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Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway Paperback – June 5, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Kirkus Reviews, 5/15/11
“The book shines in sections centered on Edith, a ‘life-embracing free spirit’…A consummate memoirist, Schaeffer fills the narrative with interesting anecdotes…The sage conversation on a New York-bound bus with a distraught Asian girl is warmly resonant and a befitting conclusion to…[a] book of ruminations, memories and frustrated opinion.”

Booklist, 5/15/11
“[A] startlingly honest work, which is part memoir and part religious history…Intriguing fare.”
Church of England Newspaper, 5/13/11
“Part memoir, part exploration of evangelical views.”
PoliticusUSA.com, 5/16/11
“A work that alternates from heartwarming to thought provoking to laugh out loud funny…Schaeffer brilliantly guides the reader through an exploration of the Bible’s strange, intolerant, and sometimes frightening attitudes about sex, and how these Biblical teachings, through the evangelical grassroots of the Republican Party, have come to dominate the GOP stance…Schaeffer’s writing style combines intelligence, warmth, humor, depth and insight…Sex, Mom, and God is hands down one of the best non-fiction books of the year.”
Kirkus Reviews (website), 6/1/11
“The memoir, the third and last in Schaeffer’s God trilogy, unfolds in lucid anecdotal excursions probing the chinks that later became gaping holes in the fundamentalist walls that penned him in.”
Internet Review of Books, 6/8/11
“A fond and sometimes hilarious look back at [Schaeffer’s] mother’s child-rearing methods and the effect they had on him…Schaeffer’s journey demonstrates that the world could be a better place if we were all able to reassess our beliefs and values—to examine them closely and glean only those worth saving.”
Library Journal, 6/15/11
“Well worth reading, highly entertaining, and very informative about the recent history of American evangelicalism. It will appeal to readers interested in the world today, memoir, or religion.”
Huffington Post, 6/13/11
“Intelligent and easy to read; it transitions smoothly back and forth between story-telling and point-making prose…In his portrayal of Edith Schaeffer, Frank is able to call out the nuttiness of the religious right and to humanize conservative and Evangelical Christians in the same narrative. It is the deft work of a talented writer practicing his craft…It is a bit of wisdom our entire nation—hell, the whole world—needs to hear.”
RH Reality Check, 6/16/11
“Part memoir, part revelation about Evangelical pathology, and part prescription for theological sanity, the book has much to recommend it.”
Patheos.com, 6/16/11
“Offers an insider's glimpse into how fundamentalism became the dominant voice in the U.S. political area.”
InfoDad.com, 6/16/11
“Frequently entertaining.”
The Humanist, July/August 2011
“[Schaeffer’s] stories aren’t just interesting, they’re also well told…[He] serves up an intriguing combination that’s part sexual memoir and part exposé of religious right extremism. It’s a strange combination to be sure, but in the hands of a gifted wordsmith like Schaeffer it works.”
State of Formation, 6/20/11
“Part memoir, part theology, and part political commentary…An ambitious undertaking. But Sex, Mom, and God did not disappoint. Alternating between laugh-out-loud episodes and poignant reflections, Schaeffer recounts with candor the influence his mother had on both his beliefs and the beliefs of a generation of Evangelicals…His readers—believers and non-believers alike—will be challenged to reconsider their views about politics, sex, and religion.”
The Daily Beast, 6/24/11
“Intriguing…[Schaeffer’s] privileged view of the Christian right’s sexual weirdness makes his account particularly interesting, and helps explain why the aggressively pious so frequently destroy themselves with sex scandals.”

Milwaukee Shepherd-Express, 7/7/11
“[Schaeffer] has grown into rueful middle age with his sense of sarcasm sharpened… Sex, Mom and God dips into the same well as Crazy for God and draws irony and venom from its depths.”

WomanAroundTown.com, 6/16/11
“By turns biting, funny, and thought provoking.”

Post, 7/10/11
“[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.”
Roanoke Times, 7/10/11
“A thought-provoking analysis of the social and religious struggles that continue to define American consciousness…Schaeffer covers a lot of important territory in his book…He provides an insider’s view on the ways America has become fragmented, polarized by various forms of extremism.”
In These Times, August 2011
“An unusual mix—part memoir, part exegesis on Bible-based belief systems, and part prescription for a more compassionate, human-centered politics for both religious and theologically skeptical people. Humor, at times of the laugh-out-loud variety, is abundant. And while readers will likely bristle at some of Schaeffer’s conclusions, his wit, sass and insights make Sex, Mom, & God a valuable and entertaining look at U.S. fundamentalism.”
San Francisco Book Review, 7/20/11
“This memoir/diatribe on organized religion is so shockingly bold and intimately revealing that it will spin your head around whiplash-quick, and cause you to double check to make sure you read the words correctly…Schaeffer comes to a jarring conclusion for fundamentalists, Roman Catholics, Jews, and Muslims alike, that if we don’t set aside our dogma and start making a serious effort at getting along, we will end up destroying ourselves and everything we thought we believed in.”
Reference and Research Book News, August 2011
“Provid[es] a new, less prudish view of radical Christianity.”
New York Times, 8/20/11
“To millions of evangelical Christians, the Schaeffer name is royal, and Frank is the reluctant, wayward, traitorous prince.”

, 8/27/11
“Schaeffer can be witty and ironic and, like the stopped clock that is accurate twice a day, some of his observations hit their mark.”
Bitch, October 2011
“Braids the rise of the religious right with Schaeffer’s development as an evangelist and antiabortion activist…Recommended for history, religion, or political buffs who enjoy a dash of tender reflection.”

