Tag Archives: The Unlikely Disciple

WWW Wednesday, 15-June-2016

15 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


BeastsCurrently reading: I think I read four pages of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. School is still in session and going crazy. I keep telling myself it will be over in two weeks, but it’s really three more.
I’m getting to the end of 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa. I said last week I’d try to have it finished this week but with my bike event and school, that hasn’t happened. Next week?
I’m about half way done with The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. I kept laughing during a run with a friend while listening to this book. The author does a great job narrating it and I’ve really enjoyed the characters so far.

Recently finished: …Nothing. It’s been a crazy week, I hope to have more to report soon!

I posted a review of The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. I really liked this book and gave it a full 5 out of 5 Stars.

DanteReading Next:  In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches is still my plan. One of my book clubs is off for the summer so I’m hoping to enjoy some books of my own choosing for a bit now!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose (5/5)

9 Jun

A few years ago, I went through this phase when I was really interested in books about Christianity practices that differed from mine. I’ve never doubted my faith but was curious about what other people believed. Rather than ask a friend and actually face another human, I turned to books. Roose’s book attracted me because he had the same questions I did. And he trained under my favorite non-fiction writer, A.J. Jacobs. I was hooked and recently found an audiobook copy through my library’s Hoopla service.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University by Kevin Roose

Summary from Goodreads:

As a sophomore at Brown University, Kevin Roose didn’t have much contact with the Religious Right. Raised in a secular home by staunchly liberal parents, he fit right in with Brown’s sweatshop-protesting, fair-trade coffee-drinking, God-ambivalent student body. So when he had a chance encounter with a group of students from Liberty University, a conservative Baptist university in Lynchburg, Virginia, he found himself staring across a massive culture gap. But rather than brush the Liberty students off, Roose decided to do something much bolder: he became one of them.

Liberty University is the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s proudest accomplishment – a 10,000-student conservative Christian training ground. At Liberty, students (who call themselves “Champions for Christ”) take classes like Introduction to Youth Ministry and Evangelism 101. They hear from guest speakers like Mike Huckabee and Karl Rove, they pray before every class, and they follow a 46-page code of conduct called “The Liberty Way” that prohibits drinking, smoking, R-rated movies, contact with the opposite sex, and witchcraft. Armed with an open mind and a reporter’s notebook, Roose dives into life at Bible Boot Camp with the goal of connecting with his evangelical peers by experiencing their world first-hand.

Roose’s semester at Liberty takes him to church, class, and choir practice at Rev. Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. He visits a support group for recovering masturbation addicts, goes to an evangelical hip-hop concert, and participates in a spring break mission trip to Daytona Beach, where he learns how to convert bar-hopping co-eds to Christianity. Roose struggles with his own faith throughout, and in a twist that could only have been engineered by a higher power, he conducts what would turn out to be the last in-depth interview of Rev. Falwell’s life. Hilarious and heartwarming, respectful and thought-provoking, Roose’s embedded report from the front lines of the culture war will inspire and entertain believers and non-believers alike.

I was fascinated by this book. Roose has a great style, writing in a very removed way of his encounters at Liberty but also letting the reader know how he feels about the people he meets. He peppers his story with studies and back story that added to my understanding. I liked how he detailed his struggle to fit into the culture at Liberty and how his encounter made a lasting impact on him. The book reminded me a bit of Jacobs and I’m glad he can teach Roose to be a good immersion journalist. I think it must have been hard for Roose to write about his friends like they were test subjects rather than his real friends, which I have no doubt they were. I thought it was very professionally done and I’m really glad I listened to this book.

The characters Roose presented reminded me a lot of every Evangelical Christian I’ve met- certifiably not crazy, open, and friendly. The only character that seemed odd to me was his roommate, Henry. I’ve never met someone so angry and aggressive before and I had trouble picturing him. It helped that all of the hallmates seemed to have a similar problem with Henry and his anger. The God I know is loving and forgiving, like many of the Liberty students Roose met. It was refreshing to see that across sects that sentiment was still there.

Jersey Joey was my favorite of Kevin’s friends. He struggled to be the Christian he wanted to be, it wasn’t easy for him, and that was refreshing. He indulged in some vices but at the end of the day, he was a really good guy and I liked him a lot. I think Joey was what Laura thought Kevin needed, an easing into Liberty culture. Going from Brown to Liberty must have been a shock. It would have been easier to go to a less stringent school first and I think Joey gave Kevin a bit of that experience. Maybe it was hard to relate to Zipper, but knowing Joey and Zipper both had the same love for Jesus helped Kevin see that not everyone will be Zipper.

I’ve had lesser experiences to what Kevin experienced. My dad’s family is Methodist but I was raised Catholic, like my mom’s family. Every time I spend a long period of time with my dad’s family, I have to ‘act Methodist’ a bit. I went to a (loosely) Methodist college so this has never been hard for me, but I say the wrong prayers before dinner to say ‘mass’ instead of ‘service’ or ‘priest’ for ‘reverend’ all the time. I don’t talk about being Catholic around my paternal grandparents. It’s not as extreme of an example as what Kevin puts himself through, but mine isn’t journalism.

Kevin Roose Image via NPR

Kevin Roose
Image via NPR

I wanted Kevin and Anna to date so badly. I’m still hoping it somehow happened even though in the interview at the end he said it wasn’t happening. She was so sweet and he had a major crush on her. I’m glad he finally told her what was going on and I wonder if she’s not ok with them dating because he’s not Saved. This was the one part of the book where I would have liked more.

