower and believer of Jesus Christ. My final aim and goal in life is to live vicariously through Jesus Christ, serve others, and to glorify God the Father in all I do.

  9. I will state proudly that I am a follower of Jesus the Messiah. I am certainly cautious, though, with the word “Christian.” Sorry, but too much damage has been done in the name of Christianity and the church.

    Nowhere is this more evident than among America’s First Nations people (a.k.a. American Indians). FN believers will refer to themselves as “followers of the Jesus way,” because of the church’s history of willing participation in enslavement, forced assimilation, and even genocide.

    And gay issues? We tolerate Amy Grant and Vince Gill, but loudly proclaim the evils of homosexuality? We are called to look to our own house, and not point the accusing finger.

    So I hear Anne loud and clear on this – I’m not much of a “Christian” either.

    • “We tolerate Amy Grant and Vince Gill, but loudly proclaim the evils of homosexuality?”

      You have a very different memory of this situation than I do. Based on my recollection of articles in various Christian magazines, as well as bulletin board and forum posts, Christians were not very tolerant of Grant’s relationship with Gill at all. And after reading interviews with her after the fact, I suspect she would agree.

  10. David Cornwell says:

    Her perception of the church is becoming more and more the common one in our culture. Those who are younger and someday will be the church are turned off by this kind of negativism. So often it comes across as hateful and bitter and “us against the world.” Some of this is the fault of the media who are always ready to pick up and broadcast the negative. We know that all Christians are not as she has painted them. Nether are all churches. But I do identify with some of the issues she mentions and agree with her. I mostly object to the attitude of judgement by which these issues are addressed. So often it comes across as hateful attack against persons.

  11. Bravo for Anne!

  12. I get it. I see where she is coming from but the slide to not being able to take a stance on anything or have a strong opinion is just to much.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Might be a reaction when you get burned by something, you try to get far away from it afterwards.

  13. Christiane says:

    Too many ‘Christians’ define themselves by who and what they are ‘against’.
    They glory in that negativity.
    Maybe that’s why they don’t point towards Christ the Lord.

    Perhaps Anne has done what a lot of ‘real’ followers of Christ have thought about for a long time.

    Want to be a ‘Christian’? The ‘Christians’ will tell you that you’ve got vote a certain way, despise certain sins that are more ‘unpopular’ than other sins, and avoid at all cost making any attempt to understand those who think differently.

    No wonder Anne has had it. Maybe in her rejection of that brand of ‘Christianity’, she has in fact knelt at peace before the altar of Our Lord and felt a sense of unity with Him on His Own terms.

    Some calling themselves “Christians’ don’t want people to come to Him on His terms, but on theirs.
    I admire that Anne spoke out. Maybe the ‘shock effect’ of her words will make us all think about our journey with Christ. . If we were to treat others in this world the way HE treated people, when He was among us, Anne would not have found a need to speak out at all.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Want to be a ‘Christian’? The ‘Christians’ will tell you that you’ve got vote a certain way, despise certain sins that are more ‘unpopular’ than other sins, and avoid at all cost making any attempt to understand those who think differently.

      Like this?

  14. cermak_rd says:

    So I thought she had a righteous rant and I thought I’d take these one by one so:

    I refuse to be anti-gay.

    OK this one’s easy. When the SBC chose to boycott a business (Disney) because it offered benefits to gay employees and had a special gay day that was clearly anti-gay. When religious people argue against gay partners being eligible for the same government benefits that married people get , that’s anti-gay. I would distinguish this as anti-gay as opposed to the dispute over marriage equality which I see as a legitimate policy difference that should be ironed out in state legislatures.

    The loudest voices in Christianity are complementarian. Clearly complementarian is anti-feminist (note she did not say anti-woman, she said anti-feminist).

    I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control.

    This is probably specifically Catholic though there are some Evangelicals who like to misunderstand the science and call oral contraceptives abortifacient. Also many Evangelicals still to this day decry the Supreme court Griswold v. Connecticutt which invalidated all state concraception prohibitions.

    I refuse to be anti-Democrat.

    This one’s easy, it was one of the things that drove me out of Christianity (in my case Catholicism). There have actually been Bishops (e.g. Chaput of Denver) who’ve said that voting for the Democrat is a sin.

    I refuse to be anti-secular humanist.

    I’ve heard Christian ministers state that teaching children to listen to authorities (e.g. cops & teachers) and treat each other with respect is secular humanism because it doesn’t reference a deity. Secular humanism is a default position whereby citizens of a religiously divided nation can get along.

    I refuse to be anti-science.

    Demanding that science include room for a deity or deities (even though science is about that which can be observed directly or indirectly) is anti-science. Demanding that the “controversy” be taught in science class (even though there is no controversy among reputed scientists).

    I refuse to be anti-life.

    OK, I’m not sure what she meant here. Global warming?

    • Lukas db says:

      I refuse to be anti-life.

      Not sure what this means either. But maybe she meant that she refuses to be categorized as ‘anti-life’ because she supports abortion? Or perhaps she simply believes that Christianity is anti-life due to its (perceived) negligence in social matters.

      • Probably has to do with many churches’ support for our wars abroad. Lots of liberals think churches who talk about being pro-life, but who are also pro-military, are hypocritical for being so (me included– well, to a point).

