The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose

This is not your typical book about higher education, however this is probably the most insightful book I have ever read on the state of Christian higher education today.

Brown University is known for being liberal and anti-religious. Liberty University is the strict, conservative, Christian institution founded by religious icon Jerry Falwell. The author, Kevin Roose, is a student at Brown University who decides to spend a semester Liberty. He is intrigued by the university. Why would so many young adults choose a school like Liberty? Don’t college students all want to party and live with no rules? Do they all want to be there?

So Roose decides to not only attend Liberty, but to immerse himself in the culture. He joins every single club, organization, class, mentor, etc. he can find to give him the most authentic Liberty experience. He expects to find Christian robots that have been programmed by religious parents or other authority figures. What he finds instead are real young men and women, who are as imperfect as any other college student. They struggle with their beliefs. They make stupid choices. They fight. They cheat. But they all have a goal for something higher – faith in God.

Kevin Roose is surprised by what he finds at Liberty. He found real people with real problems. He is amazed at the community he found so quickly. When Kevin struggled there was always a half dozen guys to help him out. He found chapels – a burden to some students – an uplifting time of unity and spirit. 

I do not know much about Liberty. I have examined their student code of conduct (which is nearly fifty pages). They are definitely strict and pretty obstinate, but in the end they have a strong mission. Students are attracted to that mission; they want a school with a purpose.

I was so impressed by this book. Once I started I could not put it down. It was such a refreshing look on Christian higher education. I would recommend this book everyone I know that works in education.

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