The media headlines read Anne Rice Leaving Christianity but read closer my friends. On her Facebook page (here), she writes: “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.”
She continues: “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.”
Rice clarifies: “I remain committed to Christ as always…” Yet sadly, she says: “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 Backfire series presented the danger of isolating “Christianity” to side or ancillary issues. We end up pushing people away from Jesus; or at least His church. There is no easy solution to her frustrations, but some national evangelical leader ought to reach out and invite this “outsider” home to the church. If we listen to the wisdom in her words, we might become followers of Jesus worth following – and belonging to. Amen.
FOOTNOTE: When I was in the LGBT+ community, Anne Rice was famous for her homoerotic vampires. Her deliverance into the arms of Jesus is an amazing story. She has been highly criticized for her Christian books because she brings Jesus back down to earth. Yet in her own words (here), she says: “My objective is simple: It’s to write books about our Lord living on Earth that make him real to people who don’t believe in him; or people who have never really tried to believe in him. I’ve made vampires believable to grown women. Now, if I can do that, I can make our Lord Jesus Christ believable to people who’ve never believed in him. I hope and pray.” She has a witness into spaces that Christians simply cannot reach, yet many church leaders squashed her for being a bit outside the box. That, my friends, is too bad.