Archive for September, 2012


A good post regarding evolution and creation spirituality.

October 29, 2007

Woman: Born or Bred? An Excursion into Haecceitical vs. Existential Feminine Essence

The following was part of a discussion regarding Feminist Existentialism that I had recently with one of my “my space friends.” I have added and tweaked it here from its original form.

…so here it goes…

I firmly agree with you, in the truth that there is an existential-essence to a woman; which I would define as being that which she is “in the world” and that which she has become “through the world;” but as I said before – I also believe firmly that there is also a haecceitical essence to a woman that gives her a hypostatic existential base that is grounded in something different then schooling, business success, or cultural expectations. A definition given for haeceitical or haecceity is “the essence that makes something the kind of thing it is and makes it different from any other,” and one for hypostasis is “essential nature or underlying reality”

When I say that it is true that you were not born a woman but became one; I affirm that it is crucial to who you are through the fact that you are imparted a “cultural-DNA” and that forms who you are in an existential-essence; but I would also argue that you are in fact born with not just a physical-DNA; but that in being both human and a woman, I argue for a spiritual-DNA as well; and that it is this spiritual-DNA or haecceitical essence to a woman that in part guides/informs her existential being (being in the world/becoming in the world) also. I would go as far as say that that spiritual-DNA is not gender neutral; but inescapably feminine-oriented in aspects when it belongs to a woman; inescapeably masculine when to a man; though there is for sure – a great degree of blending. In reference to a recent blog post – I would affirm that this is a difference not in quality as in superiority vs. inferiority; but one of essence or nature; a part of our spiritual nature relates to our physical nature as well. This may seem controversial, but the scripture tells us- male and female He created them; and I think that to say that that gender differentiation only applies to the physical realm is a potentially faulty interpretation. There may be no male or female in Christ; but I believe that that speaks in terms of an affirmation of absolute equality. To say that my spiritual essence is gender neutral indirectly affirms that as I become more conformed to the image of Christ I somehow become more androgynous; which I believe is a preposterous and grotesquely heretical proposition. If anything – my gender identity is affirmed and made complete not just in its nature but the purpose of its nature. I strongly believe this is why the enemy so openly is attacking the idea of sexual identity in our modern culture – to separate the spiritual and the physical dimensions of a person either through mind breaking/spirit crushing abuse or crafty theological machinations invariably creates further brokenness and existential dissonance; and – while I am increasingly in the minority to say so -it is a disservice for clergy to affirm such brokenness as wholeness when their very role is to be a healer and not a pawn of socio-sexual political correctness.

I believe our society suffers from a Gnostic Dualist apprehension of compositional abruption; we either see ourselves as purely spiritual (haecceitical essence) or purely physical (existential-essence) and not our true quintessential essence; which is the haecceitical + the existential living and contending/interacting with one another within the framework of who are as entities. This contention between the spiritual and the physical is what I call “life”

Recent comments by the celebrated co-discoverer of DNA itself, the 79 year old Nobel Prize winner James Watson (http://news.independent.co.uk/sci_tech/article3067222.ece) have evoked unrelenting pure fury from both his counterparts and those from all segments of society; who have unequivocally denied the validity of his statements: when he said that Africans are less intelligent than Westerners in his words “All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really”. But this should really not come as any shock; because it is a foundation of Evolutionary Theory (contra those who espouse an often derided and openly mocked I.D. or Intelligent Design approach) that only the strong survive – and the rest differentiate in terms of bad/good/better in ways that will secure either their continued conditional survival or impending causal extinction but always a further differentiation from something else by virtue of this ever ongoing process. The elephant in the room – which Watson is talking about – is that when you think in purely non-spiritual terms in terms of how the world/society/us came into being – if you are purely evolutionary/physical in your thought; then you cannot escape the fact that one race may, if not will certainly, be “duller” or less this or that then another. And yet – everyone is so enraged at what he said: they should not be; because absent of the accounting of a spiritual dimension in the articulated understanding of our society – this is the logical outcome; indeed racism and abuse of women; come in part from not just from the misapplication of bad religion – but also the wholesale divestment of it also.

