Crazy For God – Again and Again and Again

I think this will be my last post on Crazy For God. Fantastic book that I will forever keep as a reference. If nothing else, it has validated much of what my experience has been.

On pages 331-332, Frank Schaeffer talks about how Christians, specifically evangelical Christians, have become about excluding themselves from the world, not including themselves in it:

“…by the 1970’s the evangelicals as a whole had come up with an alternate ‘gated’ America: ‘Christian’ education, radio, rock, makeup, publishing, schools, home-schools, weight loss, sex manuals, and politics. It wasn’t about being something but about not  being secular, about not having nudity, sex, or four-letter words. What it was for, no one knew.

What was so strange was how evangelicals learned to use all those worldly tools that their fundamentalist grandparents stood against and that, as a child, I was forbidden from even knowing about. They were now using rock, TV, and movies to construct an alternate reality. But they were using these ‘worldly tools’ in a way that was odd: it was not to involve themselves with their culture and learn from it, but to hide from other Americans and create private space.”

I lived in this world for a long time, excluding myself, avoiding all that stuff that was “sinful.” And it’s not that I am living in “sin” now. But when your focus is on avoiding all the time, then it becomes difficult for you to do. Difficult for you to go out and help someone. Difficult to be about justice and social justice. Difficult to be about interacting with our culture in a constructive way. Difficult to establish relationships outside of the false purity of church. I have friends (used to be good friends but now are just at the margins of friendships as they have essentially disowned us for leaving our former fundamentalist church) who have their kids in Christian school, have a DVD player that screens out bad stuff from regular secular movies, etc, and what does it teach their kids? It teaches them to avoid the world. I would rather teach my boys to be responsible in the world. To teach them that this is the world that God made and that it is an awesome place and not to be afraid of it and that there is a great deal of truth to learn about God from all over it. Everything and everyone holds a little bit of truth that if you are willing to look hard enough, you will find (kind of reminds me of some of the words of Jesus). I think we need to work to be more inclusive and less exclusive. That is what will make this world a better place.

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3 responses to “Crazy For God – Again and Again and Again

  1. “I think we need to work to be more inclusive and less exclusive. That is what will make this world a better place.” (Doug)

    I agree – 100%! I attended a few churches for years with this same focus – avoid secular society and less inclusion based. Albeit they has some inclusionary efforts – those were just weak compared to getting to know someone. Church, as a seclusionary state, makes church people look ‘stupid’ – if u ask me.

    The work of a good Christ-ian is to be like their teacher – the Christ person called Jesus – who – was out n about in society walking amongst us. That’s a good example of someone living up to the ideals they taught. I think Christianity – with its seclusionary efforts – pulls against what Jesus taught in some ways. The Matthew Jesus seems very inclusive to me…except to the Pharisees – he did not like them much.

    I avoid Christians in general – not by purpose more or less – but because I rarely see the people I once pal-led around with anywhere. When they do branch out – they learn society isn’t all as bad as thought – some things are quite fun – some things just plain suck.

    I noticed one problem in the Evangelical movements thinking – they speak in general terms (broad strokes). Someone can enjoy a movie but once another movie comes out and is just plain horrible to them – they avoid movies altogether (some even get rid of their tv’s). I know this general-ism because I used that lingo for a long time – the bible speaks in generics so I know where it comes from.

  2. Hi, Frank Schaeffer here: You have been so kind to me and to my book. I am deeply grateful and humbled. Very Best, Frank

  3. Mr. Schaeffer. It is I who am grateful. I’m impressed that you would take the time to check out my blog and then return. Thanks for your work on the book. I look forward to more.

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