Learning to Speak God from Scratch by Jonathan Merritt

Learning to Speak God from Scratch

As America rapidly becomes a pluralistic, postmodern society, many of us struggle to talk about faith. We can no longer assume our friends understand words such as grace or gospel. Others, like lost and sin, have become so negative they are nearly conversation-enders.Jonathan Merritt knows this frustration well. After Jonathan moved from the Bible Belt to New York City, he discovered that whenever conversations turned to spirituality, the words h...


Details Learning to Speak God from Scratch

TitleLearning to Speak God from Scratch
Author
Release DateAug 14th, 2018
PublisherConvergent Books
LanguageEnglish
GenreChristian, Religion, Christianity, Faith, Theology, Nonfiction, Spirituality
Rating

Reviews Learning to Speak God from Scratch

  • Rebecca Einstein
    2018-08-01
    Do you love language? Do you love learning about faith? This book will check both those boxes. Learning to Speak God from Scratch is for anyone interested in religious dialogue in these secular times. Though the author is a product of an Evangelical home, the issues he raises are not specific to one faith community. As a rabbi, I am always looking for ways to engage others in meaningful conversations about God and other faith topics. Jonathan Mer...
  • Jeff
    2018-06-25
    Merritt the Younger Again Proves He Is His Father's Equal. Jonathan Merritt and I grew up in roughly similar church traditions at roughly the same time in roughly the same geographic area. His father would eventually become President of the Southern Baptist Convention, my pastor would later become President of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Growing up, while not knowing of Jonathan specifically, his father was among *the* most respected men I ha...
  • Cara Meredith
    2018-07-06
    I can’t get enough of Jonathan Merritt’s thoughts, mostly because I find myself on the same page with him, 1000%. If you find yourself needing to redefine certain sacred words, his book is a must-read. Loved, loved, loved it.
  • Cherie Lowe
    2018-08-05
    Finally, a thinking book for people of faith to open a dialogue about why we use the words we use when it comes to talking about what we believe. Well thought out and artfully written, Learning to Speak God from Scratch combines data driven research and memoir to trace the how and why sacred words are slipping from the lexicon or have lost their original meaning. If you are fearful about opening a conversation about God with a friend, coworker, a...
  • Janna Northrup
    2018-08-01
    With clear and thoughtful language, Jonathan Merritt tackles a deeply personal subject…belief in God and how we communicate about that. His premise is that our language about God has become distant, stilted and full of what feels like ticking time bombs and it is time for us to rethink hope-fully how we can reengage with authentic words about God and thus invite anyone into the conversation. What resonated with me was his discomfort with the la...
  • Seth
    2018-08-26
    Read this in one sitting. Easy to read through and thought the words chosen were great to explore. As Bob Dylan sings “The times, they are a-changin’” and as they change, so does the vernacular. If anything, this book should encourage those that read it how they would define Christian words when talking to non-Christians. I largely appreciated “Pain” and “Disappointment”
  • McKay Hubbell
    2018-07-04
    This is the kind of book we need right now. Jonathan Merritt delivers a thought-provoking and yet incredibly practical work that any person of faith would benefit from reading. I loved the organization of the book, exploring each religious term in its own chapter. By doing this, he proves that a simple definition fails to capture what religious words really mean. Instead, he explores them with stories, illustrations, and metaphors, which bring so...
  • Adrienne
    2018-08-10
    Jonathan is stellar in his ability to bring questions, truth, and myths to the table in a way that invites rich conversation rather than polarity and excommunication. This book is beautifully written with thoughtful and thorough research, insightful interviews, and authentic personal stories to show the reader the book was written with the reader's heart in mind. As a theologian, lover of language and nuance, and one who has been studying semanti...
  • Shelby Spear
    2018-07-11
    Why Words Are a Holy Gift We’re Called to StewardHave you ever taken the time to reflect on the depth and wonder of vocabulary? Or imagined what life would be like without words? As humans, we have the power to wield elements of speech for both destruction and encouragement, education and deceit, praise and desecration. Quite a supernatural superpower; one that sets us apart from all other living things. God spoke us into being and then passed ...
  • Elle Berry
