~~~~~~~~ Recent Updates ~~~~~~~~
Dear reader of FOOTNOTES,
With this letter I do something that for me is very unusual. I admit that I am somewhat uncomfortable and inexperienced. I need to bring to your and a few other friends’ attention an urgent request for financial help to repair the roof of the Schaeffer Foundation house and library “Mon Abri” in Gryon. We have received designated gifts for more than half of the estimated cost and were able to finish the repair of one half of the saddle roof. We still need the $ 25’000 stated in the estimate to finish the other half before the winter rains and snow. At present the roof is leaking with every hard rain, and melting snow will back up under the damage and drip into the rooms below. I pray and plead with you to weigh what you might be able to contribute to solve this pressing problems, also in preparation for the student coming in the summer to study with us. Currently three of the small apartments are rented out, so the house, built in 1683, is in good use.
In the US, the Francis A Schaeffer Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit work. Its ID is 16-4128882. A tax-deductible receipt will be sent to you immediately.
In Europe we have our account for a direct deposit with: Banque Cantonale Vaudoise in CH 1884 Villars, Switzerland: IBAN CH0500767000Z09239242
With warm and personal greetings in the Advent season,
We invite you to consider spending some time with Udo and Deborah Middelmann from June 15th 2015 until towards the end of July. Precise dates will be set in a few weeks. As in past years, we welcome a number of up to eight people at a time to study with us for a few days and up to four weeks.
Our chalet and the Francis A Schaeffer Foundation is located in Gryon, near the Eastern end of Lake Geneva, Switzerland at 1200 meters altitude in the Alps. It is a good time to work through some of the questions we have had about the world we live in and our responsibilities and opportunities as human beings. In the context of occasional lectures, serious discussions over long meals, during hikes in the mountains and on one of study trips we take to nearby sites of interest we address issues and concerns you may have and provide a broader context to discover the truth, unique coherence, beauty and hope of historic Christianity. The only reason, after all, to be a Christian is that Christianity is true to the real world. It involves an acknowledgment of what can be known about God, creation, human beings, the real world and efforts to limit the effects of our predicaments.
The days here are spent in individual morning study of recorded lectures by Dr. and Mrs. Schaeffer as well as by us on Biblical and cultural subjects. Both lunch and dinner are extended times for conversation and discussion on questions relating to and arising from the studies. Your interests and questions are central at any time as we bring together the roots of Biblical Christianity, its cultural impact through the centuries, the effects of both Reformation and the later counter movement of the Enlightenment and her children: post-modernism and multiculturalism. We reflect on the weakening influence of the Church on society, as we address its focus on techniques of church growth, irrational spirituality and the effect of a Disney mentality. They make an understanding of historic Christianity less plausible to, and less understandable in, modern society.
Of course you are not required to agree or to sign anything. The only request is that you are interested to discuss those urgent and central questions human beings have always grappled with through the ages out of a desire to consider the answers given in the Biblical perspective explaining the Truth about God, Man, and the real world we inhabit.
In the afternoons we work some to keep the place tidy. Once a week we travel to a location, where the effect of a world view on the social, cultural, economic life of people and society are examined and we reflect on the need to understand Christianity as something more than personal peace, good feelings and a private religion.
Students study and sleep in an old wooden chalet across the path from us. With a kitchen and showers in each of three flats it gives the warmth and comfort of an old Swiss chalet. But at least half the day and all evening is spent in our home. Saturday is a day off for your own use. On Sunday we try to attend services of an English-speaking church or have our own study together.
The cost for everything is 50 Swiss Francs per day/person (The US $ amount varies according to exchange rates) plus about 5 francs for a tourist tax, which gives access to all kinds of local transport, including the cable car up the mountain. You should bring casual clothes and comfortable shoes. For people from Southern regions it can be quite cool and/or rainy at times, even during the summer. But when the sun shines we always eat out-of-doors. Let us know whether a time with us would interest you.
