So what if I didn’t finish my first book before graduating from college? Today at Religion Dispatches I have an essay about someone who did—Kevin Roose, author of The Unlikely Disciple, an account of his semester “abroad” from Brown at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.
Like me, Roose was happy at Brown. We each ventured into religious underworlds partly to see if the culture war between the O’Reillys and our liberal parents was really all they made it out to be. Reading Roose’s tender and endearing account of his time at Liberty, The Unlikely Disciple (published in March by Grand Central), I could feel the ground moving under me. It bespeaks a shift in the way the cultural Left is coming to deal with conservative evangelicalism. No longer is the other, it seems, such a mortal threat that we can’t all make friends and get along.
It is less a proper review (the book is great fun; read it) than an exploration of the way the era of Obama and the Millennial generation is changing how the cultural Left writes and thinks about religion. I follow the parallels of Roose’s story with my own. On the whole, I’m eager to know whether we’ve come to the end of evangelical-bashing. It’s not clear that we’re ready.