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Christian Union
January 17, 2020

CU New York Forum with Dr. Os Guinness



On Friday, January 17, 2020, CU New York had the privilege of hosting esteemed author and friend of the ministry, Dr. Os Guinness, for a forum on his most recent novel Carpe Diem Redeemed: Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times. Dr. Guinness challenged the audience to consider the true meaning and significance of time, our own mortality, and how intentionally we choose to live out our callings for God’s purposes. These biblical ideals about time stand in stark contrast to many common perceptions of time in today’s cultures, especially those in the west.


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From a secular standpoint, time is often perceived as a meaningless social construct, its value fully contingent upon our social agreement to its validity. Yet in a strange paradox, Western society has evolved to be a slave to the clock, the individual trained to be in a constant state of productivity, busyness and fatigue worn as a medal of honor. So, where then, do we as Christians stand?

 

Dr. Guinness argues that time is not meaningless at all and that although “cyclical in part,” covenantal time is “linear and purposeful overall.” People can transcend space through technological advances, but we have yet to manipulate time. God in his omnipresence and omnipotence, however, transcends both time and space. We are reminded throughout the Word of God’s promises for his people and his creation. As he so craft-fully articulated it, “Under the providence of God, history is going somewhere, and we have the immense privilege through our callings — in our small ways — of being partners in the great purposes of God in history.” 

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Dr. Guinness also emphasized one of the most beautiful and unique aspects of the Christian faith — that God created us with free will. Every moment in the future is not pre-determined, as our actions influence the world in which we live. Yet, we can fully trust that irrespective of our personal decisions, God has accounted for them all, and his promises will still come to fruition — with or without our obedience and participation. A fully independent God has invited us to partake in His Work, to share in the joy of His creation and redemptive plans. In fact, it is our very recognition of time which contributes to our humanity apart from other animals. We have a collective memory of our past, the ability to make intentional decisions in the present of our own free will and we have the capacity to imagine and envision ideas of the future.

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How then, do we know if we are truly living for God’s promises, in submission to his truths about time compared to simply living busy very Christian lives? He challenged us to ask ourselves several key questions to reflect on our own current reality of time:

1. Am I living an examined life? - referencing Pascal’s concept of our tendency to fill our lives with every distraction to blur out the reality of our mortality. 
2. Have we faced our mortality?  Inevitable moments of grief or illness bring this to the fore for all of us at some point.
3. Have you thought through the difference between your resume self and your eulogy self? What will you be remembered for by those whose lives you have touched?

4. Have I thought through the impact of the fast life on myself?

 

In light of Christian Union New York’s mission of actively and redemptively engaging our culture this was a timely reminder.  As Os notes in his book, “There is no dropping out, no settling back, and no withdrawing in the life of faith. Faith is a lifetime commitment to an ongoing journey toward the renewal and restoration of the world.” Let us pursue that wholeheartedly, seizing the day and discerning the times.

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