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A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Every day, major headlines tell the story of how Christianity is attempting to influence American culture and politics. But statistics show that young Americans are disenchanted with a faith that has become culturally antagonistic and too closely aligned with partisan politics. In this personal yet practical work, Jonathan Merritt uncovers the changing face of American Chr ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Faith Words (first published January 1st 2012)
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David Crumm
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Voice from the Religious Right, Pulling Us Back to a Biblical Center

In this dangerous new era of political campaigns, when any angry billionaire can blanket America with hate-filled attack ads, the rise of Jonathan Merritt may be an answer to prayer. Merritt, at 29, is heir to evangelical royalty as the son of former Southern Baptist Convention president James Merritt and a family friend of the late Jerry Falwell (as well as other Religious Right luminaries). Yet, Merritt is using his considerab
Mark Kelly
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It was just one of those providential golden nuggets. Scrolling upward on my twitter app was a tweet by Jonathan Merritt. He was giving away a copy of his book to the first three people who replied to his tweet. I had no idea what the book was about as I hit the 'reply' button. Much to my happy surprise, I was informed later that I would be receiving a complimentary copy of his book, "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars". Just as I was unaware of the subject matter of the ...more
Lee Harmon
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 Chris
Joel Jackson
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
In “A Faith of Our Own,” Jonathan Merritt presents a theology for those Christians who find themselves fed up with political grandstanding and being forced to choose a particular political party based on directives from those in authority of their church, denomination, or supposed theological bent. Merritt offers readers a sound look at cultural issues and the fact that Christians should not claim any creed, but the creed of Scripture. In this regard, he points out where both conservative and li ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, favorites, religion
Jonathan Merritt's writing feels like home. That's probably the best compliment I can lend. He captures the internal dilemma of being a Christian in an increasingly polarized world so well - reading the book today, every word rings true, even though it was written a handful of years ago. We often get caught up in the middle of the culture wars without holding fast to the character of Christ and living out what He would have us do today - fearlessly and recklessly loving His people. Merritt read ...more
Paul Frank Spencer
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
As one who has grown up in the church as a millennial, I've thought a lot about the content of this book. Nothing hit me as especially revelatory. But for those less experienced in the modern Christian landscape, this book could really shift your perspective on the role of the church and your own faith. Either way, the book did convict me in various ways and will make me reflect on my own life for days to come. We all have more growing to do. ...more
Cassi Mccauley
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Helpful. On point. The next generation is looking for a new expression, yet not something "unbiblical" as some suggest! Glad I read it. ...more
Kenneth Sowers
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
In times of profound change, learners inherit the world, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. - Eric Hoffer
Carole Duff
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An insider’s view of faith in today’s world—a fascinating read.
Joe Summers
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Michelle Kuhn
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
I started listening to The Faith Angle, a podcast by Jonathan Merritt and Kirsten Powers last year, and was impressed with the way they navigate politics and faith topics. I decided to read Merritt’s book, which comes as a breath of fresh air to my jaded and weary heart when it comes to Christians and politics. Merritt gives background on the rise of the Moral Majority and Religious Right; and helps trace back to where we are today, with Christians grasping for power in the political arena, and ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jonathan Merritt gives a thoughtful, well-supported, clear-eyed, and well-written commentary on the future of American evangelicalism. His basic premise is that young evangelicals are, like, totally over the culture wars (yawn), and the generation of the old school Religious Right days totally needs to get with the picture. Instead, evangelicals are becoming increasingly non-partisan and focused on a broader array of issues, as they should be.

This is not a new premise by any means, but Merritt a
Erin Payseur Oeth
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Yes, he gets it!" That was my impression throughout this book. Jonathan Merritt captures the struggle & the passion of Christians who refuse to get entangled in the culture wars. He discusses the dangers of politics-based faith and how the partisanship and animosity of political battles have watered down the Christian witness. He discusses the need for a different kind of engagement - engaging Christ anew in our generation, searching scripture, and allowing faith to inform & influence our polit ...more
Dichotomy Girl
Still a bit too conservative/evangelical for my tastes, nevertheless I really applaud someone within Christianity talking about how fighting over abortion and gay-marriage in the political sphere has nothing whatsoever to do with following Jesus.

