Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dispatches from the evangelical youth movement

Jane Lampman reviewed Lauren Sandler's Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement for the Christian Science Monitor.
In Seattle, a charismatic pastor draws tattooed musicians and other hipster youth to his mushrooming megachurch with a countercultural message that is culturally liberal, yet theologically conservative.

At a Bible class in Colorado Springs, Colo., a first lieutenant teaches Army and Air Force servicemen a fundamentalist versionof the "End Times" (the end of the world depicted in Revelation), and deems the US military God's missionary tool in Iraq.

In Council Bluffs, Iowa, skateboaders on an Extreme Tour put on a half-pipe show for local kids, then tell them about Jesus and a cool kind of church developing in skate parks.

Out in Virginia's horse country, Patrick Henry College shapes young people with an intensely "biblical worldview"; then it sends them straight into internships in the White House and Congress.

Welcome to the Evangelical youth movement. Or what Lauren Sandler calls "the Disciple Generation" - an ever-growing population of young Evangelicals, ages 15 to 35, "who are equally obsessed with Christ and with culture as a means to an Evangelical end."

Formerly a reporter for National Public Radio, Ms. Sandler had encountered many Christian groups during her travels. But as Evangelicals became more influential in politics, she set out to scout in depth the evolving youth movement. What she found surprised and disturbed her, an avowed secularist and nonbeliever who was barely 30 herself.

Her first book not only presents vivid, spirited sketches of a burgeoning subculture, but also a plea to fellow secularists to wake up and proffer an alternative.

Read the rest of the review here. For other reviews, click here.

Click here to read an excerpt from Righteous.

--Marshal Zeringue