Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Frank Schaeffer Convocation Display

Today, Frank Schaeffer, author of Portofino, Crazy for God, and several other books spoke to our community. During his introduction he promised to tell us how he "commits spirituality." Regaled by tales of his life in a cult-like evangelical community followed by his involvement in big-time politics and the creation of the right-wing of the Republican party, he proceeded to explain his world-view. In brief, he said that "the most dangerous thing in the world is absolute certainty." He deftly clarified, when asked, that this is not only his view, but a paradox that fits into his philosophy that the question is the answer; the really big questions have no right or wrong answers. He advocated embracing paradox, considering that the question may actually be the solution.

What Mr. Schaeffer meant by the danger of absolute certainty is that insisting that everyone who disagrees with you is wrong, stupid, or evil leads to acts of hatred, war, and terrorism. He warned us of the danger of needing to be right, how it leads to an inability to see the complexities of the world for what they are. Those who write off everyone who doesn't think like them can quickly learn to view their verbal opponent as the enemy. It also leaves us easily manipulated by the power hungry.

Spirituality, to Mr. Schaeffer, does not involve being right about who or what God is. Instead it is about becoming the person who would make a good husband, grandfather, neighbor, or companion on a desert island. It was easy to see how Mr. Schaeffer's life led him to this conclusion. He grew up in a fundamentalist evangelical hippie community and was later courted by the powerful people searching to transform America into a myopic society. I look forward to reading his books.

1 comment:

Frank Schaeffer said...

Hi Frank Schaeffer here, saying thanks for the good word on my presentation and what a pleasure it was to be in the school. Thank you for having me over. Since I live nearby I'm around if I can contribute and any more discussion with the students or teachers.
Best in the New Year,
PS I may be contacted through my website: