on April 26, 2013
I'm a lifelong Christian but right up front I have been deeply concerned most of my life that most approaches to the environment by Christians beat the drum on our "dominion" --- with little if any attention to our "Stewardship" --
Jonathan Merritt... maybe he's the writing on the wall and I hope so...
You'll have a hard time arguing with his scholarship or his committment....
his honesty is refreshing.... his humor delightful....
and he makes a case like an attorney!
for our responsibility and obligation to be good stewards of God's creation!
on January 28, 2013
Merritt provides just enough scriptural evidence on basic but substantive issues to convince many of the unconvinced that the bible is a doorway to understanding that God wants us to take care of the earth and its life. Yes, the bible can be read through "green lenses." Of various books I'd recommend for research and study of the "theology of nature," Merritt's would be appropriate for a book study group. It could be useful for an environmental organization wanting to understand what Christianity should be teaching and self-defined Christians ought to put into practice to care for our shared Home. After all, it is crucial that nay-sayers are convinced of the seriousness of the ecological crisis -- convinced from scientific, political, reasoning, and spiritual perspectives. The author comes from a more conservative faith: I believe he is able to speak to those who do not.
on January 12, 2014
As a person interested in creation care, I read with punctuated Amens! throughout the book. For someone who doesn't know what the big deal is, I think they will be pleasantly surprised with the attention to scripture and hopeful, non-judgemental approach Merritt has taken. This book reminds us that we serve a powerful, majestic God who loves us.
on December 27, 2014
The genius of "Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet" is that it delves further issues of faith and the environment than most other books on the subject. Most of other books in that genre are simply content to say "Take care of the Earth because it belongs to God". Merritt goes further exploring what that really means in modern life (Chapter 11 is an excellent exploration of this). What is the next step for a person of faith who wants to follow God's first instruction to man (Genesis 1:28). Should Christians care for the Earth when their eyes are toward Heaven? How do you protect the environment as an Evangelical, Southern Baptist, or non-denominational Christian? Does "protecting the Earth" mean "nature worship"? Should Christians care for the Earth when we are in the "Last Days?" These are questions that I haven't seen in books on Christianity and the environment.
Merritt takes particular interest in Evangelicals and conservatives, who he feels have equated "environmentalism" with "liberal". He argues that caring for the Earth is not, nor should it be, a "political" issue. It's a human issue. He reflects throughout the book on the opposition he received from others when he provided his view on what the Scriptures say about creation. Many people jumped on the bandwagon, but plenty of others didn't, citing that they didn't want another "Al Gore" or didn't want some "liberal" to interfere with their religious perspective. Merritt argues that conservatives and Evangelicals can maintain their values and protect the Earth.
This culminates in a strong,but "messy" call to action that was actually stronger than I expected. I expected a simple "10 Simple Ways to Go Green", but actually read a strong call to action for people of faith to really evaluate themselves. He asks them to consider EVERY aspect of their lives (what they eat, what they buy, what they throw away) in their walk of faith. Merritt does a strong, but cautious critique of American over-consumption, irresponsible and inefficient waste and energy management, and agricultural practices. His point in bringing these issues up is not to provide solutions, but to start the conversation. As Merritt readily admits, he is far from what someone would call a fully "green" person (definitely not a vegan or vegetarian), yet he hopes to get readers to question themselves and the society that they live in. In so doing, they can move closer to greater respect for creation.
I don't think this book will convince a die-hard "climate hawk" or "climate denier", but it will definitely be of use to anyone of faith who has considered going "green".His book provides a needed voice in the "environment conversation". Merritt's advice and personal story serve as a model for how Christians can understand their place in the environment. The book won't provide a lot of specific answers, but it will provide the Scriptural references and reflection that will get you to ask questions. As a result, you will take that one critical second to decide if you want to toss that incredibly over-wrapped, disposable impulse buy.
It certainly changed my perspective and strengthened my resolve to live green. His book also changed my perspective on my everyday behaviors.
on September 27, 2015
In Green Like God, Jonathan Merritt lays out a strong argument for Creation Care. We should care for the Earth because we care about the Creator. However, he also purposefully refuses to tell you what HAS to be done. While he asserts that we are responsible for care of the Earth, he refuses to tie us down with one-size-fits-all rules, because the issues are so much bigger than a simple list of rules can solve. I love that--but it makes it hard to know where to turn next. I recommend this book as a great discussion starter.
on April 10, 2010
With the current emphasis on going green that emblazons the cover of many magazines, is the emphasis of many documentaries and, because of the global warming debate, maintains central focus on television talk shows it might be easy to write off Jonathan Merritt's efforts as a mere riding of a wave or jumping into the middle of an already comfortable swimming pool. You'd be mistaken.
For the Christian, Green Like God holds an important allure: It's based on Scripture more than science. In fact, Merritt does not argue that we should be environmentally conscience because the Sierra Club demands it, but because God does. God loves planet Earth; the Discovery Channel did not create our terrestrial home, God did. The Department of the Interior did not set humanity as stewards over the planet, God did. Al Gore was not the first to address environmental issues (whatever his motive and however accurately) God did in the earliest days of humanity and as long as He spoke to His people.
