Kairos & Chronos

I love these words (and picture) from my friend, Charles LaFond, writing in The Daily Sip. I continue to learn about the difference in these orientations, knowing that I appreciate both.

It is the timeless, however, that I find myself longing for more of. And though I acknowledge that there are many external things to do in life that are better served by a chronos disposition (even obsession), it is my internal permission for kairos that I really want to cultivate. I doubt it is an external world that will cut through my commitments to grant me the blessing of kairos being.

Earlier today, a friend reminded me of a road trip that we took a few years back. On this road trip in northern British Columbia, we drove near a herd of bison. One of the mothers in that herd, had just given birth to a young calf. It was brand new, and a bit messy. Laying on the ground. Being licked by its mother. My friend reminded me, “life starts and ends in a beautiful mess.”

Back to Kai and Kairos, and Charles, enjoy his words.


My English black lab is named “Kai.” The name comes from “kairos” which is a Greek term for “the time in which God lives.” There are two kinds of time in theological terms. One kind of time is chronos time – chronos – like chronology – the clicking of seconds and minutes and hours of human clock time. This kind of time in which humans live on earth, based on the movement of the planets, did not become much of a big deal until the early 1800′s when time became “money” in our western culture as factories became prevalent and clocking-in for work became the way people were managed and – soon – the way humanity was judged by itself.

Kairos time, on the other hand, is not linear like chronos time is. Kairos time does not move from second to second to minute to hour to day and to year in a line moving forward in one direction with the past lost and the future unknown. Kairos time is less like a line on a page with notches moving relentlessly in one direction. Kairos time is not an advancement of a commodity which is lost as it moves forward. Kairos time is a way of being. 

Kairos time, that “time” in which God lives is not linear but is three-dimensional. Kairos time is a time of constant love, playfulness and creativity. kairos time is not gained or lost. It is not used up or spent. Kairos time is a way of being rather than the being itself. If chronos time is seen as a line with notches in it then Kairos time is “laughter at a dinner table” or “two fiends sharing their lives with each other” or “sex” or “one’s favorite food.”

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