Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Joe Barone's Blog: Not a mystery--WHY I AM AN ATHEIST WHO BELIEVES IN GOD by Frank Schaffer

Joe Barone's Blog: Not a mystery--WHY I AM AN ATHEIST WHO BELIEVES IN GOD by Frank Schaffer

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Should I Self Publish My New Novel?

Should I self publish my new novel? New platforms? Stick with industry as before? Opinions?

Let me know what you think. I've published in the past with large NY-based companies. Everything in the industry is changing. I have nothing to prove re "getting published" but feel that with the new online ways to reach readers I may want to join the growing numbers of authors jumping out of the trade and go it alone. 

I've been working on a novel (funny) I started 17 years ago. I think I have a potential hit. But I also think I may know how to reach my readers in a better way than publishers will. 

On the other hand....

What do you think? 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

"Sex, Mom and God" NOW IN PAPERBACK

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

To Order Click HERE

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

Kirkus Reviews, 5/15/11
“The book shines in sections centered on Edith, a ‘life-embracing free spirit’…A consummate memoirist, Schaeffer fills the narrative with interesting anecdotes…The sage conversation on a New York-bound bus with a distraught Asian girl is warmly resonant and a befitting conclusion to…[a] book of ruminations, memories and frustrated opinion.”
Booklist, 5/15/11“[A] startlingly honest work, which is part memoir and part religious history…Intriguing fare.”
Church of England Newspaper, 5/13/11
“Part memoir, part exploration of evangelical views.”
PoliticusUSA.com, 5/16/11
“A work that alternates from heartwarming to thought provoking to laugh out loud funny…Schaeffer brilliantly guides the reader through an exploration of the Bible’s strange, intolerant, and sometimes frightening attitudes about sex, and how these Biblical teachings, through the evangelical grassroots of the Republican Party, have come to dominate the GOP stance…Schaeffer’s writing style combines intelligence, warmth, humor, depth and insight…Sex, Mom, and God is hands down one of the best non-fiction books of the year.”
Kirkus Reviews (website)6/1/11“The memoir, the third and last in Schaeffer’s God trilogy, unfolds in lucid anecdotal excursions probing the chinks that later became gaping holes in the fundamentalist walls that penned him in.”
Internet Review of Books, 6/8/11“A fond and sometimes hilarious look back at [Schaeffer’s] mother’s child-rearing methods and the effect they had on him…Schaeffer’s journey demonstrates that the world could be a better place if we were all able to reassess our beliefs and values—to examine them closely and glean only those worth saving.”
Library Journal, 6/15/11
“Well worth reading, highly entertaining, and very informative about the recent history of American evangelicalism. It will appeal to readers interested in the world today, memoir, or religion.”
Huffington Post, 6/13/11
“Intelligent and easy to read; it transitions smoothly back and forth between story-telling and point-making prose…In his portrayal of Edith Schaeffer, Frank is able to call out the nuttiness of the religious right and to humanize conservative and Evangelical Christians in the same narrative. It is the deft work of a talented writer practicing his craft…It is a bit of wisdom our entire nation—hell, the whole world—needs to hear.”
RH Reality Check, 6/16/11
“Part memoir, part revelation about Evangelical pathology, and part prescription for theological sanity, the book has much to recommend it.”
Patheos.com, 6/16/11
“Offers an insider's glimpse into how fundamentalism became the dominant voice in the U.S. political area.”
InfoDad.com, 6/16/11“Frequently entertaining.”
The Humanist, July/August 2011
“[Schaeffer’s] stories aren’t just interesting, they’re also well told…[He] serves up an intriguing combination that’s part sexual memoir and part exposé of religious right extremism. It’s a strange combination to be sure, but in the hands of a gifted wordsmith like Schaeffer it works.”
State of Formation, 6/20/11“Part memoir, part theology, and part political commentary…An ambitious undertaking. But Sex, Mom, and God did not disappoint. Alternating between laugh-out-loud episodes and poignant reflections, Schaeffer recounts with candor the influence his mother had on both his beliefs and the beliefs of a generation of Evangelicals…His readers—believers and non-believers alike—will be challenged to reconsider their views about politics, sex, and religion.”
The Daily Beast, 6/24/11“Intriguing…[Schaeffer’s] privileged view of the Christian right’s sexual weirdness makes his account particularly interesting, and helps explain why the aggressively pious so frequently destroy themselves with sex scandals.”
Milwaukee Shepherd-Express, 7/7/11“[Schaeffer] has grown into rueful middle age with his sense of sarcasm sharpened… Sex, Mom and God dips into the same well as Crazy for Godand draws irony and venom from its depths.”
WomanAroundTown.com, 6/16/11
“By turns biting, funny, and thought provoking.”

