Jonathan Merritt (Author - 'Green Like God')
'The Grass is Always Greener ...'
Jonathan Merritt is a faith and culture writer who has published over 100 articles in respected outlets such as USA Today, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Relevant magazine.
His first book is 'Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet'. As a respected Christian voice, Jonathan has been interviewed by numerous media outlets such as ABC World News, NPR, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jonathan Merritt about his debut book, 'Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet,' and first wondered, as it is claimed he shared God's heart regarding creation, if he could explain this bold statement more to us - and just how did you actually get to 'unlock' said heart? "I don't claim to have more special knowledge about God than others do, but I do believe we all have access to truth about God in the sacred Christian scriptures. Here we learn amazing things about God that have been underemphasized, twisted, or completely ignored by contemporary American Christians. Green Like God unlocks the divine plan by blowing the dust off stories about God that people of faith have largely forgotten."
The book also tells what Christians can do to make a difference in their world - so, just what can we do to help?! "We can start by rediscovering what God thinks about our world's problems. That means we have to comb the scripture's to piece together the divine plan for our planet and determine the part God wants us to play. Then, as we look through our newly-formed paradigm, we have to take a serious survey of the ecological problems we are facing. I think we have to first rediscover God's word and then reevaluate God's world. Surprisngly, the Christian scriptures empower us to be compassionate, selfless, sacrificial environmentalists."
Being that you have been called 'The Green Baptist,' just who named you that - and is it a title/nickname you now wear as a badge of honor? "That was a name given to me by Chistianity Today. That is not a title I give myself and it doesn't appear on my business cards. If someone asks me to describe myself, I usually say I am just a regular person of faith trying to follow Jesus by loving God's creation and advocating for defenseless people who depend on its resources. It's not as catchy but it's probably more accurate."
It's been said about this new book, 'Green Like God,' that it is 'richly biblical' and a 'devotional introduction to caring for God's creation' - is that exactly what you set out to achieve when writing this book, or is there more to the book that you would like people to grasp? "I definitely set out to ground the book in the Christian scriptures but the final book took on its own shape as I wrote it. I want this book that a Christian, a Jew, or a non-relgious environmentalist can pick up and be challenged. At the same time, it's a fun read."
"I recount how I became an environmentalist while studying at a conservative Southern Baptist seminary, I tell how the Relgious Right reacted to my initiative, and I share stories of Christians all across America who are waking up to God's plan for planet earth. Green Like God might be "devotional" or "richly biblical" but it's also fun and conversational."
Finally, it's been said that fellow Christians have spoken out harshly against you, condemning your activism. What do you say to these naysayers and, because of your strong beliefs, is it like water off a ducks back to you in the end anyway, perhaps? "Everyone wants to be well-liked, even by people we don't know. It hurts to have personal attacks leveled against them. I am ashamed when people who bear the name of Christ misrepresent our faith. I'm an environmentalist because of Christianity, not in spite of it. This book sets the record straight on what our faith demands. I challange any fellow Christian to give this book a fair read and see if they don't begin to see God, this planet, and humanity in fresh light."
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
Book Purchase link
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