Sunday, March 16, 2008

Crazy for God, the end of the journey

I finished it this week and overall am glad I read it. I think that what most Protestant critics of the book seem to overlook is that Frank cheerfully admits he remained an asshole for years after he converted to Orthodoxy (and obviously some people must think he still IS one to go by some of the net reactions I have read and heard about).

So, what do I think (as if you care!)? A solid read. Sloppier than Frank's other book that I read (Addicted to Mediocrity) but it's the kind of sloppiness that is forgivable because I feel like he actually wrote this book. Addicted to Mediocrity had a sort of anonymous ghost-written aspect to its literary style that suggested too much of a committee based sense of outrage, which is in some sense what Frank feels has been endemic to evangelical Protestantism.

I DO wonder if Frank may be emblematic of the adult evangelical convert in the very narrow sense that he feels that evangelicalism was full of bullshit. Yet he introduces a huge caveat near the end of the book that he's not angry with all of evangelicalism past, but with what it has become in the present, a happening he takes some blame for. More blame than perhaps he deserves but the conscious is a strange thing in terms of what it condemns and excuses within us.

And having grown up reading Francis Schaeffer books or J. I. Packer books and other evangelical authors I would say I agree with Frank. The problem with evangelicalism is hardly a matter of what it WAS but what it IS. Does this mean I should give up on evangelicalism? No, not any more than Catholics or Orthodox or Anglicans should abandon Christianity just because of wrongs their denominations have done. To abandon a church because of what I don't get out of it is no less consumeristic than to seek a church because I'm not getting what I want from the one I'm at. Hardly means I'll be happy with everything at the church I'm at, but then I reconciled myself to the reality that all the branches within the tree that is the body of Christ have rottenness in their limbs.

Frank writes a bit about how he discovered that his attempts to get somewhere in Hollywood failed, utterly, and that he forsook all that he believed in as an artist just to get by. When he writes about how he was tempted to re-convert to evangelicalism to drum up money for his family and decided against it is it wrong to agree with him that it was wise not to do that? I could be tempted to look down on him for admitting to professing beliefs he didn't hold but we have all been tempted to affirm things we don't really believe to get by and get along and some people, I guess, must actually do it. These confessions help to explain a nagging sense I had from Frnak's earlier evangelically based books that something just didn't seem right. Frank eventually figured out what that was.

I guess I'd blog more but I'm not sure what else to blog. I'm making some editorial adjustments to some music scores this weekend. I still haven't gotten around to blogging about some of the music and anime related stuff I wanted to blog about but life happens, of course, and it's better to blog on the whim than with too much intent. Perhaps as thoughts come to me (or IF they come to me) I'll blog more about Crazy for God later.

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