O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


Anne Rice Quits Christianity

posted by Jason Boyett

annerice.jpgIt’s been an interesting week at Anne Rice’s Facebook page. The bestselling novelist, whose conversion to Christianity was a pretty big deal a few year back, had become everyone’s favorite celebrity Christian. She was blurbing N.T. Wright books and sharing Scripture on Facebook. Yay! The queen of darkness is now one of us!

Until this week. Because now it seems she’s thinking twice about that very public conversion.

On Tuesday on Facebook, Anne posted a link to a Minnesota religious non-profit that seemed to be promoting the “morality” of executing homosexuals. Anne commented:

This shocking link was provided by a poster below. No wonder people despise us, Christians, and think we are an ignorant and violent lot. I don’t blame them. This kind of thing makes me weep. Maybe commitment to Christ means not being a Christian.

Then, on Wednesday, she dropped this bombshell:

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.

And a further explanation:

As I said…I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

On Thursday, she clarified:

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.

Some questions and comments:

1. Christians are always excited when a famous person joins our ranks, as if it legitimizes the faith. How will we react when a famous convert decides to take it back?

2. I completely sympathize
with Anne’s refusal to be anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-hate, etc. There are a lot of ugly peripherals that have gotten attached to certain types of Christianity in its 2,000 years of existence. Lots of these clearly go against the “love your neighbor” teachings of Christ — from the Crusades to racism to modern-day homophobia. This is bad stuff, but it isn’t new stuff. Christians have been “ignorant and violent” for centuries. I seriously doubt Anne was so naive that she wasn’t aware of this history at the time of her conversion. Whatever bothers her now was certainly around back in 2005. So what changed?

3. That said, there are a lot of Christian traditions that are steadfastly NOT anti-gay, anti-feminist. What Anne is railing against seems to be fundamentalist Christianity, or the conservatism of her Catholic Church. But there’s a long history of progressive Christianity on both the Catholic and evangelical sides of the tradition. Before she gives it up altogether to go it alone, Anne might want to visit an Episcopalian or Anglican church.

4. I’ve grown weary with the constant delineations (this week by Anne Rice and, well, all the time by less famous believers) that they can be Christ-followers without being a part of “Christianity.” Or I’ve heard it put this way: I’m not religious…but I’m a follower of Jesus. Look, if you follow the religious figure Jesus Christ, then you are aligning yourself, whether you like it or not, with his other followers. That makes you a Christian, and that makes you part of the Christian religious system. You’re not making a legitimate distinction by trying to separate the religion from your personal faith. You’re just using cute wordplay. And only Christians feel the need to make the distinction. People outside the faith don’t see it that way at all. To quote the kids from High School Musical, we’re all in this together.

Christianity is flawed, but one of the things it gets right is community. If you join our system, you join a community of messed-up people. You join people who are trying to follow Jesus but who fail in horrible, Christ-dishonoring ways. The individual “just me and Jesus” thing may be attractive — trust me, I get it — but even Jesus surrounded himself with a community of disciples…guys who made him cringe from time to time, too.

What do you think?

Does Anne have a legitimate point by distancing herself from Christianity but not Christ?

Can she now return to vampires and stop writing books about Jesus?

And less importantly, is that ruffly pink turtleneck thing about to eat her alive?



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bryan a

posted July 31, 2010 at 7:45 am


if Anne wants to distance herself from the flaws of Christianity, I understand. But like you said, to throw all of it out is to say that any reference Jesus or the Bible makes to the Christian community, and holding each other accountable, and sharpening each other, and rebuking each other is worthless.
Part of what we are called to do as Christians is to be there for each other in good times and bad. It’s like Anne is saying, “nope, you guys are gonna have to do this on your own without me. i don’t want that part. I’ll just be over here with Jesus doing my thing.” I just don’t think that’s the way God wanted faith to work, but hey, i could be wrong.



