Five years ago, Jonathan Merritt moved from Buford to Brooklyn, New York. Almost immediately, Merritt found he couldn't communicate with the people around him. It was not that they spoke a different language, but rather that Southern Baptist preacher's son — and Emory-educated Master of Divinity — felt unable to have the conversations about faith and spirituality that he had always had in his hometown. Merritt set out to find out if other people in the United States were avoiding conversations about religion.
In a survey of 1,000 people, he found that 1 in 5 had not had a conversation about religion in the last year. In his new book, "Learning to Speak God from Scratch," Merritt explains why people are avoiding these conversations, and offers his take on reimagining spiritual words to make them relevant today. Merritt joined "On Second Thought" on the line from New York City.
In an episode of "Meet the Press" in April 1960, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said he thought it was one of the most "shameful tragedies of our nation that 11 o'clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours in Christian America." Nearly 60 years later, a pair of church leaders in Macon, Ga. observed that not much had changed. The New Georgia Encyclopedia states Macon is home to more churches than any other city in the American South. GPB recorded a conversation between Rev. Dr. Jake Hall of Highland Hills Baptist Church and Rev. Dominique Johnson of Kingdom Life, Inc. for the series "Macon Conversations." In this excerpt, they discussed finding common ground between white people and people of color in their congregations. We also followed up with Hall when we visited Macon on our listening tour this summer. We explored how he is redefining what it means to be a Baptist through community engagement in Macon.
Millennials aren't as religious as generations before them. That's according to a report from the Pew Research Center. The study found 35 percent of Americans born between 1981 and 1996 are religiously unaffiliated. We gathered a group of church leaders to explain how they engage with young people. Pastor Wilbur Purvis III, Rev. Ann-Henley Saunders, and Rev. Kim Jackson all gave their perspectives on politics in the pulpit and what people look for in the church.