From nucleus - January 2016 - The Big Ego Trip [p30]
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The Big Ego Trip
Glynn Harrison (IVP, 2013, 224 pages)
Initially Glynn Harrison surveys the self-esteem movement, showing its inadequacy; in the second half he outlines a biblical basis for the problem of, and solution to, self-esteem.
Harrison argues that the selfesteem movement has infiltrated our churches and thinking. We have adopted a self-centred approach to Christianity, where we co-opt the gospel to meet our needs. The self-esteem movement only encourages this - 'the very root of sin…selfworship'. We are a toxic mix of pride, the root of sin, and we suffer deeply from the insecurity that sin brings about through guilt and suffering.
Harrison uses his insights into how we work as people and applies the Bible's storyline to that. He expands particular behaviours to determine our worth as 'whole' people, helpfully exposing the ways we doubt God's words about us. He urges us to find ways reminding ourselves of his words when we find ourselves thinking wrongly.
'How can I have self-worth?' is a common self-esteem question. But the question influences the answer. We might ask in response 'How does this question tally with what God's priorities in the Bible seem to be?' This book encourages us to start using the Bible's categories of thinking rather than the empty categories ('the self', and 'worth') that the self-esteem movement proposes. I would have liked more how God views us, but appreciated this brief and good read.
Jack Strain is a clinical medical student at Bart's and the London.