In tandem with the crazy people in Florida threatening to burn the Koran, I just read an article claiming Ann Rice, the legendary author of the Vampire Chronicles, has decided to quit Christianity. Ms. Rice lived in New Orleans during her series about the Vampire Lestat, and his dealing in a world of love, life, and morality. It was a deep dark story filled with lust, perversion, and During the 90’s Ms. Rice was a ‘must read.’ In fact, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt even starred in a vampire movie based on the novels. “An Interview with a Vampire.”
I remember being totally thrown for a loop when I read of Ms. Rice’s conversion. She committed to stopping her evil journey into the dark part of the world, and claimed atheism was void of any answers. She announced Jesus was the only reason for why we’re here. It was that epic 180 degree repentance story.
She began writing about the period between Jesus’ birth and His ministry that began 30 years later. Her fiction writings centered around Jesus and what He must have gone through as a young Hebrew man during the 1st century. Her research was thought provoking, and gave much imagination to the part of Jesus’ life we know little about.
“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,” Rice Commented.
But something changed.
She went on to say on her facebook page, “…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.”
I think Ms. Rice’s comments are important to help bring light to us as a people. I’m not advocating that we have a bunch of Christian Quiters in the world, but her argument does pose a bit of conundrum.
Why would someone wish to follow Christ, but cease to be associated with His followers?
It might be easy for some to point fingers of orthodoxy at Ms. Rice.
Sure there will be some that pigeon hole her into a box and claim that she’s just some liberal, horror novelist, but maybe there’s something we need to examine intrinsically about what we’re doing while we try and follow Christ under the banner of Christianity.
Maybe we can take her stand with a gran of salt, and learn what we need to learn about being a people that continue to ostracize ourselves from the needs of a dying world, to see the heart of God.
Maybe she is longing for a faith void of man’s power, position, or kingdom building tendencies.
I wonder if Ms. Rice comments are somehow in conjunction with the attitude that tends to creep in our faith circles like the one in Gainesville, Florida?
Or, maybe she’s fed up with the ‘country club’ type of Christianity being practiced around our nation?
Or, maybe there are some serious theological differences that prevent Ms. Rice from truly giving grace to those that are trying to follow Jesus?
Whatever the reason, I think it important to take a step out of the norm and at least ask, Why?
It’s so important we of faith remember Jesus’ comments in John 13, “The world will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.” If we can’t love those who are trying to follow God, then how are we supposed to extend God’s love to those who need it?
I certainly don’t claim to know the nature of Ms. Rice’s defection, but what I do know; it’s high time we figure this out. The world is longing for a reason to live. People want to find the answers to life’s biggest questions, “Who is God? Where did we come from? What is our purpose?” and we have GOOD ANSWERS found in the scriptures. But if we keep acting like people who can’t extend grace, how is the world supposed to see God’s grace in the world?
There will be a time of judgment.
God’s kingdom is not void of a king with certain ways of living.
We do have some exclusionary issues to deal with.
But shouldn’t we be the people who allow God to deal with those things?
I don’t know.
I guess I tend to be someone who has enough of those issues to deal with in my own life, that spending time worrying about where someone is on there own walk with God seems a bit like a hamster running on a wheel.
My focus is on God’s Kingdom and the way he comes into clear focus through His Son Jesus. If someone wishes to follow, then I’m excited to help lead and direct. But if they don’t, well; that’s between them and God.
This is a good time to re-evaluate how we’re acting.
It’s a good point to ask hard questions about what we’re doing.
And maybe, this is the time when we can go to an unbelieving world, and re-calibrate how we deal with people.
What say you?