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cx

posted July 31, 2010 at 8:22 am


In order: 1) Yes, I believe she does have a legitimate point. As a very fine writer, she most likely knows exactly what she’s saying, and makes it pretty well. Holding those in power accountable, especially a series of leaders of organizations (and their devoted followers) accountable is often an exercise in futility, and wastes time that, especially in this instance, can be spent finding a different way to what Jesus promised. She certainly didn’t throw all of Christianity out, but does seem to toss out what she views as a rotting, cancerous branch. As she has always identified as Catholic, it may be that she feels she is rejecting all of Christianity.
2) I hope so! Her vampire works were some of the most sensual novels I’ve read! But the later ones did become much more Catholic-oriented. Maybe she can go back to the roots of her novels world-view.
3) I certainly hope not! See 2. Maybe it’s just there to keep the vampires away.



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Jonathan Charlie Chang

posted July 31, 2010 at 8:37 am


I can relate to her frustrations. I was talking about this to some people. At the same time, I wish the world would understand that you can’t judge a religion by its abuse. Some of the things done in the name of Christianity are not what Christ would have us do. Just like a Muslim wouldn’t like to be called terrorists all the time, as a Christian I don’t want to be called hypocritical or whatever else we’re called.
Even though the word “Christian” is in the bible, I still think that it’s a man made word. So is the word Christianity.
But then I have to ask Anne Rice, “What are you doing to really be who Jesus commanded us to be? Are you loving others? Are you giving? Are you making disciples of all nations?”



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Joel

posted July 31, 2010 at 8:44 am


Does Anne have a legitimate point? Yes and no. Her issues with Christianity are certainly legitimate and, like others, I share them. But, as many others have already said, you can’t really follow Christ and not be a Christian. But, legitimate or not, what she’s done has had an excellent side effect: we’re talking about these issues. In fact, after reading your post, I was inspired to weigh in even though I’d sworn to let this one go (yes, that’s a shameless plug for my own site).
On the second point, I don’t really care. I never liked her vampires, they were too girly and romantic for me. No self-respecting servant of Satan would ever behave the way hers do.
As for the third, why did she wear that? I am, perhaps, one of the most fashioned-challenged people on the planet and even I know that’s not a good look.



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Will Rice

posted July 31, 2010 at 8:49 am


Does Anne have a legitimate point by distancing herself from Christianity but not Christ?
More importantly, doesn’t she realize there is a whole genre of books about people facing this struggle?
Can she now return to vampires and stop writing books about Jesus?
Even more importantly – these might be the most interesting books yet. Pre-Christian, Christian, Post-Christian: perhaps “emergent, slightly angry, young vampires who read Augustine at Starbucks on Sunday morning.” (And it is even cooler because maybe they knew Augustine.)
And less importantly, is that ruffly pink turtleneck thing about to eat her alive?
Well, there is that.
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/omeoflittlefaith/2010/07/anne-rice-quits-christianity.html#post#ixzz0vGO0gwiM



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Josh Hatcher

posted July 31, 2010 at 9:18 am


My only concern for Anne is that if she is going to reject “organized religion” that she stay connected to “the church”… or “ekklessia”… which is NOT the organization, but rather the organism… which is a group of believers.
This is ESSENTIAL to faith.
If you follow Christ and separate yourself COMPLETELY from
“the church” (let me reiterate, i am NOT talking about the organizational church…
then we become disconnected from Christ.
We are One Bride.
A dirty nasty whore we are.
but we are one regardless.



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mandie

posted July 31, 2010 at 9:34 am


i completely understand why she would want to distance herself.
however, it is not healthy to stay distanced.
what do we really expect from a community of broken people?
Do we expect relationships with other believers to be easier somehow because we follow Jesus?
last time i checked i still had this raging sin nature thing going on…and i am pretty sure that no other human on this planet has overcome it.
what i *don’t* understand is that hideous turtleneck she is wearing.
that right there is grounds for people to distance themselves from *her*…but then again, i guess thou shalt love one who wears ugly blouses, too.



