More thoughts on Anne Rice

Thanks for the good discussion on the weekend’s post about Anne Rice rejecting Christianity, while still saying that she believes in Christ. The comments include more quotations from her about what she means by that, as well as thought-provoking insights from all sides. I was heartened that she has apparently agreed to consider Rod Rosenbladt’s presentation “The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church” [see the sidebar on this blog for New Reformation Press].

I definitely think she is broken by the Church, in this sense. But in another sense I’m realizing that the Church, in the sense of actual churches, are not the ones defining Christianity in people’s minds. Instead, the phenomenon of the “parachurch”–all of the ministries and organizations and activities outside of local congregations–has taken on that role.

Anne Rice is a Roman Catholic. To take up her specific reasons for repudiating Christianity, Catholics are a major part of the base of the Democratic party, so they are hardly anti-Democrat. Catholics are pro-science to the point of accepting evolution. They are pro-life now to the point of pacifism. Yes, the Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is a moral “disorder,” but many priests are gay. Feminism is rampant in many women’s religious orders. Yes, the Church rejects artificial birth control, but hardly any Catholics in the USA at least follow that.

The stances she is rejecting characterize conservative Protestants, but she has never been one of those. And actual conservative Protestant churches don’t always obsess about these issues on Sunday mornings. But their ecumenical cultural and political activism the rest of the week does. Yet THAT is what defines Christianity today.

The other irony is that she could find plenty of mainline liberal denominations that agree with her stances completely! The ELCA, for example. And yet she never even considers those as an alternative. That shows her integrity, recognizing that liberal Christianity has nothing to offer even to a liberal! (Why do you think that is?)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Orianna Laun

    The “parachurch” phenomenon has redefined Christianity to “whatever you believe about Jesus is fine (more or less).” They’ve said that you aren’t a Christian by sitting in church any more than you are a car by sitting in a garage, therefore that gets turned around to you don’t need to go to church or belong to a church or hold any doctrine but your own to be sincere. It’s like the cartoon where the man says to the other man, “Yeah, I believe in food, but I don’t go to restaurants–too many hypocrites.” So if you’ve been burned by hypocrisy, don’t like the teaching, or didn’t like the voters’ meeting last night; give up church. You can still find Jesus. It worked so well for Joseph Smith.

  • Orianna Laun

    The “parachurch” phenomenon has redefined Christianity to “whatever you believe about Jesus is fine (more or less).” They’ve said that you aren’t a Christian by sitting in church any more than you are a car by sitting in a garage, therefore that gets turned around to you don’t need to go to church or belong to a church or hold any doctrine but your own to be sincere. It’s like the cartoon where the man says to the other man, “Yeah, I believe in food, but I don’t go to restaurants–too many hypocrites.” So if you’ve been burned by hypocrisy, don’t like the teaching, or didn’t like the voters’ meeting last night; give up church. You can still find Jesus. It worked so well for Joseph Smith.

  • Orianna Laun

    Okay, sorry. That last sentence might have been too snarky. I apologize.

  • Orianna Laun

    Okay, sorry. That last sentence might have been too snarky. I apologize.

  • CRB

    Is not the main purpose of “going to church” one’s need? IF a
    person who claims to be a Christian realizes their sinful
    condition (Luther: “we sin much every day”) then one gets up
    from bed on Sunday morning not to carry out obedience to
    the 3rd commandment, but out of great need to hear of God’s
    forgiveness in Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit
    will come to know Christ and to love him who has freed us
    from the condemnation of the law.

