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Peter T Chattaway

frank(y) schaeffer

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That's how I remember it too. He made the term "co-belligerency" famous if he didn't coin it. That and The Line of Despair" were all that we talked about at Urbana '73, pro and con, when we were off in informal bull sessions. The Church At the End of the Twentieth Century (1973?) was a dissident manifesto to standing athwart socio-political evolution and, if not yelling, demonstrating, "STOP!"

OTOH, abortion seemed to him to be the great crime of modern humanity. How Should We Then Live came out in 1976 and the rest is history. He didn't get caught up in the pro-life movement so much as prod its Protestant consciousness.

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That's how I remember it too. He made the term "co-belligerency" famous if he didn't coin it. That and The Line of Despair" were all that we talked about at Urbana '73, pro and con, when we were off in informal bull sessions. The Church At the End of the Twentieth Century (1973?) was a dissident manifesto to standing athwart socio-political evolution and, if not yelling, demonstrating, "STOP!"

OTOH, abortion seemed to him to be the great crime of modern humanity. How Should We Then Live came out in 1976 and the rest is history. He didn't get caught up in the pro-life movement so much as prod its Protestant consciousness.

I think that's accurate, Rich. I don't think Schaeffer was "caught up" in the pro-life movement as much as he jump-started the movement and provided the theological underpinnings for it. Books such as How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (with C. Everett Koop) were tremendously influential in their day, and pre-dated Falwell, Robertson et. al. and their alliance with the Holy Republican Empire.

Schaeffer's ideas still hold up fairly well, although he was a terrible writer. He didn't really get wacky until near the end (i.e., A Christian Manifesto). I learned a lot from him, as I'm sure millions of others did who came to the faith in the '60s/'70s.

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Schaeffer's ideas still hold up fairly well, although he was a terrible writer. He didn't really get wacky until near the end (i.e., A Christian Manifesto). I learned a lot from him, as I'm sure millions of others did who came to the faith in the '60s/'70s.

Consider these possibilities: they say that as a man ages, he regresses to what he was before as a person, regardless of what he's achieved. He started off as an advance man for a super-fundie quasi-nationalistic splinter group of Presbyterians looking for a place to land if things got out of control, as they saw it, in the U.S. (Carl McIntyre after losing his broadcast license to the Fairness Doctrine broadcast a pirate radio station for years on a ship just outside U.S. waters, Scheaffer had been affiliated with him early in his visit to Switzerland before starting L'Abri). He was also cancer ridden. Some thought at the time that he was rushing to cement his legacy within Protestantism with respect to pro-life issues.

There is a distinct difference between the approach he used as he became known and his work towards the end of his life. His latter work impresses me as being more like the movement out of which he came.

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Andy Whitman wrote:

: I don't think Schaeffer was "caught up" in the pro-life movement as much as he jump-started the movement and provided the theological underpinnings for it.

Hmmm, I seem to recall reading an article in Christianity Today about a decade ago which indicated otherwise; it was an interview with a journalist who claimed to have written the first balanced historical account of the abortion debate, and she claimed that the pro-life movement had existed primarily as a CATHOLIC movement before Schaeffer and his Protestants came along and essentially "hijacked" it (can't recall if she or the Catholics she interviewed used that word or not). Up until that point, Catholic pro-lifers had made a point of mounting their arguments on the most objective platforms possible (basing their arguments on scientific facts and not on particular theologies, etc.), but suddenly Evangelicals came along with a "because the Bible says so" kind of attitude which changed the nature of the debate. (If I could remember the URL for the article, or some very specific keywords, I would find it and link to it from here.)

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Hmmm, I seem to recall reading an article in Christianity Today about a decade ago which indicated otherwise... (If I could remember the URL for the article, or some very specific keywords, I would find it and link to it from here.)

Is this it?

The Dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer

Thirteen years after his death, Schaeffer's vision and frustrations continue to haunt evangelicalism.

by Michael S. Hamilton

March 3, 1997

Only the first few paragraphs are available on the site unless you are a subscriber. I just looked it up on EBSCO and found the full-text article and also a 9-page PDF of the scanned magazine pages. Some of you may have access to EBSCO via your local library. I don't know the rules about posting copyrighted works so I did not include it here.

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hcmyers wrote:

: Is this it?

Alas, no. The piece was a Q&A with the author of a new book, and she mentioned Schaeffer in passing as the one who got Evangelicals involved in what had been, until then, a primarily Catholic movement. The piece was not "about" Schaeffer, per se.

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Hmmm, I seem to recall reading an article in Christianity Today about a decade ago which indicated otherwise; it was an interview with a journalist who claimed to have written the first balanced historical account of the abortion debate, and she claimed that the pro-life movement had existed primarily as a CATHOLIC movement before Schaeffer and his Protestants came along and essentially "hijacked" it (can't recall if she or the Catholics she interviewed used that word or not). Up until that point, Catholic pro-lifers had made a point of mounting their arguments on the most objective platforms possible (basing their arguments on scientific facts and not on particular theologies, etc.), but suddenly Evangelicals came along with a "because the Bible says so" kind of attitude which changed the nature of the debate. (If I could remember the URL for the article, or some very specific keywords, I would find it and link to it from here.)

Heh, that is one person's opinion. I remember Catholics mourning and criticizing that Protestants were not involved, just as some Protestants were. And the average "feet on the ground" argument was not necessarily a scientific argument before Protestants got in the game too. In the mid-eighties, I asked the then VP of medical affairs of Planned Parenthood to give me a medical dff of when life begins on a syndicated talk show (from the audience). She gave me a legal one. In other words, after 11 years of Roe, adequate defenses had not been designed, because it was probably seen that few were needed.

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Fathers and Sons

Frank Schaeffer unquestionably adored his father, just as his father passionately adored him. Having lived in their home for more than three years, I have countless memories of this, including the sight of the two of them wrestling on the floor of the living room of their chalet, and ending with a fierce hug. Yet no critic or enemy of Francis Schaeffer has done more damage to his life's work than his son Frank

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Smack. Down!

Obviously, someone who lived with Schaeffers for three years can't speak with the authority of someone who grew up in their household as their son, but everything I know about Os Guinness leads me to believe him. I don't know enough about Frankie to say the same. Which doesn't mean his account isn't factual. I just don't have any reservoir of trust on which to interpret his comments as I do with Guinness.

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I don't doubt Guinness at all, on the one hand. I suspect that even he has his own prism through which he observes Francis and Edith, though. I have yet to read Frank's latest book and yet I see what Guinness is talking about in Frank's novels even as I see Frank's devotion to his father in them as well. I can also identify with some of the more raw and seemingly gratuitous characterizations that Frank employed in the novels to describe his parents. I can identify because some of his memories of his parents are similar to mine of my parents, even down to the tantrams, fighting, and snide comments of others "not like us".

The accusation of self serving recollections and plain in accurate accounts does bear scrutiny though. This does not surprise me either. Frank has always had his demons. Clearly different demons than his father had. Nevertheless, Scheaffer is rather high maintenance on a good day and cannot distance himself from anything he talks about or writes about. He really is the same guy he was when he was Franky, just older and with more life experience.

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FWIW, my pastor, who spent time at the Swiss L'abri in the 1970s and who knows Os, sent around a link to Os' article saying that he concurred with Os' view.

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One of the "costs" of living in Ferndale is that I'll be the last to get my B&C in the mail.

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Franky has a blog at the Huffington Post, which is a good place to keep up with his stabs at ideological honesty. It is packed with almost self-refuting tidbits like the following. For someone who is "muddied," "confused," or a host of self-effacing adjectives he often uses, he sure makes a lot of confident pronouncements:

"I was raised by fundamentalist missionary parents. My life has been one of all-consuming faith, not my faith, but the faith of others that I seem to have caught like a disease. What does God want? I'm still trying to find out. And having once been a famous "professional Christian" myself (until I cut and ran in 1985) my vision is muddied by the psychological baggage I carry."

