Books about Christianity and sexuality are fairly easy sells at the moment – whether it is an expose of the Church’s idiocy, or attempts by the faithful to explain why we are so wierd. In fact, I’ve written one of my own! Today’s review, though, is of another short book, that covers both bases, and is brought to us by Jason Roach, a pastor in London, and published by The Good Book Company, who kindly sent me a review copy. With a foreword by Glynn Harrison, and regular references throughout to his A Better Story, this is a book that attempts to make practical sense of ‘A better way to do love, sex and relationships’. A short book (96 pages, give or take), this will be a necessarily short review.
Swipe Up is an honest book. This is evident in both the author’s vulnerability over his own story, and his awareness of the reality of relational and romantic failure inside and outside the church. He knows there is a problem in the way churches so often talk about sex and relationships – so he wants to reframe the conversation to talk about Intimacy. This, I think, is helpful. This is rooted in his personal experience: “The more I thought about it, the more I realised that hiding was, in subtle ways, a chronic problem. And now I saw where it came from – our turning away from God. He had hardwired me for relationships. But I would always struggle to get those horizontal relationships right with others until I got my vertical relationship with God right…“. Personal experience, however, is not where Jason wants us to stay.
Swipe Up is a biblical book, not in the sense that it woodenly quotes the Bible, but that it takes the whole sweep of Scripture seriously. This is borne out throughout. And with this in mind, it engages seriously with the challenges and opportunities of both singleness and marriage. This is important. And this is where my observation about intimacy is so close to the heart of this book. There is an excellent chapter on ‘Celebrating our situation’, which applies practically to both single and married folk. There is also an excellent chapter on Friendship that is a superb summary of many longer books. Finally, Jason is deeply aware of the cultural situation the church finds itself in: “if this love story is true, it has implications for how we interact with the watching world. How do we communicate it?… How do we live it out?…“. I found this final, practical chapter really helpful, and would love a lot of Christian organisations to consider reading it and adopting it as a model for gracious engagement in the real world.
Overall, then, I enjoyed this book. I came in expecting one thing, and came out the other end glad to have read it and grateful for its publication. Jason is honest and biblically aware – this is a good example of ‘double listening’. He engages briefly with the vital doctrine that we are made in the Image of God – focusing on the relational aspect in a helpful way. I would recommend this book to pastors and leaders who enjoyed A Better Story and want something more practical to go on with, as well as to people of my age and younger struggling to articulate God’s vision for sexuality.