  • CRB

    Is not the main purpose of “going to church” one’s need? IF a
    person who claims to be a Christian realizes their sinful
    condition (Luther: “we sin much every day”) then one gets up
    from bed on Sunday morning not to carry out obedience to
    the 3rd commandment, but out of great need to hear of God’s
    forgiveness in Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit
    will come to know Christ and to love him who has freed us
    from the condemnation of the law.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Perhaps Orianna, but then I thought it was at least insightful snarkiness.
    It is hard for me to see how one is a Christian without going to church, or being a member of a church. Seems to me that you almost have to be a member of a church in order to be a member of The Church. And though there are lots of “bad” churches out there, there are also good ones that do what is outlined for them to do in the Bible, ie preach God’s word, and administer the sacraments. And this is by Christ’s design that they do this.
    But then as a pastor you find people who really don’t want to take responsibility for themselves and it is just easier to make the church out to be the bad guy.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Perhaps Orianna, but then I thought it was at least insightful snarkiness.
    It is hard for me to see how one is a Christian without going to church, or being a member of a church. Seems to me that you almost have to be a member of a church in order to be a member of The Church. And though there are lots of “bad” churches out there, there are also good ones that do what is outlined for them to do in the Bible, ie preach God’s word, and administer the sacraments. And this is by Christ’s design that they do this.
    But then as a pastor you find people who really don’t want to take responsibility for themselves and it is just easier to make the church out to be the bad guy.

  • DonS

    This post, and Orianna’s comment @ 1 are insightful as to this issue. Many of the previous denominational doctrinal lines have been blurred by the rise of so many various parachurch ministries, whether they be missions organizations, Christian schools or colleges, social organizations, political organizations, or the like. Their statements of faith are, necessarily, somewhat bland, reduced to the essentials in order to take into account the variances in specific doctrinal views of various Christian groups.

    As to Orianna’s comment, specifically, I agree that many Christians have INTERPRETED their presence as meaning that whatever you believe about Jesus is fine (more or less). But most parachurch organizations conscientiously urge and instruct Christians to be active in a local body of believers, and the reputable ones also instruct Christians to tithe to the local church first. So, once again, to blame others for our own failings is to miss the point.

  • DonS

    This post, and Orianna’s comment @ 1 are insightful as to this issue. Many of the previous denominational doctrinal lines have been blurred by the rise of so many various parachurch ministries, whether they be missions organizations, Christian schools or colleges, social organizations, political organizations, or the like. Their statements of faith are, necessarily, somewhat bland, reduced to the essentials in order to take into account the variances in specific doctrinal views of various Christian groups.

    As to Orianna’s comment, specifically, I agree that many Christians have INTERPRETED their presence as meaning that whatever you believe about Jesus is fine (more or less). But most parachurch organizations conscientiously urge and instruct Christians to be active in a local body of believers, and the reputable ones also instruct Christians to tithe to the local church first. So, once again, to blame others for our own failings is to miss the point.

  • Winston Smith

    Go ahead and snark on Joseph Smith all you want. Throw in Ellen G. White and L. Ron Hubbard while you’re at it.

  • Winston Smith

    Go ahead and snark on Joseph Smith all you want. Throw in Ellen G. White and L. Ron Hubbard while you’re at it.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Where I stop here is to note that it’s hard for me to believe that Mrs. Rice is unaware of these things. So is it an association of “the church” with the parachurches, or…..

    ….how are her novels selling these days?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Where I stop here is to note that it’s hard for me to believe that Mrs. Rice is unaware of these things. So is it an association of “the church” with the parachurches, or…..

    ….how are her novels selling these days?

  • Tom Hering

    Making a big August splash in the media with criticisms of the Roman church doesn’t hurt if the hero of your new novel, Of Love and Evil – set in 15th century Rome and due out in November – “discovers himself in the midst of dark plots and counterplots surrounded by a darker and more dangerous threat as the veil of ecclesiastical terror closes in around him” (publisher’s blurb, emphasis added).

  • Tom Hering

    Making a big August splash in the media with criticisms of the Roman church doesn’t hurt if the hero of your new novel, Of Love and Evil – set in 15th century Rome and due out in November – “discovers himself in the midst of dark plots and counterplots surrounded by a darker and more dangerous threat as the veil of ecclesiastical terror closes in around him” (publisher’s blurb, emphasis added).

