December 22, 2007

Frank Schaeffer is Crazy For God

John Fea at the Religion in American History blog has a review of Frank Schaeffer's newest book, Crazy For God. He gives a better summery of the book than I do in my own review, and I agree with him that many people, evangelical or not, are going to read the book in the hopes of getting some good dirt on the Schaeffer family. There's little enough of that in the book, though -- Frank tends to paint his father as an intellectual who was used by the nascent Religious Right movement back in the '70s, and his mother as dutiful housewife who sometimes regretted her own missed opportunities. But we do read of Francis' temper, and Frank's own youthful indiscretions, so maybe there's something there for the gossip-mongers after all.

I really think, as I wrote at Blogcritics back in November, that the real value of the book is for Christians, especially Christian leaders. Frank was thrust into a role that he really wasn't cut out for -- he was the heir apparent to his father's ministry. It didn't matter that he enjoyed art, and was a skilled painter and movie maker; he was called to carry on the family business.

Unfortunately, it seems he was called by humans, not by God. And when you enter a ministry without the calling of God on your life, you will not succeed. It seems that now Frank has found his true 'calling' in life; unfortunately, he lost his faith in the process.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 05:37 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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1 Actually, I disagree. Frank wasn't called upon to carry on the family business at all. Sure, he joined the lecture circuit, but that was all due to his work as filmmaker. His parents didn't thrust him into anything - in fact, HE thrust his father into the more prominent public role through the film series. His sisters, along with their husbands, were active in L'Abri. Prisca and John at Swiss L'Abri, Debby and Udo at Swiss L'Abri, and Susan and Ranald who founded English L'Abri. Tho Franky was put on the payroll for a few months when he was first married, he and Genie certainly were not regular workers who tutored and counseled students, gave lectures, had students into their home for meals which they hosted, etc. Everybody DID care about his art. Through his parents' connections he was able to have some art gallery openings. And his parents viewed his filmmaking as continuation of his desire to be an artist. As did Frank.

Posted by: Christine at December 22, 2007 08:03 PM (Lc8mp)

2 I didn't say that his parents put him there. I think that once his father was in the spotlight (and I agree that Frank did a lot to put his father in that position), the people who were benefiting from it wanted to make sure that the Schaeffer ministry would continue after Francis was gone, and they saw that Frank could be molded. So they molded him. When I started the book, I was really looking for reasons to not like it. There are plenty of things that Frank mentions that I think could have been left out, but the book really didn't anger me as much as I thought it would. Maybe because I wasn't exposed to Francis Schaeffer's teachings until later in my Christian life, so I didn't have any real emotional attachment to him or L'Abri. I think that the book can teach us a lot about making sure the people we put into positions of importance are actually the people that God has for those positions, and not the people we want there because of who their family is.

Posted by: Warren at December 22, 2007 08:53 PM (6ZwcZ)

3 I heard Frank speak on NPR today and was very impressed. It was an excellent hour-long interview with Chris Boyd. I would not say he has lost his faith; he now belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church. I would also say that if and when he does lose his faith, it will be because he can no longer reconcile the truth of the facts of this world and the misinformation he received as a youth. I contend he has seen the light and recognizes how he helped the religious right destroy America.

Posted by: Cindy at February 18, 2008 07:04 PM (WKZiq)

4 Well, Cindy, I of course disagree with the idea that he received "misinformation" as a youth. I think that if you study what Francis Schaeffer wrote you see someone who approaches matters of faith in the most rational way possible. And when I say that he "lost his faith" I guess I was talking more about any semblance of an evangelical heritage he once had -- probably not the best choice of words on my part. From what I've read, he's pretty active in his Greek Orthodox church. And of course I fail to see how encouraging people to vote according to their beliefs and values is destroying America. Last time I checked, voting for or against people based on our own individual beliefs is encouraged around here, and is actually a basic principle of the American brand of government.

Posted by: Warren at February 18, 2008 09:44 PM (6ZwcZ)

5 Does anyone know where Frankey Schaeffer lives now or how to get in touch with him?

Posted by: fleur at March 30, 2008 07:18 PM (j4JCO)

6 I was reading, online, some of Frank's remarks in several interviews and my first response was that he sounds more like an overindulged person of about the age 25 or 30....certainly not someone who is in his mid fifties. His attitude toward those who have disappointed him is very immature and "unChristian". Frank seems to think that this is 'all about him'....this Christian journey. His outting of sorts of his parents is wrong. He is not honoring them or covering for them....it does not matter that visitors at L'Abri were or were not aware of their personal and marital foibles. It is unseemly and even bratty of him to take it upon himself to speak and write of those very personal things.....especially with his father gone and unable to refute anything. I was also interested in Frank's repeating something which could just be considered hearsay as he did not hear it himself---that Billy Graham told Francis that he (Billy) was afraid of dying. As a Christian who is NOT afraid of dying (and I'm in my 60's now and getting closer and closer to that day)it came to me that what Billy Graham *may* have meant and it was lost in the telling is something that I have heard said by several older, mature Christians who are established in and walking in Truth and who have spent their lives committed to serving Christ. They have occasionally said to me that they "fear" dying before they have truly reached their destiny that God had in mind when He put them on this earth. Their 'fear' is not death; rather, it is dying before they have completed their purposes in their destiny; that they may have missed something that God had for them; that they might die with serious regrets. One cannot imagine Billy Graham actually being afraid of anything, much less death. But one can imagine that someone with his zeal might fret that he has not gone the distance and run the good race and is fearful of not finishing well. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Watch the morning watch. Do not see the face of man until you have seen the face of God. Before you enter on the day with its temptations, look up into His face and hide His Word in your heart." Frederick Brotherton Meyer ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands toward God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks." Abba Zeno A Desert Father

Posted by: DFM at April 03, 2008 12:05 AM (j4JCO)

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