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Adam Shields

posted July 31, 2010 at 10:29 am


I think we are called to love people with bad fashion sense, even if they are having a bad day. If she were less famous she would be having a fairly private bad day and some friends could come around her and love her back into proper Christian community, while acknowledging the sinfulness of those within the church. Being a public person, that will be harder. Hopefully there are those that can still love her back into Christian community.
Captcha: disrobes near (which I am certainly not)



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Kathryn

posted July 31, 2010 at 11:27 am


I’m so far out of “Christian culture.” I didn’t know that Anne Rice professed to be a Christian.
So much could be said on this, but other commentators have said most of it. I struggle with the perception of Christianity also & often want to distance myself from it.
It seems to me that current attitudes toward “Christian celebrities” fall into the category similar to that spoken of in James: “And you do honour to the man in fair clothing and say, Come here and take this good place; and you say to the poor man, Take up your position there, or be seated at my feet;” (2:3)
We highly honor those who are already honored (& tear them apart when they fall) but overlook those who don’t have such honor in our society.
http://4katekattoo.blogspot.com/



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Erik Hare

posted July 31, 2010 at 11:40 am


I believe that Ms. Rice’s one mistake is one that many Christians make, myself included. Her mistake is that we have let the Pharisees – those who use the word of God for their own personal gain – take over Christianity.
If we were all a lot more like Jesus, we’d spend a lot more effort forcibly kicking their sorry backsides out – not our own.



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Charlie H.

posted July 31, 2010 at 12:24 pm


I think its entirely possible to distance yourself from the formal, organized version of Christianity, as Anne is hoping to do, and in fact she may find herself growing closer to Jesus by doing so through losing all of the little things that occupy our minds and time in “church life.” I also trust that God has moved in her heart in such a way since her conversion that she won’t do it alone without any form of community, even if that community doesn’t pay rent or have a name or website.
To me the way of Jesus is meant to be more viral and less institutional, and it “works” far better in its raw form.
Finally I disagree with Jason in that she can distance herself from other followers of Jesus. I agree with Mormonism’s critique that the church is so far removed from its original design and purpose, and therefore I think its possible to do something totally different from it.



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thevorlon

posted July 31, 2010 at 12:43 pm


I don’t know Jason, I can empathize with her. In my current situation I’ve been so ostracized and labeled a “heretic” by those in my faith community that I’ve felt similar desires to just walk away from the whole thing. Being a somewhat of a universalist and asking questions about the inherency of bible has caused quite a few family members and church folks alike to ask me politely to leave or be quiet. I felt I’ve tried to be as conversational and friendly as possible but that there are some that take this stuff as a personal attack to their faith. So yeah, I can somewhat understand Anne walking away, and I feel personally like I may be close to a similar action.



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RuthintheDesert

posted July 31, 2010 at 1:07 pm


It’s sad that Christians are seen as anti-this and anti-that. Certainly there are things we stop doing as we obey Jesus, but why aren’t we known for the positive things we do?



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Brandon Sneed

posted July 31, 2010 at 1:13 pm


I’ve long and often though about what Anne Rice apparently just did. And honestly, I don’t think visiting an Anglican or Episcopal church is the answer. I don’t think church should ever be the answer. Saying she should try a different church is saying that she should try another group of people to have faith in.
Truth be told, people aren’t worth putting faith in. Not compared to God. If she knows God, and if she loves Jesus, who are any of us to tell her that she should go try another church?
Problem is, Christianity isn’t what Christ came for. Christ came to point us to God, to show us what we’d been missing, and give us more access to Him. He didn’t come so we could become a religion. He came to teach us and show us how to live out His two greatest commandments: love God with all we have, and love others like we want to be loved. If that happens in a church, great. If that happens in a religious setting, great. But religion gets in the way more often than it gets anything done when it comes to introducing people to God. Often, it just introduces people to one group’s idea of God.
I know that the Bible says we should spend time — i.e., “fellowship” — with other believers. You can do that outside of church.
What’s of massive importance here is not to make the church of massive importance. Is not to make the church the focal point. The focal point is God, and His love, and learning how to live in it. If we pursue that, everything else falls into place.



