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I’ll be the first to admit I have never read a word of Anne Rice’s books. I’ve never even see Interview With a Vampire- Tom Cruise creeps me out (and I mean HIM, not him playing a vampire).  In fact, straining my brain back a few years, I’m pretty sure the only reason I even know about her at all was in relation the fact that the Interview With a Vampire lady had returned to  ‘Christianity’ (aka Roman Catholicism).

And now once again Ms. Rice has appeared like a blip on my cultural radar screen. More than a blip really. This lady is everywhere- Christian blogs, editorials, milk cartons, bus benches- okay, maybe I’m overstating a little bit, but at the risk of sounding oh-so-rude I’m inclined to agree with Carl Trueman on this one- why is  this such a huge deal?

But apparently it is, and since Mark Driscoll appeared to me in a vision last night and lectured me on cultural engagement, I’ll bite (but only for a moment). William Lobdell, writing in the L.A. Times, was kind enough to let us all know that the Church is dead and everyone need to make like Francis of Assisi- more doing and less talkie-talkie.  Mr. Lobdell uses Rice’s departure- communicated via that hotbed of intellectual and cultural credibility, Facebook- to give a ‘unique’ view of the American religious landscape. (FOOLED! BAMBOOZLED! This post isn’t about Anne Rice at all!) And by unique, I mean quoting Ronald Sider and George Barna.  Because really, at the end of  the day,  if you disagree with their ideas then you disagree with Jesus- or at least their Jesus.

And don’t miss the last line- it’s  a doozy:

A well-informed hunch says American Christians aren’t ready for the kind of reformation that will realign their actions with biblical mandates. And in the meantime, the exodus from the church will continue.

That sounds familiar- all those well-informed hunches about Brett Favre I keep hearing.

To be fair, the article did say one thing I found worthy of chewing on, mostly because I think the principle is right (though he obviously applies it differently):

How to explain the Grand Canyon-sized gap between principles outlined in the Gospels and the behavior of believers? Christians typically, and rather lamely, respond that shortcomings of the followers of Jesus are simply evidence of man’s inherent sinfulness.

But if one adheres to the principle of Occam’s razor — that the simplest explanation is the most likely — there is another, more unsettling conclusion: that many people who call themselves Christian don’t really believe, deep down, in the tenets of their faith. In other words, their actions reveal their true beliefs.

I’m willing to bet the ‘principals outlined in the Gospels’ as described by Lobdell would sound more like Jim Wallis than Jesus. However, I’m also convinced that there is, deep down, a tiny kernel of truth in this (and Anne Rice’s) critique, although it comes more by accident than by them getting the point.


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