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Better Story

3.4 (1876)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Better Story.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Glynn Harrison(Author)

    Book details

The 1960s heralded a sexual revolution, transforming society's vision for sex and relationships

With an appealing narrative of freedom and authenticity, the revolution won the hearts and minds of many.

The church's leaders and faltering apologists seem overwhelmed

And biblical Christians tend to react defensively rather than offering a compelling vision of their own. Many young Christians are questioning whether the gospel really is good news in this area

But What if ...

We faced up honestly to our sub-Christian culture of shame?

Re-imagined what it means to made sexual in the image of God?

Remembered that we flourish when we live in harmony with God s design?

And left behind the broken promises of the sexual revolution to tell a better story of our own?

Who knows, if the church takes up this challenge, we could change the world. --Lis GoddardWarm, persuasive and engaging. Clear, incisive and wise. We really need this book! --Julian HardymanCalls us, as a Christian community, to understand and contribute to culture and human flourishing in the light of our rapidly changing world. --Amy Orr-Ewing

4.2 (8102)
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Book details

  • PDF | 192 pages
  • Glynn Harrison(Author)
  • Inter-Varsity Press (19 Jan. 2017)
  • English
  • 4
  • Religion & Spirituality

Read online or download a free book: Better Story


Review Text

  • By Gareth Russell on 4 July 2017

    The sexual revolution has left the church on the back foot since the 1960s. Christians who uphold an orthodox view of Christian sexual ethics face being labelled as wrong, immoral, dangerous and even oppressive, for holding positions on sex and marriage that were the cultural norm within the last fifty years.Harrison uncovers the roots of the sexual revolution, shows how its advocates have turned it into a compelling story that has ultimately failed to deliver on its promises. In the final third of the book, Harrison turns to show how the church can recover from the shock of this changing culture, to demonstrate the goodness of God's view of sex and relationships, and ultimately to display to the world the truthfulness of the gospel.I wasn't looking forward to reading this book (who enjoys books about sexual ethics, morality, and culture?!!) but I found myself thrilled by it. Harrison writes in an engaging tone, with a clear measured manner, chapters are concise, and there's useful key points at the end of each chapter.This book is jaw-droppingly good and should be essential reading for all thinking Christians.

  • By Jonathan Clark, Bangkok on 27 April 2017

    This is one of several books emerging now that help us to think clearly about the failures of the sexual revolution. He then helps Christians to learn from our past mistakes, and how to retell the biblical story in a true and compelling way.I found the biblical content very fresh. I learnt new things to help my understanding, preaching and leadership. Especially helpful was teaching on what our sexual nature means, what it points to.He calls all Christians away from shameful and timid silence. It is time to speak, and act out our beliefs as the minority family of faith, and to welcome broken people into communities of truth and grace. Glynn gives us many practical pointers on how to do this that are grounded in real, and messy, church life.

  • By Mr P. on 24 July 2017

    Suddenly biblical beliefs about sex and relationships have become taboo. 'A Better Story' urges us to break ‘the Big Silence’ by sharing God’s gospel of sexuality. Harrison explains how the sexual revolution has won hearts so effectively, what we can learn from its methods and our mistakes, and why the Bible’s story of sexuality told through our lives has the power to transform our culture again. Essential reading for recapturing the hearts and imaginations of this generation.

  • By cornwallclive on 9 April 2017

    A superb overview with really helpful insights.Academic, trustworthy, balanced and encouraging.***** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED *****

  • By Dr. Trevor G. Stammers on 14 April 2017

    A brave and well informed attempt to repackage traditional New Testament sexual morality for a generation that has,had little opportunity to seriously consider it as a credible option.

  • By Rob on 15 February 2017

    An excellent book that everyone should read. If everyone kept sex to marriage, the world would be so much happier.

