Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almos

Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almos

by Frank Schaeffer

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Overview

By the time he was nineteen, Frank Schaeffer's parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer, had achieved global fame as bestselling evangelical authors and speakers, and Frank had joined his father on the evangelical circuit. He would go on to speak before thousands in arenas around America, publish his own evangelical bestseller, and work with such figures as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Dr. James Dobson. But all the while Schaeffer felt increasingly alienated, precipitating a crisis of faith that would ultimately lead to his departure—even if it meant losing everything.

With honesty, empathy, and humor, Schaeffer delivers “a brave and important book” (Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog)—both a fascinating insider's look at the American evangelical movement and a deeply affecting personal odyssey of faith.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786726455
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 09/30/2008
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 488
Sales rank: 1,027,387
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Frank Schaeffer is a bestselling author of fiction and nonfiction, and also a documentary and feature film director. Frank and his wife, Genie, live in Massachusetts and have three children.

What People are Saying About This

Andre Dubus III

"As a lifelong liberal democrat, it's a pleasure for me to see Frank Schaeffer turn his back on the extreme religious right here, but it is a far deeper pleasure to go where this painstakingly honest and courageous memoir really takes us, into a finely nuanced exploration of how easy it is to lose one's way and how difficult it is to find one's true direction home. We are fortunate that Frank Schaeffer's path has taken him from the rigid fundamentalist thinking of his youth to where he is now, working not in stark black and white, but in the blessed gray from which true art arises. Crazy for God is a brave and important book."--(Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog)