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KatR

posted July 31, 2010 at 2:22 pm


I’ve read several blogs where it has been said that if Anne Rice chooses to believe in Jesus, she is a Christian whether she likes it or not. Frankly, I find that arrogant and bullying. You don’t get to decide what label someone chooses for themselves.



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Rodger

posted July 31, 2010 at 3:46 pm


WOW I AM GLAD I STUPID BUT NOT DUMB (Is dumb the Rich?) Maybe!
This is hard for me I don’t get it (understand) you can only serve one Lord you love the one and dispize the other.
Jesus him self said I an my Father are one, if you see me you see the father. Witch means one or sameone (God)
When Jesus was tempted by Satan His Words were “Tho selt not Tempt the(Lord)thy(God)” get the behind me. (Both)
For God turns his back to sin or his back is to it, (same) get behind me.
To turn is like the Rich Man what do I half to do to get to heaven give all that have to the poor come follow me. So to follow Jesus What Do you half to do
I think it give your live for the sake of a Friend could have been for Me “No Greater Love then this” that what I think.
And that from a Poor Man’s Stand. I just half to wate tel he get here to ask Him!. Anne needs rest and the Church is Sleeping ok
Just to let know I go to Church very little but when I go I seek God. to give to the Poor and not turn an walk away.



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Liz

posted July 31, 2010 at 4:07 pm


At least the real vampires will return. I have had enough of this age, sissified “Vampires”… UP LESTAT… Got to hell Edward!!!
I am sad she is still confused about her religion. But for all we know she is saved, but does not chose to follow so much conservatism.



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Sweet Tea

posted July 31, 2010 at 4:38 pm


I don’t think its cute wordplay to follow Christ and not be a Christian. Meanings change all the time and I completely understand how a person can love Jesus but not care for the label Christian. But I’m also a person who claims to be spiritual and not religious and I think you’ve mentioned that as another pet peeve of yours as well.



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Amy @ My Friend Amy

posted July 31, 2010 at 5:02 pm


I agree with you. I think Christianity means much more and more in many other places than this country.
It makes me sad because I think it misses the point, but each person has to decide for themselves what they will do.



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Kristian

posted July 31, 2010 at 7:30 pm


I’ve seen this same crap over and over again from Christians of various flavours. Usually it takes place in the form of denouncing a Christian individual or group and claiming they’re not REAL CHRISTIANS because their views, opinions or actions differ from that of the person commenting.
I’ve heard it from a friend who was disillusioned by the organized aspects of Christianity to the point that he repeatedly said he’s a follower of Christ but cannot bring himself to accept the tarnished label of “Christian”.
To everyone else in the world it’s all the same, and it’s not the least bit important. If you believe that Jesus was a son of a god and got resurrected, then you’re a Christian.
In the end, my friend ended up becoming an atheist. Perhaps denouncing the organized part of Christianity is just a stop-gap on the way to denounce all supernatural beliefs.



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Cobalt TiNor

posted July 31, 2010 at 11:03 pm


Does Anne have a legitimate point by distancing herself from Christianity but not Christ?
I would say she does, because I believe too many “christians” are not actually Christians; they follow Paul’s teachings, or a pastors teachings, etc. “Christians” like to follow anything but Christ it seems like, they take stories of people who tried and failed and exalt those people. They take points of view and theories and contort and twist them into supernatural prophecy and dictate blind following.
I think her heart is in the right place but her choice of words probably the worst part of her statements. At the same time to say it any other way is to elude more readers and create more confusion I believe.



