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Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement Paperback – August 28, 2007
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"...an intriguing journey into a burgeoning and often contradictory phenomenon"
-The Washington Post
"If you have any doubt that there is a culture war that must be waged and won by secularists in America, read this book."
-Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith
"Compassion for her subjects and brisk writing make her increasingly alarming story go down easy."
-Rocky Mountain News
From the Back Cover
"Lauren Sandler obliterates the naïve and complacent hope that keeps most secularists and religious moderates sleeping peacefully each night-the hope that, in 21st century America, the young know better than to adopt the lunatic religious certainties of a prior age. The young do not know better. In their schools, skate-parks, rock concerts, and in the ranks of our nations military, our children are gleefully preparing a bright future of ignorance and religious fascism for us all. If you have any doubt that there is a culture war that must be waged and won by secularists in America, read this book."
Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation
"It is no easy thing to enter into the world of the young evangelicals, to feel deeply their alienation, to breathe their air and share their electric conviction that they are the rising counterculture against an empty world. Lauren Sandler has done it, and done it with an effervescence and honesty that make her travels in Disciple America jump off the page."
Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism and Sociology, Columbia University, and author of The Intellectuals and the Flag
"At once controversial, critical, blasphemous and compassionate, Righteous offers a compelling journey into a growing youth subculture typically dismissed by urban intellectuals. Sandler has written a provocative and illuminating portrait of young people desperately seeking meaning, community and love in an empty, often terrifying social landscape. Evangelical youth---the Disciple Generation--- are a generation rising, and we do need to pay attention."
Dr. Donna Gaines, sociologist and author of Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia's Dead End Kids and A Misfit's Manifesto: The Spiritual Journey of a Rock & Roll Heart
"Lauren Sandler has traveled among the believers and returned with a story that alarms, informs, and enlightens. She reveals the rise of a fundamentalist-style youth movement that has replaced faith with closed-minded certainty and is frighteningly cult-like. Read this book and you will understand this Disciple Generation and the challenge it poses to a civil society."
Michael D'Antonio, former Newsday religion writer and author of Fall From Grace and Heaven on Earth
"Righteous is a lively, probing account of today's fresh, sometimes bizarre sub- cultures of American evangelism. Both the term alternative and evangelical will mean something new to you after this book. Sandler's conclusions are important: These kids have been forgotten by their original social worlds, by secular organizations and even by Left-Liberal causes. In a cold new world, getting saved can now seem like a young American's only source of community and warmth."
Alissa Quart, author of Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child
"Righteous is the most adroit and fascinating examination of a great national ill, the muddling of faith and politics, the secular and the divine."
Brad Land, author of Goat --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Lauren Sandler spent a lot of time among the Evangelical Youth Movement documenting the far-reaching consequences of its dramatic rise. Although I read "Righteous" primarily for the Mars Hill portion, I enjoyed her profiles of other interesting Disciple Generation hotbeds such as Ted Haggard's ill-fated ministry and Patrick Henry College in Virginia (read Hanna Rosin's fine God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America for more on that institution). They all have one thing in common: a conservative, missional view of Scripture that seeks to convert the culture from the inside.
Ms. Sandler's major concern throughout "Righteous" is that this brand of cool fundamentalism might be winning the battle for the hearts and minds of youth, in large part because secular culture isn't offering anything as compelling that provides a sense of purpose and belonging. As a former Christian who attended a Portland, Oregon church similar to MHC, I can vouch for her fears. As we've seen in the Middle East, there's no mission like a divinely inspired one to motivate and coalesce people into extreme action.
And extreme action (non-fatal, to be clear) is what the author encounters in all of the ministries she visits. We follow her into fiery church services laced with hard-rock hymns, prayer-soaked small-group meetings with tattooed leaders, and dorms full of overachieving Christian college students, where all involved are trying to obey God and do his will. She finds kindness and love - along with women relegated to subordinate roles, science taking second place to the supernatural, and a disconcerting evangelical influence in American politics.
"Righteous" is an excellent (although now a bit outdated) introduction to the Evangelical Youth Movement and its burgeoning influence on American culture. My friend still attends Mars Hill and is involved in ministry there. As for me and my house, I've left Christianity behind for atheism, and I hope that someday Ms. Sandler's dream of a "Secular Great Awakening" will come to fruition. Recommended.