The Re-Enchantment of Morality

Harries, Richard
SPCK (2008)
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Richard Harries has lived his ethical life on the edge in places like the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and in public in the Thought for The Day on the Today programme. His practical, Christian approach to contemporary ethical problems is, therefore, not unexpected; and neither are its conclusions which, in spite of the many knotty problems he confronts along the way, emerge with easy grace. Such is the coherence and charm of the writing that his endorsement of re-marriage and gay relationships seem both reasonable and Christian. And that is the point; he does not duck any of the critical issues which face us as Christians living in the 21st Century such as whether we should give all we have to the poor but frames these inside the teaching of Jesus.

"Christians recognise god as the source of goodness and beauty. ... We respond in the words of mother Theresa, by 'doing something beautiful for god'; ... Likewise we want to respond to goodness with goodness, a response to God's disclosure in Jesus. ... We are a divine image called to grow into a divine likeness. ... For a Christian there is a recognition of God not only as creator but of making himself accessible to us in Jesus, through whom we know his heart and mind insofar as we can know this in human terms" (p41).

If you are liberal this book won't tell you much and if you're a conservative it will only annoy you but it's a good read for the undecided.

As a bonus, here is a decision-making process which Harries refers to devised by Henry Drummond:

Christian Approach to decision-making
Henry Drummond (1851-97)

  1. Pray
  2. Think.
  3. Talk to wise people, but do not regard their decision as final.
  4. Beware of the bias of your own will, but do not be too much afraid of it.  (God never unnecessarily thwarts a man's nature and likings, and it is a mistake to think that His will is in the line of the disagreeable.)
  5. Meanwhile do the next thing (for doing God's will in small things is the best preparation for knowing it in great things).
  6. When decision and action are necessary, go ahead.
  7. Never reconsider the decision when it is finally acted upon, and

You will probably not find out till afterwards, perhaps long afterwards that you have been led at all.