Recently the author Anne Rice decided in private, and then made it public via Facebook, that she could no longer follow the Christian religion. She wrote that, “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 continued to write; “But following Christ does not mean following His followers (my italics). Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been or might become.”
I read some of the readers’ comments on Anne’s Facebook page and as suspected, the comments ranged from “who needs you anyway”, to “you speak for many of us.” I suppose my comment, if she asked, would have been, “Anne, you need to find some new followers.”
I have some of the same thoughts as Anne, but I personally believe the fellowship of believers is the design of Christ; thusly what Heaven is. Heaven is not what we want it to be; it is what God has created it to be.
Anne had some problems with the Catholic Church. Very big problems. Although the Catholic Church continues to purge itself concerning some of their priests behaving very badly with little boys, there is neglected in consideration, not to mention prayer, the hundreds of priests and nuns working tirelessly in countries that I have only seen and heard about in National Geographic. This is not only the Catholic Church, but the Lutheran, Baptists and many other churches as well. Unfortunately, many people consider ‘the’ Church as going to a building on Sunday morning, listening to a weekly speech or commentary (sermons have gone by the wayside in my opinion) by a person who says things that 70% of the people sitting there already have heard and the other 30% don’t know why they are sitting there in the first place. After ‘services’, all concerned then go home and have Sunday dinner. If that is one’s only exposure to the “church” of Christ, then those people’s comments towards Anne would then fall under the “who needs you anyway.” “Anne, the clique is established and you are not invited to join.” But Anne apparently has more insight of faith in Christ than many of her readers give her credit for.
When people wrote to Anne that “you speak for many of us”, in writing about hypocrisy, I could not help but think of Jesus in Matthew 7:1-7. His discussion on hypocrites is very to the point. When you take your faith in Christ (His Church) to the streets by feeding those who are hungry, visit those in hospitals and prisons, say yes when asked a favor, say no to corruption and idols. (i.e., the Ten Commandments) then you are a follower of Christ without the building, the weekly speech maker and the hypocrisy that Jesus Himself talked about in Matt 7:1-6.
Anne Rice, because of her fame, has instant access to the world to discuss her feelings about anything via the internet. So the world, in a sense, responded. It is more important how God hears the prayers of Anne than what “Christians” think about her statement. I hope Anne is placed with people who are true followers of God; not teaching the doctrines of men:
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. 1 John 3:23
C.S. Lewis wrote that “the strong believers or disbelievers of course think they have very strong evidence.” Even in churches today, believers seek errors amongst themselves.
I will pray for Anne that her faith remains strong and true (Colossians 1:9-18) as I pray for myself, my family and the other workers of the church who labor in the name of Christ for His glory. I just hope Anne doesn’t write a book about this decision of hers; it is better it stays between her and God.