Friday, July 30, 2010

Of Jesus and Vampires


I read it first on the Progressive Involvement blog. Author Anne Rice, who has written novels about vampires and Jesus, announced today that she is leaving Christianity.
"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."


I can relate. 


If I believed that being Christian involved being anti-all that stuff, I'd be out, too. I am not ready to quit, though. I am not ready to concede the faith to its worst representatives.


On her Facebook page, Rice cites the famous words of Mahatma Gandhi.

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

She also provides a couple of horrific examples of Christianity at its worst: Westboro Baptist Church and a "Christian" rock band called, "You Can Run But You Can't Hide." God help us.


She also posted, approvingly, a link to this article in the New York Times concerning the Rite of Reconciliation which received  seven same-sex partnered pastors into the ELCA. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is now, unquestionably, a church body with partnered gay clergy. Anyone who has been observing my ELCA knows that this action, inevitable since the 2009 Churchwide Assembly, is controversial and divisive.


Personally, I am proud to be a member of the ELCA and applaud the brave stand that it has taken regarding same sex unions and same sex partnered clergy. Flame on, naysayers, I'm wearing my asbestos drawers.


Nadia Bolz-Weber, the tattooed, emergent, post-modernist and unapologetically Lutheran  pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, was the preacher. Her graceful, gospel centered sermon can be found here. After you have streamed the video or read the manuscript, check out Erik Ullestad's excellent blog post about it.



 Nadia Bolz Weber is the author of one of my favorite recent books, Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television. I snagged the picture of Anne Rice from her Facebook page.


  1. I can't relate to what she's done at all. I think she never really got Christianity if she thinks she can just blow off the Christian community and just hang with Jesus.

    I get not letting people who have a very different understanding of what it means to be part of the church speak for you - but something about blowing off the community because they aren't being Christian enough.. if we played by those rules, no community would be good enough. Nor would WE be good enough.

  2. Hi, Pastor Joelle.

    Thank you for coming by and commenting on my blog. I enjoy your blog and particularly liked your recent piece "No Such Thing As Too Much Grace -- Part Deux."

    I am sorry to read that your congregation is leaving the ELCA, and leaving without you. I pray that you will find a new call quickly.

    I resonate with what Anne Rice says about refusing to be anti-all-that-stuff. Some sectors of the Church seem to preach that being Christian requires one to be anti-all-that-stuff. I do not believe that to be true. Not for a second. I won't let the antis define Christianity, which Anne Rice apparently has done.

    I find it interesting that, on the one hand, Rice rightly condemns the homophobic likes of Fred Phelps. Unfortunately she seems to allow his hateful vision to define what it means to be Christian.

    On the other hand, Rice applauds the ELCA's reconciliation with 7 ELM pastors as a step forward for GLBTQ rights. She doesn't seem to notice that the ELCA is a Christian church body.

    In my blog post I was not reacting to Rice's claim to follow Jesus without a church. Contra Anne Rice and American civil religion, I agree with you, Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer that one does not follow Jesus alone. We are baptized into one messy and sometimes disagreeable body.

    So, really, I think that you and I are not disagreeing so much as making different points.

    God bless.


  3. Thanks for the link, Brant. I enjoy reading your Saint & Cynic blog!