Merritt does address statistics behind the polluting of the planet and quite convincingly so. He uses wide and thorough documentation to build his case, while relegating the global warming controversy to an appendix. His approach is not to convince people to be good stewards of the earth's resources because of statistics, but because of the commands of God about this stewardship and the concerns of God about His creation.
For conservatives who really are concerned about the environment, but were afraid of being pigeonholed as "tree huggers" or "environmental wackos," this book is, so to speak, your salvation. Armed with the theology behind the position, one might find that trees are not what the arms are wrapped around-God is.
on May 2, 2010
Jonathan Merritt is a faith and culture writer and the national spokesman for the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative. In 2008, Merritt gained national recognition when he persuaded several hundred Southern Baptist leaders to sign the Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change; identifying these issues as moral in nature, rather than simply political footballs. Having grown up in a small Southern Baptist church, I immediately recognized what a bold move this was.
Saint Francis of Assisi famously stated that "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men." Merritt's insightful new book Green Like God - Unlocking The Divine Plan For Our Planet, comprehensively expands The Eco Saint's statement to include all of creation.
The book begins with the story of Merritt's personal Creation Care epiphany, and then proceeds to lay out piece-by-piece his Biblically based call for Christians to take the lead in the stewardship of our planet. He writes, "If we remain true to God's Word, Christians must with equanimity redeem the cause and make it our own. To leave these issues to secular environmentalists is to abandon our God-given responsibility to care for his planet."
I find this to be one of the most poignant arguments in the book, and I think that it was made with simple and undeniable statement of fact. To wit, God loves all of His creation, and as His followers, it is incumbent upon us to take care of what He loves. We are not to refuse to join the fight, simply because the majority of "environmentalists" don't align with the conservative values that most Christians hold. Merritt continually points out Truth from Scripture that compels us to better stewardship of the environment. This Truth does not leave us room to pick and choose who our allies will be in the fight.
Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."
"Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. - Mark 9: 38-40
Merritt's words will force you into a deeper consideration of what a Christian's approach should be to protecting the environment. However, he doesn't stop with just Christians. He brings this entire "Christian" nation into the mix when he points out, "Americans have exerted significant influence over the prosperity boom. We export Americanism globally through entertainment sodas, foods, and the international promotion of the American Dream. I have been fortunate to travel much of the globe - Mexico, Canada, South America, Africa, Western Europe, and the Middle East - and I remain astonished at how people everywhere I go fanatically envy American consumption."
Green Like God is well written, informative, challenging, and inspiring. The book held my attention and my imagination in a way that was completely unexpected. I recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about how a Christian should conduct their daily lives in order to bear witness to the world around them. It is certainly going to be difficult to witness to the world about a loving Creator, if we show no evidence of caring for His Creation.
on December 26, 2014
Great book if you want to learn about our Christian responsibility to care for the earth. I used the book for a research paper for school. Great resources
on May 21, 2010
I must admit to my own bias with respect to environmental causes--frankly, I don't see the evidence for global warming--data actually suggests the earth is cooling. Nor do I think "climate change" is man made--but rather cyclical within the earth itself. So I read "Green Like God" from the position of a skeptic, and in that vein I would say I was surprised to find the book balanced, biblical and practical.
But I should not be surprised. First, I know the author, who truly lives what he believes. Jonathan is as thoughtful and open in everyday life as "Green Like God" indicates. Second, the author's theology and supportive reasoning is sound. He hits on all the major themes of environmental activism today and puts them into perspective. And his writing style is straightforward and humorous--I found this an enjoyable book to read.
I don't think the sky is falling or alarm bells need to be sounded with it comes to the earth--we're not going to "destroy it" or make it so that it "cannot sustain life". At the same time, you can't travel to the third world more than once and not see that there are some tremendous environmental issues we've created that must be dealt with (clean water, sanitation, responsible mining and foresting, etc.). I believe in a God-centered view of creation, that we have a responsibility to care for it, to work against pollutive activity, and to set an example with our own lives as we do so.
It's a shame that this topic has become so politicized. I think "Green Like God" is a great step in the right direction--a passionate, yet balanced and thoughtful look at this issue from a Christian perspective. I recommend reading it both for its helpful information, practical real-life suggestions, as well as its biblical viewpoint.
on March 22, 2011
I have read a number of books and articles written by Christians on the environment. I have found many of them to be content-lite, poorly-composed, or guilt-inducing. I was so encouraged, in contrast, by Green Like God. Merritt put together a really nice book in these three areas.
1. There was a nice balance of rich content, supported biblically and factually, without it reading like an academic thesis. It flowed easily and I moved through the book much more easily than I anticipated.
2. It was well written. Merritt was funny, thoughtful and creative in his prose. It's clear that he knows how to write.
3. Despite the enormity of some of the environment challenges which face the church and our country, Merritt's tone was encouraging, a call to biblical stewardship, rather than using a "shame on you" tone. He was challenging without being condescending.
If you are a Christian who wants a balanced, nuanced and encouraging book on our role as caretakers of God' good creation; this is a great place to start.