Thursday, April 17, 2008

Living In Jesus Creed Time -- Chronos or Kairos?

My friend, MO Blogger Glenn, shared this about "keeping time" and "having time"....

The Bible describes two kinds of time: chronos and kairos. Chronos is the kind of time we keep; the time in which things are done. Like with a watch. Like, “You have to be at work ‘on time.’” Kairos is more about the moment, the right time, the strategic-window-of-opportunity time. The kairos moment is that special time when something has to be done. Kairos is about the event rather than about the clock.

I have come to the realization that I am moving toward living in kairos time. I think that cHesed is something that happens in kairos time. Living the Jesus Creed (which I have come to equate with eHesed) happens in kairos time.

Why? Because we cannot "schedule" loving God and loving others. Love is inconvenient only if you are bound up with chronos time.

This is a very important pondering moment for me because I see that this is a foundational component of the counter-cultural heartbeat of CovenantClusters: it is about living in kairos time most of the time and moving in and out of chronos time as necessary.

WOW ... I'm gonna have to let that sink in for a while.

I believe that the Eternal Community lives in kairos time -- that's one of the reasons we get so frustrated with God's "timing" -- and the Body of Christ is meant to live in kairos time, too. Actually, as the church that is always gathered in heaven does live that way. It's mainly the Western church that gets stuck in chronos ... because Western culture is driven by chronos.

The Kingdom of God is essentially one of kairos, not chronos time. Because people are more important than schedules. And when we forget that, then we begin to have trouble with our means and our ends staying in alignment. Big trouble. The kind of trouble that can turn into evil. [HT: Kingdom Grace!)

Well, this is a very big thought to process. Fortunately, it is not something that must be processed in chronos, so I'm good!

So as I process Day 19 of Living the Jesus Creed for today, I am struck by the fact that living in kairos time is essentially a spiritual discipline. Perhaps it is the foundational spiritual discipline. Because if you don't get this one right, how are you going to "make time" for the rest of them? There's the rub, isn't it?

In today's reading with Scot, follow this powerful thought:

John Ortberg said this well in his book on the disciplines: “The true indicator of spiritual well-being is growth in the ability to love God and people. If we can do this without the practice of any particular spiritual disciplines, then we should by all means skip them” (The Life You’ve Always Wanted).

Did you see it? Loving God and others is the true indicator of spiritual well-being.

These two things cannot be totally scheduled. I am learning to embrace the value of the Sacred Rhythms -- the Holy Chronos, as it were. But it is in the Holy Kairos where love happens. And too often it must break into our UNholy Chronos-driven lives with names like "inconvenient" and "interruption" and "burden" and "problem" instead of cHesed -- faithfully looking out for the best interest of our covenant partners.

This was time well spent today for the Abbess. I'll be processing this in what I'm going to call Jesus Creed Time: just the right mix of chronos and kairos.


AbiSomeone said...

Over at Jesus Creed, I posted this comment:


While I was processing today’s reading with a couple of my friends blog posts for the day, especially one on chronos and kairos time, I came upon this thought:

The Sacred Rhythms (which includes all the various disciplines, I think) are what I will now call Holy Chronos Time. They are “scheduled” appointments with God and others. (This includes the theology of work, following another thread you’ve got going.)

But [it] is a subset of Holy Kairos Time, where we are meant to exist in Eternal Perichoretic Community — in that already, but not yet, sense.

Learning to live in Holy Kairos Time is the primary spiritual discipline — only from that place of availability and vulnerability will we be able to “make time” for Holy Chronos Time.

I fear that we have been going about it backwards. And like the old illustration with how many things can you put into the glass jar, the big rock must go in first….

You can find my comment in the context of the original post and comments here:

AbiSomeone said...

...and I was pleased to see that Scot liked what I had to say!


I like your separable categories. Thoughtful and useful.

Comment by Scot McKnight — April 17, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

Thanks for your encouragement, Scot.