Best-selling author and political commentator Schaeffer to speak at MC

Best-selling author and political commentator Schaeffer to speak at MC

February 21, 2012
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer

Frank Schaeffer, New York Times best-selling author and political commentator, will give a presentation about moving away from the evangelical faith on Tues., March 6 at 7 p.m. in the Maryville College Alumni Gymnasium.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, is part of the College’s Community Conversations lecture series.

The theme of this year’s series is “People on the Move” and explores human movement in geographic, spiritual, biological and cultural terms.

“Frank Schaeffer exemplifies the theme of this year’s Community Conversations series, ‘People on the Move,’” said the Rev. Anne D. McKee, campus minister at Maryville College. “He reminds us that the religious life is rarely static, but it changes over time. By telling his story of growing up in a very public fundamentalist Christian family in Europe, being part of the founding of the religious right in the U.S., and later coming to question those beliefs, Schaeffer can help us all reflect on our own movement of faith and what we take with us as we travel from place to place.”

Schaeffer, who describes himself as a “survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood,” is the son of Francis Schaeffer, an evangelical author and speaker who was famous for his establishment of the L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland. He is the acclaimed author of four novels, and his three semi-biographical novels about growing up in a fundamentalist mission, including Portofino, Zermatt and Saving Grandma, have been translated into nine languages. His nonfiction includes Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics – and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway, as well as Keeping Faith-A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps.

His 2007 memoir, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back, received critical acclaim. In October 2007, Jeff Sharlet of The New Statement wrote, "Crazy For God is a brilliant book, a portrait of fundamentalism painted in broad strokes with streaks of nuance, the twinned coming-of-age story of Frank and the Christian right.”

Schaeffer, who was home-schooled, is also a self-taught documentary movie director, feature film director and producer of four low-budget Hollywood features which Schaeffer described as “pretty terrible.”

“As Frank Schaeffer reflects on the religious changes of his life, and especially on how religion has been used as a dividing force in politics and culture in the last century, he invites conversation,” McKee said. “Not everyone will agree with his perspective, but we will recognize landmarks along the way, and he will help us see both culture and religion in new ways.”

The Community Conversation series is an annual lecture series conducted to facilitate conversations and discussions between members of the entire Maryville College community, citizens of Blount County and surrounding areas, College alumni and prospective students.

Two more presenters are scheduled for the spring.

For more information about the spring Community Conversations series, please contact Kelly Battles, committee chairperson and assistant professor of English, at or 865.273.8877.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.