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A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars Hardcover – May 8, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Merritt represents a hopeful new current in evangelical America." (USA Today )

"By broadening evangelicalism's agenda, younger evangelicals like Jonathan Merritt..are doing us a favor." (Dallas Morning News )

"Merritt...writes with humility and clarity. He addresses the political, cultural and biblical assumptions many of us hold." (Christianity Today )

"In this book, Jonathan Merritt forces the reader to 'choose this day whom you will serve.' In choosing the right Kingdom and right King, we have the most affect on the one that is passing away. But in choosing the wrong Kingdom and King, we affect neither."
-Cal Thomas, syndicated and USA Today columnist / Fox News contributor

"After a wearisome decade where younger Christians welcomed the downfall of the Religious Right, Merritt charts the way forward--helping us imagine a constructive way to advance the common good in the public square. A Faith of Our Own provides a roadmap for how Christians can engage the future."
-Gabe Lyons, Author of The Next Christians

"In this personal, provocative, and well-written book-- part memoir, part manifesto-- Merritt lays out his journey and his case. If you want to understand shifts among younger Christians, this book is a must read."
-Ed Stetzer, President of LifeWay Research

"A Faith of Our Own is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand a post-culture war generation of Christians."
-Matt Lewis, senior contributor, The Daily Caller

"In this provocative book Merritt again and again challenges Christians to reconsider their comfortable lives and their easy acceptance of either right-wing or left-wing politics as God's way of living their faith in the world."
-Steve Monsma, Senior Research Fellow at the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College

"Merritt represents an entire generation seeking to reconcile sanctification with service without embracing the extremes. This book provides a blueprint that if applied will replace the image of an angry, white evangelical in the public square with a compassionate follower of Christ in the heart of the community."
-Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

"With eloquence, wit and experience, Jonathan illuminates the incongruence between Christian political partisanship and the Gospel of Jesus... [He] inspires hope that there is a less divisive way for Christians to engage politics and culture-a way that looks more like Jesus, marked by humility, grace, mercy and respect."
-Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul

"Tearing down sacred cows that served as idols to a previous generation, Jonathan offers insight into a way forward that encompasses a hopeful future for the role of faith in American culture. With A Faith of Our Own, Merritt reveals the courage to speak bold truth in love for the good of the Church."
-Soong Chan Rah, author of The Next Evangelicalism; Professor, at North Park Theological Seminary

"Jonathan Merritt gives us a personal and intriguing guidebook for Christian participation in the public square. As a church leader involved in the moral causes of our time, he helps us all understand how political participation can be yet another way to exercise our faith in Christ. This is a fresh look from a young leader!"
-Joel Hunter, author and pastor of Northland Church

"Jonathan Merritt is part of a new generation of evangelicals seeking to be kingdom builders rather than culture warriors. He thinks Christians should be salt and light rather than fire and ice. We should listen to him."
- Barry Hankins, author of Jesus and Gin: Evangelicalism, the Roaring Twenties, and Today's Culture Wars and professor of history and church-state studies at Baylor University

"A forceful but loving critique of the tragic failures of my generation of evangelicals by a gifted young leader. Plus a biblically solid, Christ-centered way forward. A must read."
-Ronald J. Sider, bestselling author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and President of Evangelicals for Social Action

About the Author

Jonathan Merritt is a faith and culture writer who has published over 350 articles in outlets such as USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com and Christianity Today. He is author of Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet, which Publisher's Weekly called "mandatory reading for churchgoers." As a respected Christian voice, he has been interviewed by ABC World News, CNN, Fox News, NPR, PBS, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Jonathan resides outside of Atlanta, GA where he actively serves and teaches at Cross Pointe Church.

