Anne Rice - author of massively popular vampire fare who recently turned her pen to the matter of religion - recently broke up with Christianity using Facebook, then clarified that it wasn't so much Christ himself as it is the incidentals; in other words, I love ya, Jesus, but your friends have gotta go.
On Wednesday, she wrote on her Facebook fan page:
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.
and, later on,
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.
She then clarified:
My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn't understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.
Much commentary arising, of course, but the bulk of it only from between the time of her initial statements and the follow-on.
Getting to what he genuinely thought was the heart of the matter, one YouTuber asked whether the devil had stolen her heart, but he was the exception, as most people understood Rice's frustration and offered some interesting points of view.
Author Donald Miller:
I’ve certainly had the desire to disassociate from Christianity, mostly for the hyper-critical, hyper-judgmental persona the religion takes upon itself. More and more, it seems like a worldly religion. That said, though, I don’t know that publicly insulting and disassociating from a faith system as huge as Christianity and as diverse as Christianity is helpful.
USA Today said Rice's move was "a thinly veiled blast at the Catholic Church."
An enterprising person somewhere within the United Church of Christ created a Facebook page called "You'd like the UCC, Anne Rice" - and the basic idea was expounded upon by UCC bloggers like Tim Tutt, a pastor from Austin, TX.
[O]ur congregation is full of losers, maybe not as outlandish as [Flannery] O'Connor's characters, but full of people with questions about their faith, full of people who maybe didn't fit in other places, full of folks with troubles, pains and problems.
On the outside, we may look fairly well put together. But on the inside, I get the sense that some of our souls are as mysterious and shadowy as the characters in your books.
A lot of people in the church I serve would understand your leaving Christianity. What's so impressive about them is that they're always inviting others back in. Not so we can fill up the place (church growth is not always our best thing) and not so we can prove by numbers that we're right (we're no mega-church, and our doctrines may be a little squishy). No, I think the reason is that the best losers, the best quitters, the best failures care about other people in their losing, quitting and failing. Seems to me that's what Jesus was about.
What do you make of this? Or do you? Rice's fiction has made her the star of the niche she dominates, with many acolytes, and her ideas gain quick traction.