“[Schaeffer’s] memoirs have a way of winning a reader’s friendship…Schaeffer is a good memoirist, smart and often laugh-out-loud funny…Frank seems to have been born irreverent, but his memoirs have a serious purpose, and that is to expose the insanity and the corruption of what has become a powerful and frightening force in American politics…Frank has been straightforward and entertaining in his campaign to right the political wrongs he regrets committing in the 1970s and ’80s…As someone who has made redemption his work, he has, in fact, shown amazing grace.”
Roanoke Times, 7/10/11“A thought-provoking analysis of the social and religious struggles that continue to define American consciousness…Schaeffer covers a lot of important territory in his book…He provides an insider’s view on the ways America has become fragmented, polarized by various forms of extremism.”
In These Times, August 2011
“An unusual mix—part memoir, part exegesis on Bible-based belief systems, and part prescription for a more compassionate, human-centered politics for both religious and theologically skeptical people. Humor, at times of the laugh-out-loud variety, is abundant. And while readers will likely bristle at some of Schaeffer’s conclusions, his wit, sass and insights make Sex, Mom, & God a valuable and entertaining look at U.S. fundamentalism.”
San Francisco Book Review, 7/20/11“This memoir/diatribe on organized religion is so shockingly bold and intimately revealing that it will spin your head around whiplash-quick, and cause you to double check to make sure you read the words correctly…Schaeffer comes to a jarring conclusion for fundamentalists, Roman Catholics, Jews, and Muslims alike, that if we don’t set aside our dogma and start making a serious effort at getting along, we will end up destroying ourselves and everything we thought we believed in.”
Reference and Research Book News, August 2011“Provid[es] a new, less prudish view of radical Christianity.”
New York Times, 8/20/11
“To millions of evangelical Christians, the Schaeffer name is royal, and Frank is the reluctant, wayward, traitorous prince.”

, 8/27/11
“Schaeffer can be witty and ironic and, like the stopped clock that is accurate twice a day, some of his observations hit their mark.”
BitchOctober 2011“Braids the rise of the religious right with Schaeffer’s development as an evangelist and antiabortion activist…Recommended for history, religion, or political buffs who enjoy a dash of tender reflection.”

9/21 issue
“Former evangelist Frank Schaeffer may have quit the business and turned his back on what he now calls ‘our dreadful, vengeful little God,’ but the man clearly still has a knack for sermon titles. And Sex, Mom, and God is nothing if not a righteous, furious, cringe-inducing and surprisingly nuanced sermon delivered in book form against Schaeffer’s heavenly demons…Schaeffer’s contention that most, if not all, of organized religion’s shortcomings stem from hang-ups over sex is nothing new. What’s compelling about Sex is Schaeffer himself, who bashes away at what he held dear for so long.”
Santa Fe New Mexican, 11/25/11
“[Schaeffer is] unafraid to tell it like it is.”
Metapsychology Online Reviews, 2/11/12
“Amusing and eyebrow-raising anecdotes…The reader is treated to a compelling and affectionate portrayal of [Scgaeffer’s] complex and conflicted mother…For a reader unfamiliar with the kind of Christianity Schaeffer describes, the book provides a helpful picture into the good and bad of living as a fundamentalist Evangelical…A first-hand account of one evangelical's unusual childhood and the life of a recovering fundamentalist.”

Politics & Patriotism (blog), 4/10
“An eye-opening exposé of American Right-wing socio-political history.”
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition. 

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Friday, May 25, 2012

My Memorial Day Article in the New York Times

More Americans Need ‘Skin in the Game’

Frank Schaeffer
Frank Schaeffer is the co-author with his son John of “Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps” and the co-author with Kathy Roth-Douquet of “AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes From Military Service — and How It Hurts Our Country.”
UPDATED MAY 24, 2012, 5:03 PM
The sense that “we’re all in this together” is missing from our exhausted military. When my son John graduated from boot camp on Parris Island, 3,000 parents were on the parade deck stands cheering. We did not represent a diversity of economic classes. My son was an exception: He’d gone to a swanky Boston private high school, we’re well off and liberal, and we weren’t a military family.
For many service members, the truth is that while everyone is ready to 'thank them,' few are ready to join them.
We are now. Through the many e-mail responses to books I wrote about my experience of becoming a military parent and how unexpectedly proud I became of my son’s choice, I discovered that many of us in the military family feel alienated from society. I did. I didn’t know anyone in my Volvo-driving, higher-education-worshiping neighborhood with a kid serving. I couldn’t help noticing a “we” against “them” edge to a lot of the e-mails I got, like, “My son is getting shot at while everyone else goes shopping.”
With the end of conscription, service ceased to be something ordinary. It became a “choice” for needy members of the aggressively recruited lower middle class and a generational “duty” for the legacy recruits from upper-middle-class military families. In this environment, it is inevitable that military families will ask: Why should I, or my child, die for rich people who never served and won’t send their children to serve?
There is a symbiotic relationship between the “leave it to us professionals” attitude expressed by our military leaders — who now command what amounts to a mercenary force wrapped in the flag, when compared with the citizen army our founders envisioned — and the “not with my child” selfishness of our upper classes.
For many service members, the truth is that while everyone is ready to “thank them,” few are ready to join them. It’s hard to fight for your country year after year (or watch your child do so) then recover from physical and psychological wounds when, let’s be frank — our nation doesn’t share the sacrifice.
Lurking in many military people’s minds is the question: “Was I a sucker for joining?” Most are proud of their service and should be. But their multitude of physical, family, mental and economic sacrifices might be easier to bear if the pool of recruits were truly diverse and everyone had “skin in the game,” including our political and corporate leaders.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Jesus at Wild Goose and Now on the West Coast Too!

