Allison McClain Merrill is a freelance writer and reporter focusing on TV history, music, and faith and culture. She has written for Vanity Fair, The Daily Beast, Today, Glamour, and Paste Magazine. She earned a Master of Arts in Religion from Yale University and can be found on Twitter @AMcClainMerrill.

Posts By This Author

Pruning the Unfruitful Branches of Evangelicalism

by Allison McClain Merrill 06-06-2024
In “The Exvangelicals,” NPR’s Sarah McCammon mixes journalism and memoir to wrestle with the ideas that shaped her life.
The image show the green and blue cover of the book The Exvangelicals, by Sarah McCammon

The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church by Sarah McCammon. / St. Martin's Press 

CHRISTIANITY IN THE U.S. often resembles a politically charged, dysfunctional family tree, its branches twisting and tangling as factions clash. When evangelical Christians leave their branch — or the entire tree — some continue to wrestle with the ideas that shaped their lives. NPR political correspondent Sarah McCammon portrays those wrestlers with care in The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church.

“Exvangelical” and “deconstruction” are buzzwords in some corners of Christian internet. The former was coined by Exvangelical podcast host Blake Chastain; McCammon defines the latter as “the often painful process of rethinking an entire worldview and identity that was carefully constructed” within conservative faith traditions.

The White, Conservative Faith That Controls Christian Music

by Allison McClain Merrill 02-01-2024

Fans pack near the stage to cheer the band The Afters at the Creation Christian music festival near Mount Union, Penn., June 29, 2008.  Mike Segar/Reuters

Payne details the creation, proliferation, and decline of CCM, tracing the industry’s relationship with conservative evangelical Christianity.

Jill Duggar’s Memoir on Freedom from Spiritual and Familial Trauma

by Allison McClain Merrill 10-12-2023

With her book, and her appearance in the documentary series Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, Jill peels back layers of life on reality TV.