  • By jeremy marshall on 17 March 2017

    How did sexual morality change so quickly over the last 50 years? And why did the conservative moral consensus of the 1950s vanish almost without trace? What should Christians think about the sexual revolution of the 1960s and is the debate over it finished beyond any hope of retrieval? All these questions and more are addressed in Glynn Harrison's fine new book " A Better Story".The defeat has been near total. At best Christians look like rabbits frozen in the headlights while at worse they are afraid even to admit their convictions, let alone advocate for them. Harrison argues that this is because we have failed to tell a better story, in the way that advocates of sexual permissiveness have done, but have rather fallen back on arguments couched in terms that have little or no appeal to the average person, especially those who are younger. Using Haidt's six intuitive foundations of moral reasoning, Harrison argues that we tend to appeal to universal moral principles but most people don't think like that (anymore) , they tend to think (now) in terms of individual needs and concerns. We haven't touched people's imagination by using narrative, stories, in the way that the "other side" have. Most notably in Hollywood but not only there, telling emotional stories about all kinds of moral issues has been a very effective tactic. Harrison tells the story of how he shows as the first part of his talk a church a set of videos from the LGBT side which are powerfully made. The pastor confesses at the break, before Harrison sets out his stall, "thats really what i think". So we have appealed if you like only to one side of the brain, while the other side has drawn on both sides. Additionally, we Christians have also been against all sorts of things but have failed to explain what we are in favour of. All if this is summed up by Harrison as a failure to think, a failure to address what the Bible actually says about sex and human relationships.The roots of the sexual relationship are found in what Harrison calls " the radical individualism " of the 1960s. The culture moved from "we to me" is a snappy way of putting it. This in sexual terms meant not just freedom but freedom for the sake of being yourself. In fact, "just be yourself" was the watchword. As Harrison points out this had disastrous consequences on the society in which these individuals acted without regard to the effect on others, most of all in terms of the impact on families. Rather than conforming to the real world - that my behaviour is negatively impacting others- truth and reality must be conformed to my feelings regardless of impact on others. Finally, argues Harrison the moral consensus dissolved so quickly because on the whole societies' attitudes towards sex and especially towards homosexuality were based on prejudices and biases and not any empirical standard of good and bad (whether Christian or other). When they were challenged they collapsed like a souffle.While all this was going on evangelicals were asleep argues Harrison and were failing to engage with the serious theological thinking needed. They failed to make a positive biblical case that actually sex is good if practiced as God demands. Key biblical passages on sex and marriage were not sufficiently studied and preached - especially to young people, he argues. we became defined because of what we were against, as noted. They also identified, suggests the author, too uncritically and closely with the cultural prejudices of the society they felt comfortable with - for example homosexuals did face discrimination in the workforce. Harrison argues that not all of the sexual revelation was bad "It is forcing us to acknowledge the poverty of our body-denying pastoral theology. Additionally, some of the demands for gay rights (such as equal employment rights) were in fact fair. But it was in general he contends harmful, again especially for the destructive effect it had on families. So in summary we Christians tended to rely on society's bigotry, which collapsed as the moral reasoning moved from principle to individual rights. "We need to be grounded in a much more serious engagement with the Bible".Harrison then looks at various biblical passages and draws out some of the outlines of where we can go from here. Having compassion and using our feelings are in no way incompatible with arguing from biblical principles. To be clear, he is not arguing we abandon moral and biblical principles but rather adopt a full range of arguing styles - left and right brain. Justice and compassion are not in any way mutually incompatible after all - look at for example how Jesus deals with the woman taken in adultery, for example. He starts on the left of the Haidt spectrum "let him who is without sin cast the first stone" and ends in the right "Go your way and sin no more". Its also worth noting how often Jesus uses stories to convey truth. This is also true in other parts of the bible - Nathan's approach to David after he has sinned with Bathsheba is first to engage his emotions and then hit him with moral absolutes.My only caveat on the book is that at the end I feel it runs a little out of steam. Up until the last quarter of the book all is well. Harrison's analysis of "how the war was lost" is penetrating and makes uncomfortable reading. His suggestion of greater theological seriousness in what the Bible actually teaches rather than complacently relying on what society thinks must be right. And perhaps most importantly of all he is surely right that we do need to tell a better story, we need to cover all the points of Haidt's 6 foundations, not just broadcast detached moral principles from the far right of the spectrum. Emotions are also important. However, I wasn't wholly convinced when Harrison tries to sketch out at the end what that better story actually looks like. He attempts for example a counter narrative to the gay rights one he uses in the beginning, it is hard to follow, a little meandering and surely far too long. Harrison himself hints as much. Also some of the other points he makes at the end are either hard to follow or possibly even a little dangerous - I couldn't follow his arguments on polygamy in particular.But, this is a very important book which makes some really penetrating points. We need to both think more and feel more. Without lessening the need for moral absolutes, imagination, emotion and stories have an important part to play. Thank heaven for the many excellent Christian film makers for example - I just spent a few days with some and it was very impressive. Even drones have a vital role to play, I found out! To stress, Harrison is not arguing that we abandon moral principles in the search for emotional connection - something some Christians have done - but that we use both "right and left" sides of the brain not just one side.In summary, we must be compassionate and helpful to people, modelling in our lives the Lord's model of both justice and compassion.

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