The hilarious and heartwarming, respectful and thought-provoking memoir of a college student's semester at Liberty University, the "Bible Boot Camp" for young evangelicals, that will inspire believers and nonbelievers alike.
No R-rated movies.
Kevin Roose wasn't used to rules like these. As a sophomore at Brown University, he spent his days fitting right in with Brown's free-spirited, ultra-liberal student body. But when Roose leaves his Ivy League confines to spend a semester at Liberty University, a conservative Baptist school in Lynchburg, Virginia, obedience is no longer optional.
Liberty is the late Reverend Jerry Falwell's "Bible Boot Camp" for young evangelicals, his training ground for the next generation of America's Religious Right. Liberty's ten thousand undergraduates take courses like Evangelism 101 and follow a forty-six-page code of conduct that regulates every aspect of their social lives. Hoping to connect with his evangelical peers, Roose decides to enroll at Liberty as a new transfer student, chronicling his adventures in this daring report from the front lines of America's culture war.
His journey takes him from an evangelical hip-hop concert to a spring break mission trip to Daytona Beach (where he learns to preach the gospel to partying coeds). He meets pastors' kids, closet doubters, Christian rebels, and conducts what would be the last print interview of Rev. Falwell's life.
In what could be described as religious gonzo journalism, Roose documents his experiences as a student for a semester at Liberty University, the largest Christian fundamentalist university in the United States. Coming from progressive Brown University, the author admits that the transition to Liberty, with its iron-clad attempts at controlling student behavior, came with much anxiety. He trains himself to control his foul language and even begins to pray and study the Bible regularly, much to the bewilderment of his liberal Quaker parents. He suffers his way through a course debunking evolution, but finds enjoyment in a Scripture class. Roose may be young he's a 19-year-old college sophomore but he writes like a seasoned veteran and obviously enjoys his work. He quickly makes friends at Liberty, but is na vely stunned and not a little disgusted by their antigay rhetoric. School founder Rev. Jerry Falwell granted Roose an interview for the student newspaper shortly before the famous evangelical's death in May 2007. Complicated is how Roose describes Falwell, which is a good descriptor for his undercover student experience.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A pleasure to read
Admittedly, I had to read this for an English course in writing. Had I not been introduced to it in this manner, I never would have had the opportunity to experience such an world; one so different from mine. LU seems to be much like any other environment where people share a commonality. People are people, no matter where you are. Surely, there are differences, but when you find the similarities, great things happen. I’m passing this book along.
As a non religious person I found this fascinating!
This book has had a big impact on me. I am an evangelical Christian, and my son is going to liberty next fall. What stuck with me most about the author's experience was the deep impact that christian love and friendship had on his life. At one point he admits that his belief in christ and god is 70-30 in favor of belief. To me this statement alone shows how powerful god is one working in a loving christian environment. The book also challenged me on some long held personal beliefs about homosexuality. The book lays out how a thoughtful and loving approach should be taken, rather than a combative intolerant view.