Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Os Guinness on Rapacious Rapidity

Listen to a recent lecture by Os Guinness, "Survival of the Fastest." Os is one of our greatest, Christian social critics.

1 comment:

Steve Schuler said...


Interesting and provocative talk. What more could you ask for? In the question and answer portion of the talk I was struck by some comments Dr. Guinness made that seem pertinent to some recurring themes and issues I encounter or perceive in your blog. I have transcribed these passages as best I could to bring them to your attention and invite you to address them, if you are so inclined.

The first is taken from Guinness's response to a question from an audience member pertaining to leadership and, amongst other things, examples of good leaders. After using Winston Churchhil as an example of a political leader who was possibly the greatest Prime Minister the U.K. has ever had and a man who "thought for himself", he went on to say,

"...Churchhill thought for himself. Now, how many American leaders could do that?...Lincoln thought for himself. Which ghost writer wrote the Gettysburg Address? There wasn't one. It came out of those painful wrestlings of all those years of the Civil War. And that brilliant two and a half minutes was the result. Now presidents don't think for themselves. I actually think... the people I know who know Obama, one of the things they are most impressed by is his capacity to listen. And to listen to various voices and then to deliberate between them and come to his own decision, which is a very rare gift today. And so I would just say that our biblical word is wisdom...

...So none of us can do it on our own. We all need, under the Lord, brothers and sisters with whom we wrestle...Do you have a group of friends like that? Your Christian brothers with whom you are constantly wrestling with or are your opinions hand me down opinions from whatever newspapers you like to read or, you know, you want to watch FOX, or watch Bill O'Reilly or Keith Oberlein? Take your pick. You know, obviously here in Dallas you'd be closer to the fair and balanced, so called ( Guinness laughs), of Bill O'Reilly. But, we can't afford to have any hand me down opinions. We've got to be thinking for ourselves but in fellowship with brothers, so we're wrestling, under the Lord, with what's happening and we have Christian wisdom to bring to bear."

This is followed by another question pertainng to the effects of globalisation to which Guinness responds,

"...And the result, at a popular level, will be an increase in fear and a sense that no one's in control... the net result is an enormous amount of fear and, therefore, of apocalyptic fear mongering. I was appalled at some of the Chistian Right speeches towards the end of the election. They were blatantly fear mongering. Whereas you know well from reading the scriptures the most common repeated assertion in scripture is what? Have no fear. The Old Testament, the New Testament. Have no fear. And followers of Jesus should remark, we have absolutely no fear. Why? The Lord is sovereign. We should have no fear and any fear mongering is sub-Christian and anti-Christian. But this is the sort of thing that will happen. I mean, it will be very interesting to watch the next administration. As it has been pointed out, never have there been so many big challenges on so many fronts all at once. I mean, who would want to be president facing some of these? I mean, one of them alone is bad enough, but all of them together, Wow! We'll see what they can do. But if they bring a confidence, and so on, as Roosevelt brought in the thirties, you know, it may remove a lot of the fears, and so on. So huge things are at stake for the world."

The portion of the talk from which these were taken are between 50.55 minutes and 58.50 minutes.

I don't feel that it is necessary to add any of my own commentary at this point. If it unclear to you why I selected these particular passages I would be glad to address that question.