Christian blogging law requires that you write a post about what world famous author Anne Rice recently said about Christianity.
I wasn’t going to, but Cornelius, the white dove who brings me official Christian blogging rules, made it pretty clear I had little choice.
So what did Anne Rice, who wrote about vampires long before it was all twilighty and cool, say? Here is what she posted on Facebook:
“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.
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.”
Yowsa! I’m not sure she could have received more heat if she had said, “My next book is going to be about Harry Potter using a Golden Compass to figure out the DaVinci Code.” (Anyone else notice that she used 7 “anti” statements, the most Christiany number of all. Coincidence?)
But nonetheless, in addition to the heat, I heard these 3 reactions:
1. Wait, what? Anne Rice is a Christian?
I would say surprise was probably the biggest reaction I heard. Finding out Anne Rice considered herself a Christian was a shock to a lot of people. It reminded me of a satirical headline I once read on the Onion that said, “Listerine invents, cures gingivitis.” I felt like news headlines about this story should have read, “Anne Rice is a Christian, now not a Christian.” A lot of people who read the Rice comments felt like they were being punked by Mr. Demi Moore. (And how powerful is Ashton that a show cancelled five years ago is still in our cultural vernacular? No one ever says, “Aww man, I got cop rocked.”)
2. Christian Democrats continue to get no love.
If a famous Christian came out in a major way on a site more popular than Google and said, “If you are a Christian, you have to be a Republican,” folks would get fired up. So why weren’t more people upset that Anne Rice said, “I refuse to be Anti-Democrat?” For certain, one need only look to the comments on last week’s SCL post that discussed politics to see what she’s talking about, but to say you have to renounce Christianity to be a Democrat seems as extreme of a stance as the girls who said they couldn’t date me in college because they were dating God. All I wanted was a blooming onion from The Outback, I’m not sure we needed Yahweh involved in that.
3. Christian is just a label.
Donald Miller wrote a great piece that touched on this point. And it’s true, Christian is a label referenced in the Bible, but not by Christ. It’s just a label. But so is “no longer a Christian.” So is “retired Christian” or “outsider.” They might be different than “Christian” and carry less of the stigma from some of the whackness of Christianity in the past, but anytime humans are involved, particularly broken humans, some degree of nonsense is bound to occur.
I ultimately thought that Anne opened up some great dialog on her facebook page and a good conversation ensued. I even read her first Jesus book and really liked it. The thing that stung the most in her post though was the statement that she refused to be “anti-life.” Maybe that was meant to say, “anti-war,” although none of her other statements were vague. She specified “artificial birth control,” so I can’t imagine “life” was supposed to translate into “war.” But what’s tough about that isn’t Anne Rice specifically, it’s that people think that.
The second half of John 10:10 finds Christ saying, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” As Christians, as followers of Christ, as outsiders committed to Christ, we are called to have life. Big life. And regardless of what you think about labels, I hate to think that our faith has become associated with the antithesis of life.
What do you think?
Have you ever had mixed emotions about the label “Christian?”