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Patience With God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism): 256 Paperback – 26 Oct 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First Trade Paper Edition edition (26 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306819228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306819223
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review, 11/23/10 "[Schaeffer] is a religious riddle wrapped in an enigma inside a conundrum...A compelling read for anyone who has wondered if there is no God and for everyone certain that there is." Santa Fe New Mexican, 12/3/10 "Patience with God is the middle ground between Rick Warren and Christopher Hitchens, a measured alternative to what has begun to feel like strictly black-and-white arguments that conflate religion with politics, assume all Christians have identical beliefs, and seem to require all Americans to make a dichotomous choice between moral tradition and Godless progress...Schaeffer's voice is casual but firm. You don't have to agree with him, but he isn't easily dismissed." Acadiana LifeStyle, December 2010 "Whether you're an atheist or fundamentalist, or something in between, you'll find many thought-provoking ideas in this volume...An interesting look at religious beliefs from all angles." Bad Catholic blog, 12/30/11 "Frank takes no prisoners when it comes to Evangelical Fundamentalists...[His] books fall into the same category as drinking straight Bourbon whiskey. It's an acquired taste which some may find too strong to tolerate. Reading Patience With God is like sitting down and having a long rambling talk with good old Frank who is brilliant but is also something of a crank. I loved it and can't recommend it highly enough." Financial Times, 3/14/11 "This beguiling ramble of essay and memoir is worth the effort."

About the Author

Frank Schaeffer is the author of the New York Times bestseller Keeping Faith and the memoir Crazy for God. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and three children.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on 27 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Frank Schaeffer is the prodigal son of Francis Schaeffer, the well known fundamentalist leader, rumoured founder of the Christian right and real founder of L'Abri. Frank eventually broke with his father's views and became an unsuccessful Hollywood director and moderately successful author of both fiction and non-fiction. "Patience with God" is a kind of summary of his life and current views.

The book is meandering and very uneven. Sometimes, the prodigal says interesting things, but most of the chapters contain gossip about himself, his parents and Christopher Hitchens. Add to that boring preaching of an almost agnostic kind, a misplaced chapter eulogizing the U.S. Marines and a rather idiosyncratic interpretation of Eastern Orthodoxy, and you end up with "Patience with God". But OK, I admit that the gossip about Hitchens was quite revealing. A veritable guilty pleasure!

Frank Schaeffer's own ideas are hard to pin down, and he seems to like it that way. Nominally a convert to the Greek Orthodox Church, Frank's religious opinions sound rather like a blend of liberal Christianity (except on the abortion issue), vague New Age notions about cosmic evolutionism, and agnosticism. He endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and is considered an "Obama Republican" by Wikipedia.

I'm not a fundie either, but I find it more difficult than Frank to "live with paradox". Perhaps that's why I *want* to pin him down, even pidgeon-hole him. And perhaps that's also why I didn't really like his book. For the effort, however, I'll give it three stars.
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Format: Paperback
I have enjoyed Frank Schaeffer's biographically based fictions (the Calvin Becker Trilogy) and Crazy for God and Sex, Mom and God. (Last two mentioned confirming biographical nature of first mentioned.) In spite of the weighty subject - fundamentalist Religion - I found them all amusingly entertaining. Patience with God, however, is different. It is of special significance to me, as I identify with Frank Schaeffer's spiritual journey; a journey that took him from an activist, in support of fundamentalistic Evangelicalism, to an advocate for a non-exclusive perspective of Christianity. Whilst Frank finds comfort in the unchanging liturgy and worship through the Greek Orthodox tradition, I appreciate that he also acknowledges that interpretations of the Bible are not static, but subject to change, like anything that is alive: In the past many a bible-believer`s image of their god did not contradict the church's brutal treatment against unbelievers, heretics and devotees of other religions; fortunately this cannot be said about today's majority of `possessors' of ultimate and absolute truth. Most of today's believers, even some fundamentalists, remain silent on the subject of the brutal side of the biblical portrait of god, a god who condemns non-believers to eternal punishment! Frank is right in his perception that his fundamentalist parents' battle was one preoccupied with cleaning up this bad reputation of their god and that they were often kinder than HIM, in whom they believed. To me, this contradiction is one that is (as Nietzsche would say) too human - all too human and can only be identified as a paradox created (or `biblically' interpreted) by paradoxical human beings who would like their god of love to hate people who disagree with them.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 67 reviews
104 of 112 people found the following review helpful
Comments by a "Fellow Traveler on the Journey" 10 Nov. 2009
By William D. Peterson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the summer of 1962, I was a 19 year old Evangelical/Fundamentalist who spent a week at L'Abri, the Presbyterian Mission in the Swiss Alps that was founded and led by Frank Schaeffer's parents -- Francis and Edith Schaeffer. At that time Frank was a kid who -- in spite of an atrophied leg as a byproduct of a bout with polio -- demonstrated guts and determination in the pickup football games he relished playing with and against much older competitors such as me and my traveling companions.
In 1962 I studied the Bible and had theological discussions with Frank's father Francis, and his mother Edith, and didn't think to ask young Frank's views on such matters.
In 2009 I am a 67 year-old Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, who finds himself resonating more strongly with Frank's views of life and matters of faith, than with the harsh Fundamentalism that was espoused by Frank's parents (and mine). Thus I have found his books "Crazy for God," and "Patience with God" to be inspirational manifestos which reflect the human capacity to speak the truth in love regarding the limitations of our "rearing," and to promote what are hopefully healthier, and more gracious images of faith and life. I admire Frank's ability to express profound love for his parents, while acknowledging their shortcomings when it came to their lack of attention to his own education and development.
"Patience with God" breaks new ground in pointing out that the "new atheism" represents every bit as much of a tendency to be "fundamentalist" as any restrictive religious point of view. More importantly, it provides insights into ways Frank has found God, faith, family, friends, and love to be enduring necessities for healthy human living in the midst of attempts to label such things as "unnecessary" in an enlightened age.
One doesn't have to agree with everything that Schaeffer says. I certainly don't. But to let one's discomfort with some of his exposes or ideas keep one from celebrating the vast reach of this man's perspectives on religion, art, literature, philosophy, relationships, et al, is to miss the gifts Frank has to share.