This is an excerpt from the Carter review of Franky's latest in B & C:

Wheaton in my freshman year, the year before Francis died, I participated in an orgy of mock-clapping and stomping before they came out onstage. Maybe the Schaeffers thought the loud adulation was real, and maybe it was for some of the people who joined in. For me it was one more chance to be obnoxious and unkind. I had a lot of chances back then.

I am now interested in other times B&C ran two reviews of the same book. This image was unsettling to me, as I am wondering how the author was so confident that everyone else in the room was so embittered against intellectual evangelicalism that thier clapping and stomping was as sarcastic as hers. The verdict certainly is not out on this, and the circulation numbers of CT, Wheaton's endowments from conservative Christian sources, and a brief survey of the faculty of Wheaton in that period suggests that Carter was probably in a smallish minority in her story. If anything, Schaeffer's smaller volumes on Christianity and culture were for many bitter children of fundamentalism an invigorating apology.

I enjoyed the Sharlet review immensely, especially the last paragraph:

And the art? The most succinct illustration of the clash between the Schaefferism that could have been, and the fundamentalism that instead fed and grew on his work, occurred when Billy Zeoli told the Schaeffers they had to cut some footage from How Should We Then Live?. Frank had put his father on some scaffolding next to Michelangelo's David to give a sense of scale, and the senior Schaeffer, high above the ground, close to the art he loved, had been transported into a distinctly unfundamentalist rhapsody. But that wasn't Zeoli's problem. He wasn't concerned with ideas. It was David's exposed genitals. American evangelicals, he said, just weren't ready for that.

Frank pointed out that they'd included footage of Mary's breast in depictions of the Virgin and the Baby Jesus. "One holy tit is OK,"

Zeoli responded. "But churches don't do ****!"

The senior Schaeffer gave in, muttering his dissent: "We're working with fools."

Some great stories in that piece.

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You know, the whole thing just saddens me. Was Francis Schaeffer perfect, as a theologian and as a human being? Of course not. I didn't know him as a human being, but I'm sure he had his bad days, and I now find some of his ideas on art to be particularly unhelpful.

But so what? He came along at a time when hundreds of thousands of Jesus Freaks were searching for a way to integrate their newfound faith with a redeeming involvement in the culture in which they lived, and Francis and Edith Schaeffer and L'Abri provided the context in which they could do that. I would venture to say that a wide-ranging discussion list such as Arts & Faith wouldn't even exist without the impact of Francis Schaeffer, and. despite my quibbles over some of his teachings, I will be forever grateful for his influence.

Franky is just sad. He needs a good psychiatrist, not a literary agent.

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That is entirely true about A&F Andy. How can you knock on a dad that is related to anecdotes like this (from the Sharlet review):

"When a young Frank Schaeffer happened to meet Jimmy Page in 1969, Led Zeppelin's guitarist pulled a copy of one of Schaeffer Sr's early books, Escape From Reason, from his pocket and declared it "very cool". He said Clapton had given it to him."
Edited by MLeary

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Between Ferndale's questionable efficiency at the Post Office and my wife's zeal for cleaning out the magazine basket (I really don't blame her, because of eBay, we get EVERYTHING it seems), I've been at a disadvantage concerning the Carter review. I've found it and will comment more after reading it, the blog, and the Sharlet review. However, a picture is beginning to emerge about this guy. I can't get over the press conference a few years ago on the book he wrote with his son. How can a man be self effacing and self absorbed at the same time? Andy, I'll bet he has done psycho-analysis, but I believe this is not only more effective for him, but is in itself the analysis that should've happened on the couch! FWIW, Carter is dead on about Portofino. While I exchanged the Caribbean for Mediterranean, I'm still missing the proscuitto and am exchanging it for the Dorado I grew up with (the Pacific version is Mahi Mahi).

