This entry is part 18 of 18 in the series: ‘A Better Story’ (Harrison)
- ‘A better story’ – intro
- ‘A better story’ – 1
- ‘A better story’ – 2
- ‘A better story’ – 3
- ‘A better story’ – 4
- ‘A better story’ – 5
- ‘A better story’ – 6
- ‘A better story’ – 7
- ‘A better story’ – 8
- ‘A better story’ – 9
- ‘A better story’ – 10
- ‘A better story’ – 11
- ‘A better story’ – 12
- ‘A better story’ – 13
- ‘A better story’ – 14
- ‘A better story’ – 15
- ‘A better story’ – 16
- ‘A better story’ – 17
And so to the final chapter of this excellent book outlining a Christian response to the sexual revolution.
Too often, the Christian response to the sexual revolution has been harsh and uncaring. We need, writes Glynn Harrison, better storytellers to tell our great story.
Listen to those who differ from you. It is folly to answer before we have listened (Proverbs 18:13). Criticising from a distance feels safe. spending time in the company of those we may disagree with can feel uncomfortable. But if our ideals are worth anything, they can bear being tested in the company of those who differ from us. Of course, our conversation partners may be poor at listening themselves. And there comes a time when listening has to stop, and action begun. But telling our story begins with listening to the stories of others.
Know your audience. Some Christians think that opposition to orthodoxy is now so strong that they should bunker down and exert their energies in sustaining their own beliefs in community. This is the ‘Benedict option’. It has some merit. But let’s consider, too, the ‘Wilberforce option’ – which holds that Christians refuse to be silenced in the public square. Their faith demands that they bear witness to the transforming power of the cross of Christ. It is time to stand up and be counted. There is so much at stake.
Employ artists as well as apologists. Enable those artists to use media to engage with our culture and capture the imagination. LGBT+ advocacy owes much to media representations. For the Christian story to be heard, rational argument is needed; but so is art.
Speak with grace and truth. Truth is what God sees; grace is how he sees it. It is a mistake to suppose that we should be ‘orthodox in our doctrine but liberal in our love’, for this would be to separate what God has joined together – grace and truth. Doctrine that does not promote love is not orthodox doctrine. Let us seek to embody our convictions in the rhythms and patterns of our daily lives. Let’s teach them to our children, discuss them in our homes, and proclaim them from our pulpits. And let us do so always with compassion and sensitivity. No-one is excluded from the arms of God’s grace. He meets us where we are – although, of course, he does not leave us there.
If the church is going to adopt a ‘big-tent’ mentality, it will need to think through some difficult issues. It will have to face up to issues of divorce and remarriage, cohabitation, and gender identity, and work out stances on membership and leadership. It may not be possible to untangle some of the complex relationships encountered. It will not be easy to work through the pain of emotional dissonance while maintaining faithful adherence to gospel truth. But, by God’s grace, it is both necessary and possible to love people as God’s loves them, even while we remain pained by the life choices they may have made.
Harrison, Glynn. A Better Story: God, Sex And Human Flourishing. IVP. Kindle Edition. Chapter 17