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Adam Shields

posted July 31, 2010 at 11:08 pm


Kristen, I don’t think it is necessarily a stop to becoming an atheist.
Lots of people want to kick some people out of the faith, whether they really have the right to or not. Al Mohler and Ken Ham want to kick out people that don’t believe in 7 day creation. Others want to kick out anyone that recognizes the Pope. Others want to kick out anyone that doesn’t recognize the Pope.
That type of in-fighting is part of the human institution that is the church. It is imperfect and messy. I do not condemn Anne Rice. Instead I think we should be praying for her, and at the same time trying to be the community that she needs to others. We are surrounded by people that need Christ and need the physical community that the church should be giving. Instead, much of the time we spend complaining about one another and in-fighting.
Jesus, at the time right before his death was praying for the church. His prayer was that the church would be one and he and the father are one. That prayer has not really been achieved, but it is in process.



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Rodger

posted August 1, 2010 at 4:24 am


Thmbs up Brandon Sneed !!!!!
Your words is like Mana from Heaven very tasty an sweet so.
You not astray, I haven’t grasp the church role yet. as said before I am slow
I got to know God meet Him early in my life. About 9 years old He made him self know to me. I was awear he was there I ask help me God he did. I meet his Son Jesus.
The living Word in the Bible is Jesus. No other Name given under heaven wereby Man can be saved no building no Groups no people only Jesus!.
I have watch others respectfly all my life to see if we do what learn in the Bible from Jesus Inspyarded by God an it like the tree it got it good an bad but he get us thru it.
Anne want the same thing we all want know our God an it will be in our Lord Jesus.
I read the Bible in many was but I needed Jesus to guild me thru it. I wouldn’t beleave any other. 15 year my nose in that book day in day out thats all I wanted.
I don’t study much any more it in my heart. I just go back to Injoy it the Greatess History book in the World with Power just wanted to let know It’s not all Bad!. Don’t stone Anne Rice



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Roger

posted August 1, 2010 at 5:00 am


Am I ever fortunate to have found this place! My sciatica doesn’t bother me nearly as much when I’m reading these posts! You guys keep up the good work!



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Roger

posted August 1, 2010 at 5:08 am


Politicians do it all the time! George Bush became a “born again” Christian when he decided to run for public office. Now that he’s relegated to the “glue factory,” I’m guessing he has no further need for such hogwash.



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Nicole Unice

posted August 1, 2010 at 7:22 am


what struck me about Anne’s comments is how young she appears. I say that with no condescension or irony, but I do think these are comments from someone young in the faith. If she’s been practicing Christianity for five years, aren’t these just adolescent growing pains? The honeymoon’s over, and at least for me, I needed to go through a serious doubt phase (and probably will again and again) on my way toward a refined understanding of what it really means to follow Christ…including loving the church and her people.



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Roger

posted August 1, 2010 at 8:00 am


I wonder of Anne ever had ever given a second thought to the fact that Christians had brutally murdered hundreds of millions of humans long before she decided to become a Christian. It was mostly Christians from Spain, England, France, Portugal, and Germany that brutally colonized the world.
The Catholic and Protestant Churches in Germany had wanted the Jews abolished for a long time. Hitler was a dropout Roman Catholic, and he carried out their wishes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler%27s_religious_views The Catholic and Protestant Churches in Germany stood by and said nothing.
In 1946 Niemöller, one of a few religious protesters, wrote a poem that illustrated the role that the Church played in the development of Nazi Germany:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.



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Steve

posted August 1, 2010 at 8:16 am


As it is Anne Rice’s belief, she is entitled to define it however she feels, and your dismissive “weariness” with her distinction is nothing but your own authoritarian attempt to control the terms of her beliefs. She does not have to seek your validation or approval. She does not have to avoid making you “weary.” She sees a distinction. She doesn’t want to be associated with you. It’s her faith, not yours. Deal with it. And if you want fewer people to feel the way she does, work harder to retrieve the idea of “Christianity” from the right-wing bigots who have effectively monopolized it. And, remember, plenty of people might be “weary” of people like you who have no productive job but merely live off the exploitation of other people’s religious questioning.