When you decide that such a time would be beneficial, please contact us soon. Gryon is reached from the Geneva airport by using the Lausanne-Aigle-Bex-Sion-Brigue train. At Bex you take the red cog-wheel train BVB (tickets in the station) to BOIS-GENTIL, where we shall gladly fetch you, if you let us know.
Udo W. Middelmann
Chalet Les Montaux
Chemin de Jermintin 3
CH 1882 Gryon, Switzerland
The Francis A Schaeffer Foundation
313 East 92nd Apt 5E
About the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation
Few Christians have had as great an impact on their generation as Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer. He communicated the truth of historic Biblical Christianity in a way that combined intellectual integrity, artistic sensitivity and a practical loving care. With a sharpened analytical mind he understood and uncovered the roots of modern thinking and its logical conclusion across a wide range of disciplines. In contrast to other worldviews and religions Christianity can stand truthfully, addressing our need to understand reality with our minds, to cope with it in our lives and to work into it with reasonable hope.
The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation was incorporated in 1988 by Edith Schaeffer, Udo and Deborah Middelmann and several of their friends as a foundation of ideas. It attempts to serve as a resource to others and to advance the availability of Francis Schaeffer's ideas. Written, taped and filmed materials are a help to interested people, individuals or organizations, around the world.
Much more than in organizational structures Schaeffer believed in the power of ideas and pointed out how cultures as well as individuals live with the consequences of their worldview. Schaeffer saw the Christian worldview as the only way to understand our existence in the world around us, with nobility for all human beings, with real answers to the tough questions of life and death and with a coherent singular purpose to fulfil the mandates of God, who has made us in his image.
The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation seeks to fulfil its purpose in various ways detailed on other pages. Study programs, lecture series, seminars, FOOTNOTES publication and background materials, correspondence and notes from Dr. Schaeffer's life and work are several valuable ways by which the Foundation makes a contribution to a wider discussion of the truth of Biblical thought and life. The Foundation wishes to render a service by contributing more Biblical insights into current philosophical, ethical and cultural reflections.
The Foundation is incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization and depends for its continuing work on gifts and contributions from friends and donors.
Who was Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer?
The unique contribution of Dr. Francis Schaeffer on a whole generation was the ability to communicate the truth of historic Biblical Christianity in a way that combined intellectual integrity with practical, loving care. This grew out of his extensive understanding of the Bible from a deep commitment to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and a critical study of the world of man. These two pillars supported his inquisitive and analytical mind on the solid reality of the truth of God's creation and of his revelation. He understood the roots of modern thinking in its rejection of reality and rationality and pointed out the logical conclusions in a wide range of disciplines and in society.
Dr. Schaeffer understood that what a person believes influences the way he acts in history and individual situations. There is a relationship between a person's view of truth and life, between philosophy and practice, between faulty ideas and foolish choices. Dr. Schaeffer discussed the truth of reality with anyone in many settings. This in turn brought students, professionals, scholars and others from around the world to his home to learn from his insights. They returned with them to their own world and applied them to their circle of life and work. The ideas continue to bear fruit and to stimulate discussions and discoveries through more than 25 books, several films, taped seminars and lectures at leading universities in Europe, the US and abroad. The result has been a profound and enduring impact upon many thousands who have then gone to make their own mark in history.
The central thrust of Dr. Schaeffer's teaching is that Biblical Christianity is the truth about the real world. The only reason to be a Christian is an acknowledgment of what is objectively true about human beings, the real world and the basic human predicaments. The Bible is true in all that it affirms. This emphasis is not so much the summary of academic instructions or doctrinal positions. It is the result of a searching mind, of being exposed to human history, the European culture and art, and of in-depth discussions with knowledgeable people for a lifetime of study, observation and work.
With the Bible as his base and a profound interest in human beings, Dr. Schaeffer's insights were developed through the experience of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the study of Florentine society and art, in lectures followed by tough discussions at modern Cambridge, in rude exposure to the slums of Bombay and in probing questions of people from a great variety of backgrounds, in abortion protests, in response to life in the wider arena of human need and pervasive intellectual confusion in our world.
- Udo W. Middelmann, President - The Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation