Os Guinness presents on the Challenge of Following Jesus with RZIM at TEDS

TEDx SF - Os Guinness © Suzie Katz - 2104
TEDx SF - Os Guinness © Suzie Katz - 2104 (Photo credit: TEDx SF)

With Ravi Zacharias International Ministry (RZIM), Dr. Os Guinness is going to deliver two lectures in the following 2 days at the ATO Chapel of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL.

The following event information are gleaned from TEDS website:

Wednesday, February 8

  • 11:00 a.m. — Os Guinness, “Can Freedom Last Forever? The Founders’ Forgotten Question, and How We Are Doing Today”
  • 7:30 p.m. — Ravi Zacharias, “The Gospel in Light of New Spirituality”

Thursday, February 9

  • 11:00 a.m. — Ravi Zacharias, “If the Foundations Be Destroyed . . .”
  • 3:00 p.m. — Os Guinness, “The Good Life, or the Life with Goods? Recognizing and Resisting the Challenge of Consumerism”

In comparison to Ravi Zacharias, non-Americans may be much less familiar with Os Guinness. At least I tried to learn more about him before I get to meet him in person.

I will just post some information about him that I researched online. You can easily do that for yourself, too.

1. Biography.  From http://www.ewi.info/dr-os-guinness

Os Guinness is an expert in faith, public policy, and international relations. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of London and a D Phil in social sciences from Oriel College at the University of Oxford.Dr. Guinness born in China and lived through the Chinese Civil War and the Chinese famine, both of which were influential in his formative years.

He left China for England in 1951, where Dr. Guinness has worked as a freelance journalist for the BBC and as a scholar at the Brookings Institute and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Affairs. He has written and edited more than 25 books, including The American Hour (1993), The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life (1998), Invitation to the Classics (1998), Unspeakable: Facing up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror (2005), and The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It (2008). He was a drafter of “The Williamsburg Charter,” a bicentennial celebration of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Dr. Guinness’s special focus is on making academic concerns accessible to lay audiences, especially in the field of public policy.

In the 1960s, he was a leader at L’Abri, through which he came to be in the same company with Francis Schaeffer and  Chuck Colson.

***About L’abri (info gleaned from Wiki):

L’Abri (French for « the Shelter ») is an evangelical Christian organization founded by Francis Schaeffer in Switzerland in 1955.

Schaeffer and his wife pursued their dream of working with young people.They moved to Huémoz, and opened their alpine home as a ministry to curious travellers and as a forum to discuss philosophical and religious beliefs.

L’Abri grew into operate several buildings to include four kinds of people: short-term guests; students, who divided their time between study and communal work; workers, who participated in discussions and the work of hospitality; and members, who were part of the decision-making process.

Schaeffer died in 1984,but the ministry he founded has continued to grow.  As of 2011, L’Abri has residential « Study Centres » in the United States (Minnesota and Massachusetts), Canada, South Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden, as well as the original centre in Switzerland. It also has non-residential « Resource Centres », run by friends of the organisation, in Brazil and Germany.

A L’Abri centre is not a retreat, a commune, or a seminary-there are no fixed « classes » or courses-, but it incorporates elements of all of these; students meet regularly with a member of staff to discuss the issues they wish to study, and are recommended resources from L’Abri’s library of books and of recorded lectures and talks by L’Abri staff and others. The L’Abri day revolves around communal meals, often used as an opportunity for formal open discussion, and students are encouraged to pursue interests in art, music and literature.

The importance of Schaeffer’s belief in the relevance of Christianity to all of life can be seen in many aspects of L’Abri. During non-study time, a student will help with the necessary activities of the community—-cooking meals, cleaning, maintenance etc. This division is based on Schaeffer’s constant emphasis that Christianity, and the work of L’Abri, were not only intellectual but had to incorporate all of life, and that a demonstration of « Christian Community » was as central to L’Abri’s work as the intellectual demonstration.

Even so, it serves disaffected evangelicals much better than those philosophical skeptics, and the politicized evangelical faith that Schaeffer helped create has put L’Abri under suspicion by the aforementioned group as well.

2. Bibliography….From Os Guinness‘ Wiki

1. Be devoted to Jesus instead of your service to Jesus.
2. Be inner-directed [by God] than other-directed [by ‘public’ sentiment]
3. God calls us to a life of faith.
4. Deliberate spend time in solitude with God.
5. Glorify God in the ordinary things of life.
6. A sense of calling keeps us focused when modern-day life threatens to tear u

s apart.
7. Taking God’s call seriously means we will pay the price of being abused and treated as fools by those who do not understand.

  • Character Counts: Leadership Qualities in Washington, Wilberforce, Lincoln, and Solzhenitsyn (Baker, 1999)
  • Steering Through Chaos: Vice and Virtue in an Age of Moral Confusion (Navpress, 2000)
  • The Great Experiment: Faith and Freedom in America (Navpress, 2001)
  • Time for Truth: Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype, and Spin (Baker, 2002)
  • Long Journey Home: A Guide to Your Search for the Meaning of Life (WaterBrook, 2003)
  • Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance (Baker, 2005): Os Guinness e begins with an interesting description of our slavery to time – he calls watches « the gods on our wrists. » This obsession with time has translated itself into an obsession with being « timely, » i.e. current and up to date and relevant to the culture around us.By our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more in line with the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and significance. In our obsession to be relevant (the buzz about new ways of « doing church » through revising, innovating, borrowing, mixing, and experimenting), we have become irrelevant. Guinness explores what it means to be both faithful and relevant, and how to be truly relevant without being trivial or trendy. Readers will be challenged to develop « resistance thinking, » an approach inspired by C. S. Lewis that balances the uncomfortable truths of the gospel with the pursuit of relevance. Only by being true to Christ and living with integrity and wisdom will we meet the needs of a world that is hungry for some really good news.
  • Unspeakable: Facing Up to the Challenge of Evil (HarperCollins, 2006)
  • The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It, (Harper One, 2008): [Amazon reader  Douglas Groothuis‘ review] « While writing as a Christian, Guinness charts a course for « a civil public square » in which citizens of any religion or of none are allowed and encouraged to let their voices be known and to respect those of others. He argues against both « the sacred social square » (where pluralism is defrocked and one religion dominates at the expense of others) and « the naked public square » (in which religious citizens are not allowed to participate socially and politically on the basis of their deepest convictions). Guinness grounds his reflections on a profound understanding of The First Amendment and its entailments. Contrary to many, he argues that civility is a higher virtue than mere tolerance. Moreover, civility requires knowledge and discipline; it is not the fruit of relativism, which despairs of objective moral knowledge and the pursuit of objective truth. »  [Amazon review by Tim Challies]The civic square requires a double framework, first of the Constitution, and second, of a freely and mutually agreed covenant, or common vision for the common good, of what each person understands to be just and free for everyone else, and therefore of the duties involved in living with the deep differences of others. » If we are to have a civil society, we must first have a civil public square.
  • The Last Christian on Earth: Uncover the Enemy’s Plot to Undermine the Church (Regal, 2010)
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