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I see what you mean. If Guinness has a stake "in every sense of the word" in the Scheaffer brand, so does Frank in sending up the more nostalgic and theologically romantic aspects of that brand. Heh, and he is not above some characteristic self promotion in the process. The more I read about this, the more my original suspicions seem born out in both of these guys. This is very personal for Guinness and very cathartic psychologically and spiritually for Frank. And his sisters are in on it too, eh? And where is Middlemann in all of this?

Here is an exerpt from Portofino that captures his characterization of his oldest sister (Debbie?). By the time of Saving Grandma she is a tough physical and spiritual bully in her late teens. Here, "Janet" is 15.

As Janet and I walked we picked up that inevitable escort any girl over twelve and below the age of thirty, especially a foreigner, especially an American foreigner, is givenfree of charge by the male populace of Italy. Three young men were now walking ten feet or so behind us, rather behind Janet. They seemed pleasant lads, one was even quite handsome. They were probably about sixteen years old.

"Just ignore them, and they'll go away," hissed Janet.

"Hello, baybee!"

"Hello beuteeful girl."

"Hello, you America, me Italia!"

"Bella!"

"Veni qui."

"Hi, Americano."

"Kees me, beauteeful!"

Janet had me by the hand, pulling my arm into an involuntary straight-arm fascist salute as she hurried us along, retracing our steps in order to find Mom and Dad, who, as she said, "will
make
them go away!" This last directed to the three boys who laughed uproariously and redoubled their efforts.

"Hi, America!"

"I lovea you preetty!"

"Chicago, New York!"

"Hello, baybee. Hello!"

We rounded one corner and then another, passing three French girls in bathing suits walking in the opposite direction, who had five boys following them, calling out in heavily accented pseudo French.

"Ciao! Ma jolie,"

"Bonajoura, bella,"

The French girls seemed to be enjoying the attention. But Janet was made of sterner stuff. Indeed she was not about to let anyone look at
her
Christmas presents before it was time to share, "that most precious gift, our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit," with the person God chose for her, as He had chosen Rebekah for Isaac.

As we came to the next corner in the alley, Janet pick-uped her feet and ran, then in one fluid motion, she stopped, let go of my hand, turned, and magnificently swept off one of her heavy, wooden-soled clog sandals. Holding it lightly by the toe she raised this instrument of virtue over her head just as the three laughing boys rounded the corner.

"Hello, America!"

Thwack! Janet cracked one over the top of his head. Janet was
strong
, she was built more like Dad than Mom. She could give you the worst Indian wrist burn ever. She had arm-wrestled our sixteen-year-old cousin Paul into red-faced ignominy. These poor boys thought they were following one more silly tourist who would giggle at their advances. Wrong number! And great was their fall. As the first boy's knees buckled, he had a rapt and surprised attention on his pleasant olive-skinned face. When Janet turned the wooden clog on edge and clipped the second boy smartly on the bridge of his nose, he wordlessly slid down the wall of the sdmall cheese store we were next to and carefully settled his face in his hands where he no doubt began to rethink all the received wisdom of Italian manhood. The third boy, the tall, handsome one, made the classic mistake of the French Army in World War II, he defended the wrong place at the wrong time, leaving his flank open. Janet, with a sweeping underarm softball pitching swing, gave his "Christmas presents" a resounding uppercut. This made him grip his testicles as he doubled over, and at that was the very moment that he should have left his hands where they had been, on top of his head, because Janet's next blow was an arching tennis serve that slammed down on the back of his head, now bowed in reverent pain.

As we ran back the way we had come, we passed the French girls. They were walking arm in arm with their "attacker" and were giggling.

