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Episode 117 “Living Centered at the Intersection of Spirituality and Trauma”

Featuring Jonathan Merritt

Today, Lindsey and Nicole sit down with writer and Onsite alum, Jonathan Merritt, to dig into a topic that’s not often discussed: trauma in spiritual environments. Through navigating his own spiritual journey and conducting extensive cultural research, Jonathan shares his unique perspective on spirituality as both wounder and healer. In this episode, Jonathan elucidates the significant impact spiritual direction has had on his life and the set of daily practices he has put in place to ensure his journey of healing is a lasting one.

Meet this episode’s expert

Jonathan Merritt is one of America’s most popular writers on issues of faith and culture. He is author of several critically-acclaimed books, including Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words are Vanishing – and How We Can Revive Them, named “Book of the Year” by the Englewood Review of Books. Jonathan is also an award-winning contributor for The Atlantic, a contributing editor for The Week, and a regular columnist for Religion News Service. He has published more than 3000 articles in respected outlets such as The New York Times, USA Today, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast and Christianity Today.

Jonathan is a versatile communicator who regularly contributes commentary to various news outlets, including ABC World News, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, PBS, and CBS’ “60 Minutes.” He is also a sought-after speaker at conferences, colleges, and churches, discussing topics related to spirituality, politics, and current events. Whether delivering an academic lecture or an inspirational sermon, Jonathan’s captivating communication style and powerful presence are well-suited for both intimate gatherings and large arenas. He has collaborated or worked as a ghostwriter on over 50 books, with several titles appearing on bestsellers lists such as the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal.
Jonathan holds a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Theology from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, and has done additional graduate work focused on ascetical theology at The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including the Wilbur Award for excellence in journalism, and the Religion News Association’s columnist of the year award. 

Jonathan currently happily resides in New York City. He is an aspiring dog dad, a college football fan, and intolerable before coffee.  

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Mentioned in this episode

Living Centered Program

Life—it can be so overwhelming.  

So often we move through it so swiftly and efficiently that we subconsciously begin to muscle through each day without even blinking. We don’t have time to get that workout in let alone tend to our internal landscapes, so we bypass our trauma, sidestep our emotions, and keep it moving. Our daily actions have become completely disconnected from our purpose, our dreams, and our desires. It was all working…until it wasn’t. The cracks begin to appear. 

The Living Centered Program is our response to this phenomenon—we want to help you quiet the noise and bring you back to center. Living Centered is an invitation home to your true self. 

What is the Living Centered Program? 

The Living Centered Program is a six-day workshop led by expert therapists who will guide you in exploring, deconstructing, and rewriting your narratives. Our beautiful campus and retreat-like setting allows you a break from your daily distractions and provides the clarity needed to re-establish congruence between your feelings, values, and actions so that you might live a more intentional, meaningful, and fulfilling life.  

This world-renowned group experience is specifically designed to meet you right where you are. Our team will help you connect your past and present experiences and work through issues such as trauma, depression, anxiety, codependency, loneliness, childhood wounds, family dysfunction, negative relationship patterns, or simply the stresses of daily life. 

Visit us at to see if this program might be a fit for you!


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Jonathan Merritt