Tag Archives: anne rice

called out of darkness

Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, by Anne Rice

i was never a huge anne rice fan. i’m sure her vampire books were great, or she wouldn’t have developed such a huge following. but when i stumbled onto her first christ the lord book, i was hooked. and intrigued. not only is anne rice writing a stunning series (the second one was excellent also), it’s just wild that these books are coming from a woman who spent most of her life as an athiest, writing fiction about vampires.

the little epilogue in the back of the first christ the lord book, where rice tells a short version of her journey away from, then — a few decades later — back to faith, is worth the price of that book.

and, now, we have a full length version of the story.

called out of darkness tells most of it (though there are still a few places where you can tell rice is playing her cards close). she spends a good deal of page real estate (almost too much) on the sites, sounds, smells and feelings of her catholic upbringing in new orleans. i could eventually see the value in this, but struggled to get through it all. it was, i’ll say, interesting to think about how christianity was such a significant part of rice’s life before she could really read. so, her faith (as a child) wasn’t based on the written word.

rice is haunted by her former faith, in a way, for the many decades of her unbelief. it never really goes away. and when she moves back to new orleans again, the pull of those feelings seem almost inescapable.

i tend to like spiritual autobiographies, and some of them rank as my favorite books. this one was a little too plodding to rank that high, but it’s still a very good book that i’m glad i read.

btw: scot mcknight conducted a interview with rice for his blog, and it’s worth reading. part 1, part 2

monday morning update

the weekend that was: ah, thanksgiving weekend. great family time. we had a couple families over for thanksgiving day. one of them was my cousin and his wife and baby, who live in LA. they spent the night thursday, and we had a great time with them through friday late morning. the rest of the weekend was filled with massive to do lists, which included decorating the house for christmas. this included a challenging moment when we discovered that the nice fake tree friends had purchased for us last year (we’d always had real trees prior to last year) was too tall for the ceilings in our new house. but it was only about 8 inches too tall. so i used a variety of metal-working tools to hack off 8 inches. and, voila, we now have a decorated tree that nicely mushes up into the ceiling! also had to do a little wire splicing when i discovered i’d cut through one of the light wires. got the lights on the outside of the house also, made our christmas shopping lists (and did a tiny bit of shopping), planned max’s birthday, and a whole bunch of other stuff. friday night we had a family night at the movies: max and jeannie saw bolt, while liesl and i saw twilight (i’ll try to post about this movie later this week). saturday night, liesl was out, and jeannie, max and i watched fred clause while eating cookie dough. sunday morn was church (a really wonderful communion service), followed by bits of the sad chargers game interspersed with decorating. and sunday night we hosted our home church at our house. we had a really meaningful time of writing down things we need to release and things we’d like to embrace on paper. then we wrote one of each that we really want to move forward on onto small colored pieces of paper, then fed them through a shredder. after some discussion about these in triplets, we came back and the person leading had turned those shredded pieces into confetti. we all took a small bunch of the confetti and put it into little round clear boxes (used by people who collect and sort beads). we’re each keeping these to remember to pray for each other. really cool.

where i am at the moment: i have a couple days home before leaving for our canadian convention, and i’m taking them to do some writing and shopping. jeannie and i have a lunch date today, followed by some christmas shopping; but otherwise, i’ll be writing (the “middle school ministry” book is due may 5, and i still have about 7 chapters to go!).

on my to-do list this week: after getting some writing done, and working on my seminars for the canadian youth workers conference, i’ll be in toronto from wednesday on. should be a wonderful event.

procrastinating about: i’m not really procrastinating about writing, but it feels like it, because i have so much to complete. i also have a magazine column due today. i suppose i’m procrastinating about getting caught up on email and facebook messages, since i’m not finding the time for them.

book i’m in the midst of: finished anne rice’s amazing called out of darkness, and started reading steven covey’s (the younger one) the speed of trust, which is shaping up to be a fantastic read.

