Monday, April 01, 2013

Edith Schaeffer: 1914-2013

After writing numerous books, 98-year-old 'completed a dramatic life with a final flourish.'

Edith Schaeffer, who along with her husband Francis founded the influential L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, died at home on Saturday. She was 98.
Her son, Frank Schaeffer, announced her passing on his Patheos blog. "Mom completed a dramatic life with a final flourish: she died on Easter Saturday, to join her risen Lord," he wrote, later noting:
Mom was a wonderful paradox: an evangelical conservative fundamentalist who treated people as if she was an all-forgiving progressive liberal of the most tolerant variety. Mom’s daily life was a rebuke and contradiction to people who see everything as black and white. Liberals and secularists alike who make smug disparaging declarations about “all those evangelicals” would see their fondest prejudices founder upon the reality of my mother’s compassion, cultural literacy and loving energy.
CT featured Edith Schaeffer's thoughts on the illusion or reality of heaven in a 2003 roundup of evangelical views on the afterlife. Reflecting on a visit to San Francisco, she wrote:
This is reality. Heaven is a place. There is a city we are going to see and walk in. Neither the place, nor the singing instead of sighing, nor the pleasure instead of pain, is an illusion. We await that which is real.
World magazine noted that "her hospitality complemented Francis' anguish for the lost." Francis Beckwith writes about his own encounterwith Edith.
CT offers a special section on Francis Schaeffer, including a cover story on how his vision and frustrations continue to haunt evangelicalism long after his death. CT also visited L'Abri in 2008 and reported how today it caters to disaffected evangelicals more than philosophical skeptics.
CT noted this reflection by Edith Schaeffer in 1996:
A Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively. We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there, and whom we acknowledge to be there. It is true that all people are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciaton.
Edith Schaeffer in "The Art of Life"

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