A quick followup on Kelly's post on Hanna Rosin's God's Harvard:
The blog "Fire and the Rose" has an outstandingly interesting post on the book, based in part of the blogger's personal experience coming from communities that would send their kids to a school such as Patrick Henry, and based in part on responding to John Wilson's interesting column on the same book, including his pinpoint strike of a conclusion:
The publicity material accompanying Rosin's book describes Patrick Henry as a "nerve center of the evangelical movement," which Rosin's "account captures … at a moment of maximum influence." Hmmm. This is a bit like homing in on a single madrassah and making ludicrously exaggerated claims for its centrality to the global Islamist movement. In fact, like that movement, evangelicalism—both as a global phenomenon and in its specifically American form—is radically decentralized. And one of the services that Rosin's book provides is to remind all of us—insiders and outsiders alike—how unwieldy and many-sided that movement is.
Reflecting on this, the Fire and the Rose concludes:
On the basis of my own experience, there is a difficult tension between conservative politics and following Christ’s call. The two do not mesh nearly as well as I was taught to believe growing up. Jesus is radically nonviolent. Jesus is radically against individual possessions and property. Jesus challenged the religious and political structures of his time. And the call to discipleship involves being on the margins of society rather than at the center of influence and power. The PHC mission of training cultural warriors to bring America back to its roots (assuming the myth of an original American Eden is true) requires that these graduates pursue the center over the margin—power over service, influence over discipleship, the way of America over the way of the cross. PHC is thus torn between training Christians and training Americans.