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Crazy for God 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This a sometimes serious, surprisingly funny, but honest portrayal of what life was like growing up as the son of one of the most well-know evangelical leaders of the 1960's and '70's. As the son of a minister myself, I can relate to being 'folded into' into the ministry of my parents. I can also relate to having lots of strangers in my home night and day and a sense, whether real or imagined, that the my parents thought 'the work of the Lord' was more important than me or my interests. I can remember, like Frank Schaeffer, being forbidden to dance, go to movies or even join the cub scouts because it was on the same night as mid-week prayer service. I , like Schaeffer, felt different from all the other kids. And like Frank Schaeffer, my parents had their battles and my preacher dad had an explosive temper. Like Frank's dad, my dad never showed his temper outside the home. It made me also question my faith and Christianity. Unlike Frank however, I now consider myself an agnostic for several reasons, only one being the way I was raised.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an interesting look into the life of Frankie Schaeffer the son of prominent Christians Edith and Francis Schaeffer of L'Abri fame and gives the reader a perspective of the ups and downs of being the offspring of extremely busy, driven people during an exciting period of time in American politics. In addition, Schaeffer's writing style means easy reading, and insightful, interesting, and humorous takes on some sensitive topics. But, I rated this book just ok because when you get down to it, most of the book is about what appears to be self-justification for questionable behavior on his part. In striving to justify himself he trashes the world around him, including his parents and ends up bringing their honesty and integrity into question. In the process he proceeds to mock not only them, who he confessed loved him dearly, but also associates and teachers. And, he does so in a manner that can only be termed ¿cruel¿ especially to those unable to defend themselves at this point in time. To his credit he does manage to recognize and confess some of his failures, but seems to lack the fortitude to acknowledge they were based on his desires, not his parents or peers. After all, he admits to being the dominant personally who was driven to have his way. And, by taking advantage of his parents love for him, always seemed to get it to the detriment of the L¿Abri community. As someone who respected Edith and Francis Schaeffer particularly for their work in the area of Christian Apologetics, and having talked with a number of individuals whose lives were changed for the positive by having had the opportunity to spend time at L¿Abri, I found his treatment of his parents and many of his friends, disappointing. It is an interesting book, but I think it may have been written too soon. Perhaps the writer is still on a journey of sorts when it comes to deciding who he really is and what he believes about his parents and the events that transpired. I wish he had waited a few more years down the road. Time has a way of putting things in perspective and I suspect the picture painted by Schaeffer is a bit distorted by guilt and perhaps disappointment in self. I would like to see him write more on the same topic 5 years from now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading, 'Crazy For God', my how this story hit home for me in our journey of faith and life. I know that no two journeys are the same, but the lessons learned and the perspectives shared in this journal of life seem to touch on some familiar themes in our life. To Frank I would say - 'Thank you for your courage and your families courage to tell your story! I am deeply touched by your boldness to tell this story with honest vulnerable transparency. I love the fact that you took a step of courage and shared your doubts of God and even at one point questioned his existence. You are putting to paper what all of us have wrestled with in our minds, but are too fearful to admit. Thanks for sharing the worts of your humanity as well! It was a breath of fresh cool clean air to breath.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book, and am very thankful that I did. Having lauded Francis Schaeffer back when I was a college student, and thinking that he was the 'thinking person's' Christian, I now see the struggles within the man and the family. What a shame that Francis Schaeffer himself wasn't able to write about his own torn inner self so that we humans who thought we knew him could know him even better than what his son has been able to provide, insight-wise. However, the book that Frank 'the little sh*t from Switzerland' as others called him, has written, is more than good enough. I found myself and my own struggles in many of his. That whole feeling of being a traitor if you question what you had heretofore believed. For the past few years, I have gone through my own crisis of faith, wondering what I believed, or indeed, even IF I believed. I find I still do believe--for now--but not as I did before I had so many unanswerable questions. It's interesting to me that Frank Schaeffer does not get more explicit about his own faith, how it looks, what he believes in, but focuses more on how nutty his upbringing was and how some of the family have mellowed with time, and others have not been able to get over their allegiance to what they were once taught to consider gospel truth. His description of his wife Genie leads the reader to believe that her love and acceptance of him 'teenagers when they married' has a lot to do with him being able to be himself. I congratulate them on their commitment to their marriage and to each other. Rather than think of Frank Schaeffer's 'walking away from the faith of his childhood' as some kind of failure, I think it more indicative of the maturing of faith that his father and mother probably would have loved to be able to give themselves and each other, had there not been such external 'and internal' pressure to continue on the same constricted path that they had originally begun to forge. This is good reading for anyone who calls himself a Christian--whether you are one who thinks you have all the answers, or, as Frank Schaeffer himself admits--has often been wrong about what he believed.
OneWomanInk More than 1 year ago
Not much more to say than that we need many, many more books that tell the truth in an era of lies, propaganda, and media manipulation. That it is a fantastic blend of history and memoir makes it all the better. That this story has been ruminating for decades, shaping domestic and foreign policy, religious freedoms and rights, and is ultimately destroying America...well, it not only sickens me, but scares me to death. Plus, I had a few laughs, as well! Frank Schaeffer is a gifted writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking, funny, courageous, and poignant. What a fascinating life. In his new book, Crazy for God, Frank Schaeffer is willing to share his journey as it winds its way through private and public personalities and situations. The youngest child of the famous and gifted Francis and Edith Schaeffer, Frank brings us his unique story with particular authority, credibility and courage. It takes courage to speak up now while so many people in this book are still living. They are in the American and European public as well as in his family. This memoir is Frank's journey, with his experiences, continued faith, and open critical self-evaluation. We should all be so honest
Guest More than 1 year ago
