For years now it has been with a bit of "guilty pleasure" that I have enjoyed the writings of Anne Rice. For those of you who don't know her, her most famous writings are the Vampire Chronicles, including Interview with a Vampire. I really like the way she depicted the immortal life and especially the religious undertow's that were contained in almost all her writings. I must admit I haven't read every one of her books. Mostly I was intrigued by the character of Lestat, one of her vampires. He was always seeking for a deeper meaning in his life. It drove him to encounter the vampire "gods" and even Satan himself, became interested, though I never got a chance to read the novel where Lestat encounters him.
Recently I read an article in Christianity Today that said she had just published a new book entitled Christ The Lord. At first the cynic in me went, "Oh no, now she's done it. Depicting Christ as a vampire. It was something she hinted at in earlier novels, but I don't think she'd actually do it." However, reading further into the article I found that she, like Mel Gibson, had recently come back to the Catholic church and the book was written as an account based mainly on the Gospels. This idea got my attention and I ended up buying the book with some of my Christmas money.
It is a really good read and I highly recommend it. Not only does she stay true to the character of Jesus we find in the Gospels, but she also shows a remarkable understanding of Jewish customs of the day. The really interesting part is that this is a book written about Jesus' childhood. The part not recorded in the Gospels and it is told from His perspective.
Part of me has been wondering for a while now what it was like for Jesus to "grow up." I mean we know from Luke that He "grew in wisdom, stature and favor with God and man" (Lk 2:52), but what was that actually like for Him. Weird to think of the Son of God growing in favor with God, huh? We also know He never sinned (Heb. 4:15). So He was always "perfect." What would it mean then for Him to grow? Can one be "perfect" and yet still "grow"? Sort of messes with the mind, no? Anne Rice illustrates this happening in a interesting way. I don't want to take away from those of you who might read the book, so I won't really go in depth into it. Let's jut say her version of the young Jesus, is not yet fully aware of Himself. That He has the divine seed in Him is clear from the get go, but it is something He grows into. I'm not sure all the conservative theologians would be in agreement with her, but it does make for fascinating reading.
Also really good is Anne's own account of her journey back to the Catholic faith which she also includes in this book. The novel that is on the shelves today is not the one she intended to write in the first place. It was through researching that she found the real Jesus and came back to a saving faith in Him. Interesting how that can happen. I too have had my ideas of God and Jesus blown away by the "real article." He is unlike anything I could have imagined. Yet I find myself very thankful for that. After all, if I could imagine Him, then I could control Him and wouldn't really need Him in the first place, now would I. Thank God I was wrong about Him!