Sunday, August 22, 2010

Follow-up on Anne Rice

Last week, I wrote about Anne Rice's decision to quit Christianity. In it, I wrote that the proper Christian response was not to attack her (as most have online), but rather to be saddened that a public convert, a sister in Christ, would be moved to leave organized churches.

Statements like that are always dangerous, since you don't know exactly what a person really believes. But after reading this interview from Christianity Today, I more than ever stand behind what I said.

Do I agree with everything Rice says in here? No...some of it not by a long shot. But what is very clear to me is that Ms Rice is a sincere and devoted believer in Christ. She is our sister, and she will be heaven with us one day. And right now, she's hurting about the state of our faith. So let's not shoot the wounded, eh?

A few highlights, for those who are interested, about her thoughts on a variety of areas. There's some good stuff in here.:

On the Gospel and Scripture
The most important thing Christ demands of all of us is to love our enemies as much as our neighbors. That is the radical core of his teaching. If we do that, we can transform our lives.

Christ reaches out to us individually. He's saying "Come follow me; I am the way, the truth, and the life." These are beautiful things. I read Scripture every day, I study it every day, I'm mindful of it every day. I don't claim to have the right interpretation of every passage, but I wrestle with it, and that's what I think he wants us to do.


On upcoming novels
I'm finishing this series called the Songs of the Seraphim. After that, I have another big book in mind about immortals who have lived on the planet since the time of Atlantis. I would like to go back to the Christ the Lord books if possible, but there are real theological difficulties with going back to that series. The first two books had to do with the childhood and private life of Jesus, but it's very difficult to deal with his public life without getting into theological hot water with a lot of people. Inevitably the book will reflect my theological decisions, and I'm not sure I can do it. I don't want to get into the fights.


On vampire books
I will never return to that. Those were books I wrote when I was an atheist and they reflected my feelings of being lost in a world without God, and I'm not that person now. I'm proud of the books I did. I love those characters, but that's over for me since 2002. I'm much more interested in different characters who are trying to do positive and constructive things. I don't want to write about people who kill and drink blood to survive.


On theologians
I read theology and biblical scholarship all the time. I love the biblical scholarship of D.A. Carson. I very much love Craig S. Keener. His books on Matthew and John are right here on my desk all the time. I go to Craig Keener for answers because his commentary on Scripture is so thorough. I still read N.T. Wright. I love the Catholic theologian Karl Rahner. I love his writing on Jesus Christ. It's very beautiful to me, and I study a little bit of it every day. Of course, I love Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.


On returning to church in the future
There may be a time in the future when I'll feel the necessity to join a [church] community. Keep in mind that I am 68 years old. I live in a Christian household. My two assistants, members of my family, are believers, so I'm not isolated at all. I am with people for whom Christ is the center of their life. I also have a community online. Since I made the decision, it's become very clear to me that there are thousands of believers who have walked away from organized religion. The body of Christ is much bigger than any one organized church. The decision to walk away from the church is just as valid as shopping for a denomination that you feel more comfortable with.

...

If we put God and Christ at the center of our lives, we have to go where that leads us. If that leads us from an organization or a group, we have to go. I think many of the arguments that people in churches raise are circular and dishonest when they attack a conscientious person who leaves the group. I don't expect people to agree with me, but I hope they respect my moral integrity.

I affirm my faith in Christ every time I get the chance. It's what's transformed my life. I've affirmed it over and over again. I get occasional e-mails from people who say, "How can you turn away from God?" but they just haven't Googled.

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