The Unlikely Disciple, by Kevin Roose
As a Brown University student, Roose took an unusual “study abroad” option: Jerry Falwell’s Christian college, Liberty University. Roose’s Liberty immersion yields a thoughtful, respectful look both into evangelical Christian culture, and liberal perceptions of it.
Roose is a likeable narrator, laid-back and funny. He undergoes a missionary trip to Florida, constant prayer, and evangelically-appropriate dating. He studies theology and creationism, and attends church amongst thousands of exuberant worshipers. There are pleasant surprises – most of his peers are not bigots – and less pleasant ones (the anti-intellectualism of professors with advanced secular degrees).
I saw the appeal of a culture in which everyone openly acknowledges struggling with sin and supports others in choosing righteousness. My definition of righteousness differs from your average Liberty student’s, but accepting struggle as a natural process that makes you stronger would be good for me.
I also appreciated Roose’s discussion of prayer, which imbues all aspects of Liberty life. Roose describes prayer as meditative; it’s more about what you put into it than what God does about it. We could all stand to carve out time to focus on our blessings and on helping others.
I highly recommend this book. It’s a quick read, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t give you something to think about.
The 213 in 2013 series chronicles every book I read in 2013. Each review contains exactly 213 words, because 2013 words is too long and 2013 characters is too dang short to satisfy this rambler.