I admit I’ve never been a fan of Anne Rice. I enjoyed Belinda but every other of book of hers I’ve tried to read hasn’t done anything for me. When I’d heard that she had embraced Christianity and was going to write novels about Jesus, I cringed. At least it’s not Stephenie Meyer, right? (At least not yet.)
But I just read on Huffington Post that Anne Rice has “quit being a Christian.”
What she actually said was this:
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.
As I said below, 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.
So Anne has just defined Christian as quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-artificial birth control, anti-Democrat, anti-secular humanism, anti-science and anti-life.
Ignoring two-thousand years of often contentious and contradictory struggle with understanding and experiencing the divine in the context of a particular Palestinian Jew’s life and teachings, she’s decided that Christianity is the domain of the loudest, most bigoted, least Christlike group of people using the name. In her view Metropolitan Community Churches, Sojourners, Jesus Radicals, Brian McLaren, Shane Claiborne, Jay Bakker, Phyllis Tickle, and likely St. Francis himself aren’t Christian. That’d be a pretty big surprise to some of those people.
Anne says elsewhere on her Facebook page, “My faith in Christ is central to my life… Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.”
And that’s great, Anne. Valuing Christ over any particular cultural expression of valuing Christ is a long running part of following Christ. But that puts you right at the center, at the very core of Christianity. That makes you like countless other devotees of Christ. That puts you in the company of George Fox and Martin Luther. It makes you a compatriot of house churches across the world and a cohort of the Emerging Church conversation. These things don’t make you not a Christian. They make you a quintessential Christian.