The Kairos of this World

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Death by Death by Suburb

Beware those books you read for "research"; they just might end up kicking your butt! Such was the case with David Geotz's book Death by Suburb:How to Keep the Suburbs from Killing Your Soul. I figured this book would give me insight into the people I work with (largely representing the "typical" suburban lifestyle), yet I found that while I may not have many of the "trappings" of a suburban life: house, kids, SUV, etc, I do possess many of the same attitudes. Really, I was doing fine until I hit chapter five. Bummer. Oops, I mean, "Yeah! I'm so glad that my character has been exposed." Actually, I am. Geotz's has an easy to read style and his toxin/practice matrix is very practical. If you are not normally bent towards reading Christian mystics such as François Fénelon, this is a great introduction. While some may not appreciate his acute insights (which sometimes pierce you with their deadly acuteness) I would challenge would-be readers to read this book with an uncommon openness (I think it is supposed to hurt a little.)

Read it...I dare you!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What's in a Name?

I never saw it before. It was so easy to overlook. And then I noticed. Sheepishly, I admit that someone else pointed it out to me or I don't think I would have noticed... "Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ..." 2 Peter 1.1 Why does Peter begin his second letter this way when he only uses "Peter" in the first letter. What's the meaning in a name?

I learned the importance of the meanings of names while living in China. There everyone's name had a story and a significance; parents prophecied in the giving of those names. I think that we in the West might have lost some of the understanding in this area. My parents told me that they named me because they liked the way my name sounded. (Little did they know that my name means "warrior" and I've been a handful every since!)

When Peter uses his full name he must be remembering both the failures and the successes he has gone through. "Simon" represents the beginning ("get behind me Satan"; three cock crows) and "Peter" the end (first sermon converts 3000), with a life transformed in the middle ("feed my sheep").

Perhaps he is reminding us that this is the same journey which we take as well, the one from who we were to who were are meant to be. Perhaps he saying, "Take it from me, Simon Peter...I'm proof that everyone can be redeemed by Jesus."

A little more about Kairos...

Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the "right or opportune moment". The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies "a time in between", a moment of undetermined period of time in which "something" special happens. What the special something is depends on who is using the word. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative nature. The term "kairos" is used in theology to describe the qualitative form of time. In rhetoric kairos is "a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved." In the New Testament kairos means "the appointed time in the purpose of God", the time when God acts.

I think that sometimes, life happens so fast that we miss what is happening right in from of our eyes. We get so caught up in "chronos" time that we miss the "kairos". I first encountered the difference between kairos/chronos time by reading Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time Series. (Ahh, the things we can learn from reading children's literature.) My hope is that this little space will be a place where I can pause and reflect on the kairos. I trust that you will enjoy journeying with me.