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Os Guinness Speaks at NYC Event

by catherine elvy, staff writer

In the midst of a fast-paced, often superficial world, believers are called to pause to reflect on the redemptive, purposeful nature of God. “Life is very short, fragile, and vulnerable,” said Os Guinness, prolific author and noted social scientist. “How do we live wisely and well and make the most of it?”

OsArticleSpring2020Earlier this year, Christian Union New York hosted an appearance by noted author Os Guinness, who discussed insights from his newest book. 

This winter, Christian Union New York hosted an appearance by Guinness, who shared insights from his new book, Carpe Diem Redeemed: Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times. About 110 people attended the event at the Union League Club.

Guinness, who holds a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University, is a frequent speaker, and prominent social critic. A senior fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, he is also the co-founder of The Trinity Forum in Washington, D.C. He has authored several books, including The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life; Last Call for Liberty: How America’s Genius for Freedom Has Become Its Greatest Threat; and Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times.

In Carpe Diem Redeemed, Guinness provides thought-provoking insights into the concept of time from the perspective of God, who operates outside the confines of time and space.

“Our challenge is to recognize the nature of time and to live wisely and well,” he said.

Such pragmatic instruction on the stewardship of time dovetails with the mission of Christian Union Cities, which offers an enriching variety of leadership development opportunities and other resources to professionals in New York City. At the core of such efforts, the ministry provides emerging leaders and professionals with an offering of forums, lectures, and conferences on key Christian topics.

“It was an evening of ideas and their consequences – both intellectual and practical,” said Scott Crosby, ministry director of Christian Union New York.

Likewise, some of the key points prompted listeners to wrestle with questions involving their own mortality and journey to fulfill callings for God’s purposes. “These are more philosophical topics and questions that the Christian community isn’t often drawn into, and we heard from many that it was a compelling evening of ideas and their implications,” Crosby said.

Audience members were challenged to act in faith and trust in God’s sovereignty over time and space. Guinness provided a series of reflective questions that provided tangible ways for listeners to apply the material after the event. Some attendees also took advantage of a breakfast meeting with him that allowed young adults to discuss issues of calling and vocation. 

Guinness had a special exhortation for young believers, challenging them to “read the signs of the time and serve God’s purposes. Each generation is a pulse beat in the story of humanity.”

Given the brevity of life, Guinness encouraged forum attendees to lead examined lives. Such a practice can be challenging for modern believers who are bombarded by endless electronic temptations. While contemporary societies abound with arrays of entertainment options, communication devices, and conveyances, humans remain confined by the fundamental nature of time.

“We are the most ‘diverted’ generation in history,” he said. “We surround ourselves with busy, entertaining distractions.”

During his appearance, Guinness also spotlighted the enduring importance of relationships, especially when it comes to personal and corporate scheduling. “The real value of something is the time you spend upon it,” he said. “That shows its true worth. What we spend in terms of time is what we know we really value.”

Guinness warned listeners to be aware of cultural differences that govern regional concepts of time management. Western Christians are immersed in cultures that value punctuality intertwined with optimum productivity and profits. “We are the product, uniquely, of clock time,” he said.

Other cultures, especially in Africa, prize interpersonal interactions and are renowned for their hospitality. “Time is invested in relationships,” said Guinness. Some even quip that Westerners have watches, but Africans have time.

Likewise, Guinness asked listeners to think ahead to how they might be remembered in eulogies, rather than how accomplishments appear on résumés. “Have you all faced your mortality? At some point all of us have to,” said Guinness, who wrestled with death early in his childhood when he lost two brothers.

Ultimately, Christianity is future oriented and points to the promises of God, Guinness told his audience.

“We have the immense privilege of being partners with God throughout our callings,” he said. “We become partners with Him to do the restoration and repair of this broken world.” Guinness concluded by pointing listeners to their extraordinary moment in history. “Humanity is facing unprecedented challenges,” he said. “The Gospel is truly the best news for humanity.”

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