Susan's Reviews > 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

Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer
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Jul 18, 2013

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Read in August, 2009

"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" by Frank Schaeffer has been on my list for awhile. Frank is the son of Francis Schaeffer of the famous How Should We Then Live series of the 1970s. I remember our church showing the films each Sunday night for a LONG time, and sadly I remember almost nothing about them, although now I understand they supposedly marked a pivotal point in uniting Christianity and the arts.

In this book, Frank (or Franky as he was called as a child) basically throws his parents under the bus, along with many evangelicals he formerly befriended. His mom was the mastermind of the family. She did it all; exposing her kids to classical music, art, and the finer things in life, and basically bullying her husband into leading a Christian ministry -- at least that's how Franky tells it. Honestly, I thought his parents came off better than Franky did in this book. Franky admits that his childhood nickname among those who knew his family was "the little sh** from Switzerland," and insinuates over and over how smart he is, and how dumb most evangelical Christians are (he calls them "low IQ's" at one point).

Franky has now grown up and, predictably, "matured in his thinking" (i.e., he's left the evangelicals and republicans and is now liberal). And he's not just dishing the dirt on his parents. No, we learn from Franky that George W. Bush was a "towering mediocrity" whose election Franky, in his wisdom, foresaw would be a huge disaster.

Franky disses James Dobson, Billy Graham ("a very weird man"), and Pat Robertson, among others. And although he does share some personal negatives (see that previously-mentioned nickname, as well as descriptions of hard times where he stole pork chops from a local store), you can't help but sense that he feels pretty darn good about himself. After we've spent a few hundred pages reading about how tortured Franky was by his parents, he lets us in a quote from his own daughter: Listening to my Dad speak was always a pleasure ... he was just so good at it ... my young parents were good at remembering the needs of childhood."

Wow - what a guy that Franky is. I'd like to hear his parents' thoughts, but unfortunately his dad died in 1984 and his mom is now in her 90s.

Why did I read this sorry tirade into narcissism? Well, first curiosity - I had seen the films Franky and his dad made, and grew up, as Franky did, in the evangelical Christian world of the 1970s. Also, the book is well-written. You'll enjoy reading about Franky's life - if you can keep from wanting to shake a little sense into him.

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07/18/2013 marked as: read

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