The Rev. Dr. William D. Peterson, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
And Then the Bubble Popped 24 April 2010
By Eric Wilson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I, like Frank, grew up in an evangelical minister's family. I, like Frank, saw and heard things done in the name of God that seemed not only unethical but immoral and evil. I, like Frank, spend some of my early years in Europe and developed a love of intellectual pursuits that allowed room for both faith and reason. I . . . Well, I like Frank.

Sadly, many readers (particularly those who know his parents' books and teachings) will look for reasons to discount the ideas in "Patience With God." This is not a book to be held up like a battle herald for believers or atheists. It's an attempt--and a very good one--to bridge the gap between spirit and mind, between theology and science, between purpose and progression. Yes, Frank is candid about his parents' shortcomings, both domestically and spiritually, but he is equally candid about his own. He pulls no punches. He points fingers at those on both sides of the fence, but in particular those who claim to know it all--whether they be right-wing fundamentalists or the atheistic, self-proclaimed "Brights." Over the years, I've found myself struggling to reconcile the mostly good-intentioned but poor behavior of both sides. I appreciated some of Pat Robertson's early ideas, for example, but cringed when he put himself in the place of God and declared God's purposes in natural tragedy. I also appreciated Bill Maher's early years of candor and humor, but find it increasingly mean-spirited and--ironically enough--narrowminded in its accessment of religion.

Do I agree with all that Frank says here? No. And he and I are fine with that. We could sit and discuss these ideas logically, even passionately, but never lose sight of our love for God, life, and each other. That's the beauty of embracing the paradoxes of which he writes. We don't all have to subscribe to one narrow brand of faith, cutting others off or discounting everything they say because of nitpicky differences over End Times theology or evolutionary theory--or whatever the argument du jour may be. Personally, I love God and believe in the Jesus of the Bible. I hate the directions American Christianity has taken, turning the "milk of the Word" into smorgasbord affairs that masquerade as nutritous spiritual meals. It seems that, in many venues, Christians choose to hunker under the "safe" and "protected" bubble of their own beliefs, rather than relating to those around them with the love that Christ personified, living "dangerous" and "prepared" lives in the trenches of the real world.

"Patience With God" will challenge Christians, Muslims, and New Atheists. It will cause thinking readers to reevaluate and reconsider. It is sane and logical, while never dismissing the possibilities of faith and feelings. It accepts the concepts of a loving and gracious Jesus, while never confining Him to a particular evangelical bent. Some will find that threatening. Some will prefer to remain "safe" in their bubbles of religious or scientific thinking. Others, hopefully many, will admit the paradoxes on both sides.

For those who are tired of hateful atheism or exhausted by self-righteous religion, "Patience With God" offers a meeting place in between, a place where discussion can be honest, intelligent, and kind. The two extremes--thank God!--are not the only options. I always knew that. It's just nice to know that I'm not alone.
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Patience with God, but very little for the Religious 22 Nov. 2009
By Chad Estes - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I can't help but smile when I read Frank Schaeffer. He simply doesn't seem to care what people think of what he writes. If he does care, he doesn't let that get in the way of him sharing his heart and his experiences.

In his last book, 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, Schaeffer pulls no punches as he puts pen to paper in describing his religious journey in his famous, Christian family. It was shocking to some, frustrating to others and was possibly seen as fuel to those who make it their pastime to denounce Christianity. I found his narrative valuable and worth reading. I wish more people had actually read his book instead of just only talking about it.

