Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Author's Life: Anne Rice Quits "Being a Christian" (XIX)

Too late to comment on author Anne Rice's recent announcement about ix-naying "being a Christian"? Even if it is, I cannot resist.

This tempest-tossed teacup event happened on Facebook while I was offline this past weekend. When I finally logged on, my emailbox was filled with notes from friends and posts delivered via RSS feeds. Today's Twitter stream has, bobbing through it, links to commentaries about Rice's declaration.

My favorite has been written by Evangelical Lutheran Church of America pastor Joelle Colville-Hanson whose trenchant observations about Christian community are well worth reading and re-reading. I especially love the Bonhoeffer quote, which I'm considering translating into gender-neutral language and rendering in needlepoint.

In the fight for primacy among multiple identities (mine) ─ sociologist, author, editor, blogger, 1st century Jew, abbess, Roman Catholic Christian, gadfly ─ editor is winning. As such, I'd like to suggest that in her haste to boost clicks (or book sales?), Anne Rice screwed up her categories.

Had I been her editor, I would've kicked the text back to Anne with this note, "Check your terminology. Given the narrative, I believe you wish to announce you're quitting the 'Roman Catholic church' rather than quitting 'being a Christian.' May I have your famous collection of crucifixes if you're finished with them?"

And it looks like I'm not the only one to zoom in on that denominational detail.

Our enterprising sisters and brothers in the Episcopal Church, more specifically the wags at Episcopal Cafe, have set up a page, "The Episcopal Church Welcomes Anne Rice" on Facebook. Love this great market-share-grabbing description: "We broke up with the Catholic Church, too--in 1536 or so. In fact, many Episcopalians are former Catholics."

Meanwhile, I'm amusing myself by humming this hymn:


  1. Have I told you lately that I love you?

    There was quite the dustup on my FB page - someone came back and deleted their comments and then there was a lot of other, how do I say this... mishagos between others and me.

    So many of my, and I say this with love, more liberal friends (many of them TEC)were all "hey I'm ex-Christian too." I referred to Laurie Brink, OP and her remarks (and those of others) and a post-Christian era, which also may be more accurate. We can't loathe ourselves out of who we are loved into being if you ask me.

    I like what you say. But then again, I almost always do!

  2. Thanks, Fran, and back atcha! Truly it's a miracle that all of us don't end up needing gall bladder surgery. Observing church and faith antics can be that toxic.

  3. Frankly, I'm not sure many of us care if Anne Rice goes quietly into the night and prays to Christ to find herself. This public declaration is egotistic and truly ALL about Anne, nothing to do with Christ. Maybe she'll sell more Vampire books. Sidebar: How silly for her to go on CNN with (of all people) Joy Behar for an interview. The former Catholic now agnostic English teacher, turned comedian turned reporter. I don't know who to take less seriously.

  4. Jules: Agree -- especially about the book flogging tactic. Best possible gloss: her antics get people to clarify the difference between church (institutionalized religion) and faith.


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