“At its best faith in God is about thanksgiving, shared suffering, loss, pain, generosity, and love.”

I have just finished listening to an audio book by Frank Schaeffer. His fundamentalist evangelical background was very similar to mine and I found his journey, thoughts, memoirs and conclusions resonated with me. Recommended read/listen.



Patience With God: Faith for People Who Don’t Like Religion (or Atheism)
by Frank Schaeffer

Book Summary:

Frank Schaeffer has a problem with Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, and the rest of the New Atheists—the self-anointed “Brights.” He also has a problem with the Rick Warrens and Tim LaHayes of the world. The problem is that he doesn’t see much of a difference between the two camps. As Schaeffer puts it, they “often share the same fallacy: truth claims that reek of false certainties. I believe that there is an alternative that actually matches the way life is lived rather than how we usually talk about belief.” Sparing no one and nothing, including himself and his fiery evangelical past, and invoking subtleties too easily ignored by the pontificators, Schaeffer adds much-needed nuance to the conversation. “My writing has smoked out so many individuals who seem to be thinking about the same questions. I hope that this book will provide a meeting place for us, the scattered refugees of what I’ll call The Church of Hopeful Uncertainty.”

Book Review: 

At times really beautiful; at other times a mish mash of stories and ideas. His central point is wonderful (when it comes to belief and disbelief in God, certainty is harmful and divisive; embracing paradox, mystery and love is our best choice) but was made over and over in a variety of (sometimes tangential and self-indulgent) ways. Here are some of my favorite thoughts from this sometimes essay, sometimes memoir:

“Take the sum total of human experience, discount it by a wide margin because we know we’ll never know, take the one overarching lesson from reality–humility–to heart, and move forward together.”

“With all due respect to Dawkins, mystery trumps everything. With all due respect to the theologians, every true story begins with the words “In spite of what I thought at the time…”

“At its best faith in God is about thanksgiving, shared suffering, loss, pain, generosity, and love. The best religious people and the best secular people learn to ignore their chosen (or inherited) religions’ nastier teachings in order to preserve the spirit of their faith, be that faith in secular humanism, science, or in God.”

“I think most people are better than their official theology and/or ideology. There are wars aplenty in the world and hatred abounds, but there is also peace aplenty and love abounds as well. There are extremists in all our camps…they have anger, or worse the blind certainty of their correctness, but the rest of us have the numbers. The future belongs to the peacemakers.”

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2 Responses to “At its best faith in God is about thanksgiving, shared suffering, loss, pain, generosity, and love.”

  1. Philip says:

    Have enjoyed reading this one Graeme. Thank you for sharing it. Franke Schaeffer has done it again.


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