Sex, Gore, and the Christ Child

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I am currently reading Anne Rice’s Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. Since I am just beginning it, I don’t want to prejudice the reader with a too-soon review. Still, I find interesting the USA Today book review of the novel. The novel is told from the perspective of a seven-year-old Jesus, returning to Galilee after his sojourn with his parents in Egypt.

Reviewer Susan Kelly misses the sex and gore of Rice’s earlier vampire novels, before her return to the Roman Catholic Church in 1998. Kelly writes:

The greatest flaw is that Rice treats her subject so respectfully that his narration is staid. The lush imagery of her earlier works, dripping in sexuality and cruelty, is greatly diminshed becuase of the youth of her narrrator. If there are sequels (and she has said there will be), her savior chronicles will be better served by the evocative language that’s her signature.

Kelly doesn’t even seem to notice that maybe there’s something else at work here. Perhaps Rice’s narrator doesn’t drip with illicit sexuality and cruelty because he’s seven. Or maybe it is because he’s Jesus Christ.

We live in a fearful and cowardly time. The crisis we face is not a crisis of clarity but a crisis of courage.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Public Theologian at Christianity Today and Director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project.