No, it is not.
I twittered last night that I am “ready to stop seeing articles and blog posts about anne rice and the demise of American Christianity.” While I recognize the irony in posting a blog entry about this after tweeting that I’m ready to stop reading about this, I am a bit amazed that this story continues to get so much play, not only as it makes the circuit of the major news sources but as it is hashed and rehashed in blogs, tweets, whatever.
Is this really news? The American church has been in decline for years, maybe even decades. Even many of those who are most committed to the church recognize that the American church has, in many ways, failed and given up, leading us toward a place of exile (following the church in the rest of the Western world).
Anne Rice is neither the first nor the last to point out the apparent inconsistencies in the theory versus the practice of Christianity. In fact, it happens in the story of some of the earliest followers of Christ, as a spirit/demon laughs in the face of those trying to cast out demons, asking “I know this Jesus you speak of, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15) In other words, I recognize there is something to the teachings of Jesus – there is some power there that I have to recognize – but you don’t have what it takes. None of us do.
So, the Anne Rice’s of the world, along with many others, will continue to be disappointed and dejected. The decline of organized religion, including Christianity, across America will likely continue for some years to come. This is something worth studying, thinking about, and discussing, but it is not news.