No such foolery for us! Racheal might have talked to the unfortunate boys, but not Janet! No one even got to peek at
her
presents let alone a tug at the ribbons.

So ends Chapter 5. At once you have a delightfully described comedic set piece, an uncharitable presentation of his sister, a sendup of stereotypes, apt analogical description for comic effect, a sendup of his mother's "eccentrically frank discussions of sex", and depiction of the family's alleged refusal to adapt to their surroundings in any way at all.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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I am still looking forward to Rich's comments as well, but I must say that even though I disagree with Franky quite a bit, and am off put by his ability to be self-effacing and self-aggrandizing at the same time, it is nice to see a well written example of evangelicalism thinking about itself after so many years. Franky claims to have helped "found the religious right." Whether that claim is spurious or not is somewhat irrelevant. He is a second generation evangelical and exhibits all the signs of a second generation immigration kid. They say that first generation immigrants want their children to assimilate, to adapt, and to succeed in their new system. Franky seems to have done all these things. (Though this requires us to think of Francis Sr. as an immigrant, a foreigner in the public square speaking the language of evangelicalism.)

At the very least, he may be helpful in assessing the success of evangelical interaction with culture, as he provides an excellent foil.

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Yeah. I had an ex-fundamentalist academic advisor that would frequently remind his students: Be critical of your heritage, but not in reaction to it.

Brilliant advice.

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M., I agree with that observation whole-heartedly. But the additional dimension that concerns me (and others, UIM) is the self-hating, shoot-us-all-in-the-feet dimension. That's what Guinness highlights. Frank(y) has always been a loose cannon. It would seem that he's a loose pendulum as well, trying desperately to swing precisely opposite to the direction his previous convictions carried him.

It's one thing to be critical of a movement; it's another thing to besmirch the reputation of an important figure (nevermind one's own father, for cryin' out loud--aint' that one of The Ten?), when there is considerable disagreement and opposition, including opposition from within his own family. He could have critiqued modern, popular, American "fundagelicals", based on his experience, without using his father's carcass as fuel for a "tell all" book that reeks of Kitty Kelley.

I agree. Even when Frank(y) has legitimate points, his tone is so condescending and downright mean-spirited that he loses all credibility for me as a Christian witness. With brothers like these, who needs enemies?

On one hand, these recent comments are of a piece with what he has always written. The strident young Franky of Addicted to Mediocrity is now the strident middle-aged Frank of his most recent books. But that passage that Rich quoted from Portofino is telling. Even if his thinly-veiled story of his sister is substantially based on fact, he is describing a repressed person who is driven by fear and judgment. She should be an object of compassion, not ridicule. And all I see is ridicule. I still maintain that Frank is in need of a good therapist far more than he is of a good literary agent. Why would anyone want to spend time with this man, either in person or in print? In the immortal words of Sts. Eric Idle and John Cleese, "run away, run away."

Edited by Andy Whitman

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'M', I'm honored that you anticipate my thoughts. The more I read of this book though, the more I suspect that it is important that I read it. I have sympathy with all of the reviews I have read and see my experiences with Frank in all of them, from the hatchet job film shorts that my friends played in Sunday School to get us all het up about abortion (as if we weren't already on the side of the angels for the most part, just insufficiently hysterical in our outrage, me in particular) and the injustice of Francis' treatment, to Frank's own rants against anyone, but Wheaton and David C. Cook in particular at the Michigan Sunday School Convention ca. 1981(?).

