According to an interview published this month in Newsweek, Rice promised:
". . . that from now on I would write only for the Lord." It's the most startling public turnaround since Bob Dylan's "Slow Train Coming" announced that he'd been born again.Although I'm not a fan of her dark and gothic novels, I would have to agree that this is going to be a "famous" conversion within many Christian circles. Or will it?
By writing a fictional tale of Jesus' upbringing in Egypt, Rice risks alienating not only her vampire fans but offending the Christian community she wants to embrace.
About the novel, Newsweek continues:
[S]he's . . . taken liberties where they don't explicitly conflict with Scripture. No one reports that the young Jesus studied with the historian Philo of Alexandria, as the novel has it - or that Jesus' family was in Alexandria at all. And she's used legends of the boy Messiah's miracles from the noncanonical Apocrypha: bringing clay birds to life, striking a bully dead and resurrecting him. Rice's most daring move, though, is to try to get inside the head of a 7-year-old kid who's intermittently aware that he's also God Almighty. "There were times when I thought I couldn't do it," she admits.Oh really? So there were times when she could? Hmm. This doesn't sound too hopeful. Niether does her reference to Jesus as "the ultimate supernatural hero ... the ultimate immortal of them all." I'm not sure I'm comfortable with Jesus being relegated to the role of superhero, albeit a heavenly one.
We would do well to heed the example of Bob Dylan (who seems to have left the evidence of his conversion back in the 1980s) and not put Anne Rice on a pedestal. A new believer who views Jesus through the lens of a supernatural thriller makes a poor spokesperson for historic Christianity.
UPDATED COMMENTS, NOVEMBER 1, 2005 ~
So many great responses to this topic. Please take the time to read and share your own thoughts. I did want to highlight a reply from Rich at BlogRodent (which probably hosts the most extensive discussion right now on Rice and her conversion).
Hi, Lyn, thanks for the link and for your comments!
Yeah, all too frequently, the media look to the sensationalistic and liberal to serve as the mouthpieces for Christianity. I'd love to see, for example, Craig Blomberg's, William Lane Craig's, or Walter C. Kaiser's take on Anne Rice's book when it arrives. Alas, those good folks are far too Evangelical to be relied on to give safe soundbytes for the liberal media. Instead we'll see more praise from the historical Jesus crowd and other limp liberals before we see any solid criticism.
Like you, I hope Rice doesn't become a spokesman. I keep thinking of the injunction to "Lay hands on no man suddenly," and that those who presume to teach the Word have a greater responsibility. Rice is a relatively young Christian (er ... Catholic Christian?) and still too strongly attached to her pagan fiction to serve as an effective ambassador for Christ, I think.
Thanks, again. Regards, Rich.
Great post. I agree that Rice will undoubtedly alienate Christians with her spin on Jesus Christ Superhero. But you never know. Celebrity salvations are really big among liberal Christianity. I am a lot more conservative in my Christianity than most.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the link, Lyn! I am looking forward to getting a copy of the book. Given how much press it's getting and the huge print run, I should likely read and review it later, than sooner.ReplyDelete
I hope for her sake that it's better than I expect.
But my expectations are low. The timeing is too trite.
Err ... I meant, "Sooner rather than later!"ReplyDelete
Thanks Dane and Rich for your comments. I wondered about the later/sooner part. :-) I doubt I'll read it because I don't want to get irked. I had my fill of supernatural thrillers a la Frank Peretti a few years back. lgpReplyDelete
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I think it is wrong to judge either Anne Rice herself or this book until it is out. The book is not for Christians anyway it is for the Goth subculture, to help them understand Christianity. A lot of what Christian fiction in general does is wrong but I really believe that Anne Rice is doing this with the best of intent and if we humor other "Christian Fiction" we should at least look at it first. One thing about the Goth subculture and Anne in particular is this lack of self-rightiousness that you see in the rest of the secular community. No I will believe Anne is a convert until I have a reason not to. If you doubt her, pray for her.ReplyDelete
Thanks for that reminder that we can't judge the heart's position before God. As Rice and her work comes to mind, I will pray. As for Christian fiction, a lot of it is poor quality and so we will have to wait and see. lgp
Great post! I think we can give her a little wiggle room, though as she finds herself in the Lord. How many of us did silly, even unbiblical things when we first came to know salvation. I think every person gets excited by the turn in their life and wants to do something to honor God. It's later with the maturity that comes from the "milk" that we see how silly we were. She will too.ReplyDelete
Mindflame wrote: "The book is not for Christians anyway it is for the Goth subculture, to help them understand Christianity."ReplyDelete
It doesn't have to be "for Christians" for us to expect it to be truthful to the sacred scriptural record of the nature of Christ in both his humanity and divinity.
If I were to write a book popularizing astronomy for the blind, I would still be expected to write the truth. Why should Anne Rice be given a pass because of her audience? Is it because they couldn't be able to or wouldn't care to evaluate her truth claims?
We can, and we should.
An interesting discussion here - I know I'm a little late to the discussion, but I've been reviewing the reviews, so to speak. I've posted a review, with a perspective on Christians and the arts, in case you'd be interested:ReplyDelete