“Anne Rice Leaves Christianity”

Don’t get too excited. She’s left the church, not the faith. I don’t know what church she belonged to – if she is fed up with her parish or with the denomination or just the quarrelsome nature of Christians everywhere.

Which is too bad, but, well, we know what she means. I’ve dropped out of the “church” at times because I couldn’t stand the infighting, the politics and the factions. (And I’m not even in the American church!) But we don’t get to quit that easily. I’ve always been drawn back, because I need the sacraments; I need the discipline; I need the correction that we only get in pushing against each other and hearing each other’s words. Just dropping out doesn’t help. When we drop out and think we will spend our Sundays with the Bible and a prayer, we start to drift off into our own little strange heresies, and pretty soon, we quit our practices completely or they are so corrupted that they can hardly be called Christian.

(Oh, so many times as priest when I asked people to please come back to church, they gave me the same old song about God in nature, and sitting outside with a cup of coffee on Sunday morning was enough church for them, God is everywhere, they can say a little prayer for themselves. Inwardly, I said to myself, yeah, that’s pretty lazy, wish I could make the same excuse myself. And that was very judgemental of me, but honestly, it was like they all had the same script. Then some of them would call me when they had a really bad time – major illness, a death in the family, a big loss – and then the pines and the birds weren’t much comfort. They needed help finding their way back to Jesus Christ. So it was a really good thing that I’d kept the “lazy” thought to myself and just smiled and thanked them for their time, because when they needed Christ, I hadn’t thrown up a brick wall in their path.)

So, Anne, watch yourself out there. You were not only a hardcore, bitter atheist, you made fun of Christians. Some of the stunts you pulled were pretty wild. All is forgiven, but just a warning – you are headed back to Bad Company. It’s like an alcoholic who has been dry for years, and drops into the old neighborhood bar just to say hello to some friends – pretty soon, both hands are on the bottle.

I hope your minister, priest or bishop drops by for a chat. When I took leave of absence from the church, CNN did not care and no one wrote it up on a celebrity blog. As a Christian, you just handed nonbelievers and Christ-haters some big ammo. Is that what you meant to do? And if this is a dramatic plea for the church to iron out its differences and start to play nice – it won’t work. Out there, on CNN, you are famous. In the church, you a member of the body of Christ. As are we all.

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12 thoughts on ““Anne Rice Leaves Christianity”

  1. Time and again we are told to stay far away from temptations, avoid certain people, etc. It is for a very good reason but we so often don’t listen. It is so easy to slip back into bad habits and before you know it, you have undone all you worked so hard for. When I left my old, sinful life I knew I had to do something drastic. So I left behind all my old friends and even moved 200 miles away for a fresh start. It was hard and scary leaving my familiar small hometown. But God rewarded my efforts with a wonderful husband and started me on the road to a great new life! My point is, we must do whatever we need to get right with God and then we must work hard to stay there and that means finding and sticking with a good church. There will be and always are bumps along the way, we are human, but if we are being spiritually fed and the teachings are sound, we need to stick it out.

    • So well said! I spent some time sojourning, and while I did not regret the learning experience, I lost some important ties with my own faith community that had supported me for many years. It takes even more time to mend those broken relationships.

  2. I dunno, this seems kind of harsh. What Anne Rice does concerns Anne Rice I think. She is just a seeker like the rest of us and what she does has to have bearing on her life and we should not put the responsibility of the entire Christendom on her shoulders I think. Also, I think it is perfectly possible to worship outside of Church. I do not think nature is a cheap congregation or that it is inevitable that if you move away from church your spiritual health will fail – no more than attending church makes anyone a good Christian. I am a Quaker and I attend meeting for a lot of reasons, but I am not only Quaker at Meeting for Worship. There is an entire 6 days and 23 hours outside of Meeting for worship after all.

    • It’s not the attendence at Meeting or service that makes one a good Christian, certainly. I did use her very public blow-up as a lead-in for a reminder that we grow in Christ as part of the body of Christ – we can’t do it all alone. And if thee is not worshipping God (pray without ceasing!) outside worship, thee is a weak Christian indeed, and possibly not worthy of the name “Christian”! I would say Ms. Rice is a “young” Christian, too, who needs the rest of the body to support her. I am just using her case (which she took public) as a springboard to emphasize that we are planted in a garden, not a desert.

  3. Who is Ann Rice and why should I care what one person does so much? It’s amazing how much overblown the media makes celebrities. Just look at how much fuss is being made over President Clinton’s daughter’s wedding. How will these events personally effect me?

    As for those who leave church finding their own way, the Bible warns against such things In Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Also Proverbs 3:7, 26:5, 26:12, 26:16, and Isaiah 5:21

    • My first reaction was a lot like yours – why should I care what some celebrity does? I would hate to think, though, that because of that celebrity someone who was new in faith would begin to wonder if their own faith decision is right. Maybe she should have kept her decision to herself, since it is a very personal decision!

  4. She was Roman Catholic. Given their past and present behavior which predicts the future I’d break up with them too, but it is short-sighted at best to neglect to see that there are other traditions (perhaps… Episcopalian?) who are not what she accuses the church universal of being (anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-contraception, etc.). I’m not sure what her goal is with her statements, but it’s not going to result in institutional change in her tradition and surely it gives non-Christians some serious ammunition.

    • You are so right about that! Just turning our back and walking out because something isn’t as we like it to be (although I would have a hard time being reconciled to the RC right now) isn’t going to change anything except one’s own spiritual growth, which will suffer. Now, I speak from experience!

  5. Grrr. Computer sent reply before i was finished. So here’s part 2 🙂

    People shouldn’t leave a church unless they feel it is trending toward apostasy, unscriptural teaching, or major infighting. Then they should try to find another church rather than simply abandoning church attendance. Then it should be a private matter between you and the individual church. Definitely not blabbed on national news. This just sows more seeds of discontent.

    • I so agree (now). I say hang on as long as the church is trying to follow Christ. If I thought she had gone public for a good reason I would have been more comfortable with her publicity. But it seemed that she had nothing new to say. All of this was known when she joined the Church; corruption, sexual sin, struggles with gender issues – was she expecting that her presence was going to change anything?

  6. Rice is (was, I guess) Catholic like myself. Her “Christ the Lord” novels are beautiful, in my opinion. The afterword of the first novel briefly chronicles her departure from and return to the Catholic Church of her girlhood. On a (much) more selfish level, I hope this does not mean she will not be publishing the third and final book in her “Christ the Lord” series. As a Catholic and a history buff, I found them to be very enjoyable and inspiring. I’ve done a quick internet search of Rice’s reasons for leaving, and although I do not agree with them, I understand. I flatly disagree with some reasons, and believe that she misunderstood and/or didn’t seek out the Church’s actual position on others, but the recent Church scandals I can understand her reasoning about. I’m weathering the storm, but many people feel that they are unable to do so.

    • I haven’t read her recent work. I just rarely read fiction. I didn’tcare much for her early books at all. (That’s me; I haven’t liked much fiction written since 1889!) I hope that her very public denouncement of the Church will not keep her from goign back when it is time. It reminds me of when I was young and rather dramatically told me father I never wanted to speak to him again. Within days, of course, I did – and he graciously has never brought up that I said it.

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