Q: Who stole the word "Christian" and turned it into a word that means "Right Wing Republican" these days?

A: The religious right did and I was part of that effort.

Q: Who will restore the word Christian to its rightful meaning as "followers of Christ" and the word "religion" to mean inclusive love of the other?

A: The Wild Goose Festival is trying hard to do just that.

Wild Goose is an organization that launched its debut festival promoting justice, spirituality, music, and art in June 2011 in North Carolina. I was honored to be a speaker there talking about my journey from far right evangelical religion to progressive politics and tolerant inclusive faith. I'll go again this year (June 21-24) as an unpaid volunteer and speaker for another 4 days of pleasure and inspiration.

The festival's debut attracted 1,700 attendees and a wave of well deserved media attention. Now there is some good news: Wild Goose is coming to the West Coast too.

The WG board announced the addition of the second festival site, "Wild Goose West," to be hosted August 31 - September 2 at Benton County Fairgrounds outside of Portland, Oregon.

About Wild Goose

Wild Goose is an affordable, four-day outdoor festival (inspired by the U.K.'s Greenbelt festival), a Woodstock-style event now to be annually held on both coasts, rooted in and critiquing the fundamentalist religious tradition and offering a real alternative. Wild Goose has become a vibrant progressive and inclusive creative space, a welcoming community experience and an influential voice for justice.

Along these lines, during Wild Goose's debut last year, Jim Wallis, T-Bone Burnett, Phyllis Tickle, Vincent Harding, Over the Rhine, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Brian McLaren, Peggy & Tony Campolo, Inter-varsity Press, Restoring Eden, Michelle Shocked, William Barber, Jim Forbes, Gabriel Salguero, Paul Fromberg, Lynne Hybels and 1700 others of us met to sing, drink beer, learn, teach, argue, pray, eat, dance, and re-imagine a new world. We were Christians, atheists, agnostics, members of other faiths and people from the LGTB community, all races and of all backgrounds. We forgave and welcomed each other.

Forgive me for this blatant promotion but note I'm not officially connected to the festival and I don't have any financial ties to it. My work is non-paid. In the light of my question, who stole the name "Christian?" WG is a personal answer  for me. To explain this I have to tell you a bit of my own story.

Until Irish peace activist Gareth Higgins (the founder and director) asked me to speak at Wild Goose in 2011, I hadn't spoken at a major (or minor) religious event for 25 years plus (with one exception of the Greenbelt Festival in the UK 5 years ago). I'd given up on anything good ever coming out of a community that contains homophobic "family values" bigots, conservative Roman Catholic bishops seeking to strip women of their reproductive rights, and "leaders" like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Pat Robertson, Mitt Romney et al.

Almost 30 years ago I found myself abandoning the evangelical world as it became more and more right wing, exclusionary, homophobic and frankly more like some religion based on Ayn Rand than Jesus. Not to mention, the evangelical arena seemed fatally politicized.

But how could I complain? My late father Francis Schaeffer and I helped make it that way.

We helped found the religious right and the anti-abortion movement in the 1970′s and 80′s. I wrote, produced and directed the multi-million dollar documentary series featuring my father ("How Should We Then Live?" and "Whatever Happened to the Human Race?") that started the ball rolling to the eventual takeover of the Republican Party. It was taken over by people who once were mostly interested in Jesus but whose actions eventually made them look more interested in backing George W. Bush and his wars.

In the early 1990s I repented of my family's tilt-to-the-right, changed my mind on politics, life and faith and shook the dust from my shoes and ran. I've written several books like Crazy For God explaining why I left the religious right and the redemption I found in inclusive loving faith.

I'm still hungry for the community faith can provide when its not busy judging others. I want to share that good news. And Wild Gosse Festival is the place I've discovered that shares that vision.

I discovered that there really is a "third way" that transcends the either/or choices between a "Christianity" (and all religions) more interested in how you vote, and a "secularism" that seems to want to strip my life of transcendent meaning. That third way is what Wild Goose means to me and I think, to many others. I hope you join us June 21-24 on the East Coast or August 31 to September 2 on the West Coast. See you there. Drinks in the beer tent on me if you mention that you came to the festival because you read this article!

Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author of more thn a dozen books including 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