        Could you talk more about the “hough there are some Evangelicals who like to misunderstand the science and call oral contraceptives abortifacient.”? I am actually interested in this subject because I have recently decided to continue taking oral contraceptives in spite of many Evangelical groups that claim that they do indeed cause shadow abortions. But there are pro-life physicians that speak very forcefully claiming that this claim is a myth. I find it all very confusing and have no idea who to trust on this issue.

        • I believe the pill doesn’t always prevent fertilization but will prevent the egg from attaching, causing an “abortion” of a fertilized egg. I’m no scientist though and I also have no problems with oral contraceptives whether that hs true or not.

        • Danielle says:

          I’m not a doctor, just another woman who has probably read the same literature. But here’s my two cents:

          1. Taken correctly, hormonal contraceptives should prevent me from ovulating, so the vast majority of the time, no egg will be present to fertilize.

          2. The few times an egg is present, its fertilization is possible (but not guaranteed). If I don’t have sex at just the right time, it won’t happen.

          3. If I ovulate, and the egg you produce is fertilized, the pill may* make implantation less likely. But only less likely: women get pregnant on the pill all the time.

          [*there doesn’t seem to be agreement on this point … so I’ll assume its a gray area.]

          4. Post-implantation, there is no danger to the fetus from the fact I am taking birth control. Women take the pill for weeks after getting pregnant with no effect.

          I don’t think anyone has reliable statistics about point 3, but it is safe to assume that we are talking about a fairly remote possibility that my use of birth control may prevent implantation of an egg. I don’t feel this is the kind of ‘danger’ one can or should really loose sleep over. If you think about it, there are dozens of factors that might prevent an egg from implanting. It happens in women’s bodies all the time.

          A highly theoretical, but maybe also valid, thought: By controlling when they are likely to get pregnant, many women also prevent pregnancy during unfavorable periods of their life (high stress, ill health, too young, too old, etc) — which probably reduces the number of eggs that fail to implant and the number of spontaneous abortions overall.

          Again, this is just my two cents. I am not a doctor. 🙂

          • Danielle,
            Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Sounds like you’ve gone through the same issues as me and I hope you have found peace on the issue. You are right– caffeine and breastfeeding can also have the same pre-implantation effect. In fact, even the rhythm method can cause implantation fail, since people usually have sex during their non-fertile times and the sex cells (egg, sperm) that happen to remain in the system are weaker due to age. In fact, with caffeine and breastfeeding, the chance of non-implantation is likely higher than with BC-induced shadow abortion (term for eggs that don’t implant). I think intention has a lot to do with this– most women who use BC are trying to prevent ovulation. There is no intent to abort. I for one would be happy to know that I had gotten pregnant on BCs. My desire to prevent pregnancy is largely stimulated by temporary financial unfitness, not a desire to stay childless, so if I were to get pregnant on the pill I would of course have the child, financial grievances aside.

            Also, there is evidence that HGH present in a new zygote will actually stimulate endometrium thickening should fertilization happen. This method is used all the time with surrogate pregnancies. Here’s the data:

            http://www.aaplog.org/position-and-papers/oral-contraceptive-controversy/hormone-contraceptives-controversies-and-clarifications/

  15. I do understand where she’s coming from and what she’s saying. I can’t say I’m really that distant from where she is. I really tire of the culture war, moralism, trench warfare and all the rest sometimes.

    One very possible consequence of all the various evangelical circus activity Anne is seeing and that often gets discussed here may be that American evangelicalism is or will lose or keep at bay some of the most intelligent and compassionate and sensitive souls who could be an enormous asset and force for the Kingdom if there was a place for them in the larger community.

  16. Seems to me that she is being ungracious to people who are ungracious, but that is ungracious, making her kinda a hypocrite..

    There is no problem with disagreeing with certain people’s interpretation of scripture and morality.. If you are a Christian you ought to challenge them on where they are wrong and encourage them with what is right.

    Seems like she failed to do that, and instead called her bothers and sisters a bunch of names and stormed off in a rage. No loss however — If she follows Christ, she will be disciplined. God is faithful to bring us back.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      You sound very smug, Josh.

    • There is no problem with disagreeing with certain people’s interpretation of scripture and morality.. If you are a Christian you ought to challenge them on where they are wrong and encourage them with what is right.

      In some cases this is possible; real engagement and dialogue with brothers and sisters over areas about which we disagree can help both grow. But to be realistic, there are also many, many cases in which it’s impossible because the minute you bring up an different interpretation or question an item of dogma (and I’m not talking about the core beliefs or historical essentials of Christianity here, not by a long shot) you will be perceived at best as someone who needs correction to eliminate a spiritual deficiency and at worst as a heretic under Satanic influence.

    • I’m pretty sure this is her way of dialogue and “challenging” her brothers and sisters. It sounds like a request for support in my opinion.