Kevin stated many times that the casual homophobia at Liberty really bothered him. It was the most troubling part of the book for me, too. A good friend of my husband is gay and a devout Catholic. I would never want to create an environment at our church where he didn’t feel welcomed by using words like ‘fag’ and ‘queer’ amongst our friends. It was sad to me. Christian doctrine is that everyone is a sinner so why would they call out one group of sinners more than others? It seemed counter-productive to me.

Kevin narrated the book, which I didn’t realize until the end. He did a good job narrating and even used a fun voice for Jersey Joey that I liked. I don’t see him narrating anyone else’s book in the future, but he did a good job with his own and if he ever has another piece out, I’d hope he does the narration again.

Kevin pointed out several times that even though he was able to humanize Falwell, that didn’t mean he agreed with him. You can like someone and not agree with their political or religious views. You can also agree with someone’s religious views and not like them. These things don’t have to be exclusive. I can have friends that are from different political parties and there are people I go to church with that I don’t like. Kevin’s book is a strong lesson in tolerance.

Writer’s Takeaway: I don’t think I’ll ever write non-fiction but if I do, I want to write like Kevin. He weaves facts and studies with his experiences very flawlessly. He jumps around a bit but keeps the focus on a portion of his experience at a time. He reminds me a lot of A.J. Jacobs, who he interned for and who I’m a big fan of. I hope he writes more books though he’s been successful in journalism as of late.

I learned a lot from this book that I think will stick with me for a long time. A full 5 out of 5 Stars

 

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Seeking Liberty, Looking Within: The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose | quiteirregular
The Unlikely Disciple: Kevin Roose | Amanda Jarvis
The Unlikely Disciple – Kevin Roose | The Captive Reader
the unlikely disciple | No Power In the ‘Verse

WWW Wednesday, 8-June-2016

8 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


IceCreamCurrently reading: Nothing with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. There hasn’t been much time when I’m just sitting around lately. My semester is getting crazy and it will be a while before I have any calmness again.
I’m about 2/3 of the way through 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa, I wanted to finish it over the weekend but this was a busy one for me. I’ll try to get through it before my post next week.
I started a new audiobook, The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. I forget who recommended this one to me but I have no doubt it’s because I love historical fiction. I was hesitant when I heard the author narrated it herself, but she’s been doing a great job.

DiscipleRecently finished: I finished The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose late last Wednesday. I really enjoyed this book and Roose’s style. He reminds me of A.J. Jacobs, who he trained under and who is one of my favorite writers. It was a treat of a book. My review will be up tomorrow.

I posted my review of Harry Potter y el misterio del principe on Monday. There’s not a lot to be said about this book that hasn’t been said already but pop on over and let me know how much you love it. The sixth book is my favorite of the movies and I watch it a lot but I think this is only my second time through the book.

DanteReading Next: I’ve changed my mind again. I went to another bookstore in West Michigan and found another book that I’ve been waiting to read for ages so now I plan to pick up In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches which has been on my list since October 2012! I went through a phase when I was obsessed with Dante’s Inferno and this intrigued me because of that. It reminded me of Matthew Pearl’s The Dante Club so I wanted to grab this one.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 1-June-2016

1 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


27 Days_HighResCurrently reading: I don’t think I’ve read a word of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I might grab a little of it this afternoon, but I’m in no rush to read this one. I’ll savor Larson’s writing for a while.
I’m just about finished with The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. This has been a great audiobook and is very thought provoking! I really recommend it. I’ve had Evangelical friends before, but I never knew very much about the culture.
I finally started  27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa over the weekend. I’m not too far into it yet but I’m so excited to read this one! Kristine is a personal friend of mine and I was at her book launch party a few weeks ago where I got my copy signed.

PrincipeRecently finished: I finished Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling! That’s a good speed for me to finish my Spanish read of the year so I’m really happy about this one. I won’t tell you how many times I cried, but it was more than five.

I posted my review of The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. Thank you so much to everyone who popped over and took a look at my thoughts! It really meant a lot to me to see you all over there for the day as well. Like I said, I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I would have read it if it weren’t for my book club. 4 out of 5 Stars.

Cat DancingReading Next: I’m going to have time to read off of my bookshelf for a while! This is so exciting, I’m not sure I know what to do with myself. Next on my shelf is The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham. Yes, this is a very obscure title for me, but the author was educated at my university and it was turned into a movie so I’m super curious. I looked for years before finding a copy in a Grand Rapids bookstore. I think it was waiting for me.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 25-May-2016

25 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


DiscipleCurrently reading: I’m so close to finishing Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling! Two chapters left in this one and it’s great to have the end in sight! I’d love to finish this by the end of the month. I haven’t finished my Spanish book until the end of the summer the last two years so this is a great pace for me.
Not much with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson this week. I didn’t have a lot of waiting time going on to fill with the story and I don’t see a lot coming on this week so it might be a while.
I started a new audiobook that I’m really enjoying so far. It’s The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. I forget how I heard about it, but in the beginning, Roose mentions interning with A.J. Jacobs, one of my favorite non-fiction writers, so that’s probably it. It’s great to get Roose’s opinion on what he’s witnessing going on around him because, like him, I don’t know many born-again Christians. I find other people’s lives fascinating.

AskingRecently finished: I finished up The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer on Wednesday last week. I’ll have a review up tomorrow. I liked it, but I’m so different from Palmer that some of it was hard to wrap my head around. Four out of Five stars from me. The audio was great because Palmer included a lot of her songs.

27 Days_HighResReading Next: I hope to start 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa this week. I had drinks with Kristine last week and after hearing her talk about her book launch, I’m even more excited to read this one! Woop.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!