Pop Culture as Gospel Tutor

How to give media-saturated college students a Christian world-view.
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The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior During the University Years, by Steven Garber (InterVarsity, 199 pp.; $12.99, paper). Reviewed by Byron K. Borger, owner of Hearts and Minds bookstore in Dallastown, Pennsylvania.

In the middle of his remarkable new book, The Fabric of Faithfulness, Steven Garber tells the story of a meeting with one of his students, a student who "asked wonderful questions about important ideas." But as one experienced in discipling college students—he is on the faculty of American Studies Program, an interdisciplinary semester of study on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities—Garber sensed beneath the questions a lack of earnestness. Our author found himself doubting that the fellow "really understood the difference of truth and the difference it makes." In a move that seems uncharacteristic for the gentle teacher, Garber issued an ultimatum: He would talk no further with the student until he watched all of the films of Woody Allen from Annie Hall on.

As this story suggests, The Fabric of Faithfulness is a book that takes young people—specifically people in their university years—and their culture seriously. Laden with quotes from popular cartoons, movies, and rock music, The Fabric of Faithfulness is a passionate plea for those who work in higher education to help young people develop a coherent and meaningful world-view that issues forth in a lifelong commitment to relevant, radical discipleship. Given the obstacles to such commitment on today's college campuses, Garber's ambition for his students to weave together beliefs and behavior is no small thing. That he apparently has motivated some of his young friends ...

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