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John M.

posted August 1, 2010 at 12:14 pm


As a gay Christian pastor, there are many days I want to do the same thing Anne Rice has done.
After the wave of anti-same sex marriage referenda in 2004, where our neighbors, family, even friends voted against our equality, I came pretty close to walking away out of hurt.
The trouble is that it just isn’t that simple. One cannot simply deny one’s membership in the human race because Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot were human beings. It is the same with Xianity. We are called to be One Body, no matter how objectionable our fellow Xian’s behavior is to us. We carry each other’s sins and baggage with us. While we need always to hold each other accountable and confront injustice where we find it, separating ourselves simply isn’t an option.
I agree that Rice surely knew the history of violence in Xianity before her conversion. I also know that it can get to you when nothing seems to get better, only worse. Even so, none of us were promised a rose garden. This is a long haul struggle.
By the way, my church describes itself as open to “people of all faiths and of uncertain faith.” You should come and speak to us sometime!



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Headless Unicorn Guy

posted August 1, 2010 at 12:18 pm


The bestselling novelist, whose conversion to Christianity was a pretty big deal a few year back, had become everyone’s favorite celebrity Christian. She was blurbing N.T. Wright books and sharing Scripture on Facebook. Yay! The queen of darkness is now one of us!
I wonder if “Celebrity Christian Syndrome” might have been a contributing factor. Christians like CELEBRITY Converts — it gives them something to put up on a pedestal and go “SEE? SEE? SEE?” The CELEBRITY gets paraded around through all Christian (TM) media so all can “SEE? SEE? SEE?” The CELEBRITY Convert becomes a THING to Reassure the Faithful and Bring in groupie Converts, and the idea that there might be a person underneath all that CELEBRITY gets lost.
And the Christian CELEBRITY Burnout eventually follows.
“Just like Behind the Music, Except CHRISTIAN (TM)!”
Think that’s what happened to Anne Rice?



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Jason Boyett

posted August 1, 2010 at 12:34 pm


@John M.:
I’d love to come speak to your church anytime! For more info about speaking engagements and stuff, visit http://groundworksmanagement.com and get in touch with Kortland.



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Kemp

posted August 1, 2010 at 6:56 pm


In his last novel, “Ah, But Your Land is Beautiful,” Alan Paton, the South African author more famous for “Cry, the Beloved Country,” writes some of the most poignant advice to Christians I’ve ever read. In the novel, a young Hindu woman is about to marry a Christian man and she plans to covert to Christianity as a result. Her Hindu father says to her: “If you ever become a Christian, you must keep your eyes on Christ so that you will not get a chance to look at Christians.” I wish Anne Rice had read the book.



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Patrick

posted August 1, 2010 at 8:33 pm


Anne Rice claims to believe in Christ, but not Christianity. I find this ironic, because Christ didn’t write anything down. His followers did. Anne Rice is looking to avoid association with Christ’s followers. If his followers wrote down his teachings, then she is following their interpretation of Christ’s teachings, and therefore associating with Christ’s followers (Christians). Her argument is invalid.
However, I see her point and sympathize. I’ve watched people from the very Christian College I graduated from go out and do some of the most embarrassing things in the name of Christ and had people lump me in with them. I’ve done some stupid things in the name of Christ and had other good Christians lumped together with me. Whether you’re a hard-up conservative fundamentalist or a liberal progressive denying Christ’s deity, you’re going to do something stupid that makes what Christ preached and did look worthless and dishonest. This is the great responsibility we carry as Christians. We must recognize this, learn to forgive our stumbling brothers (and selves) and move on, doing the best we can to follow what Christ taught and practiced in his life here on Earth.