You can follow him, but please, only on twitter: @jonathanmerritt

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: FaithWords (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446557234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446557238
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Eugene Mason on May 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I admit I'm frustrated with politics as a conservative Christ-follower. I have been for some time. I don't think that my government or my representatives reflect my views, much less the views of the majority of the people in the U.S., much less anything outside of their own self-interest. I grew up in the Reagan era and in the urban South, there was a lot of pride in our leadership back then. We had an enemy in Communism, we were strong economically, and in conservative circles, everything just seemed "right" with the world.

Of course now, years later, I realize just how much was wrong with the world back then, and that politics glossed over much of the real challenge of making a positive difference. We fought the Communists, but we tolerated the racists and the bigots. We built great wealth, but we ignored the poor and let AIDS run rampant across Africa. The Berlin Wall fell, but walls of class envy and ethnic division were built up across our country. Today, much travel, experience and wisdom that comes with age, along with my beliefs, presses me to do something significant to help the poor, to change attitudes on race and to use our resources to better the world.

If only some of these things could be done without the muck and stench of politics clouding the way. In "A Faith of Our Own", I found a voice of many of these concerns in Jonathan Merritt's experiences. The book shares this sense that Christ-followers today, especially the younger generation--the one behind mine--wants to impact their world in a meaningful way. And, like me, they're turned off by the political banter. Worse, and I think Merritt does a masterful job of writing in this regard--they're just frustrated with politics in general and feel used as a "voting bloc" for others with agendas.
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Format: Hardcover
One of my favorite quotes is by David Lipscomb. He once wrote, "We are satisfied that voting does much more harm to the church than dancing does." I love that quote because I believe it to be true, but also because it has probably been perceived differently by every generation since it was first written. The Christian generation before mine viewed dancing as a great evil, and voting as part of a Christian's duty. Nowadays you would be hard pressed to find a Christian of my generation who believes in the evils of dancing, and voting is no longer an essential element of the Christian faith. This monumental change is documented in Jonathan Merritt's new book, A Faith of Our Own.

A Faith of Our Own is a well written book about things that are taking place right now in Christianity. The book is not just a collection of data, although Merritt has done his research. It is his personal story of growing up in the church. He is the son of a Southern Baptist President. He attended Liberty University, while Jerry Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority, was president. He was brought up in a church where Bill Clinton and other liberal politicians were rebuked publicly from the pulpit. He was raised in an all around conservative environment in the middle of the culture wars. During his upbringing he bought into the hope the religious right was selling. They wanted to convince everyone that, "If all you will do is vote a certain way, then we can change America." Merritt eventually discovered that this was a false hope. Even with a Republican in the White House, and a Republican controlled house and senate little or nothing changed. The two issues that were at the forefront of the culture wars 30 years ago, abortion and gay-marriage, are still at the forefront today. Neither has been resolved.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book every Christian in America should read.

While I manage to avoid politics on my blog, I have been a little less successful on social media. This past election was scary and embarrassing. I have never felt our country so divided in my lifetime, and I have especially never felt Christians so divided.

Enter Merritt's new book, with its subtitle of Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars. Merritt is an evangelical Southern Baptist, but the identification means little. A new wave of Christians are growing up in the church, and making a positive course correction by moving beyond partisan politics, following Jesus without fighting the culture wars.

For many, having churched in an us-versus-them atmosphere, this new wave will be uncomfortable. Merritt tells how, having been raised in a conservative family with ties to the "so-called Religious Right," he thought faithful followship of Jesus meant defeating liberals.* Like Forward contributor Kirsten Powers, I, too, have been asked, "How can you be a Democrat and a Christian?" Oddly, I sometimes wonder the opposite: How can you be a Republican and a Christian? So, Merritt set me straight as much as he did the GOP.

The new wave of young Christians have so had it with partisan politics that they are voting not for Christian principles but against culture wars. A poll conducted by Relevant magazine during the election year--a publication influential among young Christians--asked "Who would Jesus vote for?" The majority of respondents were self-described conservatives, and yet their top response was Barack Obama. Horrors!

Today, we know who won. Obama and the conservatives. Eh??

Take the issue of homosexuality.
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