My husband’s job has afforded our family the unique opportunity to live abroad for nine months out of the year. We have lived in many incredible countries, rich in culture and history, and I am truly grateful for these special experiences, especially as we provide our two children with the chance to see parts of the world at such young ages.
From Turkey to France to Israel, we have lived far and wide, and among our frequent travels, we have had to make the conscious, deliberate decision to actively practice and speak about our faith at home and among each other because many of these countries do not practice the same Christian principals as we do in our household. However, when I think about the exchange of faith-centered principals, concepts and feelings, these Christian-based conversations are not necessarily being had on our home front, either. The truth is, our culture is changing more quickly than ever, and many people struggle to talk about faith.
Jonathan Merritt, author of the must-read book, “Learning to Speak God From Scratch,” explores the essence of these cultural changes in his riveting book, providing an honest assessment based on his investigation of an increasing American reluctance to talk about faith. Merritt’s introspection coupled with solid facts and statistics about speaking God, or lack thereof, provides readers with a refreshing perspective about an overdue topic worth examining.
If you decide to say yes—not denying the obstacles but believing that the struggle is worthwhile—you’ll fling open the door to spiritual possibility.
More than ever, people “have been struck mute in a strange land,” sweeping sacred terms and topics under the rug for various reasons—avoiding spiritual conversations, veering away from awkward discussions, and a lack of confidence when speaking about these religious terms, a confidence that has dissipated because these topics are not discussed at length on a regular basis.
So, how are we to build spiritual strength when these conversations are ceasing to exist in the first place?
Merritt examines this question, among many others, while shedding light on some rather encouraging revelations. With younger generations having more spiritual conversations than older generations, Merritt reveals that it appears as though “young people are creating the opportunity to revive sacred speech.” Nevertheless, there is a sense of normalcy, so to speak, regarding the lack of spiritual talk. According to Merritt, “despite widespread religiosity, a paltry seven percent of Americans say they talk about spiritual matters on about a once-per-week basis (more than fifty times in the past year).” I don’t know about you, but upon reading this statistic, I instantly did a self-check.
Am I contributing to this measly statistic?
“Learning to Speak God From Scratch” not only shed light on the ever-evolving role of religion and faith in our culture but also led me to do a gut check. His Word is life, and speaking life through His name is exactly what I want to do on a regular basis.
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“I think that to achieve true adulthood is to understand the simplicity of things. We’re locked in a funny arc, most of us, in terms of what we know. When you’re goony and fourteen years old you think the most important thing in life is love. . Then you mature, become more sober and thoughtful, and realize the most important thing in life is achieving, leaving your mark – making breakthroughs in the field of science, or winning an Academy Award in recognition of a serious body of work, or creating security for yourself and your family through having a good house and sending your kids to good schools. . And then you get old and realize… that the most important thing in life IS love. Giving love to others and receiving it from God. All the rest, the sober thoughtful things, are good and constructive… but LOVE IS THE THING. The rest is just more or less what you were doing between fourteen and wisdom.” – Peggy Noonan (📸: @zedkolk) . . . #brooklyn #nyc #quotes #quotestoliveby #quotesaboutlife #quotestags #mondaymotivation #monday #mondaymood #mondaymorning #peggynoonan #lovequotes #loveyourself #love #success #successquotes #successfulpeople #successtips #work #career #family #familymatters #inspirationalquotes #inspiration #inspiringquotes #adult #adulthood101 #adulthood #growingup #newyork
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Despite the truth of fewer conversations being had regarding God and religion, there is a light at the end of this book’s tunnel that Merritt encourages we see and follow. Though isn’t there always a light when discussing our Savior? Merritt reminds readers that the first and crucial step toward learning to speak God from scratch, and continuing to speak of God on a regular basis, is to revive the vocabulary of faith.
We must be willing to endure setbacks, and we must be willing to take risks so that we can spread the Word of the God, hear the Word of God and live the Word of God, ultimately embracing the One who inhabits these discussions. “If you decide to say yes—not denying the obstacles but believing that the struggle is worthwhile—you’ll fling open the door to spiritual possibility.” Thank you, Jonathan Merritt, for these words which truly permeated my heart. I will certainly keep the fires of sacred speech burning bright.