Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Os Guinness Argues the Benefits of Ministerial Celibacy

Well, inadvertently, of course, in his article about the train wreck named Frankie Schaeffer. Excerpt:

The problem is not so much that Frank exposes and trumpets his parents' flaws and frailties, or that he skewers them with his characteristic mockery. It is more than that. For all his softening, the portrait he paints amounts to a death-dealing charge of hypocrisy and insincerity at the very heart of their life and work. In Frank's own words, his parents were "crazy for God." Their call to the ministry "actually drove them crazy," so that "religion was actually the source of their tragedy." His dad was under "the crushing belief that God had 'called' him to save the world." Because of this, his parents were "happiest when farthest away from their missionary work." Back at their calling, they were "professional proselytizers," their teaching was "indoctrination," and it was unclear whether people came to faith or were "brainwashed" and "under the spell" of his parents. Frank's own arguments in their support, he now says, were a kind of "circus trick."

O.G also discusses Frankie's sweet reminiscences about his dear mother, Edith.

....Frank describes his mother as a "high-powered nut," who was "best at the martyrdom game." He mocks her with vitriol in several of his books, and her incredible and justly celebrated passion for beauty and excellence he dismisses with a postmodern sneer as a mission that was "nothing less than repairing the image of fundamentalism." Several times I saw her reduced to tears in private after his barbs against her. But now in her nineties, with her failing memory, she neither fully knows nor is able to respond to all he has written about her. "If I read it," she said to me about one of Frank's earlier books, "it would probably break my heart."

Second, Frank's descriptions of other people and events are often equally irresponsible and wildly inaccurate. He rightly disavows the immaturity of his early books and films. He was as "addicted to mediocrity" as anyone he attacked. But for all his improved writing style, his manner of sneering dismissals is unchanged. Sometimes he is ludicrously negative, as in his remarks about Billy Graham and Carl Henry. Sometimes he is self-servingly positive, citing compliments from people—such as Malcolm Muggeridge—who were well known for their overall scathing dismissals of both Francis and Frank. Sometimes he is just plain cruel, as in his description of the woman assigned to be his home school tutor—and as in most cruelty, he is worst when mocking those unable to reply.

HT Rod Dreher, and I have to hand it to him for posting this since it showcases the kind of rage that a lot of these priggish Orthodox converts exude. Hopefully it will slow him down from his recent spate of Catholic-bashing, but I do not advise breath-holding.


  1. So basically Frankie Schaeffer is a bully -- he mocks people who are either dead or are too weak and feeble to defend themselves.

    Way to honor your father and mother, Frankie.

    I bet that someday he will be on the receiving end of such mockery by one of his own children. God has a way of giving people His own brand of "instant karma".

    Apparently, the Frankie Schaeffer who wrote Addicted to Mediocrity no longer exists.

  2. I suggested on Phil Blosser's blog that perhaps Faye Dunaway could play Edith Schaeffer in the movie adaptation of Frankie's own "mommie dearest"-style memoir. Maybe she could have a scene railing against paperback Bibles instead of wire hangers.