Interesting that he was hacking Cook Publishing at that particular time. As soon as he finished and before that session was over, I ran to the Cook exhibit and started asking questions. I remeber getting the official Cook line, which was revealing in itself, if not spicey enough to match Scheaffer. He was demanding (non-negotiably? who was it in these reviews that made the observation that Frank's generation was trying to synthesize the '60's/Marcuse strategy and tactics into its church experience? One would think that Frank, at least was) that Cook properly show pro-life theological correctness by adopting an SS curriculum created by Frank and associates. I asked for curriculum details and was tactfully parried. Between the lines, I sensed it was something of a pre-Randall Terry consciousness raising sort of thing that was meant for all ages. Not what most evangelicals and fundies would want in place of the Bible stories and Bible analysis I had been given as I grew up, which I assume is and was common to most evangelical and fundie sunday schools in the fifties, sixties, and seventies. As I've said previously on this thread, Frank Scheaffer might best be understood as "our" Norman Mailer

It's one thing to be critical of a movement; it's another thing to besmirch the reputation of an important figure (nevermind one's own father, for cryin' out loud--aint' that one of The Ten?), when there is considerable disagreement and opposition, including opposition from within his own family. He could have critiqued modern, popular, American "fundagelicals", based on his experience, without using his father's carcass as fuel for a "tell all" book that reeks of Kitty Kelley.

I'm not so sure of this and would think it wise to read the book first before using such a summary. Alan, where do we get the idea that the family is split over this? We seem to have Guinness' word against Frank's so far, at least for purposes of the links in this thread. Debbie makes no attempt to speak for others, at least as she's quoted here and in links so far. Prisca has possibly said nothing of which we are aware. Guinness claims that Edith is continually distraught (I thought that she was no longer around!?). The husbands are not necessarily on record as far as we know, for purposes of this thread. So, once again, we have Guinness protesting a false picture that grieves the family and besmirches the name. We have Frank firing back and saying that his sisters back him and have aided work on the book. And we have Debbie carefully supportive of Frank, coolly and in a vaguely unspecific way, but not confirming directly that she helped with the book.

Let me stipulate that my impressions of the "mature" Frank Scheaffer are backed by two of his three novels (so far), watching a taped press conference, and reflecting on the whirlpools created by his work and public comments. The novels are delightfull in themselves. They are titillating only in the sense of a sort of, "This is THE SCHEAFFERS, THE Scheaffers he's writing about!!!!!" Without that knowledge and all the evangelical fundie baggage one might bring to such personalities and to novels and plotlines and the behavior of protagonists and characters, they are just coming of age stories written by someone who is conscious of the work of Mark Twain, Kingsley Amis, and J.D. Salinger, to mention a few. Now, it's a tall order to expect all of that to be sublimated. Maybe Alan and I have competing advantages and weaknesses here. He's been to L'Abri. I have not. He's met these people. I have not. I've lived in the socio/cultural greenhouse of fundie/evangelicalism as a child and young adult. He has not, and further, has benefitted from contemprary evangelical corrections of such milieus. I have experienced the "full time christian ministry" pedestal. He has not. We both have, at some time, been under the spell of Francis Scheaffer's ministry and early work.

What everyone seems to ignore or miss is that while we all have worts and worse, almost every famous person in chiurch history has had his exposed at some point. Some of those worts have been exposed by their work and ministry. Another thing not even talked about is the oppressive Evangelical Perfectionism that, I believe, is the great weakness of most all non-sacramental conservative christianity (I'll be happy to discuss the unique weaknesses of the various sacramental conservative christian traditions some other time, I'm not dumping on conservative Protestants here, just sharing an observation). This sort of tell all is not an issue for so many outside the Evangelical sphere. OTOH, evangelicals cannot abide thorns in the flesh and the inevitable diminishment of performance such unresolved issues leave in their wake. We want our leaders to be free of sin and incontrol of their weaknesses and able to overcome temptations and tendancies to stumble.

