Unlike so many other pieces I've come across, Jonathan Merritt's "4 surprising places to encounter God" is pretty well titled for what follows. It's unfortunate that what follows is rather pathetic. I admit that over the years I've been rather critical of Merritt but this one is rather sad even for him. Even setting aside that he specifically writes opinion pieces for the Religious News Service.
The only thing this blog post seems to accomplish is to reveal how muddled some theists views are of God. Merritt uses "Jesus" and "God" interchangeably which works or doesn't depending on which flavor of Christianity you prefer. Usually, he seems more aware of such a discrepancy. I have also noticed over time that he mixes different versions of the God concept (scriptural vs. abstract) fairly regularly. However, within a given piece he tends to be more consistent than in this one. In either version, finding God in "surprising places" is telling. The scriptural God is prone to whimsical and temperamental behavior. Why be surprised by the actions of a character who consistently acts rashly? If you switch over to the more abstract version of God it makes even less sense. As the perfect all-powerful creator, God would not only have to be the source of everything but also be everything. Where could you possibly go where God doesn't exist?
Merritt's main premise/title is just silly. It only makes any sense if you've never thought seriously about what the various versions of the God concept entail.