My Alma-Mater, Liberty University …

My Alma-Mater, Liberty University Has Been in the News Lately

I can hear some of you now, “You went to Liberty??” Did you graduate from there or did you get kicked out? Though it was the only time in my life where I had reason to contemplate whether suicide was the unforgivable sin, all in all, Liberty was a good experience for me (I submitted that to be an honest endorsement for their recruiting catalog but their publications has yet to reply).  What helped me was that I had a great group of friends that I bonded with, had some great professors that influenced me, and I met my wife there. Graduating Liberty was what I imagine is similar to robbing a bank and getting a way with it. You’re glad you did it but don’t want to go back there. Yes indeed, the rules were too much, yes Dr. Falwell said some crazy things (but there was a cool side to him too), and yes, I met some of the strangest people I hope to never see again until my perfected nature meets their perfected nature in heaven.

First there was this:

Seth Curry (who led the nation in freshman scoring this year) brother of Davidson’s superstar Stephen transfers out of LU to Duke. Doh!  That said, I was happy to read that Liberty’s coach had some encouraging things to say about Seth’s decision.

Second is this book that is getting a fair amount of attention by Kevin Roose called, “The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University” – Great title and wow, America’s Holiest University??? That’s like when Falwell would call it “The World’s Most Exciting University”. Some there may firmly hold to absolute, objective truth and see it all in black and white but alas, it was at Liberty that I first learned how to think in relative terms and I point to the above statement as Exhibit A.

Anyway, Christianity Today had a nice interview with Kevin. Initially, I suspected that his polite candor was a ploy to get you to like him and buy the book then get fooled but it seems that this is precisely the paranoia that Kevin is describing.  He seems pretty genuine and I probably trust him more than some Christians I know.  Here’s an exert:

CT – What most fascinated you about evangelicals and evangelical culture?

My social circle was pretty much empty when it came to evangelical Christians, so my impression was that these students were just interesting and smart and personable. They were not at all like the caricatures I had adopted in the secular world: the placard-waving, backwoods evangelical. They were just nothing like that, so I was heartened by that. But it also made me intensely curious; they seemed like people I would get along with. What would actually happen if I tried? So I think it was their humanity that came through to me.

CT – You largely blame “paranoia and lack of exposure” for the culture war between evangelicals and non-evangelicals. Do you think it’s possible to bridge the gap between the two sides?

A lot of my friends at Brown, I love them to death, but a lot of them are paranoid of evangelical culture. A lot of them would send me e-mails during my semester saying, ‘Are you getting tortured down there? Are they burning you at the stake?,’ and then the same thing on the other side. My Liberty friends would talk about secular culture as one big orgy, and it’s not. My fantasy is to have other people do versions of what I did. How cool would it be to have an exchange program between secular colleges and evangelical colleges and have [students] switch places for a semester? I think we could do a lot to break down that wall.

Kevin also has the distinction of being the last person to interview Dr. Falwell in print. Here’s the link courtesy of and here’s my comment:

“Good article. As a graduate, I feel I have he right to say that indeed Liberty is an unusual place. There are some great things about it and some … hmmm …. not so great things. The same was true with Dr. Falwell. There were numerous times as a conservative, I’d wince when he’d mention tele-tubbies or Ellen. I loved that he was friends with Larry Flynt though and I admired these types of moments.
I did appreciate his interactions with us as students around campus. My personal favorite were when he would speed around the Vine Center after convocation and pretend that he was going to run over the students. Freshmen would always freak out. I will also never forget him crowd surfing at the Big South Tournament. Lucky for him, I carried his right foot for about a second.”


  1. Yes, The Unlikely Disciple is a fantastic book. As a Liberty graduate, I thought it would be a hit piece. But the book is even-handed. And it’s wonderfully written.

    In other news, Coach McKay has just left to be an assistant at UVA. Ouch . . .

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