The Kairos of this World

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

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.


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