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.