Friday, February 29, 2008

Frank Schaeffer

My mom gave me "Portofino" and "Saving Grandma" by Frank Schaeffer (the son of the famous evangelical philosopher/theologian Francis Schaeffer) and his books are hillarious. They're all about his life kind of but he just changes the names and stuff. The stories are about a boy named 'Calvin' who grows up in a family with parents as Presbyterian missionaries to Catholics. The books constantly have jokes that are references to the bible, Calvinism, popular evangelicalism an other things that I grew up around and Christians know about. The other joke is that every time the boy prays to the Virgin Mary she answers it and the problem is solved. The books do at times reek of a little blasphemy and bitterness towards his upbringing I guess, but they are just so hillarious that I had to put up a quote from the one I'm reading right now.

In the story of "Saving Grandma" the boy Calvin has been caught helping his spastic neighbour to keep quiet with he masturbates. (I know REALLY awkward) and his parents find out and think he has actually been touching the boy/they think their son is gay (pretty much the worst nightmare of any evangelical). As Calvin is called into his parents room the scene unfolds:
"Then he (Calvin's Dad) looked at me. "This is the most serious moment of your life. Your perversity casts doubt upon your election. It would seem that you are one of the hopelessly unregenerate, a Vessel of Wrath. It is clear that as of now you have not been called. It's clear that your profession of faith has been a sham." Dad had said a lot of things to me on a lot of occasions, but never that I was doomed, a Vessel of Wrath chosen from before the foundation of the world to be damned...I'm afraid we have some very bad news...When Mary Lou said the word masturbated, Mom screamed "Oh no!" and fell on the floor. Dad looked steadily at me. "This is only the first fruits."... (Calvin's dad slaps him trying to get him to confess and says) "You are a liar and a homosexual! You are hopelessly unregenerate and utterly depraved! You are not my son!" I guess Dad read in the Bible about how the Jews tore their clothes when really bad things happened...he tried to tear his blue plaid flannel shirt. He only managed to pop the buttons off... (Calvin then shows everyone in the room his dad's secret stash of adult magazines and calls his dad the real vessel of wrath, and runs across the room. As he runs out the door he finds his sister Janet, who was listening at the keyhole to what was happening) I hit Janet in the face. She didn't say a word, just sank to her knees...I thought about how if we had no free will, how they could blame God if they didn't like that I had broken Janet's nose"

The stories are just filled with hillarious scenes like this that make you laugh out loud, though I don't know how funny this one is without the full context of the story - but to ME - it was hillarious.

1 comment:

  1. I really want to read something by him. I read that interview with powells (the one I sent you) and was cracking up. I probably wouldn't get a lot of the evangelical sub culture jokes, since I didn't grow up with it, but it still sounds awesome.