Jonathan Merritt was headed for medical school upon graduating from Liberty University in 2004, until, in the "clearest word I had ever gotten," he heard God's call to write. The writing life wasn't an immediate success; he says he received hundreds of rejections while attending Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Finally, after almost three years of trying, he got his first assignment. Today Merritt publishes articles in places like Relevant magazine and USA Today, and makes appearances on NPR and ABC World News. A book, Green Like God, will appear in the spring.
The high-energy Merritt calls himself a "faith and culture" writer who wants to guide evangelicals in a renewed approach to American society. "I feel God has positioned me to speak truth to my generation, which is in some ways doing things so much better than previous generations, and in other ways gets lost in the pride of youth." But he is best known for his environmental activism.
After an epiphany in a seminary classroom, Merritt launched the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative and convinced 700 SBC leaders to sign on. He is also deeply involved in the leadership of Flourish, a fledgling organization devoted to helping churches practice and teach creation care.
Question & Answer
Why are you an environmentalist?
I was sitting in a theology class with one of my favorite seminary professors, who was pointing out that general and special revelation are equally revelatory. "When we destroy God's creation," he said, "it's similar to tearing a page out of the Bible."
I was a staunch conservative who thought environmentalism was incompatible with my faith. I thought it was funny and cool to throw trash out my window in college. At that moment I thought, ...