I remember leaders of the mission we were involved with and churches we attended who talked a good game of having an ordered life and an ordered family as prerequisite to leadership and successful ministry even as worts and strife were kept quiet and dealt with inadequately. Frank's books are a scandal only if we make them a scandal. The Scheaffers' ministry is what it is and was what it was. Nothing diminishes that, except maybe the later work. Frank, ironically takes the lion's share of the blame on himself for that. If we let him have that responsibility, can we not let it go at that? Come on, Calvin was prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner for Micheal Servetus. Luther wanted to change the Canon and believed dastardly things about the Jews by today's standards and taught same. Francis had crippling bouts of Depreession and grat insecurities that led him to intemperately lash out. He also had doubts about his faith and his wife can be easily and hilariously parodied concerning her frightening ability to talk frankly in ridiculously delicate terms about issues that today are still gravely taboo in the evangelical sub-culture. Frank's accusation of hypocrisy bears more thought and analysis, but only after granting that hypocrisy is completely unavoidable unless you determine that Original Sin and the logical results of The Fall are false concepts and that Man is flawless. Of course, such a belief is fraught with its own problems of evidence and inconsistencies.

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My wife surprised me yesterday when I got hom e from work. Crazy for God had just come in the mail. I'm having a hard time putting it down. The prologue suggests that this is a sorting out of his faith, now that he is free of the faith his parents preached and taught him. He's sorting out those inner voices and their sources. From the early chapters, it appears that he almost worships his parents, particularly Edith.

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OK, I never went to L'Abri. I grew up in a variation of the milieu out of which L'Abri came into the world. This dichotome is all over the place in fundie/evangelical christianity of the '40's through the '70's (my experince) and I'll wager that it is still an issue in some places today. an example.

Trans World Radio was a blend, staffwise, of all sorts of fundie/evangelical sources when my parents served on Bonaire. Even some Bob Jones grads. We all drank the Koolaid on the arts and media. In fact, WE were doing radio right! For the Lord! One of the big TWR agit-prop lines in churches was that when TWR went on the air in August of 1964 on 800 "on the dial", the executives at CKLW in Windsor, Canada cursed that things went from "Twist and Shout" to "Sweet Hour of Prayer" (by the time I went to the gulag in '68, the spot on the dial was useless at the Mason Dixon line. TWR could be heard in the southeast, "CK" in the north with indistinct fuzz in the middle). My first year at the gulag though, Jerome Hines and Linda Evangelista visited Bonaire (I missed this, but heard about it and heard the recordings). These show business types were showered with honor and almost worship even though few folks at TWR understood opera at all. Hines was the highest ranking born again christian at the MET and Evangelists was his wife. Real celebreties! Folks who were successful with out compromise!

There are so many issues swirling around in my head over Smith and her depiction in the autobiography, many of them contradictory. There are the inner demons of Smith herself on the way up who took the L'Abri way out by reason of the counsel of God, or because she could not hold onto her faith in the way she thought right and stay in show business. There is the even larger theme in Crazy For God of what Edith herself "gave up for the Lord" with apparant great regret. This pressure WAS ON EVERYONE with artistic talent or atheletic talent back in the day. If you were good, you were nagged at for spending too much time away from the Lord. And if you weren't good, but extremely focused on becoming good? I don't want to think about it. In hindsight, the only relief would be to be extremely successful and "give the glory to the Lord". Some folks would then back off. Anything short of that and there would be the constant expectation of the "Was It Worth It?" talk.

This isn't unique to the Scheaffers. I think that I've told the story here before of Francis' patient talking down of a fundie interviewer in high dudgeon concerning Francis' obsession with worldly philosophy over the Gospel. This is how things were through most of the 20th century and something the Scheaffers themselves had to cope with before going independent. It is completely understandable that there would be an unconsciously unclean break with this sort of POV on their part. That was then. This is now. Most of us don't have that sort of burden over us anymore. OTOH, anyone with a high exposure blog on faith and the arts comes in for this sort of thing all the time in the comments section. Jeffrey? Steve? Haven't you Alan?

