Frank Schaeffer Book Giveaway!

February 1st, 2012

Last Thursday I drove to Omaha, Nebraska to hear Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God and lots of other really great books dealing with the crazier end of the Christianity spectrum, speak.  He did not disappoint.  You can hear his talk at this link.  If you start at about eleven minutes you can skip the introductions, although the minister of the church where Frank talked does give a brief, but interesting account of his own visit to L’Abri, the famed Swiss mission where Frank grew up in the first few minutes.

Frank spent the first half of his talk re-stating much of the material he covers in his book.  It wasn’t until about half way through that he began to venture into territory that was new to me – that being his own faith, what exactly he believes and how he maintains it.  The title of his talk was…

How Both Atheism and Christian Fundamentalism
Miss the Mark on Faith

but he did not really cover this topic.  His comments on fundamentalism centered on his personal experiences as both a child of missionary parents and as a leader of the religious right.  His opinion of virtually every well-known evangelical pastor that he knew during his time as a rising star among evangelical ministers is piss poor.  He uniformly regards them as power hungry, money grubbing warts on the world.  For his inside stories on James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, read his book Crazy For God (which I am giving away today.)  In general he seemed to regard most fundies as sort of addle brained people who just don’t have the capacity to reason things out very well.  He also was careful to mention that many fundamentalists are good people in spite of their terrible belief system.  In regards to atheists, Frank spoke of a few e-mail conversations he had with the late Christopher Hitchens wherein Hitch berated him for continuing in his beliefs in spite of his first hand knowledge of the vagaries of Christianity.  Frank referred to Hitchens in a warm manner stating that the brusqueness of his e-mails were what was to be expected from Hitchens and later went on to say that he felt that atheists could be moral and good people without the parameters of religion governing their life.

My favorite moment of the evening came during the question and answer time when a pinch faced lady in the congregation demanded that Frank explain how his orthodox priest (Frank attends the Greek Orthodox church) could give him communion.  Excerpt follows…

Pinch Faced Fundy – I am not sure why your priest would give you communion when you don’t even hold the faith that Christ is risen.  Orthodoxy means right belief!

Frank – Sure.  But one of the basic tenants of orthodox belief is that the only person’s salvation you worry about is your own.  And I didn’t say I didn’t believe Christ is risen, I said I don’t know.  Nor did Thomas.  Nor do you.

He then went on to talk about astrophysics and whether or not the chair the lady was sitting on really existed and I sort of tuned that out because astro-what?  But he continued to skewer her for the next few minutes and I have to say that I immensely enjoyed it.  If you want to listen to the skewering yourself it starts around 1:24 in the video.

During the Q and A, I asked Frank if the film Portofino was ever going to be released.  He said that it didn’t actually ever get made.  The German financiers pulled out of the project before filming began.  Later I asked him a few more questions while he signed the mountain of books that I had brought with me.  I asked him if he was ever going to return to the Calvin Becker stories who is the protaganist in my favorite Schaeffer books Portofino, Saving Grandma and Zermatt.  He said that he did plan to write more Calvin Becker books and very soon too (yay!).  Next I asked him how much of the Becker books were true stories from his life.  Frank shrugged and said none of them.  He admitted that all of the things that happened in the book are connected to things that happened in real life, but insisted that the Becker family characters are fictional.  I then asked him if the Elsa Becker character was anything like his mom, specifically referring to the unrequited love affair in the book Portofino and the actual unrequited love affair that Edith Schaeffer had for the rich Californian whom Frank talks of in his book Sex Mom and God. Edith’s relationship with the rich Californian was mutual and even resulted in a marriage proposal which Edith Schaeffer declined in spite of being married to an abusive evangelist (Francis Schaeffer) at the time.  Frank nodded his head saying that the events were connected, but that the specific incident that happens to Elsa Becker while vacationing in Italy did not happen to his mother.

And then Frank signed my books and I brought one home for a giveaway!  If you would like an autographed copy of Crazy for God, leave a comment.  If you don’t know what to say in your comment, might I suggest an answer to the question – What is Frank thinking???  For if you look at the photo at the top of this post of Frank and I standing together, Frank certainly appears to be thinking something.  Maybe he is worried about the deranged woman standing next to him who has been peppering him with questions about his books.  Maybe he is wondering if she is a dangerous stalker.  Maybe he is worried that she is going to kidnap him and take him to a creepy farmhouse in the middle of Nebraska where she will torture him until he writes a new Calvin Becker book.  Feel free to contemplate his thoughts in the comment section.  I am very interested in your theories!  And may the best booky win!


