Articles

A Creativity Secret I Learned While Writing My Best Book (Favorite Things Giveaway #2)

July 16th, 2018
A sneak peek into Jonathan's creative process, plus an exclusive giveaway of one of his favorite things.
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How I Wrote My Best Book (Favorite Things Giveaway #1)

July 9th, 2018
A sneak peek into Jonathan's writing process and an exclusive giveaway of one of his favorite items.
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Why I am leaving Religion News Service after 5 years

June 28th, 2018
In 2013, America’s oldest newswire focused on religion and spirituality offered a young writer named Jonathan Merritt a chance to write regularly for their website. During that time, my work at Religion News Service sparked national conversations among Christians from various traditions and attracted more than 4 million readers. Half a decade later, however, my [...]
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From dating to the workplace, the ancient Enneagram can transform relationships

June 26th, 2018
An ancient personality typing system called the Enneagram has recently developed a cult following among the religious in America. People use the 9 types to understand themselves more deeply and to develop an awareness of their unique motivations, needs, temptations, and emotional wounds. But Suzanne Stabile, an Enneagram master and author, posits ways this system can [...]
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Southern Baptists Call Off the Culture War

June 26th, 2018
Terrance Pickett leads worship during the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter) It was immediately clear that change was afoot in Dallas. I’ve attended the annual gatherings of the Southern Baptist Convention dozens of times, but walking around the [...]
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Paige Patterson has resigned. Imagine if he were Tim Cook.

May 23rd, 2018
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s embattled president, Paige Patterson, was relieved of his duties following more than 13 hours of deliberation by the school’s board of trustees. This may sound like a victory for those who criticized Patterson in recent weeks for his dangerous practices dealing with domestic abuse, [...]
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What Alcoholics Anonymous could teach Paige Patterson

May 18th, 2018
Jonathan Merritt, who writes On Faith & Culture for RNS, invited Seth Haines — author of “Coming Clean: A Story of Faith” — to write this guest column on his blog. I was not surprised by the news coming out of the Southern Baptist Convention over the last few weeks. I wasn’t shocked by Paige Patterson’s comments [...]
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On Mother’s Day, let’s listen to our moms’ cries for justice

May 18th, 2018
Jonathan Merritt, who writes On Faith & Culture for RNS, invited Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove — to write this guest column on his blog. When I was growing up in North Carolina, my parents took me to Sunday School, where Southern Baptist women made sure I learned a few lessons well: Jesus loved me, the Bible was God’s holy Word, [...]
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‘Doubting Thomas’ story is about gratitude, not doubt

May 18th, 2018
Jonathan Merritt, who writes On Faith & Culture for RNS, invited Diana Butler Bass — to write this guest column on his blog. It’s an ancient Christian tradition to retell stories of Jesus appearing to people after the resurrection. Thanks to the lectionary, the story of ‘Doubting Thomas’ was assigned for last Sunday. Though many Christians in American [...]
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How American Christians can break free from ‘slaveholder religion’

May 18th, 2018
It’s been a century and a half since the American Civil War ended, but according to Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, the slaveholder religion of that era has quietly persisted until today. But to understand this development, a history lesson is in order. In the mid-19th century, Christian abolitionists used the Bible to make a case for racial [...]
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From hell to atonement, musician Audrey Assad has been quietly evolving

May 18th, 2018
Four years have passed between spiritual songwriter Audrey Assad’s last studio album and her new, highly anticipated record, “Evergreen.” During that time, the evangelical-turned-Catholic says she began deconstructing her faith and battling anxiety. Though her fans did not know, her religious beliefs were “practically nonexistent” at one point. Assad’s newest album chronicles something of a spiritual [...]
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Why Paige Patterson’s apology may not be enough

May 18th, 2018
In just two weeks, Paige Patterson has done what none could have predicted: He’s given America’s largest Protestant denomination two black eyes. The first injury was inflicted when his comments about spousal abuse and women went viral. The statements, which span decades, include objectifying a 16-year-old girl in a sermon, saying “everyone should own at [...]
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In a #Metoo moment, will Southern Baptists hold powerful men accountable?

May 18th, 2018
The Southern Baptist Convention’s statement of faith calls on its members to “contend for the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.” But the nation’s largest Protestant denomination must now decide whether that includes situations in which respected men have abused their power with women. Last week, an audio recording surfaced on which Paige Patterson, a high-profile [...]
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‘Glorious glitter bomb’: Critics loved ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ but much of religious America was unimpressed

May 18th, 2018
New York isn’t thought of as an exceptionally Christian town. But as I sat in the Marcy Armory on Easter Sunday night live-tweeting NBC’s broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” you could have fooled me. More than 1,000 audience members whooped, clapped and even wept as John Legend portrayed Jesus, Sara Bareilles played Mary Magdalene and [...]
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The Scandal Tearing Apart America’s Largest Protestant Denomination

May 18th, 2018
Southern Baptist Convention President Paige Patterson gestures as he makes his opening speech to the Southern Baptist Convention Tuesday, June 15, 1999 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Patterson asked church members to get beyond their own concerns and focus on evangelizing cities in a last worldwide missionary effort. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) Over the past [...]
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