And so – I see a need for us to understand not just ourselves – but our society also from not just an existential/physical-essence, but also a haecceitical/spiritual-essence as well. It brings not just a depth; but also a resounding strength in ways that I believe; we have not even started to fully explore and discover – both as individuals and as a society.

Why do you wish to be my friend?

One should never make assumptions regarding the Universe nor those events that transpire within it; shall I consider your invitation to be the feeble, initiatory efforts of a nameless, faceless marketing enterprise that views neither I nor thyself as having any tangible worth beyond a point in a statistical marketing results graph? These would be my honest presuppositions – but dare I always assume so? Perhaps you read something that I wrote; but I assume virtually no one reads my own scribble; and yet this too is an assumption; and neither hope nor an appreciation for the existential dread and decay posited within the mortal confines of our own embodiments of spirit and flesh are fully constituted by wholesale embracement of assumption; for we must expect the unexpected – as Francis Bacon once wrote – “all colors agree in the dark”, but were it not for light; would we know that we were colors at all? And if it were not for despair would we not know hope? And if it were not for the unexpected, would we not also know presuppositions? Therefore I choose to acknowledge potential – and I charge thee with it; to break my darkness, and challenge my light – to prove me wrong and to give you the chance to experience a new ground of being then that which neither I nor yourself ever presupposed was possible.

Jan 19, 2007

A precursory comment on cussing

 

This is a response to a blog post and the discussion (http://www.challies.com/archives/002318.php) regarding where, in the course of a dis’cuss’ion, a very esteemed and influential pastor, John Piper, said something to the effect, “sometimes God just kicks our asses” – and the fact that he vigorously apologized and a well known, respected theologian, Wayne Grudem, responded as well; weighing in on all the reasons why saying “ass” in a sermon – and not meaning a donkey – was inappropriate. So many people were completely agh’ass’t. Umm – well, hell, I sure wasn’t. Here is why…

I understand and appreciate all the things that have been said about this issue. I also understand and appreciate all the scripture that is also referenced. But as I was reading through the various conversations revolving around the three letter word that Piper used, a term kept coming to mind, a term that J. Gresham Machen was often heard to say in regards to Prohibition: Overblown Pietism. It is one thing to walk in pietism – but can it in fact be overblown? I am willing to stake out the position that it in fact can be – and truthfully often is.

At one point in time I was an adamant prohibitionist in regards to alcohol consumption. A natural disposition towards sincere scriptural study, over a period of time, forced me to believe the whole notion was a theological house of cards. I slowly reversed myself and have had a somewhat Saul/Paul conversion on the issue. I have adamant tendencies to theologically grill/excavate those who still hold to that position; but I am digressing. Needless to say I hang out with a great number of Christians who share my own transversal history as well as those who grew up in strong christian households where it was taught that is was always to be used with responsibility but never that is was inherently evil. Those who lack my background are often heard to say: “regarding all of ‘that’ – I just don’t get it”. You have to have been against it to understand why and even how you could be against it. To those who have never been – your contestations are what they are: Overblown Pietism, and they have the utmost accompanying vestiges of spiritual neurosis – so profound that when you see and understand the needless anxiety for what it is in the eyes of those who don’t and have never felt it – not because they were spiritually ignorant but conversely because they were actually brought up spiritually stronger then you – you feel like you need to fall on your knees and say “God forgive me for worrying about things that were important to me but really did not matter that much to those that I really wanted to reach for you”. Profanity might be a huge issue to saints who would purport themselves to sport gilded crowns – but to the rest of the world, they just say “whatever dude”. I know of an individual who makes great mention of the fact that they are a Christian and used to cuss like a sailor until they ‘became a Christian’ – but in the eyes of other people they are derided for other issues that the individual is no doubt spiritually blind to see. Others in this same group of people speak much more highly of another individual who’s life actually reflects more Christ-like attributes, yet who’s language at times can be somewhat salty. Conventional Christians might judge these two individuals one way – but the people who both of these people are trying to reach, judge and esteem them each in markedly different ways. Just food for thought…maybe something even to cuss about.

