Well I know I can’t tell you what to do, but I can pretend I can when I tell you you must listen to last night’s interview with Os Guinness. Os is a brilliant author, thinker and social critic with global insight and a strong Christian conscience. Born in China during World War II to missionary parents who fled from there in 1951 during the Chinese revolution, he was educated in Oxford and helped Francis Schaeffer found his ministry at L’Abri, Switzerland during the ‘60s and ‘70s. As a Christian intellectual, he is beholden to no one and free to speak the truth as he sees it. He’s not a Republican or a Democrat — he’s not even an American, though he lives in the Washington D.C. area — so he is able to have an outsider’s look at our American democracy and our politics. He loves America for its brilliant 1776 experiment in democracy, but he is concerned as he is watching that democracy being eroded away by what he calls a revolution more akin to the godless French Revolution of 1789 than our own of 1776. Our discussion last night was based on his new essay, “1776 vs 1789: A tale of two revolutions and America’s present crisis — ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’”
There are so many incredible things to pull out of this interview, but one that stood out to me was a discussion we had about justice and injustice. The intent of justice is how we treat people. Do we treat everyone as equal before God and as someone made in God’s image? One of the greatest injustices of our current age is the way we talk about people and tweet about them on the internet. The insulting language and personally degrading tweets and instagrams are clear examples of injustice. What the Bible calls evil speech is just as damaging as physical violence and murder. I know I have a tendency to think that you only deal with injustice at a systemic level, but Os said wisely that “justice begins with each one of us the way we talk to anyone every day.” There you go — right down to the way you and I talk today and the way we message and tweet on the internet.
Our nation, and indeed the whole world is in crisis right now. Does that mean these things are all driven by powers and forces beyond our control to which we are largely helpless? No. We have a job to do to uphold the truth of Jesus Christ and manifest His love and grace in all our engagements with people. We can make a difference and that is no small thing. These are indeed challenging times but the challenge makes for incredible opportunities for us as representatives of the kingdom of God and the body of Christ to uphold the truth as laid out in the scriptures.