The Fabric of Faithfulness by Steven Garber

The first time I came across this book I was in the middle of my graduate program and I couldn’t give the book the proper attention it needed. My fellow residence life colleagues seemed to really enjoy the book and a lot of discussion was generated. Unfortunately I only had time to skim the book while I did trying to finish my graduate projects.

Several years later I picked the up the book, ready to give it my full attention. Unfortunately, I just could not connect with the book. I am not exactly sure where the disconnect occurred, but I do have one theory.

 I first noticed the type of students Garber describes. They appear to be your typical Generation X student, having a very difficult time finding meaning behind their education. Garber identifies several pop cultural symbols: rock band Smashing Pumpkins, hit movie Reality Bites, and cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead. All these cultural references were relevant in the early 1990’s and in my opinion would be completely alien to today’s millennial student.

In my opinion, using pop cultural references to define entire student perspective is a bit short-sided. One, pop cultural references are always changing so it is impossible to stay up with them. Two, pop culture can’t possibly define a worldview of a population because the majority of the population probably doesn’t follow that pop culture reference. Take Beavis and Butthead for example, the author tries to present them as representatives of youth though they were created and run by a Mike Judge, who was near his mid-thirties during the cartoon’s height of popularity. Also, look at today’s popular culture: does Lady Gaga define our students’ attitude? Does Iron Man show us that students are interested in technology jobs?

I know this may be a weak argument against the book. I know society affects culture and culture affects society. I guess my main objection is that the book does not hold up to the test of time. It was probably an amazing book for the generation is was written for. I don’t think it is a book I would recommend to educators today.