      I find myself becoming a spiritual recluse these days as well. I’m tired of Christians arguing about the same old stuff, making the same arguments regarding certain subjects, talking about the same Christian Celebrity personalities, going to the same old Christian conferences, using the same stupid methods to “trick” people into reading their book, buying their devotional, buying their planner, buying their Christian bracelet, buying their Christian wall-art, buying their Christian CD, going to their sermon series. I’m tired of the aggression and the level of assertion. I just want to hear about people’s daily interaction with God. And each other. And maybe what they thought about the new Iron Man movie or something….you know, like people talking who are friends. Not just a rehash of Christian books (that all say the same thing) or some aggressive argument about creation or how we should avoid Lady Gaga. I feel like Christian culture (particularly on the internet) is just a lot of people talking past each other. No real relationship.

  17. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say you are following Christ and then give a list of ungodly things you are NOT against.

    Thank God she is just a writer and not the Pope.

    Put me down as a volunteer in the culture war that seeks to rescue our Nation from tyranny of toleration — tolerant of everything but Christianity, that is. Put me down for the front lines in the culture war to rescue the Nation from a culture of death to restore a culture of life. Put me down.

    Put me down as a soldier seeking to rescue the culture from mindless, unnatural homosexual behavior seeking to capture the hearts of our public school children in kindergarten.

    Put me down. I’ll fight for the elderly and infirm who will soon be forced to wear the mask of euthanasia because of the culture of death.

    I enlist. Put me down as a soldier in the culture war. I’ll gladly be against that which Our Lord was against.

    Let others like Rice continue to suck the blood of life from society by her Christianity-less Christ to match the Christ-less Christianity of so many apathetic Christians.

    I’m fairly sure we (Christianity) will survive without her — and perhaps flourish.

    • cermak_rd says:

      And what will you do with the kindergartner who even at that age knows that he is different from his peers (perhaps transgendered)? Or the gay teenager? Will you encourage his peers to treat him unkindly just because he is gay? What we teach kindergartners about gayness is that all people are deserving of respect and don’t deserve to be taunted because they are different or have 2 parents of the same gender.

      What of the 80 year old woman who is facing a life with ALS and is able minded and wants to end her life before she loses her autonomy and would prefer to do it with a less messy method than a shotgun? I understand the slippery slope with euthanasia but I don’t think paternalism is the way to fix it.

      • cermak, I think God provides us with all of the occasions that you mention not as opportunities to relax his absolute truth but as opportunities to show sacrificial love to those who are suffering. I could say to the woman with ALS, “Sorry, here, kill yourself,” and rid myself of the tragedy and messiness of her drawn-out death. Or I could care for her at great cost to myself, however long her suffering lasts. Not that I do the latter, I confess, but I can’t weasel out of the calling to sacrificial care by relaxing God’s standards.

        • yourname says:

          What? She should stay alive in great pain so that you can demonstrate your love by caring for her? The thought is noble, but it’s not about you.

          If I had terminal cancer, I’d kill myself before it got too bad, and I wouldn’t worry one iota about what God would say. I think he’ll be too busy being angry at the people trying to keep me alive and suffering.

        • cermak_rd says:

          She doesn’t want you to care for her. She worried about the loss of her autonomy. Requiring someone to care for you is all about losing autonomy. Requiring someone else live with a situation they don’t like because others think she should offer it up or so that others can self-sacrifice is odd to me.

          • Josh in FW says:

            Is not loss of “autonomy” (aka dependence) part of following Christ? I think Damaris is pointing out that we are called to do what is right not what is easy. Doesn’t the individual who learns to accept help from his brother learn as much as the individual giving the care?

            I find it disturbing how quickly our society is ready to accept suicide as morally acceptable.

          • cermak_rd says:

            This reply is to Josh but while loss of autonomy might well be part of following Christ, laws prohibiting assisted suicide are about non-Christians as well as Christians. Why should I (a Jew) be required to follow a law that was written so that Christians could be better Christians?

          • Josh in FW says:

            @ cermak, good point. I was commenting more on morality than legality and attempting to expound on what I thought Damaris was saying. I consider law to be a lagging indicator of the moral opinions of a society. My disturbance comes from what seems to be a very sudden shift in opinion regarding the morality of suicide (and “assisting” someone with it). In regard to the legality of assissted suicide, I’m uncomfortable with ease at which such a law could be abused to eliminate individuals who are a drain to those around them.

    • yourname says:

      Hopefully you fought with the same passion for public health care and against the war in Iraq. Both are two very visible and very sinful examples of our culture of death.

      Gay people are targeting kindergartners? Really? If you’re born gay, and 100% of the gay people I know say that, then kindergartners are already either gay or straight, and there’s no “capturing” involved.

      My teen daughter has been around gay people since she was in kindergarten, and the number of boys I’m now having to chase off argues against the whole “capturing” thing 🙂

    • SSBN:

      Amen.

    • SSBN: Wow….you really, really scare me.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        You do know that “SSBN” is also the Navy designation for nuclear-missile launching submarines, don’t you? This SSBN sounds like the type who would gladly turn the launch keys.

        Because once you’re God’s Holy Warrior in the Culture War, there’s not much distance between you and the Taliban. Anything goes, God Wills It.

  18. I’ve own and have read both of Anne Rice’s books on CHRIST THE LORD. The section at the end of the first book where she explains how and why she came to write about Christ (it was largely through reading theology and history and realizing that only God could explain the Jews and Jesus) is well worth reading.

