Guinness is a direct descendant of Arthur Guinness who purchased a run-down brewery in Dublin Ireland in the early 18th century and transformed it into the epitome of Irish beer.
The Guinness Beer family was known for its generosity and for its Christian faith and Os talked about the Guinness family commitment to quiet charity. Os began with an amusing anecdote about the family giving.
Over 100 years after the winery was started by Arthur Guinness, his grandson Benjamin Lee Guinness offered to save St. Patrick’s Cathedral which was being consider for demolition in 1865 since it was felt to be more expensive to save and renovate the structure than to demolish and save it. The Guinness family quietly offered to pay for the entire restoration as long as they could pick the architect and control the project. The cathedral thanked the Guinness family at the grand opening ceremony with a plaque that quoted the words of Jesus from the Gospel of John. “If anyone is thirsty he should come to me and drink.”
Os Guinness himself was born in mainland China prior to the Maoist revolution. His family had gone to China to be missionaries. Os was born in September 1941 and he is the great-great-great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, the Dublin brewer. His family was caught up in the Maoist Cultural Revolution and he lost family members there. He was able to return to England at age ten in 1951 for secondary school.
Guinness received a Bachelor of Divinity degree (honours) from the University of London in 1966 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oriel College, Oxford, in 1981, where he studied.
In the late 1960s, Guinness studied under the great American theologian, Francis Schaeffer in Switzerland at L’Abri, and, after Oxford, he worked as a freelance reporter for the BBC.
From 1986 to 1989, Guinness served as Executive Director of the Williamsburg Charter Foundation and was the leading drafter of the Williamsburg Charter, a bicentennial clarification and reaffirmation of the religious liberty clauses of the first amendment. He also co-authored the public school curriculum “Living With Our Deepest Differences.”
In 1991, along with Alonzo McDonald, he founded the Trinity Forum and served as Senior Fellow until 2004. Since then he has been a Senior Fellow with the EastWest Institute in New York, and is currently a Senior Fellow with the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.
Guinness has lectured in many of the leading universities across the world, and in other major venues addressing political and business leaders. He has written 30 books and was the primary drafter of “The Global Charter of Conscience,” published at the European Union Parliament in Brussels in June 2014.
During this Lux Forum fireside chat Guinness discussed his childhood in China during the Cultural Revolution, the social movements of the 60s and 70s, and the origins of today’s political climate in the U.S.
He gave time for a lively discuss period of questions and answers that address the political divide in American, anecdotes comparing the governments of China and the United States, and his observations as a foreigner in America.
Os had great insights comparing the American Revolutionary War of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789 and the differences in the underlying human freedoms that still resonate today.
Lux Forum exists to connect intellectually curious people with spiritual ideas. The non-profit, founded by Celeste White of Napa and husband Dr. Robert White of Napa, is a community of people desiring to live authentically, inspired by the wisdom of faith, as promulgated by the Judeo-Christian tradition, advancing the common good and contributing to human flourishing.