Caught between the beauty of his grandchildren and grief at a friend’s death, Frank Schaeffer finds himself simultaneously believing and not believing—an atheist who prays. In Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God, Schaeffer wrestles with faith and disbelief sharing his innermost debate with the poignant lyricism only a great writer of literary nonfiction can achieve. Schaeffer writes as an imperfect son, husband and grandfather whose adoration of his family, love and art trumps the ugly theologies of an angry God.
"All we have is our stories," writes novelist Schaeffer (Crazy for God, 2008, etc.) in this entertaining, energetic new memoir. He follows through on this point by filling his book with story after story, all told with the clarity and catchy pacing of a born raconteur.... An intriguing, readable memoir aimed squarely at the post-faith modern era."
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The God Trilogy
Crazy for God
By the time he was nineteen, Frank Schaeffer’s parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer, had achieved global fame as bestselling evangelical authors and speakers, and Frank had joined his father on the evangelical circuit. He would go on to speak before thousands in arenas around America, publish his own evangelical bestseller, and work with such figures as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Dr. James Dobson. But all the while Schaeffer felt increasingly alienated, precipitating a crisis of faith that would ultimately lead to his departure—even if it meant losing everything. With honesty, empathy, and humor, Schaeffer delivers “a brave and important book” (Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog)—both a fascinating insider’s look at the American evangelical movement and a deeply affecting personal odyssey of faith. Find Crazy for God on Amazon.
"Interesting glimpses into the burgeoning religious right folded into a deeply personal memoir...Schaeffer is
brutally honest...He offers particularly eye-opening accounts of his personal encounters with the likes of Pat Robertson, James Dobson et al...Candid, sometimes angry
and clearly cathartic for the author."
- Kirkus Reviews on Crazy for God
"A story about the dangers of inauthentic faith...An important book...A cautionary tale about the damaging effects on children whose parents have an excess of spiritual pride."
- Washington Times on Crazy for God
Patience with God
Frank Schaeffer has a problem with Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, and the rest of the New Atheists—the self-anointed “Brights.” He also has a problem with the Rick Warrens and Tim LaHayes of the world. The problem is that he doesn’t see much of a difference between the two camps. As Schaeffer puts it, they “often share the same fallacy: truth claims that reek of false certainties. I believe that there is an alternative that actually matches the way life is lived rather than how we usually talk about belief. Sparing no one and nothing, including himself and his fiery evangelical past, and invoking subtleties too easily ignored by the pontificators, Schaeffer adds much-needed nuance to the conversation. “My writing has smoked out so many individuals who seem to be thinking about the same questions. I hope that this book will provide a meeting place for us, the scattered refugees of what I’ll call The Church of Hopeful Uncertainty.” Find Patience with God on Amazon.
Sex, Mom, & God
Alternating between laugh-out-loud scenes from his childhood and acidic ruminations on the present state of an America he and his famous fundamentalist parents helped create, bestselling author Frank Schaeffer asks what the Glenn Becks and the Rush Limbaughs and the paranoid fantasies of the “right-wing echo chamber” are really all about. Here’s a hint: sex. The unforgettable central character in Sex, Mom, and God is the author’s far-from-prudish evangelical mother, Edith, who sweetly but bizarrely provides startling juxtapositions of the religious and the sensual thoughout Schaeffer’s childhood. She was, says Frank Schaeffer, “the greatest illustration of the Divine beauty of Paradox I’ve encountered … a fundamentalist living a double life as a lover of beauty who broke all her own judgmental rules in favor of creativity.” Find Sex, Mom, & God on Amazon.
Other Nonfiction by Frank Schaeffer
In 1998, Frank Schaeffer was a bohemian novelist living in "Volvo driving, higher-education worshipping" Massachusetts with two children graduated from top universities. Then his youngest child, straight out of high school, joined the United States Marine Corps. Written in alternating voices by eighteen-year-old John and his father, Frank, Keeping Faith takes readers in riveting fashion through a family's experience of the Marine Corps: from being broken down and built back up on Parris Island (and being the parent of a child undergoing that experience), to the growth of both father and son and their separate reevaluations of what it means to serve. From Frank's realization that among his fellow soccer dads "the very words ‘boot camp' were pejorative, conjuring up ‘troubled youths at risk'" ("'But aren't they all terribly southern?' asked one parent") to John's learning that "the Marine next to you is more important than you are," Keeping Faith — a New York Times bestseller — is a fascinating and personal examination of issues of class, duty, and patriotism. Find Keeping Faith on Amazon.
Faith of Our Sons
In Faith of Our Sons, Frank Schaeffer picks up his family's ongoing story as Corporal John Schaeffer is deployed to the Middle East on the day Gulf War II begins. Schaeffer's moving and timely account of the universal experience of losing a child— either temporarily or permanently—to war and his attendant emotions (from pride to panic to rage and back again) is punctuated throughout by the voices of the many others in Frank's situation, thousands of parents and children, who continue to pour their hearts out to the Schaeffers in countless letters since the publication of Keeping Faith—from those waiting anxiously for loved ones to come home to those who know they never will. No other book addresses the more intimate, but in some ways just as difficult and heroic side of the wartime experience: that of those waiting at home, praying for the safety of their loved ones. Find Faith of Our Sons on Amazon.
Voices from the Front
Frank Schaeffer draws on his relationships with America's military families to gather a timely and powerful collection of writing from the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Voices from the Front takes us directly to the often invisible front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan: from first deployment to patrols to combat to field hospitals and, in some cases, homecoming. As Schaeffer has written of a group he has come to think of—politics apart—as the next greatest generation, "We need to know the men and women in combat better and to understand what they are going through." Powerful, moving and undeniable, Voices from the Front tells the story of this war in the voices of the Americans who are living—and dying—in it every day. Find Voices from the Front on Amazon.
In America, it is increasingly the case that the people who make, support, or protest military policy have no military experience. As Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer assert in this groundbreaking work, the gap between the "all-volunteer military" and the rest of us is widening, and our country faces a dangerous lack of understanding between those in power and those who defend our way of life. Find AWOL on Amazon.