    Then I read/skimmed her autobiographical book CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS in which she discusses how/why she became or returned to being a Christian. I was going to buy it, but I was too turned off by it as it was too chick-flicky for me. I felt her conversion (contra the type of research she did for her books) was too much driven by emotion, and I didn’t think her conversion/joining the church would last, based on what I knew about Rice, her beloved deceased atheist husband, her gay son, etc. The Roman Catholic Church, which is what she joined (Was it its gothic/ancient/historical/liturgical tradition that attracted her? if she said why she went RCC other than the fact that I think she was raised in it, I don’t remember.) is too dogmatic about/against things that have been significant parts of Anne’s life and the persons she loved or loves. Since there is no way she’s going to change the RCC to her views, or to her well-formed and well-informed views of Jesus, the only alternative, IMO, was for her eventually to leave. Which she has now done.

    * My apologies, Ms. Rice, if I seem to be psychoanalyzing you. 🙂 *

    So while I was not surprised to read this on Facebook, I was a bit surprised that she stayed in the RCC as long as she did.

    I don’t think she has much familiarity with Protestantism, but I could be wrong.

  19. Buford Hollis says:

    But you ARE anti-gay.

    I know, I know, Jesus loves everybody. Okay, true or false: homosexuality is morally wrong and/or genetically undesirable. Any hint at a “yes” and you have what amounts to a deal-breaker for many liberals, whether gay or not.

    Evangelical Christianity can offer little to such people. If they need a religion, they would be better served by the Quakers, Unitarians, or Reform Jews.

    The claim that you, iMonk, and others in your circle to be marginally more tolerant than your average Baptist minister or TV evangelist is frankly not very impressive.

    • DreamingWings says:

      Thank you for this. I was about to post something similar but you said it so much better.

    • cermak_rd says:

      I agree entirely but I would also suggest in addition to your excellent suggestion of Quakers, Unitarians and Reform Jews the Metropolitan Churches of Christ which was founded because so many gay folk were estranged from their churches. Also the ELCA branch of Lutherans are a fairly tolerant bunch as are the Episcopalians.

      • Buford Hollis says:

        Thank you! I should also have mentioned the United Church of Christ. U.S. Episcopalians are famously divided between liberal and conservative churches, but yeah, some of them are okay.

        • cermak_rd says:

          I would think most of the less tolerant Episcopalians would have left by now and joined up with the other networks of Anglicans. Certainly with the split, the conservatives will never have a majority in the GC now.

          • Buford Hollis says:

            You’re probably right–I was grouping them together.Haven’t been in awhile.

      • If I lived closer to the MCC my gay family member attends, I might join myself. They do amazing work in the community.

    • Kenny Johnson says:

      This is an honest question? Then what should I do? I believe the Bible says sex was meant for married man and woman and therefore anything outside of that is not part of God’s ideal for humans. I don’t believe gay people are bad people. Prior to coming to church at age 24, I had no such convictions about marriage and sex, so whether you believe it or not, I do believe my convictions are based on my understanding of God’s revelation to man, not bigotry.

      I want to live a life like Jesus (though I’ll fail often) and accept and love all people no matter who they are, but yet my view on marriage and sex automatically makes me a bad guy in many people’s eyes.

      And politically, I’m either neutral or gay-friendly. I live in California and did not vote for Prop 8. I don’t support laws that restrict the equal rights of gays. But I guess I’m still an evil bigot because I believe God intended sex to be for married man and woman.

      • Buford Hollis says:

        I wouldn’t call you an evil bigot. You sound like you mean well, and there’s a whole spectrum between you and Fred Phelps. But yeah, your views are anti-gay. Like I said, for a church to teach such things would be a deal-breaker for many liberals. (The same spectrum goes the other way, too.)

        Look at it this way. The Bible accepts slavery. Now we can respond to this in several ways. We can say that the Bible was a product of its times, and morality evolves. Or we can try to think of some reason why one kind of slavery was okay, but another kind wasn’t. Anyway, the same approach would apply to homosexuality…or feminism, shrimp-eating, genocidal massacres, etc.

        Somebody mentioned that evangelicals have a “high” view of the Bible. I’m not sure exactly what this means–if it doesn’t imply fundamentalism, then at least it seems to exclude a critical, post-modern approach to the Bible.

        • I do believe that God accommodated himself to the culture, but I happen to believe that the Bible’s teaching on sexuality are universal. I could be wrong, but this where my current view of scripture leads me. I would say that I don’t think this is “case closed” though snd it’s something the church should continue to wrestle with and discuss (both those who affirm gay sex and those who don’t).

          I

          • Kenny Johnson says:

            I accidentally submitted early. I was going to say too that I probably can’t articulate my views on this very easily, but I do see a distinction between things like egalitarianism, shrimp-eating, and slavery versus homosexual sex.

            Shrimp eating in particular was a dietary food law that was given to the Jews under the mosaic law. For one, we see this is clearly reversed in the new testament.

            I believe the Bible showed men and women created as equals (Genesis) but sin caused men to dominate women. We see a progression toward egalitarianism in the NT.

            The same thing with slavery. Yes it was a different type of slavery than American slavery… it was more like indentured servitude. But we also see a progression in the NT (Philemon).