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    But where is her criticism of the Roman church? How is it anti-Democrat? The only thing in this litany that applies to Catholics is the stance against artificial birth control.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    But where is her criticism of the Roman church? How is it anti-Democrat? The only thing in this litany that applies to Catholics is the stance against artificial birth control.

  • Tom Hering

    I got the impression from her litany she’s fed up with conservative Catholics. Their man now sits on the papal throne.

  • Tom Hering

    I got the impression from her litany she’s fed up with conservative Catholics. Their man now sits on the papal throne.

  • Joanne

    Today I drove into the city to take my niece to lunch. She’s leaving for a 2 year stay in China on Wednesday. As we passed from the Irish Channel near Napoleon Avenue on through the Garden District to Washington Avenue to Commander’s Palace, she asked me what did I think of Ms. Rice’s recent religious flip. Tersely, and rather unappetizingly, I blurted “She’s returned to her vomit.” Many Orleanians have resented Ms. Rice’s gothicization of the city’s culture with her vampire memes. I just don’t have sympathy for her.

  • Joanne

    Today I drove into the city to take my niece to lunch. She’s leaving for a 2 year stay in China on Wednesday. As we passed from the Irish Channel near Napoleon Avenue on through the Garden District to Washington Avenue to Commander’s Palace, she asked me what did I think of Ms. Rice’s recent religious flip. Tersely, and rather unappetizingly, I blurted “She’s returned to her vomit.” Many Orleanians have resented Ms. Rice’s gothicization of the city’s culture with her vampire memes. I just don’t have sympathy for her.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    here is a great article on anne rice and a good reaction to it.

    http://johnshore.com/2010/07/30/anne-rice-i-quit-being-a-christian-yaaaaawn/

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    here is a great article on anne rice and a good reaction to it.

    http://johnshore.com/2010/07/30/anne-rice-i-quit-being-a-christian-yaaaaawn/

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Tom Hering

    We should be slow to analyze the current pope. I thought that he was the uber conservative. it turns out that behind the scenes, he was a very moderating influence on the previous pope john paul.

    I have a friend named James Allison who is a gay RC priest who is english and living in sao paulo brasil. He comes close to us Lutherans on the Gospel ( I said close! but not close enough…) . He says that the new pope shares most of his views. Alison is a very very conservative, council of trent sorta by the way, but he manages to make room there for his own being gay. Any of that look vaguely familiar? Any Lutheran you know personally that is doing the same thing as a Lutheran?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Tom Hering

    We should be slow to analyze the current pope. I thought that he was the uber conservative. it turns out that behind the scenes, he was a very moderating influence on the previous pope john paul.

    I have a friend named James Allison who is a gay RC priest who is english and living in sao paulo brasil. He comes close to us Lutherans on the Gospel ( I said close! but not close enough…) . He says that the new pope shares most of his views. Alison is a very very conservative, council of trent sorta by the way, but he manages to make room there for his own being gay. Any of that look vaguely familiar? Any Lutheran you know personally that is doing the same thing as a Lutheran?

  • Tom Hering

    Frank, I remember from my own Roman Catholic days how Ratzinger was greatly admired by conservatives. More recently, they hoped his election as Pope might begin to change the direction of the church in America (by imposing a bit more discipline on it?). But you could be right that they were wrong.

    As for your question about my knowing a gay Lutheran who is theologically conservative, someone comes to mind, but I can’t think of his name right now. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    Frank, I remember from my own Roman Catholic days how Ratzinger was greatly admired by conservatives. More recently, they hoped his election as Pope might begin to change the direction of the church in America (by imposing a bit more discipline on it?). But you could be right that they were wrong.

    As for your question about my knowing a gay Lutheran who is theologically conservative, someone comes to mind, but I can’t think of his name right now. ;-)


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