I got this email from someone I'll call "Wounded Recovering Evangelical", who gave me permission to post it here but says "That being said, please remove all the identifiers. When I say we're from rural parts, I mean that. Everybody knows everybody. Our people are bible thumping (and twisting), Obama hating, tea party rednecks, bitter and broken and full of indoctrinated blame... "
So here's the letter emailed from somewhere in the South:
"My name is ---, 43 years old, husband, father. I was raised up in ---, the Church of Christ. Dad (deceased) was a deacon. His brother, father and grandfather were elders. My Mom's folks were ruined by Jim Baker and all of those folks.
Dirt farmers and ranchers and poor white folks in church every Sunday--it breaks my heart to see what the hard right has done, what we have to ourselves. It's a bent and twisted cycle. It perpetuates and feeds on itself. They're good people. It (religious right) makes me sick.
I struggle with my faith, have so very many regrets (and an ego that drags me back to them time and time again). My troubles have always been of my own making. I long for honesty, for humility. I do.
I just read And God Said, "Billy!" Wow. I know that kind of delusion well... It's a good read as well as commentary on Martin Buber's I and Thou, all of Joseph Campbell's stuff. Stepping out of it...that's what I would call being born again. Tarantino needs a copy.
I got lucky to stumble on your book--just dumb luck (sure makes me think that randomness is baked into the cake--thank God).
I'm looking forward to your other books. I wanted to thank you and to urge you to continue writing and appearing to speak. I need the rawness. I need the dirt. I need the profanity. It's helping me to define and frame my faith (a working faith that functions here and now) in a way that I can better articulate for my own sons (God bless them for having to deal with me as their father).
Transcendence of self, a path that allows God (I still capitalize the pronoun) to participate in my life...this, I believe is the result of practicing the Golden Rule. Something happens to me when I do this. My life gets better (idolatrous, hedonistic, fallen sinner that I am).
And I'm pleased to let the hereafter take care of itself.
Keep the faith Frank. We're all growing--all of us. And even the worst of us is doing the best that he or she he has learned thus far. Best is best.
Much love, respect, and appreciation,"
Now tell me your story. Post it here below and lets talk.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book -- And God Said, "Billy!" exploring the roots of American religious delusion, and offering another way to approach true spirituality, is on Kindle, iBook and NOOK for $3.99, and in paperback.
Follow Frank Schaeffer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/frank_schaeffer