            But sexuality seems to be consistent throughout the Bible. Man was made for woman and woman for man. This never changes and is even affirmed in the NT.

            I also have to believe that there has to be morality that transgresses cultural norms. Otherwise morality is truly relativistic and almost meaningless. If that’s the case, did God prescribe a sexual morality? I think he did. And I think it was meant to be universal.

            But I will say, I’m not an expert in this area. This is just where my convictions currently lie.

        • You say “anti-gay” like it’s a bad thing. It ought to be a simple statement of fact. Whether you (not you specifically, just a general you) agree with it or not is a different issue, but there shouldn’t be any doubt about what is anti-gay.

          The Bible is anti-gay. The majority of the church is anti-gay. I am anti-gay. There’s not much ambiguity there.

          • “Homosexual” wasn’t a known word until the late 18th century ( I think that’s about the time). The point being, what did they mean when it was originally written? Not what King James thought it meant. The militant ignorance on this meme of “the bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” makes me sad for the masses. Why are women not keeping silent in churches these days as it commands in the bible? Must have found a way out of that one. They don’t have to ask their questions to their husbands when they get home, but can now stand in front of an entire congregation and say a prayer, bring a study on scripture, etc. The list of hypocrisy is endless in terms of what scriptures “read” and what they are said to mean by the church.

    • Isaac Rehberg (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

      Okay, true or false: homosexuality is morally wrong and/or genetically undesirable….
      The claim that you, iMonk, and others in your circle to be marginally more tolerant than your average Baptist minister or TV evangelist is frankly not very impressive.

      Completely a straw-man argument. Affirming the biblical teaching that homosexual behavior is sinful is not considering anyone to be “genetically undesirable.” The slavery/dietary thing is totally apples-and-oranges. A better example would be on how we treat folks that are cohabiting or addicted to porn Again, those are sexual behaviors that are considered sinful by biblical standards. Statistically speaking at least 30% of those of us writing here are at least moderately addicted to porn. So, can we treat gay people the same way we treat straight people in sexual sin? There’s the real litmus test.

      We need to move beyond equating folks’ sexual behaviors and appetites with their identity as people. And that’s not just an indictment against Christians, but against society as a whole, including those whose primary self-identifier is being gay.

  20. Re: the post-Evangelical wilderness and Anne Rice’s leaving churchianity:

    I probably don’t agree with all he says, but I find Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity (2010) to be an interesting and thought-provoking read. Weak in parts, repetitive mantra-like strumming ad nauseam of his criticism and denigration of a “Greco-Roman” and “constitutional” reading of the Bible (read the book to learn what he means by these terms). Yes, Brian, I got it after the first 10 or 20 times you said it! 😮

    But McLaren addresses via 10 questions many of the concerns that send people to the post-Evangelical Wilderness in search of answers, and I think it might be worth your while to read it. I’m glad I did, though my friend accused me of being on morphine again when I told him I was reading McLaren. 🙂

    Caveat Emptor, of course.

  21. Christ is the root of Christianity. If we allow the noisiest group of Christians to define Christianity, must we also allow them to define the teachings of Christ?

    If one must be anti-gay to be Christian, must gay Christians also be anti gay?

    Must Christian Democrats also be anti Democrat?

    Must Christians who study science be anti-science?

    No matter what you believe, you will never persuade all Christians to believe exactly the same.

    We have two very vocal groups.

    One group says, you are not a Christian unless you believe exactly as I say you should believe.

    The other group says, I will not be called Christian because you do not believe as I believe.

    Christ is still the root of Christianity, although I have no idea how He makes sense of this.

  22. Jason the Saj says:

    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Ghandi

    • Josh in FW says:

      Such an appropriate quote.

      I find the observations of our (Christ followers) shortcomings made by many non-believers and the morally upright behavior of many non-believers to be among the most piercing moments of conviction, reminding me just how short I fall and how big God’s grace truly is.

  23. “Hostile to the Church, friendly to Jesus Christ.” This is how John Stott begins Basic Christianity, describing the feeling of many for whom he wrote the book.

  24. I just looked at my copy of N.T. Wright’s Simply Christian, subtitled “Why Christianity Makes Sense”. Endorsed by several people including J.I. Packer, but the only endorsement on the front cover is by Anne Rice! Interesting.

    Rice is also the first among endorsers on the back cover, and her quote reads, “Simply Christian goes beyond C.S. Lewis’s great classic Mere Christianity. N.T. Wright is simply crucial; his writing can transform one’s life. This will become a classic.”

    I’ll have to read more about her tomorrow. Could be news.

  25. linebackeru says:

    wow…..sh cant find one church….anywhere that feels like she does..Really? There is a ton that I disagree about with many of my fellow churchmates. Frankly, thats what makes it interesting. I can assure you she has never set foot in the kind of church she is critical of. Shes going to judge all of them based on press clippings, fox news, or TBN? really?? what an absolute prideful coward. OH…Im going to separate myself…REALLY? churches need people to speak out….in fact churches have been started based on what she has said. She should start a church not demonize them. I am not going to leave christs church because I disagree with a local body. I will however find a church that gets it right.

