There must be something more to life.
The modern world is a place of great distraction, and it can be difficult to make sense of our human existence. But at some point in our lives, we may experience particular moments that prompt us to search for something deeper. Sociologist Peter Berger described these hints and clues as “signals of transcendence” that awaken us to unseen realities.
Os Guinness tells stories of people who experienced signals of transcendence and followed them to find new meaning and purpose in life. Notable figures such as Leo Tolstoy and C. S. Lewis as well as lesser-known individuals experienced a variety of promptings that signaled to them that life could not continue as they had thought. Through unsatisfied longings or disillusionments that yet yielded glimpses of beauty or joy, these moments drew people toward epiphanies of transformation. And the same can be true for us, should we have the courage to follow the signals wherever they may lead.
Listen for the signals. And discover what more awaits those with ears to hear.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” —Socrates
What is life all about? What are we here for? Is there any meaning or purpose to our existence? Thinkers throughout the centuries have pondered these questions. While the distractions of the modern world prevent many from grappling seriously with such matters, the truth is that humans cannot live without meaning any more than we can live without breathing or eating.
Os Guinness invites us to examine our lives and join the great quest for meaning and a life well lived. For those who are up to Socrates’ challenge, it is a search that is indispensable to making the most of life. Guinness charts the course of the thinking person’s journey toward faith and meaning, calling for a firm grasp of reason, an honest awareness of conscience, and a living sense of wonder. He affirms that there is a time for questions, and that following those questions can indeed lead us to answers, evidence, and commitment.
When life becomes a question, the search is on for an answer. Come find yourself on a sure path to meaning.
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.
The church in the West is at a critical moment. While the gospel is exploding throughout the global south, Western civilization faces militant assaults from aggressive secularism and radical Islam. Will the church resist the seductive shaping power of advanced modernity? More than ever, Christians must resist the negative cultural forces of our day with fortitude and winsomeness. What is needed is followers of Christ who are willing to face reality without flinching and respond with a faithfulness that is unwavering. Os Guinness describes these Christians as “impossible people,” those who have “hearts that can melt with compassion, but with faces like flint and backbones of steel who are unmanipulable, unbribable, undeterrable and unclubbable, without ever losing the gentleness, the mercy, the grace and the compassion of our Lord.” Few accounts of the challenge of today are more realistic, and few calls to Christian courage are more timely, resolute―and hopeful. Guinness argues that we must engage secularism and atheism in new ways, confronting competing ideas with discernment and fresh articulation of the faith. Christians are called to be impossible people, full of courage and mercy in challenging times.