  • Spiderjohn:

    I know that look. I’ve had that look. He’s thinking ” If I have to sign one more book or take one more picture, I’m going to piss my pants!”

  • I would be interested in reading his books. And, he looks like he’s ready to be done with all the schmoozing to me! haha Can’t blame him though

  • If he had a day anything like mine, he’s thinking, “Where’s the closest happy hour?” ;-)

  • Bdaiss:

    Do you think he’s worried where you keep your axe ala Annie in Misery? : ) Thanks for the chance! Glad you enjoyed the talk.

  • “…he felt that atheists could be moral and good people without the parameters of religion governing their life.”

    well, DUH! ha.

    I would love to read “Crazy for God”.

  • Véronique:

    “she mentioned a blog…what was that blog about again…must be pretty popular, all these books she made me sign..I’d better put on my serious face here.”

    or another one: “Darn! I hope she really believed me when I said I wasn’t Calvin, this is getting so embarrassing”

    I’m interested in his book. I’m in the middle of Grandma. I often drive on the freeway in the area where they lived and now I feel like I want to go and stalk around. (I’m ready to pay for the shipping costs).

  • Jill:

    I’ve really got to pay attention during these book signings. Did she just say she loves “Crazy for God” or she’s linking this talk in her blog?

  • Kay in KCMO:

    It looks like he’s fighting off a foot cramp.

  • Torn between standing beside a good looking woman and a banner about faith that brings out his Calvinistic-fundamentalist roots, Frank is, momentarily, frozen in time. Does he break out of the freeze? Does he listen to the angel on one of his shoulders or the devil on the other? Which is which? The only way to know is to read more deeply into this blog. The mystery deepens, but you will not be sorry as you dig deeper to solve what may be one of the most profound questions of life.

  • herewegokids7:

    I am freaking jealous. Hubs and I had to have our hotel reservation cancelled as 2 children came down w/…I kid you not…MEASLES the day before the lecture. (It’s a 5 hr. drive for us to Omaha). In the picture, I believe Frank is wondering if he might have left the iron on in his room after giving his pants a nice fresh crease.

  • Rhonda H.:

    I’m pretty sure you intimidated the shit out of him with your interesting, thought-provoking, non-judgemental questions. Either that or he’s constipated from all the book tour road food.

  • I have no idea what he is thinking, but your reference to MISERY is hysterical!
    Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  • km:

    “She looks bloody pleased with herself after buttoning up my shirt and fixing my tie ! Once a mother, always a mother.”

  • tony:

    he’s wondering what to do with his right hand.

  • Jessie S.:

    I think he is thinking “I like pancakes”. It’s written all over his face!

  • Leslie:

    I don’t know what he is thinking but what I thought when looking at his pictures is “my…that man’s mouth looks like the mouth of a muppet”. That might just be me though…

  • Judy Dudley:

    “I am so sick of these photographs with so-called fans!”

  • AmeliaJake:

    He is focused on presenting a Clint Eastwood face.

  • “Oh crap. She knows.”

  • Alison:

    I think he wondering why you asked so many questions about his mom’s SEX LIFE :) Ackward…..

    I would love to win the book b/c I’m one of those crazy, kooky Christians.

  • Dion F.:

    I would love a good book to read. If he’s seen the YouTube video, he is probably thinking…”This woman is like the honey badger. Badass and doesn’t give a shit!”

  • km:

    That valet better get my car here right now! What’s he braking for?

  • km:

    It’s true, I am Mitt Romney’s brother

  • Carol Sorensen:

    I think he is working out a piece of food from between his teeth.

  • Lisa:

    Rechelle, I really enjoyed this post – very entertaining and informative. Now I must head over to Amazon to check out some his books!

    And I agree with a previous poster who said he looks constipated. That, or he’s trying really hard to hold in a fart.

  • linda:

    It sounds good to me!!

  • Leslie Grimplin:

    I would love to have a copy of this book!

  • Dana:

    I was raised Church of Christ, with a father that taped Dr. Dobson on the radio everyday, About a year ago I started to question everything I was taught. It has been an interesting journey so far. I think Frank Schaeffer’s book would be an interesting read.

  • Dear G*D, or whoever is out there, listening, please, please don’t let me fart now. Please. Or worse, shart. Ohg*dohg*dohg*d.

    • km:

      Thanks for my morning grin