 

(Repost) Why I Love Cats

August 6th 2007

Random Thoughts: Why I Love Cats

I have been posting some pretty hefty stuff – and I have a bunch more that I am about to upload. So here are some random thoughts.

I do not consider myself a womanizer and in regards to “skilz”, I am somewhere over on the ‘bumbling’ end of the scale; but I can say this: I genuinely and thoroughly love women. I just do; and that is all I will say, sparing you a deep philosophical/theological conversation that I will purposely avoid.

But I will not avoid it completely; rather I will attempt to do something that I have rather enjoyed doing as of late: going to traditionally defended ideological positions via a radically different and perhaps completely unexpected route which, while not being fully removed, is also not ambiguously circuitous neither in it’s departure nor its arrival.

So rather then tell you how I Love Women; I shall rather tell you why I love cats, and I shall leave the connecting of the dots to you, the reader.

Why I Love Cats:

1) Cats both receive and give love on their own terms and their own time

2) Dogs are differentiated personality-wise by breed; Cats much more so on an individual basis.

3) You don’t chose your cat – your cat chooses you.

4) Dog’s have owners- Cats have staff; when you call your dog it comes, but your cat will let it roll to voicemail.

5) Even given all the above- given time, patience and opportunity, you can still spoil almost any cat, if you know how to do it – and over time earn its love.

6) Even the most spoiled, loyal cat can still scratch you and hurt you.

7) Roses are beautiful and smell wonderful – but they have thorns; cats make faithful companions, are soft and fun to pet – but they have claws and teeth.

8) Cats are great listeners. Sometimes that’s all a person needs – is just someone to hear.

9) Cats put their crap away.

10) Cats are creatures of the night

11) A cat can see things in the dark that you can’t

12) You can never fully figure out what a cat is

thinking.

13) Having a cat in your life means you also have less mice in it as well.

14) Cats have natural elegance

15) Cats are natural snugglers – and they will show you what they like and where. They don’t always make you guess how to please them.

16) Cats will never fault you for an afternoon nap; they will encourage it.

17) Cats always land on their feet after something unexpected.

18) A good cat is by default low maintenance; both emotionally – and physically.

19) People who love cats and understand all of the above know more about giving and receiving authentic love then the average person.

20) Everything a man needs to know about how to love, treat, and appreciate a woman in his life, a cat can teach him.

Link to youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BETZxl_itYg

 

 

august 14, 2007

Video – Freedom is Not Free; a Must See youtube

Current mood:contemplative

An article of foxnews.com says that thousands are wanting to know the identity of a black Marine who posted a Youtube video of himself rapping. I have embedded the video and included the lyrics as provided by badassmarine.com

I happen to be a fan of what is termed Peformance Poetry; and this video is being described as ‘rap’ but it really falls more under the classification of Spoken Poetry.

My little brother is a Marine -whom I am very proud of, and my Grandfather came ashore D-Day plus 4. I had grandfathers and Great grandfathers who fought in the Civil and even the Revolutionary War.

Several years ago I started anonymously buying the lunch/dinner of any armed services personnel that I happened to spot where I was eating. I always try to stop a soldier and ask them if “anybody has thanked them for what they do today”- and then I shake their hand and thank them.

Regardless of your position for or against the war or your political persuasion, I strongly encourage you to watch this video somewhere privately. I made the mistake of clicking on the link while sitting here in this coffee shop, and found myself pretty much openly weeping with latte in hand and handkerchief in other. If you have not seen this young man’s passionate spoken poetry about how he feels about our country – then I am privileged to be the first one to show you his passion and artistry.

I believe what this man says:

Free

and She called…
Blacks, Whites…wait
African Americans and Caucasians, Asians, excuse me.
Vietnamese, Philipenes, Koreans and Jamaicans or
Haitans, waitin’ Hispanics y’all.

Please be paitent
Mexican, Puerto Ricans, Venezualean, Cuban, Dominican, Panamanian Democrats
I beg your pardon, you partied with the late, great Reagan?
Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic,
Methodist, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, 5 Percenters,
Hindu, Sunii Muslim, Brothers and Sisters who never seen the New York city
skyline when the twin towers still existed.
But still She called.