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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Well, you're right, Rich. That was then, and this is now. Francis came out of the hyper-rational, hyper-conservative Dutch Reformed world of Abraham Kuyper and Cornelius Van Til, but that's not where he ended up, and it's not what he taught for the last 25 years of his life. The official L'Abri arts spokesperson, Hans Rookmaaker, wrote a book titled Art Needs No Justification, the whole point of which was to contradict the notion, so prevalent within the conservative Chrstian world, that art needed to be baptized with evangelistic messages before it could be considered worthwhile from a Christian standpoint. Art needed no justification. It was valid in and of itself as a way to honor God.

Here's Francis from his book Art and the Bible:

The arts and the sciences do have a place in the Christian life -- they are not peripheral. For a Christian, redeemed by the work of Christ and living within the norms of Scripture and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the Lordship of Christ should include an interest in the arts. A Christian should use these arts to the glory of God -- not just as tracts, but as things of beauty to the praise of God. And art work can be a doxology in itself.

It is no accident that Mark Heard, one of the best Christian songwriters, and one of the first to "break out" of the CCM ghetto, came out of L'Abri. L'Abri was and is very much "pro" art for its own sake, a view that I assume would be shared by most of those who participate in the A&F fora. And although there are, and probably always will be, people who complain that art that is not blatantly pro-Christ and chock full of Christian references and imagery is worthless, there will still be those instructive examples from L'Abri that patiently point out that Rembrandt painted Jesus and 17th century Dutch burghers, that Mozart wrote masses and titillating operas, and that all of it was used by God.

OK, I never went to L'Abri. I grew up in a variation of the milieu out of which L'Abri came into the world. This dichotome is all over the place in fundie/evangelical christianity of the '40's through the '70's (my experince) and I'll wager that it is still an issue in some places today. an example.

Trans World Radio was a blend, staffwise, of all sorts of fundie/evangelical sources when my parents served on Bonaire. Even some Bob Jones grads. We all drank the Koolaid on the arts and media. In fact, WE were doing radio right! For the Lord! One of the big TWR agit-prop lines in churches was that when TWR went on the air in August of 1964 on 800 "on the dial", the executives at CKLW in Windsor, Canada cursed that things went from "Twist and Shout" to "Sweet Hour of Prayer" (by the time I went to the gulag in '68, the spot on the dial was useless at the Mason Dixon line. TWR could be heard in the southeast, "CK" in the north with indistinct fuzz in the middle). My first year at the gulag though, Jerome Hines and Linda Evangelista visited Bonaire (I missed this, but heard about it and heard the recordings). These show business types were showered with honor and almost worship even though few folks at TWR understood opera at all. Hines was the highest ranking born again christian at the MET and Evangelists was his wife. Real celebreties! Folks who were successful with out compromise!

There are so many issues swirling around in my head over Smith and her depiction in the autobiography, many of them contradictory. There are the inner demons of Smith herself on the way up who took the L'Abri way out by reason of the counsel of God, or because she could not hold onto her faith in the way she thought right and stay in show business. There is the even larger theme in Crazy For God of what Edith herself "gave up for the Lord" with apparant great regret. This pressure WAS ON EVERYONE with artistic talent or atheletic talent back in the day. If you were good, you were nagged at for spending too much time away from the Lord. And if you weren't good, but extremely focused on becoming good? I don't want to think about it. In hindsight, the only relief would be to be extremely successful and "give the glory to the Lord". Some folks would then back off. Anything short of that and there would be the constant expectation of the "Was It Worth It?" talk.

This isn't unique to the Scheaffers. I think that I've told the story here before of Francis' patient talking down of a fundie interviewer in high dudgeon concerning Francis' obsession with worldly philosophy over the Gospel. This is how things were through most of the 20th century and something the Scheaffers themselves had to cope with before going independent. It is completely understandable that there would be an unconsciously unclean break with this sort of POV on their part. That was then. This is now. Most of us don't have that sort of burden over us anymore. OTOH, anyone with a high exposure blog on faith and the arts comes in for this sort of thing all the time in the comments section. Jeffrey? Steve? Haven't you Alan?

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