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Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don’t Like Religion (or Atheism) Hardcover – October 27, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Author Schaeffer (Keeping Faith) adopts a feisty tone in this essay about evangelical Christianity and aggressive atheism. In the first half of the book, he rebuts justifications from both sides, taking aim at the ideas of such celebrity atheists as Richard Dawkins as well as religious leaders like Rick Warren. Schaeffer asks each side to allow for an evolving religion in which allegory takes precedence over literalism. In the first half of the book, the author quotes lengthy passages from atheist writings, leaving little room for his own optimistic ideas. In the second half, he gives space for his own memories, recalling moments that led him to a middle path of hopeful uncertainty. Growing up in a well-known evangelical family, then leaving it behind for secular Hollywood, Schaeffer learned to see the world as aesthetic and contemplative rather than scientific. By embracing mystery and love, he suggests the two movements can exist side-by-side: It is possible to buck the trend of cynicism and to believe in each other more than in the rightness of our particular ideas. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

Former evangelical Christian political agitator Schaeffer has been born yet again. This time, he has been reborn into what he calls the Church of Hopeful Uncertainty, as defined by his belief that the vast majority of people inhabit a middle ground between the two fundamentalist extremes battling one another for followers in the world today. He suffers no one who advocates a devotion so rigid as to exclude any but the staunchest. He names names but is an equal-opportunity assailant, laying into fundamentalist atheists and religious zealots alike, decrying both for inflexibility and the blatant commercialism of their enterprises. Make no mistake, Schaeffer is not proselytizing. He knows, or at least hopes, that with this book he is singing to the choir of millions fed up with or unable to commit to full-blown atheism or stiff-necked religion of any kind. His belief that faith, in God or not, ought to support and enrich one’s life, not run it into the ground, strikes, he hopes, a universally appealing chord. --Donna Chavez

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030681854X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306818547
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #893,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William D. Peterson on November 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the summer of 1962, I was a 19 year old Evangelical/Fundamentalist who spent a week at L'Abri, the Presbyterian Mission in the Swiss Alps that was founded and led by Frank Schaeffer's parents -- Francis and Edith Schaeffer. At that time Frank was a kid who -- in spite of an atrophied leg as a byproduct of a bout with polio -- demonstrated guts and determination in the pickup football games he relished playing with and against much older competitors such as me and my traveling companions.
In 1962 I studied the Bible and had theological discussions with Frank's father Francis, and his mother Edith, and didn't think to ask young Frank's views on such matters.
In 2009 I am a 67 year-old Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, who finds himself resonating more strongly with Frank's views of life and matters of faith, than with the harsh Fundamentalism that was espoused by Frank's parents (and mine). Thus I have found his books "Crazy for God," and "Patience with God" to be inspirational manifestos which reflect the human capacity to speak the truth in love regarding the limitations of our "rearing," and to promote what are hopefully healthier, and more gracious images of faith and life. I admire Frank's ability to express profound love for his parents, while acknowledging their shortcomings when it came to their lack of attention to his own education and development.
"Patience with God" breaks new ground in pointing out that the "new atheism" represents every bit as much of a tendency to be "fundamentalist" as any restrictive religious point of view.
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Format: Hardcover
I, like Frank, grew up in an evangelical minister's family. I, like Frank, saw and heard things done in the name of God that seemed not only unethical but immoral and evil. I, like Frank, spend some of my early years in Europe and developed a love of intellectual pursuits that allowed room for both faith and reason. I . . . Well, I like Frank.

Sadly, many readers (particularly those who know his parents' books and teachings) will look for reasons to discount the ideas in "Patience With God." This is not a book to be held up like a battle herald for believers or atheists. It's an attempt--and a very good one--to bridge the gap between spirit and mind, between theology and science, between purpose and progression. Yes, Frank is candid about his parents' shortcomings, both domestically and spiritually, but he is equally candid about his own. He pulls no punches. He points fingers at those on both sides of the fence, but in particular those who claim to know it all--whether they be right-wing fundamentalists or the atheistic, self-proclaimed "Brights." Over the years, I've found myself struggling to reconcile the mostly good-intentioned but poor behavior of both sides. I appreciated some of Pat Robertson's early ideas, for example, but cringed when he put himself in the place of God and declared God's purposes in natural tragedy. I also appreciated Bill Maher's early years of candor and humor, but find it increasingly mean-spirited and--ironically enough--narrowminded in its accessment of religion.

Do I agree with all that Frank says here? No. And he and I are fine with that. We could sit and discuss these ideas logically, even passionately, but never lose sight of our love for God, life, and each other. That's the beauty of embracing the paradoxes of which he writes.
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Format: Hardcover
I can't help but smile when I read Frank Schaeffer. He simply doesn't seem to care what people think of what he writes. If he does care, he doesn't let that get in the way of him sharing his heart and his experiences.

In his last book, 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, Schaeffer pulls no punches as he puts pen to paper in describing his religious journey in his famous, Christian family. It was shocking to some, frustrating to others and was possibly seen as fuel to those who make it their pastime to denounce Christianity. I found his narrative valuable and worth reading. I wish more people had actually read his book instead of just only talking about it.

In his new book Schaeffer turns his eagle-eyed gaze from his religious past and focuses on the New Atheists- Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris & Dennett. The first six chapters will be used in Christian universities across the nation as Schaeffer picks apart the atheists' own religious stands and intolerance. But just in case the evangelical Christians celebrate too much in the spanking being given to the atheists, Schaeffer uses to the following two chapters to put a couple of sharp, stinging whacks across the backsides of some of today's popular Christian leaders and their fear-based teachings that produce hate, hypocrisy and intolerance.

Schaeffer expends most of his angst in the first half of the book; in the second he settles in to share what he sees could be a living middle-ground, a place where people can journey together in peace, energized by love. He writes using stirring stories from his past and his present, showing that there were some really good things he hasn't let go of and that there is still room to evolve, in love.

Frank Schaeffer is a thoughtful and talented writer and I'm glad that he continues to share his journey with us.
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