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Religion Reporter Turns Author

Doing the weekly link list for Christianity Today, and always looking for new stories for Thinking Out Loud, I make a daily practice of visiting Religion News Service in general, and the page of senior columnist Jonathan Merritt in particular. So I was intrigued to see that he has written a book for Hachette Book Group’s Faithwords imprint and even more so when I noted that John Ortberg had written the foreword. The book is releasing in hardcover in April at $20 U.S.

Jesus is Better Than You ImaginedPublisher marketing:

Is the God who created us better than the God we’ve created? After following Jesus for nearly two decades, Jonathan Merritt decides to confront the emptiness of a faith that has become dry, predictable, and rote. In a moment of desperation, he cries out for God to show up and surprise him, and over the next year, God doesn’t disappoint… Jonathan shares vulnerable, never-before-shared stories of how he learned to encounter Jesus in unexpected ways.

  • Through a 60-hour vow of silence in a desert monastery, he experiences Jesus in silence.
  • When a friend dies of a rare disease, he sees Jesus in tragedy. Through confronting childhood sexual abuse, Jonathan discovers Jesus in honesty.
  • In an anti-Christian-themed bar, he finds Jesus in sacrilege.
  • And when he’s almost kidnapped in Haiti by armed bandits, he experiences Jesus in the impossible.

Though Merritt finds himself in places he never dreamed of, he doesn’t lose his way. Instead, these experiences force him back to the Bible, where he repeatedly offers fresh, sometimes provocative, interpretations of familiar passages. Along the way, he throws back the covers on the sleepy faith of many Christians, urging them to search for the Holy in their midst. Pointed and poignant by turns, Jonathan helps readers open their hearts to a mysterious God and a faith that sustains, guides, and most importantly, surprises. His fearlessly honest story invites us all to discover the messy mercy and crazy grace of a sometimes startling Savior.

Recently named one of 30 leaders reshaping Christian leadership by Outreach Magazine, Jonathan has become a popular speaker at conferences, colleges, and churches.

I’m hoping our publicity rep at HBC will send us a review copy for Thinking Out Loud, and for clarification, this is actually Jonathan’s third book.

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