It’s only March, I know, but I’ll put a punt on Crazy for God still being one of my top 5 books of 2008 in December.
The subtitle, “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”, pretty much sums the book up nicely. Frank is, of course, the son of the massively influential Christian leader Francis Schaeffer, who was a profound influence on my parents and their generation’s view of faith. Francis Schaeffer set up ‘L’Abri’ in Switzerland where everyone who was anyone hung out at some point in the 60’s. The Rolling Stones, Led Zep, Os Guinness and every other star in the Christian constellation all passed by there to argue faith and culture with Francis and the L’Abri workers.
While Frank skiied, avoided school, hit on the scores of girls who passed through and scored with plenty of them, and his right hand too. This is what makes Crazy for God such a refreshing read: here’s someone from the true Christian royalty actually telling it like it is, with all the sex drugs and rock and roll edited in. If you don’t want the honest truth about a teenager helping a disabled friend jack off, praying for him to be healed by emptying a jar of oil over his head and ruining his clothes in the process, then this book isn’t for you.
But if, like so many in the emerging movement, you’ve wrestled with your parents’ faith, wildly oscillated between crazed commitment – and Frank does a very good job outlining how he did set up the Religious Right, and exactly what he thinks of it now – and total rejection, then you’ll absolutely love it. Indeed, as the US heads into election fever again I’d say this should be required reading for all who are looking for their candidate to back up their faith perspective. Here’s a book by someone who really knows, and has really been through it: extraordinary childhood, celebrity, acclaimed artist, teenage father, Hollywood director, jet-setting evangelical speaker… and he gave it all up, and had so much taken away, and did end up stealing pork chops.
It’s a genuine laugh-out-loud read, moving, committed and written like the proper novelist he is (and if you haven’t read Portofino, you must) and I’m really excited that he’s agreed to come to Greenbelt this summer. That’s reason enough to get your ticket now, before the March discount deadline ends.