Amelia Hendrix, a tall brunette and the daughter of a Presbyterian Church in America minister, has spent her life as "a poster child for the church." Toward the end of her four years at the University of Tennessee, however, that role proved harder to play. Her "Christian bubble" dissipated as friends from church got married, and she found herself befriending people with different values: non-Christians, gay students, and pot smokers at the record store where she worked.

At university, Amelia took classes on modern American religion. "That was eye-opening," she said. "I did a lot on Jerry Falwell, the conservative party, and the consolidating of the Christian right. It made me question everything I'd been taught. I was raised conservative, pro-life, anti-gay; I was taught that Christians should be in power. I came out thinking nothing I was taught had been right."

When Amelia graduated last December, she told her father she was thinking of going to L'Abri, the Christian study center and commune in the Swiss Alps founded by celebrity apologist Francis Schaeffer. "When I brought up the idea, Dad said, 'That's great, I love Schaeffer,'" she said.

If her father remembers L'Abri as it was when Schaeffer was alive—a place where thoughtful young Christians went to breathe the fortifying Alpine air and to sit at the feet of their goateed guru—Amelia embodies what L'Abri has become: a community ambivalent about Schaeffer's legacy and ill at ease with mainstream evangelical culture. Half a century after L'Abri's founding and more than 20 years after Schaeffer's death, students come with very different questions, and they look askance at the politicized faith that Schaeffer helped create.

From Radical to Politico

Shortly after ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
Starter Books on Ancient-Future Faith Subscriber Access Only
RecommendedMartin Luther
Martin Luther
Passionate reformer
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
Ben Sasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
The Nebraska senator wants parents to get serious about shepherding kids into responsible adulthood.
Christianity Today
Not Your Father's L'Abri
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.