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Dave C.

posted August 1, 2010 at 9:29 pm


Anne’s voice could have been a strong counter to the intolerance she complains of.
I hope she reconsiders. =)



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Jane Ann

posted August 2, 2010 at 10:01 am


I do not consider myself a Christian, but my mother is and she is most definitely liberal, peace loving and a die hard democrat. She belives in equality for ALL. I do not want to speak for her, but I could say with some certainty that she would be hurt that Anne Rice would lump all Christians into one small, simple box.
I am an engineer and some engineers are anti-social, “black and white”-only thinkers. That does not describe me or plenty of other engineers I work with. But I am not going to quit just because some of us don’t know how to hold a conversation. Instead, I have tried to show people that we aren’t all “weird” (and I say that in a very loving way :).
I agree with Dave C. that maybe she should take her frustrations and become a voice for those people like my mother and show the world that there are Christians, a very large group in fact, that will simply not tolerate hate in the name of Christ.



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Dave C.

posted August 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm


Also, I don’t think she’ll stop writing her “Christ the Lord” series. At least, I hope she doesn’t. I enjoy reading well-written faith-inspired writing.



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Bridgette

posted August 2, 2010 at 7:54 pm


Jane ann- sign me up with the group of liberal Christains you speak of! I live in Dallas Texas and I’m drowning in a sea of conservative hate and fear based Christians with no hope in sight!



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Jane Ann

posted August 3, 2010 at 12:51 pm


Bridgette,
I certainly understand your frustration – I didn’t mention in my comment that I live in the south (Tennessee). Many Christians in this area can be described the way Ann decsribes them. But I know for a fact that they are out there as I have met many here in Knxoville. It just seems like their voices are drowned out – which is a shame.



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Ian

posted August 5, 2010 at 6:47 am


You mentioned: “Whatever bothers her now was certainly around back in 2005. So what changed?” Maybe fatigue. There is a huge difference between standing on the outside looking in and jumping across that line and being assimilated into the Christian Borg collective. It can be totally confusing sorting through the rubble of identity with the likes of Mother Teresa, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, C.S. Lewis, or N.T. Wright all with the label of Christian.
Also, “Look, if you follow the religious figure Jesus Christ, then you are aligning yourself, whether you like it or not, with his other followers.” Maybe it’s a matter of definition. Can someone live their life around the precepts of Jesus without seeing it as a religious obligation or even see it in purely religious terms? I tend to think that Jesus didn’t come to start a religion but the many stories about his life are mostly rooted in simple, but profound actions towards ordinary people.
I no longer call myself a Christian but I am still interested in justice, mercy, compassion, helping others and a raft of other human expressions of love, care and concern. In the end I came to the conclusion that action far outweighs being part of a group with a particularly label and that kindness can be a daily practice which can exist outside of creeds or doctrines. Perhaps individual decisions like Ann’s are just that, for the individual making them.



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Diana

posted August 6, 2010 at 5:43 pm


I agree with Ian. Christ didn’t come to start a religion. Christ was a Jew. He came to bring a better way of life to people but not necessarily to start new religion. To me, there is a difference between being a follower of Christ and being a Christian. I don’t see that Anne’s decision to not be a Christian while being a follower of Christ as being far-fetched. I particularly see it as being entirely possible when you speak of Christians creating a community. Christ was not, in fact, part of a community. Christ was an outsider, not following the norms of the Jewish faith, tossing Jewish morals, actions, beliefs, and systems of punishment right on its ear. He struggled against inequities, taught love and acceptance and tolerance. He went against the grain. And His disciples might have made Him cringe but they were still His followers for a reason.
Your average Christian does not go against the grain. Many have not learned to think for themselves. Many do not fight for equality. Many are severely lacking in love, acceptance, and tolerance. So in that respect, do you seriously think that it is impossible for someone to be a follower of Christ but not a Christian? Do you not think it’s possible for someone to remove themselves from a community that they disagree with due to the lack of Christ-like intentions from this so-called community? A community is a group of individuals with similar values, beliefs, philosophies. So can Christians actually be a community, with all the widely varying types of Christianity there is?
I don’t see being a Christian and being a follower of Christ as the same thing. I don’t see how it is impossible for a follower of Christ to distance his or herself from a community that they feel disconnected from. And I do think that Anne is intelligent enough to comprehend that not all Christians are the same, that some are followers of Christ. But I think she is so appalled at what the face of Christianity has become in these days, as am I and many others that I know, that she can do nothing else, in good conscience, than to remove herself from this “community”.
Anne deserves not criticism for her decision. It took a tremendous amount of courage to do what she has done. She should stick around and try to give a voice to true followers of Christ? I think that is entirely a matter of opinion. She has no obligations. Honestly? I don’t think Christ would be a Christian. If He were here now, He would do the same thing to Christianity that he did to Judaism. I think He would be very disappointed with so-called Christians these days.