In his new book Schaeffer turns his eagle-eyed gaze from his religious past and focuses on the New Atheists- Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris & Dennett. The first six chapters will be used in Christian universities across the nation as Schaeffer picks apart the atheists' own religious stands and intolerance. But just in case the evangelical Christians celebrate too much in the spanking being given to the atheists, Schaeffer uses to the following two chapters to put a couple of sharp, stinging whacks across the backsides of some of today's popular Christian leaders and their fear-based teachings that produce hate, hypocrisy and intolerance.

Schaeffer expends most of his angst in the first half of the book; in the second he settles in to share what he sees could be a living middle-ground, a place where people can journey together in peace, energized by love. He writes using stirring stories from his past and his present, showing that there were some really good things he hasn't let go of and that there is still room to evolve, in love.

Frank Schaeffer is a thoughtful and talented writer and I'm glad that he continues to share his journey with us.
88 of 111 people found the following review helpful
A Validation of A Kinder Christian Faith 17 Oct. 2009
By John F. Defelice - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dear Frank:

I read your book. I think it is important that you know my immediate reaction. It is more important than my academic one.

I devoured this book. It has been so long since I found reading material that hit my soul as this did. Your thoughts and observations have rattled around inside me in an incoherent fashion for years. Your book gave them structure and voice.

But I think you would be more interested in what happened when I tried to write you an e-mail in response to your book. What a torment it is to the "detached scholar" to be set in turmoil by a mere book!

Attempt One: Started writing a detached review of your book. By paragraph three I was writing about myself. Delete.

Attempt Two: Decided to write a paragraph about myself to get it out of my system before reviewing your book. One hour later I have a biography, again about myself. Delete.

Attempt Three: Sat in front of an empty screen trying to write. Decided not to. It would end up like attempt two. Delete

Rest and Reflection: Gave manuscript to wife to read. Wife becomes hopelessly absorbed. Still is. (My wife Gwen is Roland Bainton's granddaughter)

More rest and reflection.

Attempt Four: Decided to write a response in a Word document. I can edit it, delete my personal biography crap, and be the nice, proper scholar Miami University trained me to be. Seven pages later, once again, primarily about me, I save it to my "Personal-Crap-No-One-Will-Ever-See-File.

More Rest and Reflection. Damn you Schaeffer!

And now, my blurb...or a part of it. I had to clear my mind and figure out what was going on. I originally thought that your book awakened some kind of slumbering egomaniac in me. This has never happened before. Usually when I review a book (for publication), it is a process that I completely control. Let's say its a book on the collapse of the bronze age or on Pompeii or church history or a textbook on world history. I review it, categorize its strengths and weakness, compare it to existing literature, assess its accessibility to a variety of students types, look at the resources assembled for its bibliography, judge the author's bias, and make a recommendation: to buy or not to buy (or assign). I am the detached voice. Invisible. You sure screwed up that process.

What you did, Frank, is validate a part of my life I wanted desperately to forget. The pain, the struggle, the embarrassment, the utter desperation of being without a spiritual country. I saw myself. Your book was a mirror. Whether you are talking about atheists (I think you are really speaking about fundamentalists in a disarming way: targeting them by talking about something else: a parable if there ever was one!)or your own past, or the limitation of fundamentalist intellectual honesty, it comes around to the personal. This book is essentially my journey too. It is, in another form, the journey of a multitude of wounded Christians who have been divorced from the mystical, the allegorical, and the real faith for a long time. You gave us voice. You validated our experiences. We're OK, and not damned or compromised or not dedicated to Christ enough.

In other words, your narrative opens us up. I can talk and write about myself because you have. You have started a conversation. One that has been needed for a long, long time. And conversations make us want to reply. You talk intently about your experiences. We, the readers want share ours. But we can only do this because you shared first. So thanks.

John F. DeFelice
Associate Professor of History
University of Maine at Presque ISle
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Patience with God 9 Jan. 2010
By James G. Martin - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished reading Frank Schaeffer's book titled "Patience with God." It is excellent. It is somewhat autobiographical and is a heart-felt testimony about Frank Schaeffer's journey from once being an arrogant fundamentalist evangelical to where Mr. Schaeffer is now theologically-- a man of faith who embraces the sacred as well doubt and paradox. Mr. Schaeffer takes no prisoners. He is equally merciless on the so-called "New Atheists" and the Christian fundamentalists. But Mr. Schaeffer does not stop there. He offers a real, sensible way of looking at faith issues in the post-modern world in which we live. I do not agree with everything that Mr. Schaeffer says-- if I did, I get the sense that he would not be pleased as one of his pet peeves seems to be people who do not have the fortitude to make up their own minds and decide for themselves. But I have to say that I do agree with the manner in which Mr. Schaeffer approaches complex issues of faith-- he leaves room for mystery. For him, that mystery, (which is most evidenced by the love that he feels for his granddaughter, his wife and all of his family) surpasses all human understanding is not merely a series of chemical reactions as many atheists would describe it. I highly recommend this book to anybody who has become disenchanted with the church and organized religion. There is an alternative. Frank Schaeffer certainly did not discover that alternative, but he did articulate it in a unique and refreshing way.
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