Hard times are coming. Although we have not yet felt the full weight of the fi nancial and political tsunami that is heading our way, we can feel the wind that is picking up steam. Layoffs at Boe- ing and Microsoft are signs of the times. As are the closing down of retail stores, the increase in unemployment, and the ever-present deeds of darkness promoted by the Powers who would have us build a city jail in a time of crisis.
Within the Bible there are two dif- ferent notions of time. The Greek word chronos, from which we get "chronol- ogy," is the ticking of the clock time. Mo- ment follows moment, inevitably leading to the preordained fate of death. No one escapes the grip of chronos. But side by side in the Biblical mythology is another Greek word, kairos. Kairos is God's time, an unpredictable novelty, an intrusion from the outside into the inside. Kairos is when the Artist who stands outside of the canvas reaches in to insert a new mark, a new touch of paint that entirely alters the meaning of the portrait.
Over and over within the Biblical story, Kairos intrudes into and alters the direction and meaning of chronos. In other words, our life of chronological randomness becomes transformed into resurrected purpose. A time of crisis is, through the eyes of faith, a time of opportunity, a time of possibility, a time that changes the script, giving birth to a whole new world.
During this time of crisis it is important that we are sustained by hope. A crisis drains us of imagina- tion and strength. A crisis tempts us to turn away from others as we focus only upon ourselves. A crisis causes us to forget that our destiny is greater than simply becoming worm food for maggots. Rather, our life is bound up within the lives of others in a far greater matrix of mutuality from which the future emerges as an always open possibility.
A liberal spirituality rejects the de- spair of predetermined fate. A liberal spirituality is all about enlarging imagi- nation, developing creativity, expecting novelty, and being open to the gifts and presence of the other who is not the same as me. A liberal spirituality is a hopeful temperament that transcends the fear that crisis provokes. In hard times it is wise to be part of a network, a commu- nity that seeks the future even through the present time of whirlwind changes. We get there from here together.
Much that we have taken for granted will die away. The American way of life will die away. But the good news is that the dying of the old offers room for the new. That which was will not be, but that which will be arises from the roots of what was. It is a Kairos moment. Let us seize it and turn the world toward the good.