A FACEBOOK ABOUT-FACE ON CHRISTIANITY
This week Facebook has been theatre to best-selling author Anne Rice’s grand About-Face. Sensationally and rather self indulgently Anne Rice, the atheist reconverted to Catholicism in 1998, has now declared herself “in Christ’s name”, out of Christianity and no longer calling herself Christian. Since she refuses to reject Christ about whom she has written novels in recent years (in '02 she was in a mood to declare she would write nothing more unless on Christ) and then in view of the list of her objections to “Christianity” it might have been more appropriate to have declared herself no longer Catholic. She could then perhaps quietly have gone somewhere more Protestant where she could have been allowed her broader views on women, contraception, gays etc. But some people, particularly a type of American star personality, can’t do anything quietly. Gestures must be extreme and absolute, the whole world must hear and hopefully sympathize too.
Unfortunately, because of Anne Rice’s vast influence in many languages, it's quite likely that many will be as influenced by this about-face and make “I’m not Christian” statements as trendy in its way (and go further with it and more literally) as they once did with the Goth morbidity of her Vampire novels.
My disappointed reaction to Rice’s announcement agrees neither with those who simplistically and sympathetically buy into “poor” Anne Rice’s siding with Christ against the unpleasantness of his religion and its adherents, nor with those who say she was just a bad Catholic who should never have returned on the terms she did. These reactions are missing what I sense is the real, more hidden point and which my own minor, brief dealings with Anne Rice had led me reluctantly to suspect so that I'm not surprised at what has happened and at a propitious moment for such shocks too. (It comes in the wake of an eclipse that set up an affliction to Anne’s Mars and at the time of a portentous Grand Cross of stressed planets in the heavens that oversee such major problems in America as the wikileaks and of course Anne is making another info leak of sorts).
ANNE RICE’S HAUNTED MIND
Anne Rice is a person carrying a lot of emotional and spiritual baggage, a person still prey to her inherited demons and for this reason, whether reconciling with or renouncing religion, she risks functioning as a negative spiritual influence upon the masses. For a start, I do feel in light of things I’ve read about vampire cult in America in all its morbidity and which Anne Rice’s fiction unquestionable helped to popularize, a deep conversion would surely have made her more keen to renounce her previous writings than has been the case. If publication of earlier work could not cease for contractual reasons, she might have given away the proceeds of it.
It doesn’t seem this has happened and if she had concerned herself a little more with,say, the poor and disadvantaged, her incredibly petulant and judgemental view of Christians as nothing but a 'quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group" might have been modified. Many of us might agree to be sickened by such as impossible Catholic hierarchs, bombastic tele-evangelists and some testy, eccentric evangelical homophobes, but some Christians do actually roll up their sleeves and do some good work. Despite covering herself by refusing to renounce Christ, in fact Anne Rice has done so. She is as "out" as she claims to be, since Christ is explicit that loving him involves loving his brethren for whose feelings Ms Rice doesn't appear to care much, just as she doesn't seem to care about the effect of her words in the world.
If one doesn’t burn one’s boats more than the 100 million copy best-seller author has done, and show gratitude to the deity she said she was grateful to for bringing her out of the swamp of atheistic pessimism, then one merely keeps one’s old problems and demons alive for oneself and everyone. This kind of thing concerns issues of spiritual efficiency which is what I am writing on at present.
Clearly Anne Rice and her spiritual advisors have not given much thought to anything remotely like so-called “deliverance” ministry for which under the rules she would almost certainly qualify in a major way. The author went through years of depression and is the child of a problematic family overseen by a seriously alcoholic mother. She recognizes within herself something like a dark drive to hurt and destroy – her Called From Darkness memoir includes details like how she mused upon throwing someone over the stairs. The sort of life patterns she describes is the sort of thing needing real healing and banishment.
MY OWN EXPERIENCE OF ANNE RICE
Because it is so hard to reach “stars” or else to get them to reply, I was initially impressed when Anne Rice wrote to me very nicely a couple of times in response to my comments on both her own chart and what I told her regarding my work on Christ’s birth data. She admitted it was fascinating, but as her writing on the Christ fiction was well advanced she couldn’t or wouldn’t let it influence her at that stage. I and most people can’t admit a birth date as early as 12BC that she was working on.
Having given her some indication of things I was engaged on, in more recent times (last year) I wrote and asked her to look at my Cosmic Father book because it could interest here given the way it included a grappling with problems that specifically had been concerning her. I also suggested, given her issues around the church and gays, that she and/or her gay writer son might look at my groundbreaking study of gay spiritualities. This I hoped wouldn’t seem mere vanity or presumption on my part. If the book can lay claim to be a world first in its line and has had some media attention and the person I am addressing is having problems with the church, including round attitudes to her gay activist son, it seems to me only reasonable to contact as I did and one would hope for reply….if there is a sincere will to deal with the issues in the first place rather than just explode against Christianity and Christians about them. But is there?
In fairness to Ms Rice, we are all busy and one can’t reply to everyone and everything (I wouldn’t myself) but she had written to me before and there were other things I won’t go into it, things she was saying or blogging about her reading and thinking which suggested to me she was somehow not quite rightly spiritually on the right path. So if I felt a bit offended, I was not entirely surprised to receive no reply either. I had strongly felt I should write and I will always feel Anne Rice was wrong not to reply. I see it as all part of her faltering spirituality which seems ready enough to tell and confess in the dramatic, revivalist American style, but which in reality is perhaps not telling and confessing enough. Anne Rice’s Facebook About-Face marks not just a crisis in her own life but is symptomatic of one within American religion itself.