America has lost its way. And America will fall—unless.
Americans are approaching a “zero hour” for the republic and its distinctive view of ordered freedom. America is caught between two revolutions and alternately suppresses and squanders freedom with a prodigal carelessness, with little understanding of the responsibilities that freedom requires.
Os Guinness warns that if America abandons its distinctive ideals and ideas, we will have carved into the chronicles of history yet another example of the failure of a free society. Like other crucial times in world history, the present crisis is a “civilizational moment” and also a pivot point that could lead to national renewal. Outlining seven key foundation stones of freedom, Guinness lays out a pathway for defining and ordering freedom, righting national wrongs, and passing freedom’s baton from generation to generation.
Human freedom is precious and rare, and citizens who prize it must do what it takes to renew and sustain societies that are free for all of their members. America’s window of opportunity is brief, and the alternative to renewal is bleak. The present moment must not be missed.
In these stormy times, loud voices from all fronts call for revolution and change. But what kind of revolution brings true freedom to both society and the human soul? Cultural observer Os Guinness explores the nature of revolutionary faith, contrasting between secular revolutions such as the French Revolution and the faith-led revolution of ancient Israel. He argues that the story of Exodus is the highest, richest, and deepest vision for freedom in human history. It serves as the master story of human freedom and provides the greatest sustained critique of the abuse of power. His contrast between “Paris” and “Sinai” offers a framework for discerning between two kinds of revolution and their different views of human nature, equality, and liberty. Drawing on the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, Guinness develops Exodus as the Magna Carta of humanity, with a constructive vision of a morally responsible society of independent free people who are covenanted to each other and to justice, peace, stability, and the common good of the community. This is the model from the past that charts our path to the future. “There are two revolutionary faiths bidding to take the world forward,” Guinness writes. “There is no choice facing America and the West that is more urgent and consequential than the choice between Sinai and Paris. Will the coming generation return to faith in God and to humility, or continue to trust in the all sufficiency of Enlightenment reason, punditry, and technocracy? Will its politics be led by principles or by power?” While Guinness cannot predict our ultimate fate, he warns that we must recognize the crisis of our time and debate the issues openly. As individuals and as a people, we must choose between the revolutions, between faith in God and faith in Reason alone, between freedom and despotism, and between life and death.
You only live once―if then. Life is short, and it can be as easily wasted as lived to the full. In the midst of our harried modern world, how do we make the most of life and the time we have? In these fast and superficial times, Os Guinness calls us to consequential living. In strong contrast to both Eastern and secularist views of time, he reorients our very notion of history, not as cyclical nor as meaningless, but as linear and purposeful. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, time and history are meaningful, and human beings have agency to live with freedom and consequence in partnership with God. Thus we can seek to serve God’s purpose for our generation, read the times, and discern our call for this moment in history. Our time on earth has significance. Live rightly, discern the times, and redeem the day.