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A Better Story

God, Sex and Human Flourishing
Narrated by: Glynn Harrison
Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 seemed overwhelmed. And biblical Christians tended to react defensively rather than offering a compelling vision of their own. Many young Christians were 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? Reimagined 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?

Glynn Harrison is a Christian psychiatrist and academic. He visits churches, universities, theological colleges, and conferences, speaking about Christian faith in relation to psychology, neurosciences and mental health. He is also interested in culture change and Christian worldview. Before retiring from professional life, he was Professor and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Bristol, where he was also a practising consultant psychiatrist. His research interests were focused in psychotic illnesses and health service evaluation. He is a past President of the International Federation of Psychiatric Epidemiology and acted as an advisor to WHO. Having been an Anglican lay minister, he continues to preach from time to time, and he and Louise are now members of Emmanuel Church, Bristol.

©2017 Glynn Harrison (P)2017 Inter-Varsity Press, Spokenworld Audio & Ladbroke Audio Ltd

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What might the better story really be?

An interesting read, but one that felt like it needed some significant re-editing.

The book depicts secularism’s primary threat as individualism. While individualism has exerted significant force upon modern visions of sexuality, it felt a little too narrow as an explanation of how we have ended up where we are.

The author did a good job of avoiding a defensive posture, recognising where some of the church’s failings actually ‘fed’ secularism’s stories about sexuality.

The books discussion of secularism and transcendence tipped its hat to Charles Taylor, but seemed rather more dependent upon James K.A. Smith’s reworking of Taylor: this in turn seemed to set the book on a “spiritualising” trajectory in its retelling of a Christian story of sexuality: moving too quickly in the spiritualising direction. It seemed as if the ‘better story’ on sexuality was largely offered in terms of the wedding supper of the Lamb and a transcendent experience of intimacy with God couched in sexual terms (the bible certainly uses sexuality as a way to describe Israel’s relationship with God, but it seemed to be reading modern conceptions of individualist sexuality back into those descriptions).

While the author clearly believes in the embodied goodness of sex and sexuality, he only vaguely hinted at how this conviction might contribute to the church’s ‘better story’ on sexuality.

The middle of the book covered quite a bit of sociological ground. However, it was not perhaps quite clear enough on exactly how Christianity’s “better story” on sexuality might actually counter or integrate all that sociological contextualising.

While the book is a helpful tool for provoking us to consider what our “better story” on sexuality might be, it doesn’t seem like the author really intended to offer or present a substantial proposal of what that ‘better story’ might be: there was a sketch outline of what the ‘better story’ might be, but it did not really engage with most of the big question posed on the way through the book.

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  • Kit
  • 10-09-2018

Great cultural insights

The structure of the book is easy to follow. I found the chapters on cultural analysis really useful and helpful. Also the explanation of the elephant and the rider helps me to understand why two groups of people can see the same event and come to a different conclusions. I would really recommend this book to anyone interested in the topics of God, or sex or human flourishing.

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A thoughtful and balanced book.

This book was great. We have been waiting for a legitimate evangelical response to this issue for some time. Harrison provides a helpful and thorough critique of our modern view of sexuality and how it has led to less human flourishing, contra to the claims of the sexual revolution. The book’s strength is that it gives a legitimate appraisal of the moral weight of both sides of the debate, but still lands on a traditional view of sexuality. This view is very well articulated by Harrison.

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  • Carla Perez
  • 03-11-2018

I will tell a better story

As a pastor I am convinced after reading Harrison's book of his sound arguments regarding the failed state of the Church today to adequately proclaim a valid and opposing argument in the face of the roar of the Sexual Revolution begun in 1960s. He lays out the methods and means by which the Sexual Revolution begun and continues to this day. Harrison rightly points to a Church with no better story to tell than its failed attempts 50 years ago in the face of the free sex advocates, empty protagonists of the impotent, dangerous and destructive sexual movements. Advocates that have left our nations cast aside from the promise of God's blessings. Harrison does not stop there amidst the disgust or our failures. He points in great detail to the picture or story already laid out for the Church in the Scripture that we are to tell. I am convinced that I will tell a better story.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-03-2018

An must read for every Christian!

This book discusses issues that we simply must engage with as Christians. It gives excellent insight into how we got to where we are in our society and exposes helpfully the ways we as Christians often respond wrongly. It does all of this with compassion and grace. It sets forth a wonderful reminder of why the gospel truly is good news for all people in all places for EVERY situation not least in our sexuality. It holds out a vision of human flourishing that I want for myself and my children and shows why communities of Christians living this story is vital for the world. Thank you Glynn Harrison! I hope to hear more from you on this topic - what a vital resource for the church!

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  • Amazonian
  • 22-01-2018

Heartfelt and authoritative

This is the most generous and more courageously orthodox discussion of the sexual revolution and its implications for the church that I’ve found yet. Glynn Harrison manages to be faithful to the Gospel and loving to our messed up society at the same time - what a wonderful feat!