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Ran Valerhon

posted August 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm


Certainly when you follow the teachings of Christ, you are a Christian – just as a follower of Buddha is a Buddhist, but every person can choose whether to enter the special clubs that the churches have become. People can also choose not to be part of those clubs and still worship God and Christ.
People need only wake up and realize they do have this freedom to have a personal relationship with their God. And they are waking up.



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Jim Evans

posted August 6, 2010 at 7:42 pm


I see the point of the article, but I would ask you to look at the verses on the sheep and the goats parable. Jesus clearly states some people will say they were christians, and did things for
Jesus– even miracles– and He will say He never even knew them. So we aren’t ‘all in this together’.



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Charlotte

posted August 7, 2010 at 10:10 am


I completely understand and support Anne’s decision. We definitely should support her not criticize. The writer of this blog suggests she visit another church – you do not know much about us Catholics – once a Catholic, always a Catholic – although we may not be a PRACTICING Catholic. We are not looking for yet another, different “organization” but rather saying that organized religion is far removed from our beliefs and way too much in support of the organization itself. They have to be – the institutions need monetary support. I am at the moment, a practicing Catholic – member of my Pastoral Council and Justice & Peace Commission. The church per se does not support us “radical Christians” – I stay because that is a way a poor person that is suffering economic struggles and can relate to others that are in same boat can have a voice. I do NOT stay because I believe all the hogwash the hierarchy of the church spews out at us and expects us to follow. If I left I would miss the daily Eucharist and irregardless of all the abuse issues, abuse of power, and denial of womens rights I love many things about my faith so like Dorothy Day and many other controversial figures in my church, I stay also because it allows me to have a voice. How long I will be able to stay under the oppressive regime I cannot say but that does not mean if I left I would seek another religious institution. Like Anne, my faith is my faith and I am a Catholic so another organization just would not be the same. I left for over 20 years but did not affiliate with any other “church” – I did study many other spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, Sikhism, etc. I also practice yoga and have for 25 years. I try to bring some of what I have learned to the Catholic tradition as do many others who are out there doing the same thing. Each of us has to find our own way and I also read books about vampires, witches, occult philosophy, etc. etc. Anne did nothing wrong when writing her vampire and witch books, in fact, they were a catalyst for me to look deeper into my own beliefs. There are many ways to follow Christ other than a “Christian Church” regardless of what the institutions would like us to believe.



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Rodger D

posted August 7, 2010 at 9:57 pm


To Lan, Diana
I am overjoyed with the two of you. You have look thru the smoke an mirror an saw Wistom I salute you in the name of Jesus Chirst, God Bless you both,



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Serenity Bohon

posted August 26, 2010 at 10:31 am


Jason, Point Number Four is AMAZING. This is exactly, almost to the word, what I thought when I read Anne’s twitter posts about this. Brilliant argument. I have a dear friend who says this love-Jesus-but-not-a-Christian thing. And I always think, they were first called Christians because they acted like “little Christs”. I want that label. I don’t want to be associated with funeral protesters, etc., but I want associated with Christ and with his people. There’s really nothing I can do about the people who take that name but add crazy things to his message.



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