    2018-08-13
    In 'Learning to Speak God from Scratch' Jonathan Merritt details what he notes as a disturbing decline in our use of spiritual words. He follows this by making a compelling case for why reviving these words matters, and then provides a kind of geography for how those of us who want to speak God can find our way forward. Far from a static definition of God-speak, the chapters that follow are part story and part essay. While I enjoyed all of these ...
  • Terri Fullerton
    2018-08-15
    My husband and I read this aloud. It captured the place we are—not sure how to talk about our faith. Throughout this book I felt like some of the confusing and deflated sacred words were standing up again—in my own heart, like God used this book to blow fresh air to me. I have struggled to know how to talk about my faith, especially in the last couple of years. This book was exactly what we needed.Jonathan provides a way forward. His storytel...
  • Dayna
    2018-09-23
    Words matter. Merritt provides us with space to remember to treat them kindly. In an age where proverbial babies are being constantly tossed with the bathwater this book is a great reminder of the treasures we have even if they’ve become tainted or tarnished. Speaking from Scratch provides countless avenues to start and continue conversations we need to be having with one another. Plus, the last chapter... worth every page leading up to it.
  • Rebecca
    2018-08-10
    I could relate to this book on multiple levels. Well researched, well written, well done! I can’t wait to dive into the bibliography. I received an advance reader copy of the book from the publisher for review.
  • Bethany
    2018-09-25
    I love language, words, humanity, and I love the world and the way we try to seek understanding...and I really wanted to love this book, too. Perhaps my hopes were too high? I did enjoy the history lessons and dissections of words, and I genuinely appreciated certain passages and observations, but I felt disappointed by the end. I'm glad I read it, but I wanted more than the text offered. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.
  • Debra Anderson
    2018-07-03
    Jonathan Merritt does in this book what he's been teaching us to do for years through his RNS and Atlantic writing -- to be thoughtful speakers and generous thinkers. Part I is a robust, researched look at spiritual language and it's contemporary use. This is not a one-track thesis, but a six-lane highway toward understanding language and obtaining the courage to employ it for human flourishing. He's included a profusion of endnoted citations to ...
  • Heidi
    2018-10-23
    3.5 stars. This is a tough book to rate, partly because I highly value Jonathan Merritt's writing and observations even when I don't always agree with him theologically, and partly because I think his purpose would have been better served by stating some of his assumptions up front. For lovers of language and Jesus, this is an insightful work about the words we use to talk about faith and what they mean. It challenges believers to hone the words ...
  • Stefanie Kellum
    2018-07-21
    Jonathan Merritt has a knack for taking the observations, struggles, and joys I’ve had about being a Christian in today’s world and eloquently expressing them on paper. As someone who finds it difficult to speak about her faith in love and truth in an increasingly polarized society, this was a helpful guide for how we tongue-tied Christians can re-imbrace and reimagine sacred words of Christian faith in a way that brings glory to God and show...
  • Jeff
    2018-08-30
    3.5/5Every subculture has its own jargon. Christianity is no exception. There is “Christian-ese,” those in-culture words that evangelicals tend to throw around (“blessing,” “love offering,” “supplication, “born again,” etc.), and then there are those weightier, sacred words (grace, sin, saint, spirit, mystery, etc.). As religion journalist Jonathan Meritt moved from the Bible to NYC, he came to realize that these sacred words ha...
  • Lisa
    2018-08-09
    Learning to do anything is filled with starts and stops; like a toddler moving from crawling to walking. Yet when we have developed a way of doing something, it’s even more of a challenge to re-learn or to start from scratch. Even that saying is something that has become nearly outmoded; most kitchens are filled with pre-packaged meal ingredients, not the way my grandmothers fed the family in the middle of the previous century. The way they spo...
  • Alexander Steward
    2018-08-07
    The language that we use to speak of God has evolved over time and Jonathan Merritt puts out the call for us to reestablish our foundation. Learning to Speak God from Scratch is a way to examine our beliefs and reach out to generations that did not grow up knowing God in a religious setting.We must remember that the Bible as we have it today has been passed down through numerous generations with many additions and subtractions and what we find ou...