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: still soaking in all my 80s christian alt i wrote about last week. started listening to christmas music over the weekend, and have been laughing over the gift i received of colbert’s christmas cd.

next trip: wednesday, to toronto, for the canadian youth workers conference. come home next monday.

how i’m feeling about this week: a little stressed at the moment, and don’t feel like leaving town again; but i’m excited about the convention.

bonus: today is my son max’s 11th birthday. crazy. i’ve been telling him for years that the teenage years don’t start at 13 anymore, but are usually considered to be 11 – 20-something. so he’s convinced he becomes a teenager today, which is awesome, because he’s really still a kid who loves being a kid. i had to tell him, “well, this is the year when you start becoming a teenager.” pop over to max’s blog and wish him a happy birthday!

monday morning update

the weekend that was: nywc in nashville, baby! awesome. i’m wiped out, as i should be.

where i am at the moment: in my room, preparing for my closing general session talk.

on my to-do list this week: wrap up the convention, have dinner with the ys staff who are here, then fly home tuesday. a day of writing and catching up in the office, then a few wonderful days of relaxing with my fam over the thanksgiving weekend.

procrastinating about: nuttin’ in particular.

book i’m in the midst of: anne rice’s spiritual autobiography, called out of darkness

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: i downloaded a wad of old favorites from the 80s christian music scene (from this website), and put them all in a playlist that i have listened to, with great joy, all week: undercover, altar boys, 77s, riki michelle, adam again, mercy seat, daniel amos, vector, lifters, the call, and many more.

next trip: home, tomorrow! then, i head to our canadian convention mid-week next week.

how i’m feeling about this week: looking forward to some rest!

four pieces of randomness

a small handful of things that didn’t seem to warrant full, individual posts…

i really like facebook, and use it all the time. and i have a pretty good amount of “friends”, mostly due to my job. in fact, since latin america seems to have caught on to facebook, and i travel to our ys conventions in argentina and guatemala most years, i have a bunch of spanish-speaking fb “friends” with whom i cannot even communicate, other than the occasional “hola!” on a normal day, i get 2 – 5 friend requests. but tuesday, i was at my writing spot, and noticed that a TON of friend requests were coming in. i’d seen a virus-y kind of thing on facebook recently, where a comment told me my picture was on some other site (and it was clearly not from the person who theoretically sent it). so i started to think i might be getting slammed with some kind of virus thing. when it got to 45 friend requests, i twittered about my concern. when it got to 95 requests (in less than two hours), i was really starting to freak out. by the time i got to the office, there were 150 friend requests waiting for my approval. i wasn’t sure what to do with them. then, i noticed in one of them, that the person had tipped me off to the fact that a ys online survey told him to do this. i saw our internet peeps had sent out a survey about our weekly emails. so i clicked through the survey, and there at the end, was a little “joke”; something like, “click here and add marko as a friend on facebook. shh! don’t tell him, and this will be our little secret.” well, there you have it. over the last few days i’ve had a steady stream of friend requests — about 300 or 400 now, i’d say. crazy. i might have to fire someone.

my awesome son max had a few words, as kids are prone to do, that he pronounced wrong when he was little. one by one, these fell by the wayside. jeannie and i loved each one of them, and were always sad to see them go. the last hold-on was that he has always said “callerpitter” when he means “caterpillar”. the other day, caterpillar was on his weekly spelling list. jeannie and i groaned, and were so sad to see the veil removed for him once and for all. he likes being a kid, and insists he’s going to keep saying it callerpitter, and even says he’s going to spell it that way on the spelling quiz.

saw an amazing movie on the plane to nashville. it’s called henry poole is here, and stars luke wilson. it’s the story of a terminally ill guy who buys a surburban home down the street from his childhood home to basically sit alone and die. but his neighbors won’t leave him alone, especially when one is convinced she sees the face of christ in a badly done stucco job on his back wall. it’s wonderfully slow paced, and a beautiful story of mystery and healing. i teared up multiple times.

i’m reading anne rice’s spiritual autobiography right now (anne rice is the massively popular author of a bunch of vampire books, and also the brilliant newer series, christ the lord). in a bit i read yesterday, she revealed that her given name, which she used until she was in elementary school and decided to start using the out-of-thin-air name “anne”, was… howard. seriously.