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Crazy for God: 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 Paperback – September 30, 2008


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Crazy for God: 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 + Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in GOD: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace + Patience With God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo Press Pbk. Ed edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306817500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306817502
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Part autobiography, part parental tribute and part examination of how American evangelism got to where it is, versatile author Schaeffer tells a moving story of growing up and growing wise in his latest (after Baby Jack: A Novel). Raised in Switzerland in the utopian community and spiritual school his evangelical parents founded, Schaeffer was restless and aware even at a young age that "my life was being defined by my parent's choices." Still, he took to "the family business" well, following his dad as he became one of the "best-known evangelical leaders in the U.S." on whirlwind speaking tours. While rubbing shoulders with such empire builders as Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell, Schaeffer witnessed the birth of the Christian anti-abortion movement, and became an evangelical writer, speaker and star in his own right. His disillusionment, when it came, hit hard; while he would eventually achieve modest fame as a filmmaker and author (of novels and nonfiction), the initial stages of Schaeffer's post-religious life were anything but glamorous; a particularly moving passage describes Schaeffer shoplifting pork chops rather than return to the evangelical fold. Schaeffer does not mince words, making his narrative honest, inflammatory and at times quite funny; despite its excess length and some confusing chronological leaps, this story of faith, fame and family in modern America is a worthy read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

American Author’s Association website, December 2008
“A story that needed to be told…A very personal and brutally honest memoir, that opens up and exposes the underbelly of the evangelistic movement…Gives the reader a rare and different look at some of various leaders of the fundamentalist moment...The book may open some eyes and minds about the dangers of politics and religion…A must read book for serious seekers looking for their own authentic path to enlightenment, or at least some inner peace.”

De-conversion.com, 12/2/08
“A must read for the de-converting…It is brutally honest, eye-opening, at times laugh out loud funny, and heart breaking.”

Princeton Packet, 2/13/09
“Mr. Schaeffer knows what he’s talking about. He was there, and his book lays it all out, chapter and verse.”

TCM Reviews
“[A] moving memoir…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.”

Augusta Metro Spirit, 4/15/09
“In a witty recollection that takes a different path from the average evangelical story, Frank Schaeffer offers an intimate portrait of a life within and without the spotlight of mass congregations…Schaeffer is more than qualified to offer candid commentary concerning the religious right in these United States…Written with an intricate collection of detail, a smooth ability to turn elements of conflict into startling moments of realization, and a wonderful search for meaning.”

Tallahassee Democrat, 7/25/09
“Part memoir, part biography, and part expose of a fundamentalist moment in U.S. religion and culture. As memoir it is at times funny, at times moving. As biography it provides an interesting, not to say intimate, perspective on Francis and Edith Schaeffer. As expose it provides revealing glimpses into the emergence of the religious right and some of its most visible leaders.”

Evangelical Studies Bulletin, Spring 2008
“[A] breezy new autobiographical book…The inner story of young Frank(y)’s childhood, adolescence, meteoric phase as up-and-coming evangelical political activist, and subsequent career keep the pages turning…[An] entertaining and provocative read.”

Semi-Autonomous Collective blog, 12/27/09
“Aggravating at times, frustrating by moments, but overall terribly touching, Schaeffer isn’t hiding any flaws from the picture he paints of his own family. If there is one book to understand where the religious right comes from, it’s that one.”

Springfield News-Leader, 8/22/12
“Excellent resources for anyone interested in the strange history of the heretical anti-abortion doctrine being taught in American churches today for the purpose of garnering political support.”


More About the Author

New York Times best selling author of more than a dozen books Frank Schaeffer is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed writer who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documentary movie director, a feature film director and producer of four low budget Hollywood features Frank has described as "pretty terrible," and a best selling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Frank is the author of "And God Said, 'Billy!'" and many other books. Frank's three semi-biographical novels about growing up in a fundamentalist mission: "Portofino," "Zermatt" and "Saving Grandma" have a worldwide following and have been translated into nine languages. Jane Smiley writing in the Washington Post (7/10/11) says this of Frank's memoirs "Crazy For God" and "Sex, Mom and God": "[Schaeffer's] memoirs have a way of winning a reader's friendship...Schaeffer is a good memoirist, smart and often laugh-out-loud funny...Frank seems to have been born irreverent, but his memoirs have a serious purpose, and that is to expose the insanity and the corruption of what has become a powerful and frightening force in American politics... Frank has been straightforward and entertaining in his campaign to right the political wrongs he regrets committing in the 1970s and '80s...As someone who has made redemption his work, he has, in fact, shown amazing grace."

