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You're Leaving? But You Just Got Here!

Long before Stephanie Meyer was convincing the world that vampires are sexy, Anne Rice was doing it.  I wasn't a big fan of hers.  Didn't think much of Interview With A Vampire and such.  No, it has nothing to do with the whole dark arts thing, I'm just not that into overly gothic things, as my creative output will readily attest (cynicism, sure, but not gothic).  I can enjoy them when done well (for example, Shadow Of The Vampire was a damn good movie, and the first Warlock was great), but I just don't casually gravitate towards them.

I was aware that Rice had been raised Catholic and had abandoned the church.  Can't say I blame her there.  After that, I was really only familiar with my casual attempt at reading her stuff and her world class hissy fit on Amazon about people who didn't like her book that escalated into a flame war (unfortunately, Amazon drama evaporates quickly, so screencap that shit as soon as you see it).  Her eagerness to insult anyone who does not understand her artistic genius, making her come across like Howard Rourke's twin sister, has been immortalized in the pejorative phrase "rice out", which basically means "fucking lose your shit if someone writes a bad review of your work" (you people who hang out on DeviatART and fanfiction.net know what I'm talking about).  Say what you will about Stephanie Meyer (God knows I do), but when people were returning Breaking Dawn, she expressed (or feigned) puzzlement, but didn't go ape shit like Rice did.

Unbeknownst to me, Rice went back to the Catholic church.  You know, Catholics looooooooove to point out how C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were Atheists who saw the light, but they aren't so keen to trumpet Rice.  Maybe it's because of all the hawt secks in her books.  I mean, you can point general audiences to Narnia and Lord Of The Rings.  Can't do that with Exit To Eden.  Anyway, in 2008, she wrote a memoir called "Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession," where she paints her Lestat books as exploring and coming to terms with her faith and God.  Okay.  I only found out about the book about a month ago when I stumbled across a stack of them in the bargain bin.  Didn't bother, but thought maybe I'd get to it one day, see what her spiritual journey was like.

Well, it was short.

Yesterday, Rice posted to her FAILbook page that she was quitting the Catholic church.  She's quitting because the Catholic church is "anti-gay ... anti-feminist," and "anti-artificial birth birth control."  Uh, they were all that (AND MORE!) when she quit originally!  Is she really surprised by this?  "In the name of ... Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen."

Now, here's the part I don't get.  Rice seems to be confusing the Catholic church with Christianity.  Assuming she truly wanted to be Christian again (I mean, why go through the trouble of repatriating otherwise), there are plenty of other routes she can go.  The Episcopalians, for example.  If she sticks with the "official" sect, not the one that broke off over the ordaining of the gay bishop, they will be pretty close to her values.  Or she can simply ignore the Catholic church in her personal life.  I know lots of people who, say, use birth control or love and support their gay kids or make movies that piss off the Establishment (Martin Scorsese, Kevin Smith, etc.) or whatever.  They go to church to worship God, not to be told how to live their lives.  There's a disconnect between the church's values and their own.  The unrepentant anarchy is actually quite touching and beautiful.  The only reason I don't advise her to just follow her own Christian path like I do is because the spiritual journey I've undertaken is DEFINITELY not for everyone.  There's a lot of work involved.  For me, it's the only way to make sense of things and feel fulfilled, but most people don't need to go to such extremes.  But it's not like Catholicism is the only game in town.

(The only ones I would suggest she avoid other than the Southern Baptists are the Christian Mystics.  I attended one service, and the arrogance of them, "No one can understand the depth of our relationship with God", would turn Jesus into an Atheist.  When you make the Catholics look humble, you're doing it wrong.)

I don't fault Rice for quitting Christianity.  I just want to know is she quitting Christianity or the church?  There is a difference.  Or maybe it's just another overreaction on her part, and she's ricing out on the church now.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 30th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
Even pastors agree that the church can be whack, you just have to find one that suits your interests. A person's relationship with God is between Him and that person- the church is just there to facilitate that.

On the other hand: EW! Anne Rice! D: My former best friend reads her all the time. ICK.
On the other, other hand. I don't really see why people are so down on Twilight. I mean, I'm not a Rabid fangirl, but I did enjoy the books.
Jul. 30th, 2010 03:10 am (UTC)
I agree. I could definitely see Rice bailing if it wasn't working. I'm just not sure that's the reason why.

I hope I didn't give you the impression that I was making fun of people for liking Twilight. I make fun of Twilight constantly (it's such an easy target), but I don't like making fun of the fans. The only Twilight fan I goof on goofs back at me, so its more playful than spiteful. After all, we all have our hobbies and interests that make people go, "You actually like THAT?" Take it from the guy whose icon has him posing with a lifesize Pikachu. ;-)
Jul. 30th, 2010 08:26 am (UTC)
Here's something I just thought of, which will make some people (including my fiancee) go spastic with rage: The Twilight series is better than Rice's vampire books. No, seriously. After the first book the Twilight writing improved, the characters stay in character (even if you want to slap them around for doing so), and they're fast reads once you learn to skim over any sentence with the word "beautiful" in it. Rice's prose is so thick, and the story so dense, that the later books read like a gothic version of Moby Dick.
Jul. 30th, 2010 11:21 am (UTC)
Hmmm...well, I did make it through all the Twilight books and gave up on Rice's books because her writing was so overbearing. Based on that, I have to concede your point.... ;-)
Jul. 31st, 2010 07:33 am (UTC)
Believe me, nobody's more surprised than I am!
Jul. 30th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
Okay, so I can completely understand being alienated by and leaving the catholic church a first time. That's a logical thing to do; probably half of my atheist friends have the same story. But returning back to religion as a catholic? that's just unusual. I'd love to know what her thought process was on that one. Is it cynical that I'm wondering whether the whole thing was just a publicity stunt (since, you know, she does appear to thrive on drama)?

And word on the whole Christianity v. Catholicism thing. It's really kind of sad that one of the biggest enemies of Christianity a) comes from within the religion itself and b) is just a set of ideas that don't necessarily describe actual peoples' views.
Jul. 30th, 2010 03:18 am (UTC)
Are you cynical? Not at all. Religion is often a huge publicity stunt, typically for people who have done something wrong (scandal or crime) and want people to think they've cleaned up their act. I recall one of the girls from The Hills went born again (I don't watch the show, and I couldn't tell them apart without a guide anyway). From what I heard, she seemed to do it to show how enlightened (read that: superior) she was compared to others and was anxious to show it off, it had nothing to do with actual spirituality.

Part of the reason I refuse to return to the Catholic church, despite a mother constantly bugging me to do so, is I know it is still the same intolerant bunch of thought police I left behind years ago (things like The Pill Kills, seeking to equate birth control with abortion, or camps offering to Pray The Gay Away from parishioners while protecting sex abusers in their own hierarchy). If I went back, and then left complaining about their intolerance, all my friends would be going, "DUUUUUUH!"

(Side note: actual discussion with my mom....

"I raised you to be a good Christian!"

Well, I raised myself to be a better one.

She didn't talk to me for a couple of days after that one.)

Like they say on USENET, "God! Save me from your followers!"
Jul. 30th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
She quit Christianity in the name of Christ? Uhhhhh....

This reminds me of my stepmother, who kept changing churches because none of them would agree to every single one of her views on what Christianity is supposed to mean. In Rice's case, based on the apparently heights of her ego, I suspect she's preparing to start a church of her own.
Jul. 30th, 2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
Maybe Anne Rice should just become an Anarchristian. Then she need not worry about what the church is for or against, and she can worship Christ in the best way she sees fit.

Anarchristians DISBAND!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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