    • DreamingWings says:

      As a long time fan of Anne Rice may I say that her starting a church would be wonderful. I’d definitely have to consider moving to be able to attend.

      • Cedric Klein says:

        Would it be a church that worshipped Jesus or a church that worshipped Anne Rice? Who would she be accountable to for her teaching & practice?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          How would that differ from all those Independent Evangelical splinter churches that are always popping up?

    • cermak_rd says:

      I think she may be running into a problem that a lot of Catholics have when they leave the Catholic Church. Part of being a Catholic is understanding history, understanding the root causes of the various Reformations (e.g. even though some of the issues were theological like Luther’s theses, and others were political like Henry VIII’s annulment, they also had class struggle as important vectors). From that perspective it can be very difficult to consider another ekklesia as valid other than the Orthodox or Catholic church.

      Unfortunately most Catholics don’t have access to an Orthodox church that isn’t highly ethnic plus they may consider the faith too hard (do all Orthodox have a vegetarian cook book lying about) to be practical.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Over at his blog, OrthoCuban occasionally posts on the unique ways Orthodox can flake out. The most common flakeout is a new convert who becomes a “monastic wannabe”, growing his beard out like an Orthodox Monk, wearing his hair like an Orthodox Monk, dressing like an Orthodox Monk, etc — without ever taking public vows or placing himself under an abbot’s authority. Just like Tonguing among Pentecostals or Mary Obsession among Catholics, it becomes a “Can You Top This” game of “I’m More Spiritual Than Thou”.

  26. Don in Phoenix says:

    I’ll repeat on iMonk what I replied to the same story on Jesus Creed:

    If I were in a position to speak a word of encouragement to Ms. Rice in her time of crisis, I would offer five:

    “The Episcopal Church welcomes you.”

    • Isaac Rehberg (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

      Considering what she’s leaving is Roman Catholicism, the Episcopal Church would probably be a very comfortable place for her.

  27. Here is a summary of what Anne Rice is saying: I love my head. I’m going to speak well about it. I’ll take good care of it. But I hate the rest of my body. Let it go to Hell. What really matters is my head.

    Now how absurd is this? This rhetoric about following Jesus without the historic, visible Church is getting old. It’s pure nonsense. Jesus is the Head of His Body. He is the Head of the Church

  28. (cont) Jesus is the first member of the Church He started! For the love of truth, all of you who keep making this sharp dichotomy between the Bride and the Bridegroom, please stop. They are one. Anne Rice rejects the Church and thus rejects Jesus. The Scriptures and history are crystal clear on this point.

    • yourname says:

      Jesus might leave today’s Church.

      Hopefully, you’re Catholic or Orthodox, or you have already rejected the Church that Jesus started.

      • Hopefully, you’re Catholic or Orthodox, or you have already rejected the Church that Jesus started.

        FWIW, I’m not Catholic, and I’m a former Orthodox Christian, and I am still in the Church that Jesus started, thank you very much! 😀

      • linebackeru says:

        well, by that logic they wouldn’t have wasted time writing epistles and letters to th various early groups of followers. Christ would most likely not leave todays church. He probably would have some rebuke for them but I doubt he would abandon it. I wish people would quit trying to “one up” the church and just dig in. So many people who plant churches shouldn’t be doing it. Seems people have this obsession with recognition and attention.”Look at us, we have this new way of thinking. ” real christianity is hard work and takes great patience with people and circumstances.

  29. I’m sorry that she feels like that.

    But, I was surprised to read that she was Catholic, because so much of her rants sound like they are against the stereotypical evangelical church. Not the Catholic church that I see on my ground.

    When she converted, and was well known for that, I was bothered because so many new Christians are given more power and authority than they are able to handle. I’ve seen that before, even on the local church level.

    As far as being pro-life and anti-abortion, it’s harder on the ground when you are dealing with real people.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      When she converted, and was well known for that, I was bothered because so many new Christians are given more power and authority than they are able to handle. I’ve seen that before, even on the local church level.

      It’s called “Christian Celebrity Convert Syndrome”.
      Usually ending in “Celebrity Convert Burnout”.
      I wonder if that was what happened to Anne Rice?

  30. Anne, at least in the posts quoted above, did not say she rejected the Church–though that can certainly be strongly implied. More significantly, she said she rejected being called a Christian (which is kind of ironic as most scholars say that term originated as a slur and a slam against those of the Way–in short, originally they didn’t like being called the term either). She also said she did not reject Christ but rejected Christianity. But what is Christianity but the systemized teachings and doctrines that define who Christ is and what it means to be a follower of Christ, refined over 2,000 years and counting?

    We are currently in a re-working of these very topics. The New Perspective on Paul (which comes pretty close to the way Catholicism has viewed him for centuries), N.T. Wright, the Federal Vision, the rising of Presterism, all are reshaping our concepts in this regard; all by going to the original sources and determining where we got off track. All hope to get us together with those rag-tag Jews of the first century who are true founding fathers. They will help us see Jesus and his followers in many ways as they saw themselves and their world and their mission. In the process, Christianity–again, the view of Jesus and his mission and what it means to partake of the same–is going to be redefined in some subtle and in some pretty big ways. If I read even a hint of what such scholars are defining in these spheres, what we mean by “salvation,” “heaven,” “condemnation,” “hades,” “Ghenna-hell.” and even the “second coming” are all on the block and may have meant something entirely different than we suppose now.