From the bowels of Ground Zero she sent this 911 distress signal.
Because She was in desperate need of a hero,
and didn’t have time to decipher what to call ’em,
so she called ’em all Her children.
The children of the stars and bars who needed to know nothing more than the fact that she called.
The fact that someone attempted to harm us
this daughter who covered us all with her loving arms.
And now these arms are sprawled across New York City streets.
A smoke filled lung, a silt covered faced,
and a solitary tear poured out of her cheek.
Her singed garments carpets Pennsylvania Avenue and the Pentagon was under her feet.
As she began to talk, she began to cough up small particles of debris
and said, “I am America, and I’m calling on the land of the free.”
So they answered.

All personal differences set to the side
because right now there was no time to decide which state building the Confederate flag should fly over,
and which trimester the embryo is considered alive,
or on our monetary units, and which God we should confide.
You see, someone attempted to choke the voice
of the one who gave us the right for choice,
and now she was callin.
And somebody had to answer.
Who was going to answer?

So they did.
Stern faces and chisled chins.
Devoted women and disciplined men,
who rose from the ashes like a pheonix
and said “don’t worry, we’ll stand in your defense.”
They tightened up their bootlaces
and said goodbye to loved ones, family and friends.
They tried to bombard them with the “hold on”, “wait-a-minute’s”, and “what-if’s”.
And “Daddy, where you goin?”.
And, “Mommy, why you leavin?”.
And they merely kissed them on their foreheads and said “Don’t worry, I have my reasons.
You see, to this country I pledged my allegience
to defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic.
So as long as I’m breathin, I’ll run though hell-fire,
meet the enemy on the front lines,
look him directly in his face,
stare directly in his eyes and scream,
“I AM AMERICA! WE WILL NOT BE TERRORIZED!
WE WILL NOT BE TERRORIZED!
I REFUSE TO BE AFRAID!
I’LL FIGHT YOU ANY COUNTRY, ANY CONTINENT, ANY TERRAIN.
I’LL FIGHT TO MY LAST BREATH!”

And if by chance death is my fate,
pin my medals upon my chest,
and throw Old Glory on my grave.
But, don’t y’all cry for me.
You see, my Father’s prepared a place.
I’ll be a part of his Holy army standing a watch at the Pearly Gates.
Because freedom was never free.
POW’s, and fallen soldiers
all paid the ultimate sacrafice
along side veterans who put themselves in harms way.
Risking their lives and limbs just to hold up democracy’s weight,
but still standing on them broken appendages anytime the National Anthem was played.
You see, these were the brave warriors that gave me the right
to say that I’m Black. Or white.

Or

African American or Caucasian,
I’m Asian, excuse me.
I’m Vietnamese, Philipene, Korean, or Jamaican.
I’m Haitan, Hispanic

Y’all, Please be paitent.
I’m Mexican, Puerto Rican, Venezualean, Cuban,
Dominican, Panamanian, Democrat
I beg your pardon, you see I partied with the late, great Reagan.
I’m Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic,
Methodist, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, 5 Percenters,
Hindu, Sunii Muslim,

Brothers and Sisters We’re just Americans.
So with that I say
“Thank You” to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines,
for preserving my rights
to live and die for this life
and paying the ultimate price for me to be…FREE!

You can read the article about this “bad ass Marine” and the search to find him at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,293244,00.html

 

August 18th 2007

Ann Rice on the Nature of Her Works

I came across this blog entry by Anne Rice in which she writes regarding the nature of the stories that she wrote before she made a decision for Christ. As most of you may know – the name “Anne Rice” if virtually synonymous with all things dark and dreadful; and to speak her name virtually seems to bring the lights down a bit and creates an ambience of gothic reverberations, with connotations of condemned souls, witches and vampires and evil run amok.

Regard her personae as you may- she provides an interesting foundation and apologetic; one that I am not so sure can be as readily dismissed as genuinely flawed and infirm as it might be by some condescending natured individuals; herein.