  • Janelle
    2018-08-16
    I was eager to read Learning to Speak God from Scratch. I had recently become aware of the writer, Jonathan Merritt, after he left Religious News Service in June, and I was very interested in learning to re-examine and reclaim some of the religious words that have become jargon we Christians often spew without thinking.As a writer, Merritt is passionate about words, and as a Christian, he is passionate about the gospel, and his argument here is t...
  • Laura
    2018-08-27
    4.5 Stars“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”Baloney!Words are powerful. We all know this. We were created with this knowledge. We were created by words. By ‘The Word.’ The Word was with God. The Word was God. The Word took on flesh and lived and taught us love and faith and grace and sacrifice and blessing and truth.But what happens when these ideas, these words, get lost in translation? What happens when ...
  • Jen Bradbury
    2018-10-08
    How and what we say affects what we believe. I saw this in my research for The Jesus Gap, which found that 73% of the language used by high school students to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” was creedal in origin. I was further convinced of this through Amanda Drury’s fantastic book, Saying is Believing: The Necessity of Testimony in Adolescent Spiritual Development.Because of this, I was excited to read Jonathan Merritt’s new book, ...
  • Crista Kettenhofen
    2018-08-13
    Note: I received an ARC from the publisher. The opinions expressed here are my own.Jonathan Merritt, author of "Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words Are Vanishing—and How We Can Revive Them,” begins by setting an ambitious goal.“Ours is an expedition to rediscover a love for consecrated terms and discover why speaking God matters now more than ever.”Merritt begins with a powerful and persuasive thesis that is well-defined ...
  • Emily P
    2018-08-08
    Alright, I am only giving this 5 stars because there's not more! I think this book is long overdue and brings to light many of the questions we all have about talking about God and faith in the world we live in. Jonathan weaves together stories of his upbringing as a pastor's kid, adult with questions and issues like us all, and the stories of those who have been alienated or excluded from knowing Jesus because of His followers' ineptitude or sho...
  • Samuel Lopez
    2018-06-21
    Words change over time. Years ago, the definition of the word "Literally" changed from not just meaning "In a literal sense or manner" or "With exact equivalence", but to also mean "an exaggerated way to emphasize a statement or description that is not literally true or possible." This doesn't mean to word itself changed, but that it's usage did. People didn't "literally walk a thousand miles." They just say it to emphasize how hard walking is.Jo...
  • Kelly Shank
    2018-07-08
    Possibly, the greatest misstep in the church today is the silence amongst its people. In Learning to Speak God from Scratch, Jonathan Merritt combats the silence amongst Christians, the loss of their sacred words, and the deafness with which they use their words to exclude the people they’re trying to reach. Identifying 20 sacred words, held closely within the church, Merritt identifies the importance of each word for the church and its believe...
  • Kaci__lynn
    2018-08-01
    If you find yourself in a season of life where the cultural language of evangelicalism leaves you wanting to dissociate yourself from the title “Christian,” I think you’ll find this book a refreshing reminder of what our “God Speak” is meant to communicate. I have followed Jonathan’s articles for years, and I heard him speak a few years ago. I’ve enjoyed his work thoroughly, so I was excited to be chosen to receive an advance reader...
  • Amanda
    2018-08-13
    Let me just say, I did not expect to love this book so very much. I was so sad when the book was over. I wanted more! Merritt speaks candidly with just the perfect mix of humor and a lot of thought-provoking insight into his journey to "Speak God" again.Not only did I learn a great deal about religion in America and how religious language is drastically on the decline, I learned about world language, the action of prayer on our brains, and more. ...
  • Kristi Hartman
    2018-08-15
    In the 70's, growing up in the south in a small, conservative church, I never gave a thought about sacred words--they were just used as weapons to make others feel guilty, myself included. I still avoid some of those words because they bring bad memories, pain, and judgment to mind every time I hear them. Years later, I am thankful that most of our sacred words do not mean what we were taught, or they have developed new connotations ("matured"), ...