Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Can Anne Rice Bail on Christianity and Keep Jesus?

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Legendary author Anne Rice is quitting Christianity.

The famous author of “Interview with a Vampire” published a book in 2008 about her conversion to Christ titled “Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession.”  But last week she went public again and said that she refuses to be “anti-gay,” “anti-feminist,” “anti-science” and “anti-Democrat” and is feeling compelled to part ways with the organized version of Christ followers.

Rice blogged on Wednesday, “For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian … 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.”

She then added another supplementary post on Thursday amplifying her decision:

“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,” Rice said. “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.”

What do you think? Is it possible to follow Jesus and yet distance ourselves from his followers? Allegiance to Jesus is a “team sport.” But how can we honor our personal convictions when those on our team seem to be headed in different directions.

Personally, I don’t have all the same issues with Christians that offend Rice. But I admit to other objections. Sometimes the family embarrasses me with her meaningless traditions acceptance of shoddiness. and Sometimes I’m ashamed to be associated with the Church. But it’s family… My response isn’t Rice’s response. I’m committed to Jesus and yet may not want to associate myself with “Christianity.” Still, I won’t leave my association with other followers of Jesus. Painful as it is, I’m in the family.

What do you think?

  • Sad, but not surprised

    Anne Rice, sadly, reminds me of a drug addict. Drug addicts often get clean, many times through religion, but succumb to their demons when they hang out with their longstanding druggie friends. Old habits die hard. If you want to take advantage of a change in your life for the better, you HAVE to abandon your old life (you know, the lost and despairing one). It seems harsh, but friends can be the fastest ticket back to any hell you once escaped.

  • kenneth

    Is it possible to follow Jesus and yet distance ourselves from his followers?
    More than possible. It’s necessary. Being part of the Catholic Church or taking your order from some pastor is handing your will and worship over not to God, but to some other talking ape who has agendas at play which have nothing to do with God.

  • Rob the Rev

    The true teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the church are not one and the same. The church corrupted the teachings of the man from Galilee during the first century.
    One can be spiritual and not religious and one does not need a religious institution to practice a spiritual Christianity.
    Read this book if you can get beyond your comfort zone, fundis.
    If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus by Philip Gulley

  • Frank

    “Sad, but not surprised” calls Anne a (figurative) drug addict. I’d call “Sad” a pimp, someone who tarts up his hatred as faith and whores it the public eye. No one is buying.
    I know little about Anne Rice, other than what I’ve read in a couple of newspaper articles and heard on the radio. I do know that she lost her daughter to leukemia at six and her husband to another cancer within the past decade.
    All she has left of her husband is a gay son named Christopher, and he’s her only remaining child. Given that the leader of her church Benedict XVI was most successful promoter of hatred against gays since Leviticus was written, I understand her frustration with religion.
    Unlike today’s modern Abraham Pedro Jones (,0,1999838.story ), a man who slew a male toddler for acting like a girl, Anne was unwilling to sacrifice a child, her only remaining child, for religion.
    Anyone who ridicules the gravity of her decision deserves to be spayed or neutered with garden implements.

  • Jeff

    Could this be a combination of semantics and publicity?
    If you have read Mere Christianity by CS Lewis, his explanation of how the word Christian has become ambiguous renders her statement the same.
    I prefer ‘Jesus Follower’ myself.
    I have witnessed followers of Jesus who do not use the word “Christian” because to them it suggests ethnicity. (To ask them to become Christian is taken as asking them to become white).
    To me the real question is can someone claim to have given up on Christianity but still be following Christ and as a result be part of the church and as a result be part of Christ’s bride? And since the obvious answer is “What do you mean by ‘Christianity’?” I think it is a matter of semantics and convenient self publicity.
    But who am I to argue.

  • nnmns

    Speaking as an outsider she’s going from believing in a myth with no foundation and lending her support to one of the world’s most negative major powers (the RCC), to just believing in a myth with no foundation.
    It’s a great step forward and hopefully she can someday make the obvious next step.

  • Margaret Luera

    You have to follow your heart which the Lord leads you to. There is a lot of drama in some church’s. That is not God wants. He just wants us to listen to him and do his will, whatever that may be. Reading his words and listening to the Holy Spirit is all that the Lord expects of you. God puts people in your path, sometimes for a season. Sometimes for a life time. Just seek his Wisdom to know what or where he want for you to do next on your pathway of Life. God Bless You and I will Pray for You. Seek him in everything you do. You will know without a doubt what he wants from you. Sincerely Margaret Luera

  • Phyllis

    Faith in Christ alone . . . absolutely she can do this AND make it work! I think perhaps she may be surprised that there are many like-minded Christians were she to search the protestant tradition, but perhaps she has done this as well. I was raised protestant and converted to Catholicism only recently, but my reasons were not, at heart, very different from hers, I was following the leading of the Holy Spirit and being obedient. Who can say that she is not doing the same thing? Who is to say that her public statement may not someway make a difference in our “disputatious” vine – an assessment I heartily agree with. Who is to say? CHRIST ALONE. My most priviledged times with Him are at the end of my couch alone with Him in prayer. Yes, a “church family” is a crucial part of growing in faith. I hope she tries again outside the Catholic Church. But Christ alone is the heart’s cry of us all . . . the only well-spring of hope for the future on earth and after life.

  • Gwyddion9

    Being Wiccan, I have no horse in this race. However, I do want to bring up the point that to be Christian means to be Christ-like. One can follow Christ without being Christian, imo. Christianity is the rules, regulations, laws, that one must believe or follow to be a Christian in the “church” meaning of the word but again according to definition, to be a Christian is to be Christ-like, which in no way says one must join an institution to be Christian.

  • Nathan

    As a progressive evangelical, I think what Anne Rice was saying was entirely political. She had obviously been upset by many of the practices of the religious right, and rightfully so. Her disappointment shows how poorly Christians have handled entwining their beliefs with their politics. Was she renouncing Christ? I think not. I think she was just renouncing the hate that has become associated with Christian politics.

  • kurt aschermann

    Of course you can follow Jesus without following the church…does anyone really believe that the Roman Catholic church is now the authoritative voice of christianity it once was? Of course not. And does anyone believe you get salvation from the guy with the big nose and his wife with the pink hair? of course not.
    the church has been destroying Jesus since the day he was born…
    True followers FOLLOW him and don’t worry about whether some building exists or some person in a clerical collar is there.
    We should start following him instead of worshiping him in meaningless ways. then the true church will emerge.

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