Being that a few of you who actually read what I write, are writers yourselves – you may find this to be of great interest.

Anne Rice can be found at http://www.annerice.com, the full content of her letter is posted below and came from her website.

Enjoy-

matthew lipscomb

8/15/2007 5:11 PM
TO MY READERS — On the Nature of My Earlier Works.

Since the publication of Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt, which included an Author’s Note regarding my Christian conversion and my new commitment to Christian literature, I have received many interesting emails about my earlier novels. Questions have come up as to the value of “dark stories,” and as to why I don’t, as a Christian, renounce works that include witches and vampires and other elements of the supernatural.

I have been answering these emails one by one now for several years.

I also receive a steady stream of emails from readers of The Vampire Chronicles expressing dismay that I might have renounced these books.

Questions from journalists regarding my earlier works and my attitude towards them, are as frequent now as these questions were in 2005 when Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt was published.

Obviously the subject is of concern to people, and no answer that I have made in any public interview, either on television, or in a newspaper, or on radio, is going to settle the matter.

So I feel it is imperative to make this statement now – not only for the new Christian readers who don’t know my earlier novels, but to clarify my position for the older readers who have supported, and remain avid fans of, my earlier works.

The intention here is not to offer these older works to Christian readers. It is simply to clarify what I see as a deep misunderstanding about the nature of these works.

Let me begin by saying that I see my earlier novels as part of a long tradition of “dark fiction” which includes some of the most highly prized religious works read in Western culture. Dante’s Inferno is a dark work in which Hell is described in considerable detail. Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth are both “dark works” in which ghosts play a key role. Macbeth involves three witches as well as a ghost, and the best lines in the play are spoken by the nihilistic villain, Macbeth himself. These plays are so highly prized by our culture that in my time Macbeth was taught in high school classes. One could not graduate from high school in those days without knowing about the ghost of Hamlet’s father, or about the mad obsessive cries of the guilt ridden Lady Macbeth.

Another dark work, John Milton’s world famous poem, Paradise Lost, focuses intensely on the population of Hell, and some have said that its real hero is Satan, a character who apparently has the best lines in the book.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a dark classic, is a highly moral indictment of the mad doctor for his meddling with life and death and abandoning the monster, his wretched offspring.

The novels of the Bronte sisters are some of the most famous “dark stories” of the nineteenth century, and Jane Eyre with the lurid spectacle of the mad woman discovered in the attic of Mr. Rochester’s house — and Jane’s supernatural call to return to her former beloved — is by any standards, a seminal work. I first read this book in the library of my Catholic high school in New Orleans.

During that same period, I read in our textbooks the novel, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, a grim dark story of a young man’s ambitions and sufferings dominated by the gothic horror of the mentally diseased Miss Havisham, a woman living out her life in a rotting wedding dress near the table of a rotting wedding feast, as she destroys the innocence of the hero and the heroine of the book.

Dickens’ Christmas Carol, a gothic ghost story, is even more well known than Great Expectations, and is widely viewed as one of the greatest Christmas stories ever written. The book invites the reader on a journey through pain and darkness led by three ghosts. The Victorians had a long well attested tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas time. They had no suspicion of the genre on moral grounds.

The short stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne, written in America, involve witches and Satan, and are highly moral in tone. I recommend above all others, the short story Young Goodman Brown, which involves an innocent man who witnesses a witches’ Sabbat.

Herman Melville’s masterpiece Moby Dick is an intensely dark story, involving biblical allegory and violence, as the famous Captain Ahab, in pursuit of the white whale, takes almost his entire crew to a watery grave.

Though I am not personally a fan of Flannery O’Connor, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention her dark and violent short stories and that she has a considerable Christian following who see high moral significance in her work.

I could list many more examples. Let me add only the legend of Faust. This is one of the most famous dark stories in any language. For those who find Goethe’s version too demanding, there is the opera Faust by Gounod – a beautiful and highly accessible version of the old tale. F. W. Murnau’s silent film, Faust, is now available to the public as well.

My point here is that “dark stories” have been part of our literature for a very long time, and that they are viewed as highly valuable by educated people throughout the West.

