Home Christian News Gay Progressive Christian Jonathan Merritt Writes ‘Guncle’ Book for Kids

Gay Progressive Christian Jonathan Merritt Writes ‘Guncle’ Book for Kids

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Screenshot from X / @JonathanMerritt

Jonathan Merritt, a progressive Christian author and the son of a former Southern Baptist Convention president, announced on Feb. 7 that he’s written his first children’s book. “My Guncle and Me,” which releases in May, features a gay uncle who teaches “the liberating power of self-acceptance.”

Merritt, 41, writes about faith and culture for publications such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, USA Today, and Christianity Today. His previous books for adults include “Learning to Speak God From Scratch” and “Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined.”

RELATED: James Merritt Declines SBC Seminary’s Visiting Professor Invite After Controversy Surrounding Gay Son’s Sermon

On social media, Merritt indicated he’d been working on the children’s book for two years. He called it “a joyful story of self-acceptance that will resonate with any kid, big or small, who has ever felt different.”

Merritt credited fellow author Shauna Niequist, daughter of former Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels, with suggesting the topic. “A couple of years ago, I confessed to my friend @sniequist that I felt a holy nudge to write a children’s book, but I hadn’t found the perfect idea,” Merritt wrote. “‘Why don’t you write a book about being a Guncle?’ she said. THAT was it!”

‘Fabulous Guncle’ Teaches Self-Acceptance

To promote his new book, Jonathan Merritt is doing an Instagram Live with children’s author Matthew Paul Turner on Feb. 8. Turner helped complete “What Is God Like?”—a picture book by the late Christian author Rachel Held Evans. In 2020, Turner announced he was getting divorced from his wife of 16 years because he is gay.

On social media, Merritt wrote that he crafted “My Guncle and Me” with “intentionality, creativity and joy.” The book features Henry Higgleston, “a kid who struggles with feeling like an oddball and outsider at school,” Merritt explained. “But when his fabulous Guncle arrives for the weekend, the pair take an adventure that opens Henry’s eyes to the beauty of his uniqueness and the liberating power of self-acceptance.”

Merritt encouraged people to preorder the book, share and recommend it, and pray for the launch. “There are so many people today who fear stories of inclusion like this,” he wrote. “Pray that the God whose name is Love would carry this book forward into the world to everyone who needs it.”

Jonathan Merritt Takes Heat on Social Media

Based on the social media comments so far, many people are upset about Jonathan Merritt’s book topic. Several people urge him to “repent.” Others call him names and even imply he’s a pedophile. “‘Guncle’ = Groomer Uncle,” someone wrote, adding, “They’re not even trying to hide it anymore.”

Another commenter referred to Merritt’s “holy nudge” description, writing, “Notice the language used by this wicked man. He wants you to call his wickedness holy. It is not, and we will not. However, it’s never too late, as long as there is breath in your lungs, you can repent and submit to Christ’s lordship.”

Other people thanked Merritt for addressing the topic and indicated they’d be buying multiple copies. “I am so sorry people are so evil to you,” someone wrote to Merritt.

“My Guncle and Me,” which releases May 14, is illustrated by Joanna Carillo.

In November 2021, Merritt’s father, Dr. James Merritt, was called out by the Conservative Baptist Network for endorsing one of his son’s sermons. James Merritt, who was president of the SBC from 2000 to 2002, resigned as visiting professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary as a result of the controversy.