I just read a book that I really enjoyed. Now that doesn’t seem fair since I loved Donald Miller’s new book, Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It seems like I should have to read a few I don’t like, but I was lucky. “The Unlikely Disciple” by Kevin Roose is another one of my favorite books of the last few years. I read the book for two reasons. #1) I wanted to hear an outsider’s view on the American Christian culture, the conservative Evangelical culture, as Kevin describes it. But I was also hesitant for the same reasons. Most outsiders are writing with an agenda, having already decided what they think. I was pleasantly surprised to see how open and honestly Kevin approached the topic. Reason #2) Kevin interned with A.J. Jacobs, another writer whose book I have recently enjoyed. I finished “The Year of Living Biblically” a while back and really enjoyed it. This gave me some hope for what might follow. Let me just say, it was well worth my time.
Kevin Roose is (was) a journalism student at Brown University. Brown is a brilliant educational institute and also quite liberal. When many of Kevin’s friends chose to study abroad, he decided there was a culture he wanted to understand better as well, the conservative Evangelical Christian culture. So he enrolled at Liberty University. Yes, that Liberty University. I don’t want to give too much away because I wouldn’t say it nearly as deftly as Kevin does. But he attempts to have the full experience that Liberty offers. And then he writes about it.
I promise you he approaches it with an open mind. He’s more openminded than many Christians I know. He is fair and honest. In his writing at least. He does choose to lie about some of his background and beliefs so he can fit in better at Liberty. But he doesn’t do it to get inside and tear it apart. He is genuine. And I think he has provided us with one of the most insightful looks into Christian culture we’ve had in some time. On top of that, it’s funny. Once again, I found myself laughing out loud in a public place. I’m going to have to stop reading in public.
He does address a few topics and use a few words that will not be Barlow-approved. He’s not writing on purity; he’s honestly looking at a culture that could use some honest examination. I just wanted to warn you.
But I loved it and highly recommend it to anyone who reads more than one book a year. I hope to hear your thoughts on it if you choose to read it.