Frank Schaeffer, son of Fran and Edith Schaeffer of L’Abri fame, continues his personal memoirs in his new book 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. Before I review the book I want to say that I was sent a copy to review by Frank Schaeffer, but was not paid for my review so the views expressed here are my own.
I have often cited Schaeffer’s “Calvin Becker Trilogy”
as some of the funniest books I’ve ever read. That said, I’ve found his non-fiction version of his life to be tougher reading. While his fiction is trim, funny and pulls the reader fully into the story, his non-fiction sort of rambles. And has a somewhat bitter edge to it. Considering his upbringing, these are not surprising and they do not come across as whining–more like talking in circles. That said, I learned a lot of new information in this volume, and did certainly get some good laughs.
Readers of this blog who read and critique my Duggar-family posts, will be especially interested in Frank’s role in birthing the Quiverfull movement. Way back in the Day, when he was still styled “Franky Schaeffer” (to distinguish him from from his same-named father), Frank was literary agent to a new Christian author named Mary Pride. With the Schaeffer name attached, Pride’s book was a shoe-in. Today we know her, and her (in)famous book, The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality as the Spiritual Mother of the Quiverfull Movement. Frank(y) then, was her midwife.
What makes Frank(y)’s role so intriguing, is the fact that his parents were very much pro-birth control. His mother, who in fact and fiction, loved nothing (except maybe the Lord) more than discussing sex, revealed to her very young son that not only was his father a “passionate” lover, but his needs were such that they had marital relations every day–even when Mom was “off the roof” and Biblically unclean due to menstruation. She also showed him her diaphram and explained its purpose fully to her surprised son.
Known as well for her talks on the importance of keeping a man’s needs fulfilled as she was for her Hidden Art of Homemaking
[life style and book of same name--which predate Martha Stewart and still have a cult-like following today], Edith famously said that even on the Mission Field a wife needs a see-thru black nightie to entertain her husband. After “The Way Home,” Edith questioned her son with “Where did you find this unfortunate woman?” Like much of Edith’s prose, rhetoric and general life questions, this is a question still relevant today.