I had heard the rumblings. The so called “Queen of the Occult”, Anne Rice, had embraced Christianity. Newsweek is reporting (breathlessly) that “It’s the most startling public turnaround since Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming” announced that he’d been born again. “
I am old enough to remember well Dylan’s announcement in November of 1980 that he had “a truly born again experience.” I remember the excitement that Bob Dylan was going to use his considerable influence to lead thousands to faith in Jesus. So many of us were so excited that our faith was endorsed and confirmed by a super star. Dylan loves Jesus! I felt just a little bit more cool to be a Christian because the great Dylan had joined my team. The rock and roll world was appalled. Journalist Steve Turner remembers that “most of them (the critics) hoped the phase would be brief, for while Christianity might have saved Dylan’s soul, they believed it had damned his art. “
And then Bob Dylan disappointed me. Oh he did record a few powerful songs about his faith. But he did not become what I wanted him to be. He did not become a vocal juggernaut for Christ. In fact, as time went by he rarely talked about his faith. He quit writing deep songs with lyrics proclaiming Jesus. He went underground and became evasive when asked about his conversion. And I threw him away. Because I didn’t care about Dylan as a fellow Christian and heir to the Kingdom. I cared about him as a marketing tool. And he messed up my plan.
So when I heard about the soon to be very public redemption of Anne Rice I was both joyous and sad. I know millions of people will place unrealistic expectations on her. Christian magazines and programs and events will be scrambling to hear her testimony. Part of that is good. Her story of finding Jesus in the midst of illness and grief is inspiring. But every person who recognises Jesus as Lord is an inspiring story of regeneration and grace. She is merely a fellow traveller on this journey to become more like Christ.
Pray for her.
Pray that she will grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, celebrate her great news. But remember she is just like you and me. A person who will make mistakes and who will say and do things that offend the easily offended evangelical crowd. Imagine having your life made very public within weeks or months after you found faith. I think of my life. You would have discarded me as a phony just as I wrongly discarded Dylan.
Anne Rice is not a celebrity that we can use for our marketing. She is a sinner saved by grace. Nothing more. Nothing less. Perhaps God will use her considerable writing skills for His glory. She will work that out between her and her God. As for the rest of us the task is simple.
Pray for Anne Rice.