    In short, this is an exciting time to be part of Christianity. It is going to be messy, argumentative, and definitely “Post-Evangelical.” I think Anne got off the bus just as the ride is getting interesting.

  31. Danielle says:

    I’m very sad to read Anne Rice’s announcement. I agree with her on most of the points she mentioned. And I like to think I’ve got lots of good company. So when some of my good company marches out, I feel lonely and am reminded my own dissonance.

    I identify with her sense of estrangement, especially the bit about feeling that she is an outsider and that she cannot do anything about it. Yes, I know she could just drop all her convictions and adopt the opinions other Christians want her to hold. But this situation presents an impossible dilemma: Choosing between God and choosing between truth. Who can make such a choice?

    Yes, I know: Anne Rice could be wrong. But dissonance is still a problem. Imagine that someone tells you that to be a Christian, you must believe that a certain schoolbus is blue. You look at it. It’s yellow. You look at it again. Its yellow. Everytime you look at it, you see yellow. No matter how many times someone gets in your face and insists, “It’s blue — just admit that it is blue,” or how much you want it to be blue, the stupid bus is still yellow. After a while of this, you’re going to say its blue, just to say it, or the other guy is going to walk off and say: “That man is bad and cannot be trusted: he thinks the bus is yellow!” You mean well, and the guy wheedling you means well: but in the end you’re still an outsider.

    • In His day Jesus was also an outsider.

    • yourname says:

      Good point about the schoolbus. Too often, “faith” is defined as believing the schoolbus is blue because the ancient Hebrews painted theirs that color.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        At which point you see the Wisdom in the fact that Christ is never physically described anywhere in the NT. If he was, I’m sure there would be a Holy Hairstyle, Holy Beard Style, Holy color and cut of clothing…

        (I understand in the strictest forms of Islam, men have to wear their beards a certain way because Islamic tradition records Mohammed wearing his beard that way. Even to the point of having a proper Islamic position for sleeping — on the right side, with one hand cushioning the head — because Mohammed was recorded somewhere as sleeping in that position.)

  32. Danielle says:

    There is a new FB post from Anne Rice:

    My posts about quitting Christianity have brought in a lot of mail. Most of it is positive; a small amount is negative. But one thing is clear: people care passionately about belief. They care about living lives of meaning and significance. And that is a beautiful and reassuring thing. I’ll have more on the subject in the future.”

    I hope she will elaborate. I’d like to know what she says to say.

    • She will. If you get really curious about a particular question, send her an email. I sent her a couple during the past couple of years, as I read her Jesus books and was so moved by them. I wrote to her of my extreme pleasure found in reading those books. Then when she went on the 700 CLub I wrote to her of my extreme displeasure of her consorting with the enemy (in my mind), and she has answered them all. She is so nice, and humble. She answered each of messages ….one honoring her and one challenging her, both with respect and integrity. She is a class act, and I love her.

  33. “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.

    You can’t remain committed to Christ and be “out of Christianity” You can’t fulfill his command to love one another from a distance – no matter how cantankerous others within the church get.

    “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.

    What does Anne really expect to find out there? Name a single people group that isn’t hostile, disputatious and infamous when you boil it down and get right down to it when your own holding do not perfectly align with theirs? Human nature is what it is, and the only hope for you, Anne and for any of us is to bow at the feet of Jesus loving the unlovable…not running away to just throw rocks from a distance. God isn’t pleased with this type of behavior – just ask Shemei how well it worked out for him.

    Anne’s clearly put her political preferences ahead of Jesus. For the record, I’m not saying that you have to be of a certain political persuasion to follow Christ. I’m saying that when you make your politics as a reason for leaving, you never had him.

    “Seriously, is she not hitting on so much of what Michael Spencer said on this site and in his book?”

    She’s showing us the danger. You simply can’t make a religion out of protests. The Gospel is clear that to remain with Christ is to remain with his church – fighting for his truth on the inside. This is what Michael failed to understand as he left the church himself and encouraged others to do so.

    Brad

    • Brad, I agree with you about working for change from the inside, but I don’t think it is fair to say that Michael left the church. As I recall he continued preaching for as long as he was able.

      • Michael Spencer never left the church. He was campus pastor to a group of stumbling, seeking teens. He was a “supply” pastor to a mainline denominational church in the town where he lived. He regularly worshipped in another mainline church when he wasn’t required to preach. I don’t know where you got the idea that he left the church, but he did not. Nor did he ever, not one time, encourage a single person to leave his or her church. Question it, yes. Rail against it at times, absolutely. But he never told anyone to leave.

        Get your facts straight, please, before making accusations like that. Or better yet, don’t make accusations like that.

  34. This “love Jesus, hate the church” narrative is getting old. It is antithetical to both Scripture and the spirit of the gospel. Read 1 John. Those who abandon the church abandon Christ.

    • It all depends upon what your meaning of the word “church” is.

