Synopses & Reviews
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.
In JESUS IS BETTER THAN YOU IMAGINED, 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.
"Silence. Mystery. Waiting. Are these the moments and means of God's presence? Sharing intense personal stories of distress, doubt, and divine deliberation, Merritt (A Faith of Our Own) leads readers on a search to 'live with wide eyes' expecting to find a 'boundless' and 'better' God than they imagined. A seasoned writer, Merritt knows how to craft a recipe that brings together intimate and inspirational stories and biblical narratives for great effect. Just as he did in previous books, Merritt does more than offer pithy one-liners, which he does in spades ('I'm tempted to treat my faith community like a pair of blue jeans'), but he gives voice to a collective yearning among young evangelicals and spiritual wanderers: where is God in this mess? Merritt's answer is provided with winsome writing and absorbing tales that reveal a God that is found in unforeseen places. While not every chapter is equally captivating, the sum total of the book is one that is worth a read for those wondering if Jesus is better than they imagined or previously experienced. Agent: Christopher Ferebee." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
is a faith and culture writer who has published more than 1,000 articles in outlets such as The Atlantic, USA Today, National Journal, The Washington Post,
He is a senior columnist for Religion News Service,
America's largest provider of news and commentary focused on religion and spirituality. His previous books include A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars
and Green Like God,
which Publisher's Weekly
called, "mandatory reading for churchgoers."
Recently named one of 30 leaders reshaping Christian leadership by Outreach Magazine, Jonathan has become a popular speaker at conferences, colleges, and churches. As a respected Christian voice, he has been interviewed by ABC World News, Fox News, CNN, NPR, PBS, Politico, Slate, and The New York Times.
Jonathan sits on the national board of directors for Bethany Christian Services, America's largest adoption and orphan care agency. He holds master's degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Emory University's Candler School of Theology, and he resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Follow Jonathan on twitter: @jonathanmerritt