Imagine trying to explain your life - good, bad, inconsistent, embarrassments - everything. That's pretty much what Frank Schaeffer has done in ¿Crazy for God.¿ Having read many of the criticisms from those who can't seem to come to grips with the concept of Francis and Edith Schaeffer being less than models of perfection, I have to question whether those individuals finished reading this memoir. I find a Frank Schaeffer who painstakingly tries to share his struggles, doubts, shortcomings, regrets, failures, and - finally - his coming to terms with his father, mother, wife, children, and faith. I find Mr. Schaeffer to be much harder on himself 'and his work' in this book than on anyone else. Schaeffer does something else - he allows us to get the perspectives of his friends, siblings, and children. He seems to give them all the room they need to share their memories and offer their slants on the events in their shared experiences. Chapter 25 is a must read for everyone who has ever attended a prayer meeting. Having more than a passing familiarity with at least two of the worlds Mr. Schaeffer exposes 'the political and the evangelical', I find his accounts to ring with more truth than most in either camp would care to admit. In the end, we find a man who is more interested in dealing with life in all of its inconsistencies and nuances than in defining everything in a simplistic ¿black/white - us/them¿ fashion. I would recommend this book for anyone who is ready to wrestle with some of their own preconceived notions about themselves and their beliefs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While Schaeffer gives a great behind the scenes look at the rise of fundementalist christianity and the religious right during the 70s theres a hint of envy here too. Seems like Schaeffer making his dad into the one true pioneer of those days and every other fundementalist leader a copy cat who imitaded his fathers genius if not simple minded charlatens. Schaeffer does the usual apologia for his own shortcomings and ruthlessly washes the famlies dirty laundry in public mostly to excuse and justify himself while laying claim to his fathers mantle for his own aggrandizement. Horrifically self serving the book reads like a confession at an AA meeting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Author certainly did have a personal committment to details of his experience. Some of the details were not of interest to me as a reader but the overall content and conclusions I DID resonate with.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great indictment of the religious right in America told from the perspective of someone who was there from the beginning. It is insightful and at the same time amusing as it puts a face to the evangelical movement and gives some insights into how it started, how it was twisted, and where it went wrong.
LhLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very interesting read. Having grown up somewhat familiar with the names and ideals he was talking about it was eye opening to hear his side of the story. Gave me a lot to think about. A few times, he tends to rant and get off topic, but he still is able to tie up all the various strings he starts.
myrlton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As one who admired Francis and Edith Schaeffer and their life's work in L'Abri, I was interested to read their son's unusual re-telling of his life. As the youngest child, he writes like aspoiled brat who wants to 'take back' his role in bringing Francis's influence to its peak during the 1970's and 1980's. As I recall, he seemed to enjoy his role in motivating Christians to take an interest in politics and especially in taking up the Pro-Life cause after the legal despotism of the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 wrongly took the laws controlling abortion from the States. Frankie seemed to relish the travel, the fame and the influence he welded back then. One of Frankie's earlierbooks, "A Time for Anger" urged Christians to get angry and surround abortion clinics. His logic was that the government couldn't arrest millions of Christians because the legal system would collaspe. Oddly, this earlier work isn't listed as written by Frankie Schaeffer in the preface of Crazy for God.Crazy for God is well-written, but has a bitter sarcastic and harsh tone. Frankie seems really angry. Perhaps some of that anger might stem from his unresolved guilt over trashing the amazing life and scholarship of his Father to justify his departure from the branch of the Christian faith he was raised in to join the Greek Orthodox faith. I wish him well and salute him for his support of our military. His views offers some balance needed to correct some of the more radical stances of the Religious Right, but I believe the Religious Right has been a blessing overall to America, than the curse Frankie seems to want to libel it with.
phyllis01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The title says it all. Schaeffer is a good writer and paints a picture of his family that was one way in public, and another in private.
GeekGoddess on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found the story of his life interesting, and I was angry at how such a small handful of people changed the politic climate and let the minority fundamentalist crazies have such a big voice in how our country and our government have progressed.
Jthierer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This memoir is well-written, but I found my enjoyment hampered by the unlikeable nature of most of the main figures. While this provides evidence that Schaeffer was probably presenting an accurate portrait (not least of himself), it makes it hard to root for any of them.
MichaelWoodhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The subtitle for this in-depth look at the life of theologian and Christian apologist Francis A. Schaeffer¿s son is How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back.Those familiar with the Schaeffers will also probably be familiar with some of Frank¿s evangelical works which include Addicted to Mediocrity; A Time for Anger; amongst others, as well as the film presentations How Should We Then Live, and Whatever Happened to the Human Race. However, he is also the author of The Calvin Becker Trilogy (Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma) and Baby Jack, as well as the non-fiction works, Keeping Faith; Faith of Our Sons; and Voices from the Front.As may be discerned when one reads this book, in many respects, Frank is still an ¿angry young man¿, although this time, his anger seems more directed towards himself than at anyone else in particular. This moving memoir takes the reader behind the scenes, so to speak, of the author¿s life with his parents and siblings, friends, co-workers, wife and children, and reveals much more than what the reader might expect. That is to say, in ¿real life¿, the Schaeffers, like many other Christian ¿icons¿ and Frank isn¿t afraid to name some of them--were and are just as human as the rest of us, some of them with even greater foibles than we might want to believe.Frank presents the memoir in four sections: Childhood, Education, Turmoil, and Peace. Although focusing on his own emotional and psychological tribulations, he manages to help the reader understand how people and experiences helped shape who he first became, and why he gradually distanced himself from the evangelical movement, turning instead, to Greek Orthodoxy.Frank is remarkably transparent throughout this book, sharing how more and more alienated he felt in spite of the fact that he and his father were popular evangelical authors and speakers, particularly to fundamentalist churches and organizations crying out to them that they needed to ¿take back America¿. Further, Frank describes his vacillating life as a rebellious young man, a filmmaker and a father, and his eventual journey back to a new prominence as a writer.The book ends on a poignant note: ¿maybe there is a God who forgives, who loves, who knows. I hope so. Anything is possible in world where a daughter forgives her father, for ignorance, for anger, for failure, and places her daughter in his arms.¿ For those interested in a different perspective on Francis and Edith Schaeffer, l'Abri, and the fundamentalist right-wing evangelical movement, as well as the touching story of someone deeply involved in it all, this is a must-read.First Reviewed for TCM Reviews
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This memoir is well-written, but I found my enjoyment hampered by the unlikeable nature of most of the main figures. While this provides evidence that Schaeffer was probably presenting an accurate portrait (not least of himself), it makes it hard to root for any of them.
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