I think this is close to my heart, as I live in a small southern county in the Bible belt, and I am completely IN THE CLOSET, religiously speaking. Because if I claim to be a believer in Jesus, people would automatically assume they knew the following ab
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the description of the beliefs of our younger generations even for an old culture warrior whom God is leading to agree. Over the past several years God has been telling me that following Jesus is most important.

I agree with Jonathan that the Jesus of the Gospels was apolitical and that we who grew to think that the answer to the social wars was political are completely wrong. Leaders are raised up by God, not Christians and all the problems of society are in the quite capable hands of
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book at the perfect time--right as the 2012 election campaigns were kicking into high gear. Among all the political mud-slinging out there, Jonathan Merritt's voice is a refreshing break from all the negativity. I am thrilled to see a Christians advocating rationality and respect when it comes to politics. I love that he recognizes that you don't have to belong to a particular political party to be a Christian. He makes good arguments for his proposals, too. He not only has the Scrip ...more
Samuel Cline
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read that intelligently exposes a lot of the flaws of our parents' generation of Christianity. It also gives advice, and eagerly yearns for reconciliation to happen within the church and outside of it.

A Faith of Our Own is like a bridge. It closes the gap between the current faith experiences of our generation and the one we grew up with. If you're involved in vocational ministry, then read this book. If you're a Christian that's tired of the church, then read this book. There's lot
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it
A good resource for millenials like myself who are weary of contemporary Christian culture-warring. Merritt is a honest and sympathetic writer and brings some pretty good criticisms of the kind of religion he grew up with. I'm altogether skeptical of the kind of project younger evangelicals like Merritt and Rachel Held Evans may be embarking upon in their quest to salvage American evangelicalism, but this is a good book to consider as a first-hand account of one man's disillusionment with the tr ...more
Drew Hawkins
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a great transparent read on how Christianity has gotten caught up into the culture wars and is losing focus on what Christians are called to do. Merrit talks about Christians having too much of a political agenda and not enough of a loving people agenda. Merrit has a "you don't have to be Republican to be considered Christian" angle to viewing the last 40ish years of American evangelism. He approaches everything with a humble argument and doesn't do near as much in the way of finger poi ...more
Barnabas Piper
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Merritt expresses with clear articulation feelings and observations that I have but had not previously been able to organize or articulate so well. He describes a third way, an alternative for Christians today other than disengagement or culture warring. I found this book encouraging and challenging. It was much more than a critique for where Christians have gone wrong; it was also a clear call and directive to follow Jesus.
Burton Bagby-Grose
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a very good book. It is written from a fairly theologically conservative viewpoint, but the author expresses himself in a very open and generous manner.

What really resonated with me was his proposition that Christian should excise partisanship from church while still remaining prophetic voices for change.
Daryl Miller
Oct 10, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book and share many of the authors view points. As he wrote of his perspective and faith journey, I felt I have had a similar experience in a less dramatic way. It is a good book. Not a classic or presenting earth shattering thoughts but good and an enjoyable read.
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking call for the church to move beyond the culture wars---very closely aligns with views that I've had for a long time. I'm always grieved by the division of Christians by politics--maybe the younger generation will be able to lead us to a new way to engage with culture. ...more
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great read on how the new generation of Christians see the world and how they do not want to be trapped by narrow mindedness and complacency!

Edit: I received this for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Stefanie Kellum
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christianity
This is by far one of the best books I've ever read on Christianity and politics. It's a timely read for all Christians before the election in November, encouraging Christians to vote, yes, but more importantly to act as Christ would. ...more
Nov 12, 2012 rated it liked it
This isn't my typical kind of book, but I really enjoy Jonathan Merritt's writing. His ideas are refreshing. ...more
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
a really great book....I highly recommend it...
Justin Carter
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book! I felt like it put into words what I have been thinking for a long time.
Monica Chattman
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Mar 11, 2020
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Jonathan is a faith and culture writer who has published over 300 articles in respected outlets such as USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, BeliefNet, Christianity Today, The Huffington Post, and He is author of Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet (2010), which Publisher's Weekly called "a must-read for churchgoers," and the for ...more

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