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Tiffany Rittenour Mr. Harrell English Comp 1 16 October 2013 Learning from the Relationships Relationships formed in The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinners Semester at Americas Holiest University by Kevin Roose are all over the spectrum. Some are very close and deep, while others are based on hatred. A relationship is defined as a strong connection. In most relationships, the more in common two have, the stronger the connection is. However, there are still some relationships where the two people can have very little in common, and be best friends. It all just depends. Ultimately, relationships formed in The Unlikely Disciple taught Kevin Roose to understand how evangelicals act, study, form relationships, connect with God, and stay true to who they are through his experiences at Liberty. When entering Liberty University, Kevin Roose has no idea what to expect. He never knew how many relationships he was going to form and enjoy. Roose studies the bible-boot camp in Lynchburg, Virginia, after his visit to Thomas Road church with his boss. He met a few students that attend Liberty University. When speaking with these select students, Roose can barely hold a conversation with them. He makes a decision to transfer to their school. Before leaving Brown, Kevin Roose formulated several questions for the students at Liberty. His curiosity is strong. Roose writes, And are we really that different (Roose 10)? Soon enough, he finds out.

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Roose comes to see that one Liberty student reminds him of his secular life. The strongest relationship in The Unlikely Disciple is with Jersey Joey, freshman from Hoboken, New Jersey. Joey is known as a rebel. Joeys craziness keeps, Dorm 22 fun and interesting. Roose likes Joey so much because he reminds him of his secular friends so much. Roose writes: Ive been hanging round Joey a lot in the past few weeks, both because his room is two doors away from mine and because he, more than anyone else on the hall, reminds me of my secular friends. Hes immature and boisterous, yes, but hes far enough from Libertys mainstream that I get a certain reversionary comfort from watching him pee in somebodys sink or what have you. (Roose 90) When coming to Liberty, Roose wanted to find out about the students and what they did and how they acted. Roose writes, Some of Joeys antics-like the naked skateboarding are greeted with rolled eyes, but for the most part, hes accepted as just another personality (Roose 91). Roose gets to see both sides Even Jersey Joey has trouble holding to his faith. The two tie together because Joey is not crazy with his practicing of his faith, which allows him and Kevin to have things in common. Roose didnt have to completely hide who he was when we was around Joey. This made his experience at Liberty a little easier. Roose writes, When Im in Room 201, I act the old model Kevin, and even though I havent told them everything about my past, I think they sense something is different about me, that Im somehow struggling with Libertys orthodoxy(Roose 119). Joey is someone Roose would have connected even outside the walls of Liberty. Roose will never forget Joey or anyone else he met. Roose learns from Joey, that not all Liberty students are crazed in religion. Also, you can be friends with anyone. Hanging around Joey gave Kevin a new perceptive on Liberty and the

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meaning of friendship. Friendship is not based on the color of your skin, your beliefs on religion or your future plans. The two people only have to connect and matter to each other. Whether it is a simple friendship, family member, or romantic relationship, it doesnt matter. As we all know, usually the most meaningful connections are with your significant other. Opposites are able to attract well. In the book, Anna and Kevin are very opposite, but have a deep relationship. Anna, the girl Roose meets at a Friday night Bible study, is the romance of the book. With love, you fall for whoever your heart desires. I believe in love at first sight. You know it is love when you feel that special spark. Roose writes, Ten minutes into our conversation, I am nursing a small crush (Roose 56). However this type of relationship is something Kevin Roose has never had to deal with before. Anna is a type of girl Roose has never dated before. She is an evangelical Christian, a girl who has values and morals. Anna needed to be with someone who shared the same beliefs as her, but Kevin was far from that. The relationship was starting to get to serious, and Roose knew it. As much as he wanted to peruse Anna, he couldnt. Roose writes, I never expected to find Liberty students I liked too much. But Im starting to care about some of the people Ive met here, and its taking a toll on my conscience (Roose 111). Ending the relationship was the best for the both of them. If Roose hadnt ended the relationship with Anna, one of them could have been seriously emotionally hurt. In young relationships, two people get attached rather quickly. And it hurts to have your heart broken, no one wants that. Before going to Liberty, Roose considered things like: What if I convert, what will my family think, and what will my secular friends think. His last worry was falling for an evangelical Christian. From the experience he is learning how religion can affect romantic relationships. Practicing the same religion makes the relationship easier. For example, if the

