Ann Rice, the one time popularizer of the current vampire genre, has announced that she is leaving Christianity. She recently talked about her decision with Joy Behar. What is fascinating about her announcement is that she still professes a faith in Christ and actually feels that in order to keep following Christ she has to separate herself from organized religion and what she perceives as the judgmental actions of many Christians. Part of her decision is that she wants to make a statement that she is not like those “other” Christians.
Rice holds views on issues of ethics and morality that would certainly be on the theological left. She refuses to be “Anti-Gay, Anti-feminist” and “anti” several other issues. Her desire is to say that her commitment to Christ requires that she distance herself from followers of Christ who she perceives to be judgmental and bigoted. So for all of the hype about her leaving Christianity she clearly still sees herself as being a follower of Christ.
The bottom line issue for her is that in trying to remain committed to Jesus she has to step away from the public debate and arguments the swirl around the church and among Christians. In fact she makes it clear that in order to keep Christ at the center of her life she has to step away for a time and get with God.
I for one want to applaud her. Though I would disagree with many of her positions, I deeply respect that she is doing everything she can in order to stay close to Jesus. She may be giving up on organized religion and the public debate over issues of faith. But she is NOT renouncing Christ. In fact, she is trying to hold up and honor Christ as best she can. If you watch the whole interview that becomes abundantly clear.
What I hope can come out of her decision is two things. First that she would come back from her self-proclaimed wilderness experience with a renewed understanding of who Jesus is and how we as Christians need to engage the world in a more Christ-like manner. It would be a benefit to the rest of Christianity if we could learn that from her experience. Second, would be that all who claim to follow Jesus would do whatever it takes to make sure that He is at the center of their lives. There may be some equally radical thing you need to do to make sure that nothing gets in the way of following Jesus.
There is however one concern that I have and it is a deep concern. There is a growing notion in our culture and in the church that one can follow Jesus without the church. In the sense of not needing to be a member of a particular local congregation, I get that. But in the sense of not needing to be connected with and identified with other followers of Jesus, sorry, not an option. Being a follower of Jesus means being committed to others who are also struggling to follow Him. It is only in the context of deep, committed relationships, over time, that we can really be shaped into the people Jesus wants us to be. A season of wilderness like Rice is taking can be the right thing for a season. It is a disaster for one’s faith if it becomes prolonged and permanent. The God of the Bible and this Christianity is a relational being. That is one of the main lessons for the Trinity. We are made in God’s image and part of that means that we are to be relational as well. Will there be conflicts and disagreements in those relationships? You bet there will. But that is how we learn to be like Christ and forgive one another serve one another.
In the end, Ann Rice needs the rest of the Body of Christ and we need her. That is what family, the church is to be about.
Blessings to you Ann as you walk the wilderness. Don’t stay away too long. I look forward to what the future of the faith looks like with you in it.
6 thoughts on “Ann Rice Leaves Christianity. Really?”
Thoughtfully and kindly written. Reassuring to find I am not alone in my feelings on this.
I agree completely with Jene above. I will say, though –is why this whole thing has gotten so much publicity — why on earth should we care about Anne Rice? I’m somewhat dumbfounded. I guess I’m more interested in my own path, my own Christian life and my own path with God, in today’s world that sometimes makes it hard. I am loving “Principled Centered Living” by the Rev. Dr. Sheldon Williams (he’s a pastor and also consults and speaks internationally) which talks about Christian values and ethics, about ethical principles and how to commit to them. It helps you to recognize when you’re slipping into a danger zone and when you’re starting to make up the rules as you go. (That’s always a danger!)
I hope Anne get this post, you wrote. It’s good. I was praying that she would have a divine encounter with Christ Jesus and that the Father would help her to resolve some personal issues. It may be that Anne will become the most radical and on fire for Jesus follower, ever.
I will be the first to say that the church isn’t perfect, but Anne Rice is separating herself for all the wrong reasons. Why is it, for the first time since the start of the church, do people feel that belonging to a local church is optional?
If you look at the entire New Testament, how many books of the Bible do not deal specifically with a local body of believers? I challenge any believer to show me in God’s Word where it says that it is right by God to separate from other believers.
Satan does his best work when we are separated from God’s people in a local assembly. Rice’s arguments come from a misunderstanding of God’s design for the church but also from a total misunderstanding about the holiness of God. We just can’t pick and choose what we want to believe and not believe to suit our personal tastes.
God’s Word is not a cafeteria where we can take all desserts and leave all the steak and veggies behind. In my years as a pastor, I hear arguments like these all of the time. In short, it is all about a heart that is not in tune with God and is more in tune with itself.
Thanks for sharing, but two things stuck out as I read this:
1.) Ann Rice was attending Catholic services, and that is what she is leaving, not Christiantity. You cannot leave where you have not been.
2.) It is true that she refuses to be anti-gay and a lot of other things, but (even though its no excuse) her son is a homosexual. Its hard to be against gays when your own son is one. I know several gay people and I show them love and share the Word with them, as God allows, but imagine, having your son or daughter be a practising homosexual. IT WOULD BE HARD to be anti gay. I know that God says “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Lue 14:26) As a Christian, you must love Him and His ways above all else, even your own children. Point is, IT WOULD STILL BE HARD, so I can be somewhat understanding, even if I disagree with her.
Hi, last time I was here I promised I would let people know when my most recent book because available. As of last week, Back To The Source: The Spiritual Principles Of Jesus can be purchased through Amazon.com.