Os Guinness is an author, a social critic and a Senior Fellow of the non-partisan think tank EastWest Institute in New York.
In this interview, Guinness discusses his perspective, also presented in his book, that civility is the virtue missing from public life. Many in society today lack this virtue including Christians. Specifically, civility is missing from the way Christians involve themselves in public life and the political arena.
“We who are followers of Jesus, we have our own reasons to be civil. The Bible doesn’t call it civility, it calls it speaking the truth in love.”
For Christians, civility is a virtue both ignored and misunderstood.
“We have got to work out what actually civility is. It is not another word for niceness.”
Guinness explains that over the past decades, culture wars have given Christians a bad name. The way Christians engage in politics has tended to be aggressive and lacking compassion.
This tendency has made Christians appear unbecoming and abrasive to educated individuals. Guinness doesn’t think the situation is improving, yet.
“Sadly the Christian Right has played into this and been the stereotype people wanted.”
Guinness envisions a renewal of America led by Christians and based in faith. He makes a call for civil leadership that falls in line with the legacies of great Christian statesman like William Wilberforce.
He suggests some ways to work towards this goal including going back to the Scriptures. He mentions individuals like Joshua and Samuel who led in situations where society had departed from the Lord.
Study and imitation of these people of God can lead to renewal in politics and Christian civil leadership.