Customer Reviews

Frank Schaeffer (the son of Francis Schaeffer) is a great writer.
Vernon Horn
Young women and even girls who had the need to terminate an unwanted and often forced pregnancy, he said should not be able to do so.
TBar2
As one might expect in such a context, parts of this book are quite harsh - it's plain that the author is still nursing past wounds.
Erik Olson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

784 of 826 people found the following review helpful By Erik Olson VINE VOICE on April 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I became an evangelical Christian in 1984, and one of the first heavy-hitter apologetic authors I discovered was Francis Schaeffer. His son, known at the time as "Franky," was also writing books, and as my first Christian mentor said to me, "Franky's a bit more radical than his father." I liked both authors, since at the time I was big on Christian conspiracies and rigid theology as promulgated by such fundamentalist luminaries as Jack Chick and Bill Gothard. I dove deep into the evangelical world, attending various churches, serving in many ministries, and even graduating from seminary with a Pastoral Studies MA degree in 2002.

However, during the last year it all came crashing down, ironically after walking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail in Spain. During my trek I had plenty of time to think about the last two decades, and in the end I came to a decision. Yes, as an evangelical I'd made a few good friends and had some positive experiences. But the bad far outweighed the good. I'd had enough of trying to jam theological square pegs into the round holes of rationality. Plus, I could take no more cult-of-personality pastors, egotistical theologians, holier-than-thou legalisms, guilt trips, and plain goofiness. So when reality intruded on my faith, I either had to acknowledge it or shut my eyes even tighter. I chose the former option and abandoned evangelicalism.

As part of my journey I read the "new atheist" books by Hitchens, Dawkins, Stenger, and so forth. Although I found them challenging and relevant (along with abrasive and polemic), these authors have probably never bought into any religious belief.
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227 of 242 people found the following review helpful By Jim Forest on March 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Frank Schaeffer doesn't really fit into a brief description. An American, he grew up in rural Switzerland. His parents were fervent Calvinist missionaries living in a Catholic culture which they regarded as barely Christian. Their chalet, known as L'Abri, became a house of hospitality in which a never-ending seminar on culture and Christianity was the main event. Though an Evangelical, a strain of Protestantism usually hostile to the arts, Frank's father was an avid lover of art done in earlier centuries by, in most cases, Catholic artists -- an enthusiasm that in time inspired his son to become an artist. Later Frank gave up the easel to makes films, first documentaries in which his father was the central figure, then more general evangelical films, and finally several unsuccessful non-religious films aimed at a general audience. Eventually -- profoundly disenchanted with the form of Christianity his parents had embraced, and still more alienated from the shrill varieties of right wing Evangelical Christianity that both he and his parents had helped create, Frank joined the Orthodox Church, where he still remains, though no longer in what he refers to as the stage of "convert zeal." After his son, John, became a Marine, Frank became something of a missionary for the Marine Corps, and the military in general, at the same time avidly supporting the war in Iraq in which his son was a participant. A statement I helped to write that urged George Bush not to attack Iraq was the target of a widely-published column Schaeffer wrote in the early days of that war. Now he regards the Iraq War as a disaster and has become an outspoken critic of George Bush.

"Crazy for God" is a gripping read, both candid and engaging. More than anything else, I was touched by Schaeffer's unrelenting honesty.
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180 of 200 people found the following review helpful By Timothy M. Ervolina on December 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
He was once the fair-haired boy wonder of evangelicalism, there at the creation of the American Religious Right. He helped define the culture war, especially over abortion. He helped create the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, the Republican majority, the conservative Supreme Court and the New Evangelicals. Now, he's an apostate, a unborn-again seeker, a member of an Eastern Orthodox church, and a a self-acknowledged failure. Which means that, strangely, he's a finally a success.

Frank Schaeffer, the son of evangelical theologians Francis and Edith Schaeffer has, in his memoir Crazy for God, provided a beautiful, touching, and painfully honest story of growing up in the evangelical sub-culture in the age before it emerged as the culture. His portrait of his famous (at least in some circles) parents, and their Swiss Christian community, L'Abri, will anger those evangelicals who regard the Schaeffers (especially Francis) as saints. But, if you're looking for a Daddy Dearest, you'll be mightly disappointed. There is no scandal here, other than the scandal of evangelical Christianity in America once it got itself fitted into Constantine's vestments.

Frank paints his father as an art-loving historian, a free-thinker more at home in the Florentine Accademia than on the radio with Dr. Dobson. The elder Schaeffer apparently detested the power-hungry theo-politicians like Dobson, Falwell and Robertson, and was far more concerned with reaching young people in search of life's big questions than in reaching the halls of power. Still he allowed himself to be manipulated by the theo-politicians, to become the most sought after evangelical teacher of the 1980's.
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