The Room Essay Joshua Harris

The Room Essay Joshua Harris-5
They pile out of SUVs and church vans into lots named after Genesis, Exodus and the Bible's other 64 books.And they line up to enter the church for the day's event at the direction of other teenagers in bright red T-shirts reading, "Rebel with a Cause." The two young men look nearly identical, strikingly handsome biracial teens with the lanky builds of Abercrombie & Fitch models.

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"It's a perfect niche for the Harrises," says Rosin.

She has never met Alex and Brett, but she says when she visited Patrick Henry College for her book on the school, "what struck me about the Harrises was that for the kids that I talked to, [Harris] magazine New Attitude was the first genuinely cool thing they had come across." For all the attention Alex and Brett have received for their precocious politics—this spring, Newsweek and The New York Times profiled them and National Public Radio interviewed them—the brothers are just the latest, most polished editions of Harris family values.

"They're sort of home-school royalty," says Hanna Rosin, an Atlantic Monthly contributing editor who examined Patrick Henry College in her 2007 book, God's Harvard.

"The Harrises are sort of this young dynasty." The twins offer an appealing package. Brett, whose persona is that of the world's coolest youth pastor, is more natural.

This week, the relative political newcomer was named “Best Politician” in the City Paper’s annual ‘Best of Baltimore’ issue.

It's nearly 10 am inside Rolling Hills Community Church, and more than 2,000 teenagers are so stoked for the headline act that they've stood for 30 minutes, singing Christian praise ballads with their hands raised.He is also managing editor of The Sphinx, the magazine of Alpha Phi Alpha, the African-American national fraternity based in Baltimore -- and a former legislative aide for Delegate Charles Sydnor, who represents parts of Baltimore County (Dist 44B).A Chicago native and a graduate of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Mr. Harris is running for mayor, he says, because, in the wake of the uprising and riots of 2015, Baltimore needs transformational change, not just -- as he puts it -- tinkering with the status quo.Mike Huckabee's run in the Republican presidential primaries.Alex and Brett Harris are in the middle of a four-month speaking tour in seven cities, a nationwide slate of conferences called Do Hard Things 2008 timed to the release of their new book, a bestseller also called Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.In addition to starting school, they plan to host a third round of Do Hard Things conferences next summer.(The gross from registration alone for the Tualatin event, which offered a discount of to to early entrants, comes to around ,000.) Alex and Brett call themselves "rebelutionaries," their turn of phrase channeling their notion of "rebelling against rebellion." In the conservative Christian circles they've been speaking to since they were 17 years old, they are rock stars."Our message really is that age shouldn't be the critical factor," Brett says."The reason we feel like we can go up onstage and talk to another 19-year-old or 18-year-old, or even maybe a 20-year-old, is the fact that we're not talking about, 'I'm older, so listen to me.' We're saying we've lived this different way our whole teen years." The message these young celebrities offer—on their blog, in their book and for the next six hours at Rolling Hills Community Church, with modern touches of shooting a T-shirt into the audience with a compressed-air cannon and conducting audience polls via handheld touch pads—mixes personal-responsibility lecture, political advocacy, religious evangelism and self-help motivational speaking. Demanding what others have died to win, With a reckless dash of boy. Faith Reads: A Selective Guide to Christian Nonfiction.

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