"At a time when religious language has been hijacked by politicians and exploited by hypocritical, profiteering ministers, the idea of an honest-to-God spiritual conversation feels alienating to many Americans. In Learning to Speak God from Scratch, Jonathan Merritts groundbreaking analysis of this new reality is a welcome revelation. This engaging, important book will appeal equally to the devout and the spiritually alienated."
Kirsten Powers, CNN political analyst and USA Today columnist
"In Learning to Speak God from Scratch, my friend Jonathan Merritt tackles the challenge Im confronted with every time I sit down to prepare a message. Language. Words. Nouns. Pronouns. Like you, I have a version of God-speak. And while it works for me, it doesnt always work for the world around me. If youre content to speak of God with only those who share your version of God-speak, then you will find this book curious at best. But if, like me, youre convinced God has done something in the world, for the world, you will find this book indispensable."
Andy Stanley, North Point Ministries, Inc.
"Meister Eckhart said something to the effect of We cannot speak of God. And we must never stop speaking of God. If we must speak of God, Im glad Jonathan Merritt is on the case. He writes with uncommon eloquence, curiosity, and compassion about the ever-evolving role of religion and faith in our culture, with the hard-earned wisdom of one whos been both scarred and healed. His wordsand his reimagining of wordsare needed now more than ever."
Josh Radnor, star of NBCs Rise and How I Met Your Mother
"In a time when thoughtless opinions run rampant, Jonathan uses his brilliance to help us think better. He is a masterful writer, who has a gift for language and communication. How fitting that he would use his gifts to help us communicate on the highest level!"
Lecrae Moore, two-time Grammy winning hip-hop artist
"Fascinating, inspiring, creative, and frequently brilliant, Jonathan Merritts new book restores these sacred but often forgotten words to their rightful place in the life of belief."
James Martin, SJ, editor-at-large for America magazine and best-selling author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage
"As a fellow writer for whom words matter almost more than anything, Jonathan has laid new pavement for reimagining the language of our faith until they recover their meaning, power, depth, and beauty. I felt several things while reading this book: permission, relief, and the gentle invitation to find my way back to language that has, in every way possible, rescued my soul. As it turns out, specific words may change but everything good and right remains."
Jen Hatmaker, New York Times best-selling author of For the Love and Of Mess and Moxie
"People who have a lot of information are not unique. People who have a lot of wisdom, profound thought, and a passion to communicate effectively are. Jonathan embodies that to me. For way too long, people have been left out of conversations that hold life-or-death weight, especially about who God is, simply because of a cultural language barrier. This has to change. So if anybody is remotely interested in actually helping people with what "they know," this book will be a blessing. My city, New York, is full of people who are listening. The question is whether we can be humble enough to relearn the way we are talking. If the message you love is worth it, this book is for you."
Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong Church NYC and author of Own the Moment
"With each turn of the page, you realize with increasing urgency how necessary and important this book is. Applying a journalists eye to the language of faith, Jonathan Merritt breathes new life into familiar words and phrases, expertly employing history, etymology, biblical studies, survey data, and personal narrative to show that how we "speak God" really matters. Smart, eclectic, and delightfully readable, Learning to Speak God from Scratch is packed with little gems of knowledge and insight that will get you thinking. It deserves a place of honor on the bookshelf of every writer, every pastor, and every person of faith who understands that, as Mark Twain put it, the difference between the almost-right word and the right word is…the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."
Rachel Held Evans, New York Times best-selling author of Searching for Sunday and Inspired
"Am I the only Christian who doesnt (want to) speak Christianese? Tell me about your relationship with God, and Im all ears. But preach to me about the secular world or how when God closes a door, he opens a window, and Im looking for a window to jump out of. As a television personality, there is so much at stake when it comes to the language of faith, and the last thing I want to do is lose the understanding of my spiritual experiences because of a vocabulary that is not relatable. In Learning to Speak God from Scratch, Jonathan fills this awesome book with entertaining stories and clever tools for speaking God more freely. Aah…insert praise hands emoji."
Jeannie Mai, TV personality and cohost of the The Real on Fox