      • Look, you can find churches all over America that have very little to do with the dreaded culture wars. I have been saying this for some time now: you can’t paint all of evangelicalism (much less all of wider American Christianity) with this brush. If Anne Rice is really concerned about the gospel, then she will plug herself into the middle of a less-than-perfect body of believers to live her life together with them, learning how to love Christ’s sheep the way Christ does.

        If, on the other hand, she thinks Jesus would affirm the left-wing ideals that she seems to have an affinity for, and she is disgusted that the church won’t go along with her in it, then she’s not really in this for the gospel to begin with.

  35. Isaac Rehberg (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

    As has been mentioned above, Rice is/was Roman Catholic. $10 says she’s been listening to too much EWTN. As a relatively new revert to traditionalish Anglicanism, I certainly find EWTN more suited my tastes than your average Protestant talk radio station. But there are two things I should probably get less of throughout the day for the sake of my spiritual health: EWTN and the website Anglican Mainstream. While both try to be voices of traditional, liturgical Christianity, the culture war issues (especially sex-related ones) are way too front-and-center. They’re not much different than the Evangelical sites and stations that do the same thing except for the ministers wear vestments on Sundays. Listening/reading to too much of that stuff tends to make me question my association with organized Christianity.

    By contrast, when I get a steady diet of the prayers from the Book of Common Prayer or other liturgies based on the ancient patterns, I find myself loving the Church and loving Jesus as well as my neighbor.

    • Thank you for your info about EWTN, I wasn’t aware that it was that way. I’ve only watched it for about 1 hour or so.

      • Isaac Rehberg (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

        I don’t get the TV station, but I do get the radio station. There are some shows that I think are usually very good and uplifting. Fr. Corapi’s show is one of my favorites. I also like Al Kresta’s show a lot. And I find Dr. Ray hilarious. But most of the time, the other shows are about at the same level as my local Evangelical talk stations.

    • Danielle says:

      You might be onto something: Anne Rice has a link to EWTN on her webpage, under the “Christianity” tab.

  36. Well said, Isaac. I wholeheartedly agree.

  37. Chris A says:

    Once again: Anne Rice is/was a CATHOLIC. Whatever the value of her opinion, it is her opinion about ROMAN CATHOLICISM. To the extent that it links up with Michael Spencer’s critique of Evangelicalism, it shows that what he and Denise thought of as an ALTERNATIVE to Evangelicalism (that is, Catholicism) is for many people JUST AS UNACCEPTABLE as Evangelicalism. It’s ironic that the same Catholic position on science which liberated Michael Spencer from YEC fundamentalism is seen by her as “anti-science.”

    I don’t think there’s actually much “the church” (whether Evangelical or Catholic) can do to address her objections without ceasing to be the Church. But whether that’s so or not, in any case, to use this statement as some confirmation of problems in Evangelicalism is just a SILLY MISTAKE. (LIke when someone thinks everyone else is always talking about them.) Could you please drop it, or put in a caveat at the original post or something?

  38. Hi Jeff,

    I hope that Ann can find a church somewhere that will allow differences on peripheral issues and love her in spite of the differences. I just hope she does not go through the process of abandoning the church altogether although she is still committed to Jesus. Leaving the church altogether could lead to her light becoming fainter as time goes by. It would be better if she could find a better alternative fellowship in some denomination.

    Nevertheless I understand her disappointment and frustration with much that goes on in the name of Christ in the instiutional church. May she continue to know that Jesus will inspire, uplift and encourage her as she seeks to serve him in the world.

  39. What exactly did Ms. Rice say about modern representations of Christianity that isn’t biblically supported? Being gay? Abortion? Really? She wants to be pro-gay and pro-life and still ‘follow Christ’?

    The reaction here confuses this non-believer. Yes, I observe a certain edge from the pulpit, but the worst that can be said is that evangelicalism is a bit too forthright for some.

    (a different) Michael Spencer

  40. All I can say about this issue is this: “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13, NIV).

  41. dkmonroe says:

    I think Anne Rice’s estrangement from the Church really has little to do with anything other than her rejection of the Catholic Church’s position on perennial wedge issues like women’s ordination and gay rights. Also it appears that she’s disgusted with the general (but of course by no means universal) tendency of Christians to be politically or socially conservative. As Chris A pointed out, this fallout is because of Ms. Rice’s disagreement with the official positions of the Catholic Church and not so much because of the failures of the evangelical movement that Michael Spencer was concerned with.

    I would advise the curious to read The Anchoress’s post regarding Anne Rice over at First Things. She points to several Catholic encyclicals that address the very issues that Anne Rice differs with the church over, and The Anchoress argues that anyone who has read and understood these encyclicals could not reasonably call the Catholic Church “anti-gay”, “anti-science”, and so on. I confess I haven’t ever read those encyclicals, but I intend to and so put her argument to the test.

  42. Anne Rice explains why she left the RCC/Christianity (8 min 20 sec interview):

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128930526

  43. Perhaps she would find a more “comfortable fit” with a liberal Episcopal church. I know that one of the links we were given to read about this matter had a comment from her that she was very sad to leave behind the Eucharist. Perhaps she will feel that the Eucharist is not “valid” outside the Catholic Church, but I kind of doubt it. I hope she finds a place to have corporate worship at some point. I think that it is needed and helps us to become loving disciples of Jesus.