*** DEBUG END ***

Long Story Short: Finding your place in God’s unfolding story, by Andy Frost

19 October 2018

Mike Starkey reviews a title aimed at winning over the young sceptic

WHAT story is your life a part of? Andy Frost writes a breezy apologetic for historic Christianity by exploring the big narratives that give people’s lives meaning.

Frost, the head of the UK evangelistic agency Share Jesus International, writes with the sceptical young adult in mind. He seeks to show his readers that they have almost certainly accepted one of the unspoken grand narratives popular in our day: happiness, safety, or significance. He then retells the biblical story of redemption, offering this as a more compelling and meaningful story to live by.

This is an attractive book, which comes alive when the author tells personal stories, such as those of fellow-pilgrims whom he met while walking the Camino de Santiago. It also includes some telling quotations, including one from the philosopher Ivan Illich, who reflects that the way to change a society is not by revolution or reformation, but by telling a better story.

I came away with two hesitations. One is that some of Frost’s illustrations let him down. He compares life stories based on happiness, safety, and significance to a fake painting discovered in a museum of contemporary art. This not only sounds slightly arrogant: it is not a helpful image, in any case, as you don’t really inhabit a painting or find your bearings in it, as you do in an overarching story.

My other query is over Frost’s rather naïve anticipation of possible objections from his readers. Some, he says, will refuse the Christian story, despite its evident appeal, because they find it too demanding. But we live in an age when the Christian story itself is often presented as a narrative of oppression, most powerfully in the TV serialisation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Frost’s sceptical young readers are unlikely to see Christianity as admirable but costly. Far more probably, they will assume that it is repressive and discredited.

The Revd Mike Starkey is a tutor for Church Army and author of the new Why on Earth . . . ? apologetics resource for home groups.

Long Story Short: Finding your place in God’s unfolding story
Andy Frost
SPCK £7.99
Church Times Bookshop £7.20

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available


Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)