Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Book Review: "The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University" by Kevin Roose

Kevin Roose was a sophomore at Brown University when, after being intrigued by an encounter with student parishioners at Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church, he decided to spend a semester at Liberty University to better understand the young evangelical crowd. A non-practicing Quaker raised in a liberal household, what Roose discovers about his fellow students and what life is like at an evangelical college is at the heart of The Unlikely Disciple.

I really loved this book. I'll admit that I expected this to be much more tongue-in cheek and critical than it was. Roose makes no bones about how he feels about certain issues, such as the evangelical community's view of homosexuality or the theory of evolution, and how hearing both sides didn't sway his feelings. But he approached this whole assignment with a tremendously open mind, and what he discovered changed him in ways he didn't expect. But don't get me wrong, this book is not a love letter to Falwell and Liberty University either.

Roose is a terrific writer. He made me interested in what he was learning, how he felt about the school's rules and philosophies, and his depictions of everyday life at Liberty—from prayer sessions to dating to the friendships he built—were really captivating. The people he wrote about could be fascinating subjects in their own books. I highly recommend this one!

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