Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Monday, August 2, 2010

On Anne Rice and Christianity

The blog-o-sphere seems to be lit up lately with the news that author Anne Rice has left Christianity. The news though isn't all bad as she declares an unswerving faith in Jesus Christ...its just some of his followers that have her a little befuddled.

No worries Anne...we've all been there!

I for one was not surprised when the famed author of The Vampire Chronicles converted (back) to the Christian faith. I have been a minor fan for years and when I finished reading Memnoch: The Devil back in 1995 I left a note on Anne's website stating that as a Christian pastor, I may not always agree with some of her theological points, I nevertheless appreciated her story and the Christian angle she brought. In essence, I saw the heart of someone seeking God and was not the least bit surprised when she found Him. ( Anne kindly responded to my post thanking me for the appreciation I had for the story's theological aspects)

However this week on Facebook she announced: "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."

At first I was disappointed but then I thought, "Hey, that has been me at different points of my Christian walk."

When I first was out of high school I hardly entered a church for 3 years mainly because I was so disillusioned with the people who were there. Not once during that time would I think of denying Christ...but some of his followers? That was a different story.

But now I see things differently...

Perhaps some of the change comes from living outside of America where, it now seems, so much of Christianity is painfully fused with politics. Living in Asia I get to see Christians in a different light.

I see Christians feeding the poor and clothing the homeless.

I see Christians running an orphanage that takes in the special needs children that are often left abandoned on their doorstep.

I see Christians volunteering to help those living with AIDS.

I see Christians running youth programs and teaching English as a Second Language.

I see Christians opening safe homes and promoting education initiatives to stop the child sex trafficking running rampant in Asia and Africa

I see all of this and so much more being done by Christians in Christ's name and for that reason I can safely say, "Don't worry Anne...keep the's going to be OK."


Andrew said...
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NW Ohio Skeptic said...

Will you be just as happy if her journey ultimately takes her away from Christianity? She is where many of us were at one point. I would not be at all sure she stays a Christian.

Steve H. said...


All due respect, I've read a lot of her writings, and a lot of yours, and I wouldn't put you in the same place. I won't try to speak for her but I gather Ms. Rice LOVES Jesus. It ooozes out of her, its part of her DNA. I don't see disconnecting from that as being part of her journey.

NW Ohio Skeptic said...


At one time I was AT the same place as she is. Been there.

I have read all of her non-Vampire books.

I too, at one time LOVED Jesus. You seem to suggest one can not fall out of love with Jesus.

Won't argue this with you. Time will tell where she ends up. I am happy for her wherever she ends up. I doubt you can say the same........if she ends up leaving Christianity altogether. (which I am not sure how she can maintain a credible "I am a Christian" and not be a part of the visible Church)


Steve H. said...


In my humble opinion, I don't think you are in the same place. Your life was vested in a religious system. Your finances, your culture, your social group radiated from that system. Jesus was a part of that system and when you rejected it, Jesus went out the door with it. Now, with the same zealousness you probably used to win people to Christianity, you warn people of it.

I don't see Anne ever being so vested in that system as instead being drawn to a single figure...Jesus.

I won't be arrogant to assume what you truly felt toward Christ, that's between you and Him...but from my bleacher seats I just see Anne being in a different place.

If she renounced Christ I would be truly surprised...

NW Ohio Skeptic said...

All I can say Steve is Wow. I will leave it at that.


Steve H. said...

Understand Bruce, I'm not making a judgement on better or worse. I'm certainly not saying she's right and you're wrong. I agree she shares some of your issues with organized Christian faith and that being the case then I am in the same spot as both of you.

But, you have rejected Jesus as God and, hearing her heart on the matter, I would be surprised if she made that same choice.

The question I ask is, would you be personally happy if she did?

NW Ohio Skeptic said...

Steve, you are making a judgment about me. Let's dispense with the silly notion that you are not judging. And it's OK. We ALL judge.

Would I be glad if Anne Rice deconverted? Sure. In fact I am not sure she hasn't already. It is fair to argue that she is making up her own version of that has no historical or theological validity.

That said........I don't care one way or the other. If she is happy (and so far what I see is that she is angry) then I am happy for her.

You need to understand something about me Steve. If Christians keep their religion out of the government, stop trying to turn our country into a theocracy with the Bible as the law,stop trying to force everyone to live by their Bible morality,quit expecting preferential treatment in a secular society, and stop trying to evangelize those who don't want to be evangelized you will never hear another word out of me.

Once Christians take their religion home where it belongs then I am quite happy for them. But a long as they do the things I mentioned then I am going to fight.

I want a nation where everyone is free to be whatever they want to be, and that includes being nothing.

Look at the response to Rice. It tells me all I need to know about Christianity. (and I do not make the distinction you do between Christianity and organized Christianity)


Steve H. said...


The only judgement I make is from your statement "she is where many of us were at one point." and "at one time, I was at the same place as she."

The "judgement" I make is only that I think you err when you say you come from the same place.

Ms. Rice recently Facebooked me that she read my blog and "appreciated my graciousness and generosity".

Unfortunantly, I happened upon your Facebook updates, which, if they were directed at me (and I hold some hope that they are not) were less than gracious.

If it is the case, I'm sorry our spirited debate descended into an area that is personal rather then lively.


NW Ohio Skeptic said...

You and I have long since stopped having spirited debates. You think you have me figured out and no matter what I might say or do, nothing is going to change that. I write a public blog and people are entitled to their opinions, even those that have little or any basis in reality.

You will forgive me for being less than gracious when people continue to insist they "know" who I am, what I am, even more so than I myself. After the nth time........grace has run out.But then I never loved Jesus so what do your expect?

Note what I said. She is where some us were AT one point. I repeated this to you. AT one point I was where Rice is. (the only difference is that she was a Catholic and I was an Evangelical)
I think I know where I was and where I am, Steve. It is this idea that suggests others know me better than myself that irritates me.

Now, I am currently at a different place than Rice NOW. It remains to be seen where she will end up.

How do you square Rice's pronouncements with the Bible you say you believe? Where do we see in the Bible or history a Christianity that "loves" Jesus but has no connection with the Church (the visible witness of Christianity)?

I will leave off with this comment. I am not going to argue with you.


Bob said...

Hey Steve . . . . read this post a few days ago. My wife had told me about Anne Rice so this was not a surprise to me. Ms. Rice truly appears to be in love with Jesus. I think if she looks a little harder she'll be able to find brethren more to her liking. It's sad that she had not yet found that and her concerns are, no doubt, well founded. Reminds me of a book titled "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People."

Steve H. said...

Yeah Bob, I think she might just need to step away for a while and catch a breath. I'm sure given her high profile she becomes a lightning rod for a lot of church politics. I may not agree with all of her theological positions, but hey, I'm sure the thief on the cross couldn't pass a theology test as well. Thank God for the grace of Christ!

Steve H. said...

Yeah Bob, I think she might just need to step away for a while and catch a breath. I'm sure given her high profile she becomes a lightning rod for a lot of church politics. I may not agree with all of her theological positions, but hey, I'm sure the thief on the cross couldn't pass a theology test as well. Thank God for the grace of Christ!

Bob said...

Steve, FYI . . . saw an interview with Anne Rice on CNN tonight. Don't know the name of the CNN guy. Anyway, I do feel for her but think maybe she expects too much of Christians??????? I just couldn't do without the support of my church.

Steve H. said...

Bob, one of the things that has helped me in the way I view church is to attempt to see it through the eyes of God. Sometimes another child does something that really annoys me, or which I think their parent should discipline them more for...and then my son does something, and my grace is there for him much more because...well...he's my son. I think when I stopped looking at the church like it was someone else's kid, and saw it was my own, I was a little more forgiving.

That doesn't mean I condone all the behaviour, or that I don't think some corrections need to be made, its just that I am much more comfortable that God has it in control, and it will all be right as rain in the end

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