The subtitle of this fine book is Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars. The author is Jonathan Merritt.
Jonathan Merritt is a young author who has written an interesting, even compelling, book about what it means to take Jesus seriously while engaging in both political and cultural issues.
Merritt has an unique background. In the book, he describes a breakfast meeting that he and his father (a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention) had with Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, Virginia, when he was 17 years of age. Shortly after that meeting, Merritt would begin his study at Falwell’s Liberty University.
From there, Merritt began a journey of reconsidering the phenomena of the culture wars in light of Jesus and his kingdom message.
The book is laced with interesting biographical sketches of Merritt’s life including some interaction with a prominent Washington think tank and a meeting with Billy Graham.
There are good discussions in the book of about power and the problems inherent in partisanship. There are also good discussions about homosexuality, war, and ministry to the poor. The book is not limited to detached discussions of these and other issues; rather, Merritt reveals the heart he has for kingdom ministry.
As I observe the changing landscape of America, I’m struck by the great opportunities before us. I see the opportunity to change lives and shape them. I see the opportunity to influence the culture and the people who shape the culture. I recognize the opportunity to push the gospel of Jesus Christ forward like never before in a world where world travel is effortless and we possess a gamut of technological tools unimagined even a generation ago. I see an occasion to eliminate extreme poverty, to bring basic needs like food and water to people who lack them, to set free those stuck in the slave trade, to beat back our culture of abortion, to fight debilitating diseases like AIDS, to place millions of orphans in loving homes, to stop making war and start making peace. (pp. 168-169)
You can find the book here.