Saturday, July 08, 2006

Interview with a believer

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I've been reading Anne Rice's new book Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, a first person narrative of the seven-year-old Jesus whose family is returning from Alexandria to Nazareth. I'm enjoying the book very much, and I look forward to the rest in the Christ the Lord series. But even more captivating than the novel itself is the long Author's Note at the end of the book talking about her faith journey away from God and then back to him. I wanted to share some highlights.

She first notes, "Without planning it, I've moved backwards in history, from the nineteenth century, where I felt at home in my first two novels, to the first century, where I sought the answer to enormous questions that became an obsession with me that I simply could not ignore. Ultimately, the figure of Jeus Christ was at the heart of this obsession."
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Rice had a strict Catholic upbringing at St. Alphonsus Church (above) and parochial school. For various reasons, she lost her faith and left the Church in college at age 18. She always loved writing and quickly found success with her vampire novels.

She continues, "In 1974, I became a published writer. The novel reflected my guilt and misery in being cut off from God and without my salvation; my being lost in a world without light. . . . After that, I wrote many novels without my being aware that they reflected my quest for meaning in a world without God."

Rice describes what began to pull her back home in the research she did for her novels. In studying ancient history, she says, "I stumbled upon a mystery without a solution, a mystery so immense that I gave up trying to find an explanation because the whole mystery defied belief. That mystery was the survival of the Jews. . . . It was this mystery that drew me back to God."

In 1998, Rice made her confession and returned to the Church. She movingly describes the death of her husband Stan in 2002, and how he consented to marry her in the Church before he died. From that point until 2005, she poured herself into reading the New Testament. She describes wrestling with the texts and with scholars to come to an understanding of Jesus in order to to tell his story anew.

She explains, "I wanted to write the life of Jesus Christ. I had known that years ago. But now I was ready. I was ready to do violence to my career. I wanted to write the book in the first person. Nothing else mattered. I consecrated the book to Christ. I consecrated myself and my work to Christ."

All I can say is, "Well done."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is definately a miracle! This gives me some hope for so many out there who have turned their backs to the light.