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couple has children it will always be a question of whose religion they will grow up in. Relationships are about compromise but two should meet in the middle on such a strong topic. It was not meant to be with Anna and Kevin. Never having a real relationship before had an effect on Kevin. Anna was his first and it amounted to nothing. It couldnt be real. Anna may not have been his soul mate, but he will always have a place in his heart for his Liberty crush. Roose writes, We spend almost an hour laughing and reminiscing about our semester-long quasi-romance, and that end of our conversation, we said a tender goodbye and promised to keep in touch (Roose 314). When Roose calls Anna to tell her about his book she is very understanding. It shows how sweet of a girl Anna really was. Not everyone at Liberty was as pleasuring as Anna was though. A foul soul, Henry, was not what Kevin expected from Liberty students. Personality is one reason that explains why Roose goes to Liberty. He wanted to see different and he very well did from Henry. This relationship consisted of a lot of tension. Throughout the book I find Henry rude, deceiving, and just odd. He never wanted to talk or explain why he was at Liberty. Its strange because everyone else in the book has no problem telling Kevin Roose why they came to the school. Henry didnt seem to care for Kevin from the begging. Even when Roose would go out of his way to be kind to Henry, he would still shut him down. The tension is based on differences of opinions on gays. Henry does not like that there are gay people in the world. Roose writes, Im telling you, if a queer ever touched me, I would do what Samson did to Philistines. Or what David did to Goliath. I would beat him with a baseball bat (Roose 108). Roose on the other hand, does not want to see gay and lesbians murdered. Kevin Roose is more accepting of gays because of members of his family being lesbians. His family is more open to

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the concept. The two never seem to get on okay terms in the book. Its crazy how two different opinions can cause so much tension between two people. Roose writes, Of course, I wont miss everyone at Liberty. For example, Im really looking forward to leaving Henry, my angry twenty-nine year-old roommate who, as of this writing, still thinks Im a homosexual (Roose 275). Kevin had a full experience by meeting Henry. Although it was not pleasuring to have Henry around, it made the experience worth it. No, Roose did not want to go in and meet someone like Henry, but now he sees that behavior of that kind exist. It teaches him to understand the reactions some have to gay and lesbians. This relationship was one of the most important. It really opened Rooses eyes. He needed to see all sides of the students to get a full feel for Libertys atmosphere. It was necessary to experience their lives by living just like them. Roose, hears about Pastor Seth and goes to him just like any other student would who is having troubles with their faith. I find it pretty abnormal when Roose schedules a visit with Pastor Seth, a mentor at Liberty University. The relationship is a good part of Kevins experience at Liberty. It shows him not everyone at Liberty forces evangelical Christianity. Roose writes, Its not every day you meet a conservative evangelical pastor who tells you that being a Christian is more about doubt than dogma (Roose 284). Pastor Seth genially really cares. The relationship is more relaxed than a typical Liberty relationship would be. It is mainly based on support though. When dealing with Kevins masturbation problem, Pastor Seth lets Kevin call him whenever to help him through it. You couldnt find that any other school. Roose writes, I love the way Pastor Seths faith motivates him to help me in my struggles. I admire his

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compassion and selflessness (Roose 252). This relationship help Kevin Roose survive his semester at Liberty. Overall Rooses experience was 100 times easier by the relationships formed. Roose was able to answer many of his questions from the relationships. If he didnt get close with people at Librty, the experience would have been harder. He wouldnt have found out as much about he students and their opinions on things. Thanks to the relationships he was about to find out: What they do for fun, how they feel about Jerry Falwell, and how they feel about the rules at Liberty. Answers varied all over but Kevin Roose got his answers through relationships. Dealing with several diverse personalities, allowed Roose to see many different aspects. Without the relationship variation, his answers would be all the same and his experience would be plain. Roose writes, Second, the indelible Jesus fish provided me with the worlds easiest metaphor to describe my transition from Liberty back to the secular world. Namely, no matter how hard I tried, I couldnt quite scrape it away (Roose 310). The relationships and experience will stick with Kevin Roose forever.

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Work Cited Roose, Kevin. The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinners Semester at Americas Holiest University. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2009. Print.