Christian Like Me

Remember the old book “Black Like Me?”  It’s the story of a white journalist, John Howard Griffin, who pharmacologically dyed his skin black to pass as Afro-American; the book relates his experiences.

I knew it was only a matter of time until someone tried it with Christians.

Peter Roose, an undergrad at Brown University, went “undercover” to “infiltrate” Liberty University.

And he found out that fundie Christians are…

…well, basically human:

Roose had transferred to the Virginia campus from Brown University in Providence, a famously liberal member of the Ivy League. His Liberty classmates knew about the switch, but he kept something more important hidden: He planned to write a book about his experience at the school founded by fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell.

Each conversation about salvation or hand-wringing debate about premarital sex was unwitting fodder for Roose’s recently published book: “The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University.”

“As a responsible American citizen, I couldn’t just ignore the fact that there are a lot of Christian college students out there,” said Roose, 21, now a Brown senior. “If I wanted my education to be well-rounded, I had to branch out and include these people that I just really had no exposure to.”

How little exposure?

Roose’s parents, liberal Quakers who once worked for Ralph Nader, were nervous about their son being exposed to Falwell’s views.

See Berg’s Seventh Law; when libs babble about conservative provincialism, they’re projecting.

He was determined to not mock the school, thinking it would be too easy — and unfair. He aimed to immerse himself in the culture, examine what conservative Christians believe and see if he could find some common ground. He had less weighty questions too: How did they spend Friday nights? Did they use Facebook? Did they go on dates? Did they watch “Gossip Girl?”

It wasn’t an easy transition. Premarital sex is an obvious no-no at Liberty. So are smoking and drinking. Cursing is also banned, so he prepared by reading the Christian self-help book, “30 Days to Taming Your Tongue.”

The “Story” involved a lengthy interview with LU founder Jerry Falwell, I wonder what Roose’s parents think about the his conclusion?

Roose said his Liberty experience transformed him in surprising ways.

When he first returned to Brown, he’d be shocked by the sight of a gay couple holding hands — then be shocked at his own reaction. He remains stridently opposed to Falwell’s worldview, but he also came to understand Falwell’s appeal.

Once ambivalent about faith, Roose now prays to God regularly — for his own well-being and on behalf of others. He said he owns several translations of the Bible and has recently been rereading meditations from the letters of John on using love and compassion to solve cultural conflicts.

Perhaps someday they’ll try having a third-rate comic impersonate a caricatured blowhard conservative talking head…

…er,no.  That’d be too stupid.

1 thought on “Christian Like Me

  1. I read some of the comments about this over on the Huff’n Puff Post; consensus seemed to be that Peter Roose had been holy-waterboarded.

    Is Peter Roose related to Johnny Roosh?

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