On her Facebook page today, author Anne Rice says she has quit Christianity—in the name of Christ.
For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.
In a followup post:
As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
Rice, who has spoken openly of her conversion from lapsed Catholic to Christian, is not saying anything especially new. But she says it eloquently. It sounds raw and exasperated and expresses some of the exhaustion surely all of us have felt at trying to figure out what it means to follow Christ…
I recently published a piece over at Religion Dispatches, one of a few wonderful, lately emerging religion news sites, about the trend of young evangelicals converting to Catholicism. It’s called “Evangelicals ‘Crossing the Tiber’ to Catholicism” and you can read it here.
Check it out, and weigh in by using their “letters-to-the-editor” feature.
File this one under ‘Mind-Blowing Stuff That Shows Up on my Facebook News Feed.’ Yesterday, a friend shared the following video, purportedly a worship song entitled “I Think I’m Gonna Throw Up.”
Of course the punchline is delivered as the verse ends with “…my hands to the Lord.” And just in case you were tempted to believe that the lyrics were an unfortunate oversight by a sincere lyricist, the second verse hammers home the premise by starting with “I think I’m gonna hurl.”
Writing a review is a very subtle art form. You never know how difficult it is until you try and write one. It is not simply a statement of this is what I think about this thing. There is a structure and a flow to it, a progression of thought and form that is difficult to do well (and indeed I know I’m still trying to figure it out). The typical movie review, as I’ve seemed to notice, follows the following pattern: the writer’s main thesis and overarching summary judgment on the film, a summary of the plot, what works in the film, what doesn’t, and finally whether or not to recommend the film to others. Why do I bring this up?
In the past week, I’ve seen Inception three times.
That much should imply my “summary judgment” on the matter (more on that later). I suppose now is the place for me to restate the plot. But I won’t. If you must know it before seeing the film, plenty of adequate summaries exist online for your consumption. I will tell you, though, that it’s one of the most complicated plots I’ve ever seen in a major motion picture, and to summarize it would be both unnecessary and potentially harmful to your enjoyment of the film. But don’t worry, as reviewer Kenneth Turan of NPR writes:
Well, almost a year after we at Patrol went on record to quell the manufactured outrage over swearing Christians, Christianity Today is back at it again. This time it is Mollie Ziegler Hemingway who posted a piece on that most specific and forbidden kind of cussing, “using the Lord’s name in vain.”
In her article she lays out her case with example after example of the way that people who do not necessarily profess to be Christians or even have any real relationship with Christianity use our Lord’s name in vain. Among the offenders are the HBO series “The Pacific,” Jonathan Chait of The New Republic, Joe Biden, and even Tiger Woods.
Hemingway’s piece does dig a bit deeper when she gets to the importance of God’s name as the way that he reveals himself to humanity, and she really hits her stride as she points out that using God’s name in vain can mean misrepresenting him in word or deed…
A recent Daily Beast article notes that in the wake of Mel Gibson’s recorded rants of misogyny, violence and racism, his usual defenders, namely conservative evangelicals, have fallen silent. Apparently, after his drunk driving and anti-Semitic tirade, Christians were quick to forgive. But these audio recordings are so distressing, not even conservative talk radio hosts dare to defend Mel.
To many believers, Mel’s horrifying rhetoric has undermined their experience of Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. What, to so many people, was such a deeply moving experience now seems irrevocably tainted by its creator’s malevolence. Personally, I’m sick of hypocrites like Mel Gibson hijacking my faith, and the idea that he is some sort of figurehead for Christianity in this country infuriates me to no end. Having never seen The Passion, my motivation to watch it is at an all time low.
But what most people don’t realize is that these recent tapes are just the tip of the iceberg. They don’t even hold a candle to some of Mel’s darkest moments…
This post over at “Mere Orthodoxy,” entitled “The Culture Wars Enter American Cinema,” reminded me that I meant to solicit some opinions on the film “The Kids Are All Right.”
Christopher Benson, author of the aforementioned post doesn’t say much about the film (actually what he did was embed the film’s trailer, in addition to a few others which I had not heard of but that are meant to exemplify the point he is making in the post’s title), but the implication, I think, is that it is clearly propaganda in the culture wars.
I have a couple of thoughts about this. The first relates to the assertion that the “culture wars” are just now entering American cinema. If you are a person that is concerned with the culture wars, wouldn’t you believe that American cinema has always been a battlefield?
Secondly, and I suppose this is more of a question than a point, did anyone who saw “The Kids Are All Right” feel that they were witnessing propaganda? My wife and I saw it this past weekend and we were both amazed by how little “proselytizing” it actually did…how cynical is that? The message to me seemed to be that marriage is difficult and family is important. In fact, the only aspect of the film that I felt could be construed as pushing some kind of agenda would have to be the title, which, of course, is a reference to a 1960’s song by The Who.
Did you see it? What did you think?
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