, 9/21 issue
“Former evangelist Frank Schaeffer may have quit the business and turned his back on what he now calls ‘our dreadful, vengeful little God,’ but the man clearly still has a knack for sermon titles. And Sex, Mom, and God is nothing if not a righteous, furious, cringe-inducing and surprisingly nuanced sermon delivered in book form against Schaeffer’s heavenly demons…Schaeffer’s contention that most, if not all, of organized religion’s shortcomings stem from hang-ups over sex is nothing new. What’s compelling about Sex is Schaeffer himself, who bashes away at what he held dear for so long.”
Santa Fe New Mexican, 11/25/11
“[Schaeffer is] unafraid to tell it like it is.”
Metapsychology Online Reviews, 2/11/12
“Amusing and eyebrow-raising anecdotes…The reader is treated to a compelling and affectionate portrayal of [Scgaeffer’s] complex and conflicted mother…For a reader unfamiliar with the kind of Christianity Schaeffer describes, the book provides a helpful picture into the good and bad of living as a fundamentalist Evangelical…A first-hand account of one evangelical's unusual childhood and the life of a recovering fundamentalist.”
Politics & Patriotism (blog), 4/10
“An eye-opening exposé of American Right-wing socio-political history.”
The NervousBreakdown.com, 5/20/12
“Schaeffer paints a beautiful portrait of his mother…And while he may have a lot to say against the institutions of fundamentalist religion, he offers the reader an equally powerful alternati...
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Frank Schaeffer is the author of the New York Times bestseller Keeping Faith and the memoir Crazy for God. His novels, including Portofino, have been translated into nine languages. He lives in Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306820730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306820731
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,366,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wyman Richardson on February 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading Frank Schaeffer's Crazy for God a few years ago, I felt like I needed a shower. I felt this way less because of Frank's relentless skewering of his very flawed parents than because I found the dark pit of Schaeffer's own undiluted bitterness and rage to be somehow...well...tarnishing. Frank Schaeffer, despite his protestations to the contrary, is a very, very angry man. I told him that in an email after I read the last book. He responded by saying, among other things, that he was getting tired of the accusation. No doubt he is, but Sex, Mom, & God is not going to help him break free of the charge (nor are his frankly bizarre, weird, fear-mongering news show rants that can be viewed easily on YouTube).

Now, does Schaeffer have a right to be angry? You bet he does. If his own hyperbolic excesses would stop throwing roadblocks up, I personally would feel even more sympathy for him than I already do. Frank did get a raw deal and he grew up in an unbelievably strange situation.

Frank is the only son of the late Francis and the still-living-but-very-elderly Edith Schaeffer. Francis Schaeffer was an Evangelical superstar in the 70′s and 80′s in particular and, to some extent, still is today. As I mention in the open letter linked above, his writings had and still have a profound impact on my own life, though for various reasons (Frank's work included) I have cooled in my affection for Francis' writings (and some of his later writings I've rejected almost in toto).

Frank indeed grew up in a strange world.
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Format: Hardcover
I wish more Evangelicals were open to reading Frank Schaeffer's latest books, because they provide us with such a clear understanding of recent church history, and what happened to the influence we assumed we would have in the present time.

I wonder if the titles throw people off, but I'd encourage you to get beyond them, buy the books and read them! Do NOT FEAR Frank Schaeffer, you will gain so much!

Frank's books are emotional, so much so, that to read this one seems a bit like riding a motorcycle through a tropical storm: I sense breathtaking fury and unresolved anger over his participation in some "pet Evangelical projects" of the past. There is a sense of betrayal that many of us share; we thought we were so RIGHT, and remain in various stages of depression and despair as we discover how foolish we looked to the outside world, and to God.

The book is edgy, if anything coming close to disclosing too much about his sexual past, but Frank can never be accused of keeping his controversial thoughts to himself! I think he comes down pretty harshly on sex in the Bible, stressing the Old Testament laws, but it's his book, and his opinion.

Isolating a sentence here and there, you might wonder if he believes in God at all, but then in the next sentence you have no doubt; but Frank's books are not intended to reassure us of his relationship to God.

My favorite parts, and women of all ages will find these their favorites too, are the glimpses into Frank's mother, Edith's personal life. I adored the woman I found in the pages of "Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway".
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Our thoughts are tethered to our feelings: this is a key message of Frank Schaeffer's SEX, MOM, & GOD.

Schaeffer describes his unusually explicit and early sex education, his unusually creative and energetic mother, and his conflicted relationship with the God of the (very literally interpreted) Bible. He shows how all of this generated feelings that led to the extreme Christian fundamentalist stance of his young adulthood during which he worked diligently (and angrily) to convert the United States to a Bible-believing nation, as well as to his later embrace of a God of Mystery, his growing comfort with not knowing the exact nature of Ultimate Reality, and his own life of creativity.

As always, Frank Schaeffer's gifts both as a storyteller and as an essayist provide a wonderful read. Schaeffer's stories are charming, outrageous, and often hilarious. Two of them particularly come to mind: having sex with an ice sculpture, and bathing under the supervision of a kind-hearted babysitter who was obsessed with the Queen of England.

The essay-type parts of Schaeffer's book are fascinating. As a former extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalist, Schaeffer understands that mindset from the inside. From his own experience, Schaeffer knows that the intellectual gloss of fundamentalist thought is undergirded by strong emotions and psychological needs. Schaeffer excels at making these thought/feeling connections clear and vivid.
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