Blessed Be Frank: Why I Am an Evangelical Who Really Likes Frank Schaeffer

Frank-Schaeffer-Why-I-am-an-atheistOkay, the title of today’s post is problematic on a couple of levels:

  1. You may not consider me an Evangelical.  Many, many people do not.  Many consider me a “progressive” and in various ways those folks are correct.  The word “Evangelical” is a bit slippery, having divergent definitions, depending upon who you ask, AND several of those definitions would not best represent me, my beliefs or my praxis.  However, I still consider myself an Evangelical, by and large.  It is my tradition.  It encompasses much of the spheres that I run within. And, to be clear, it is my family and I feel a tremendous call to stay with my family.
  2. This post is going to be self-serving.  Sorry.

Frank and I have been friends for a couple of years now.  It is a great honor of mine.  He has been a tremendous supporter of me and my work.  He was an effusive endorser of my most recent book:

“Tony Kriz is a writer who happens to write books related to God. This sets Tony apart from the bevy of theologians who write only to communicate their ideas. Reading ALOOF is a pleasure. People will debate the ideas–is there a God or not?–but no one will put this book down feeling cheated. It is a work of art.”

I have read much of his writings over the years (most recently Why I Am An Atheist Who Believes In God) and I have been both informed and inspired by his work.  For whatever reason, Frank rubs many people in a bad way (which inspired todays #OffTheHighway episode, “Frank, Why Do You Hate Evangelicals?”)  Whatever that frustration others feel, I seem to be immune to it.  I have found him most-often serious, to be sure and only through-provoking… not annoying, angering or insulting.

Last year I even read his novel, And God Said, “Billy”, in a personal record breaking time (which doesn’t mean much, since I am not much of a reader.)  Read more about that here.

Take five minutes, five well-spent minutes to listen to Frank’s nuanced thoughts on Evangelicals and Evangelicalism.  You will, if you have ears to hear, notice that his feelings are complicated.  You will also catch in his tone, that there is a great struggle there for him, a struggle born out of his very real and personal story.

And yet in light of all that, Frank wrote these words last week on his Patheos Blog:

“If I Was Still an Evangelical, I’d Want to Be Tony Kriz (Blessed be Tony!)  No, I don’t write books about God like Tony does. And I’m persona non grata on the Evangelical circuit where Tony thrives… But I like Tony–lots– and I’m rooting for his new book and him too.”

He then posted an excerpt from my book to let his entire “progressive” world know about my work.

Well, I warned you.  This blog has been a bit self-serving.  For that I apologize.  I wanted you to know that Frank has been not only a good friend to me; he has been a good man to me.

“Blessed be Frank!”
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One Response to “Blessed Be Frank: Why I Am an Evangelical Who Really Likes Frank Schaeffer”

  1. Frank makes me VERY uncomfortable, which I suppose is a good thing. Too much attachment to my heavily evangelical upbringing. I read the “Atheist” book, and it chalenged me greatly. But it was a difficult read for me.

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