5.19.2010

The Unlikely Disciple

I read a lot of books. Not a huge amount, mind you, but I've always got something checked out from the Library. I'm mostly catching up on the last Century worth of important Christian Authors (C.S. Lewis, Henry Nouwen, etc) and the last 50 years of important Science Fiction (I'm reading Heretics of Dune right now)

The last time we were at the Library I couldn't find 3 books in a row, and because the kids can only wait for so long, I generally give up there. I was ready to leave with just 'The Rolling Stone Interviews' (Which is really good by the way) when My Red-Haired Temptress brought this book to my attention. I got it figuring I would just take it home and not actually read it. Besides being stupid I was really, really wrong; I devoured it.

Kevin Roose, the author, is a Brown university student who decided to go 'undercover' at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. During his time there he manages to take away an incredibly accurate and poignant picture of Christian College life as I remember it and of Christian 'culture' in general.

He lives in the dorm, goes to theology classes and plays intramural baseball with 'the guys'.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has college or high school kids. Or to anyone in the ministry who wants to get a better grasp of what 'we' look like at our best and at our worst. Or to anyone who just wants a good compelling read. Or to anyone with a pulse and a solid reading level.

I'm not going to give anything away from the books conclusion, but I am going to share a few of the things that hit me most.

1. The Christian community is commonly perceived as Homophobes. Common 'cuss words' in his dorm included gay, fag, and queer. I remember some of the same from my Uber-Conservative College experience.

2. Kevin (an almost complete outsider) found both meaning and depth in Blended and in Post-Modern worship services. Hmmm... maybe this isn't such a big deal after all.

3. The thing he comes back to the most (in my reading) is the fact that his friends and dorm-mates are really, really authentic with one another. He was culture shocked at first, largely because everyone was so honest with each other about deeply personal stuff.

There is so much really good content in this book that it's impossible to summarize. Just read it.

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