I am hardly stating an original idea when I say that such stories are transformative. They invite the reader on a journey which reflects perfectly the formula of Aristotle for great drama: as one reads (or watches the film or play), one feels pity and fear, and eventually experiences catharsis. One is taken to a place, through the literary experience, to which one might not have ever gone on one’s own. I feel strongly that dark stories demand that the audience earn the transformation; they require a certain suffering on the part of the audience as the price of eventual affirmation.

I would like to submit that my vampire novels and other novels I’ve written, such as the Mayfair family trilogy, and the novels, Servant of the Bones, Violin, Cry to Heaven and Feast of all Saints are attempting to be transformative stories as well. All these novels involve a strong moral compass. Evil is never glorified in these books; on the contrary, the continuing battle against evil is the subject of the work. The search for the good is the subject of the work.

Interview with the Vampire, the novel that brought me to public attention, is about the near despair of an alienated being who searches the world for some hope that his existence can have meaning. His vampire nature is clearly a metaphor for human consciousness or moral awareness. The major theme of the novel is the misery of this character because he cannot find redemption and does not have the strength to end the evil of which he knows himself to be a part. This book reflects for me a protest against the post World War II nihilism to which I was exposed in college from 1960 through 1972. It is an expression of grief for a lost religious heritage that seemed at that time beyond recovery.

Because I have written so many books, I will take only one other example for examination: the novel about the vampire Marius called Blood and Gold. The theme of this novel has to do with whether or not the Italian Renaissance and the artistic movement that reflected its humanism can redeem the central character and those he seeks to shepherd as apprentices as he himself seeks to create great works of art. The debate between the characters Marius and Armand has to do with whether Renaissance humanism can redeem Armand from a despair experienced by him after the loss of his Russian orthodox childhood. The true villains of the novel — a band of Satanists who are presented unsparingly as cruel and deluded — destroy the potentially beautiful refuge which Marius has created for his “family” and himself.

Much could be said, and has been said, about all of my works. I would like to say that the one thing which unites them is the theme of the moral and spiritual quest. A second theme, key to most of them, is the quest of the outcast for a context of meaning, whether that outcast is an 18th century castrato opera singer, or a young boy of mixed blood coming of age in ante-bellum New Orleans, or a person forced into a monstrous predatory existence like the young vampire, Lestat. For me, these themes are inherently significant and noble themes. They are worthy of exploration; they are evocative; they can and do reflect the deepest questions that humans face.

Yet, somehow, my earlier novels have been dismissed out of hand — by people who haven’t read them — as “immoral works.” They are not immoral works. They are not Satanic works. They are not demonic works. These are uninformed and unfair characterizations of these books, and this situation causes me deep personal pain.

If I had it to do over again, I would not use the word “vampire” in my novels. In 1976, when Interview with the Vampire was published there was no “vampire literature” published in America. There was no “Goth culture.” Certainly there was no “vampire lifestyle” and I am not sure there is any “vampire lifestyle” today. As far as I know vampires do not exist. I certainly don’t believe that vampires exist.

In 1976, I felt that the vampire was the perfect metaphor for the outcast in all of us, the alienated one in all of us, the one who feels lost in a world seemingly without God. In 1976, I felt I existed in such a world, and I was searching for God. I never dreamed that the word, vampire, would prevent people from examining this book as a metaphysical work. I thought the use of the word was a powerful device.

As I look back on it, I have to say that the use of this word did indeed bring me popular attention, but it brought me that attention at a dreadful price.

I also have to confess that, whatever my intentions, there is now no consensus among my very wide readership as to what all these earlier books really mean. In some ways that is interesting and encouraging. In other ways, it can drive an author to desperation.

I’ve enjoyed not only great popular success, but serious critical attention as well. I’ve had the great honor of having my books assigned to students in high school and in college. But I also receive evidence almost daily that I am rejected out of hand as some sort of demonic writer — or goth popular writer — by those who have never read a word of these books.

The existence of my Goth audience continues to create misunderstanding. Yet I remain convinced that many of the young “Goth” readers who write to me are hungering for transcendence. They gravitate to these books because they find their environment sterile, secular, and materialistic and to a large extent unsatisfying. They “identify” with my heroes as my heroes search for beauty and for truth. These young readers have deluged me with poems and paintings in past years. They, as well as other readers, express openness to the painting, music, history and philosophy discussed in my books. These readers are looking for something enduring and something meaningful, and I cherish their response to these books.

Are there those who misunderstand these works? Of course. Any art involves risk. Michelangelo’s beautiful naked figures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel caused a later Pope to want to cover up their private parts. History has not been kind to that Pope. Even a pretty Holy Card, with a feminine faced Jesus bending tenderly toward the viewer can alienate some one from religion who finds the image sugary and insipid and concludes that religion itself is artistically and morally bankrupt.

There is no art without risk. There is no Christian art without risk. Reading a book is an experience. Looking at a painting is an experience. There is no experience without risk.

Again, I do not encourage Christian writers to approach my earlier books. That has not been my purpose here. My purpose, however, has been to clarify the ambition of these books, the intentions of the author to write something of complexity and innate value, something that will transform the reader for the better.

Individual readers, and history, will determine whether or not I succeeded in my intentions. But at least you know now what drove me to create these works and why I can not and will not renounce them. And perhaps you will forgive me for adding here that these earlier works have always enjoyed from the beginning a large Christian audience, and something of a literary audience, made up of those who appreciate their spiritual and moral themes.

For me, the entire body of my earlier work, reflects a movement towards Jesus Christ. In 2002, I consecrated my work to Jesus Christ. This did not involve a denunciation of works that reflected the journey. It was rather a statement that from then on I would write directly for Jesus Christ. I would write works about salvation, as opposed to alienation; I would write books about reconciliation in Christ, rather than books about the struggle for answers in a post World War II seemingly atheistic world.

My books reflect now, as they always have, what I see and feel and struggle to understand.

Let me also affirm the following: my goal has always been to write for the mainstream. I have tried to create books that could be read by eleven year olds as well as adults from all walks of life. I have never wanted to write for an elite. Entertainment, plot, action, character — all these elements are important to me. I think books for the popular audience can be great books. Dickens is my hero because he was both a popular writer and a great writer. That is what I would like to be.

Therefore my books are deliberate mixtures of many ingredients. They work on different levels. They inevitably attract different people for different reasons. But popularity alone has prejudiced some people against them. This is a source of pain to me.

Again, I give thanks for having acquired a large readership. I don’t want to complain about the misunderstandings that have accompanied that popularity. I want rather to add a clarifying statement to the record for any and all who might care.

Thank you for reading this essay.
Anne Rice

 

(Originally posted Oct 9 2007)

Archtypical Halloween Dressup Characters – Horrific vs. The Existential, and which shall I be?

The following was a response to a Bulliten post by Amy (http://bulletins.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=bulletin.read&messageID=4560611141)

Halloween seems to be the focal point for spiritual anxieties – some warranted- others not. I profess an intrest in classical “monsters:” ones rooted in the classically-archetypical/mythological sense; Wolfman – the hidden beast, Dracula – sensual overlord of the night and consumer of life essence, Frankenstein- the horror of inadvertent yet good-willed scientific adventures gone awry. Existentially vacant figures such as Freddie or Jason bore me – with the exception of their connection back to the actual potential of their actual literal news line incarnation; memories of hearing a knife-welding lunatic being shot by an off duty policeman after mercilessly flaying a hapless woman who ‘was just walking her dog’ yesterday in New York echo in my ears. Meaningless violence inflicting, physical horror/violence archetypes are less likely to evoke my mimicry – even for a day vs. the existential ones: who represent actual discomforts/personal introspections present in all of us; for as while I would never meditate upon what it would be like to horrifically dismember a friend or a stranger in some orgy of senseless blood and chaos – I know that lurking within, I do have dark wild impulses, something like a moon could unleash, I have created monsters with my own technologies that destroyed both me and others in ways unexpected and uncalculated and I am certainly guilty of living off the life force of others in my darkest most selfish and controlling moments.