Over three years separates our spring of 2017 interview with Os Guinness and where we are today, and yet, without changing a word, my resulting Catch reads as if it were written yesterday. Because his challenges are so prophetic and so important, it is necessary for us to revisit these words and refocus our attention on representing Christ and His kingdom in the marketplace today. Remember, this is all because Christ in us is the hope of glory.
Os Guinness believes this is an exciting time to be alive. He believes America is at a crisis greater than any since the Civil War. And he believes that what America needs is what you and I have: 1) truth, 2) true freedom, 3) love for those who are different, and 4) a prayer connection with God.
America is abandoning the Judeo-Christian understanding that the problems with humanity go back to creation and the fall. We have sinned, and sin is the ducking of responsibility. We need the Law to straighten us out and the Messiah to save us.
Postmodernism destroyed the notion of truth and left us with only power. The strong man and the bully rise up in this vacuum because there is no truth to appeal to and no law to correct bad behavior.
Without any sense of truth, then, freedom loses its moorings as well. Freedom is no longer tied to anything but what anyone wants to do. But true freedom is freedom for something — freedom to serve, freedom to care, freedom to give. Instead, what is called freedom today is merely freedom from everything. That kind of freedom is negative, selfish, and leads nowhere but to anarchy.
And thirdly, we, as Christians, have love. What the world needs now is love, and especially a certain kind of love, not just for our neighbors. Os pointed out that in the Jewish Torah, loving your neighbor is mentioned only once; loving the stranger is mentioned 35 times. The heart of freedom is how we live with people who are different from us. As Christians who represent the gospel of welcome, we need to persuade people, not coerce them. How do we treat people who are different from us? As followers of Jesus, we love them. The tendency is to gather around people like us. We huddle in our own tribes and silos. Even Jesus pointed out that loving only those who love us back is no big deal. Love our enemies and we will be doing the will of our Father in heaven.
And finally: there is prayer. German philosopher Martin Heidegger said when the world was at war, “Only a god can save us now.” This is true about this present crisis as well. And we who know the one true God, not just a god, need to be praying fervently. “Urgent prayer is needed for mercy and revival,” says Os. And he went on to mention the need, like never before, for prayer warriors. I was overjoyed to hear that. Our Prayer Warriors don’t get enough credit. Here they are representing one of the most crucial things we can do in the present crisis. We have a connection with God, and we live in a time when only God can save us.
So let’s look at this again. What we offer the world right now is what the world still desperately needs: 1) truth, 2) true freedom, 3) love for those who are different, and 4) a prayer connection with God.
These are indeed exciting times.
Had to post this one on Facebook. I don’t do that as often as I should. I have a wide variety of “friends” and some of them can get a little offensive about religious things. And vice versa. Sigh… this one is dead on and is worded in a way that is hard for anyone to argue with!! I’m in Georgia… so you can multiply the lack of “love others” by about a million right now. We need extra prayers here.
Yes you do. By being kind and loving, we will stick
Each morning my zoom teacher friends talk about “Groundhog Day”, that every day is rinse, repeat. Os’s words encourage me to see this as an opportunity to share God’s love with my students and colleagues every one of these strange days in which we live. Need to get to it!
Yes, but don’t force it. Be loving and kind and the Holy Spirit will provide opportunity.