Kainos — What does that even mean?

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Kainos is the Greek word for “new.” There are two kinds of new. 1. A new instance of something already experienced or created. 2. A new concept yet to be experienced or created.

These two kinds often blend into one. For example, you might get a new car. It isn’t completely new but it does have some new ideas built-in and is better than your old car.

Lasting memories flow from things that are new. When you go to a place you have never been before if it is different from your former experiences you are likely to remember it. Last week, Wendy and I went to the Grotto on Bruce Peninsula. It was a half hour walk from the parking lot through the dense cedar woods. We will never forget it and highly recommend it. I had never heard of it even having lived at the base of the Bruce Peninsula for several years. While it isn’t expansive it is amazingly beautiful. We created a lasting memory. It was new. Well no, it had been there all along. It was new to us!

A life of meaning is full of new. Change. Novelty. Most of us could do with much more meaning.

Here is the process.

1. Observing

If you look hard at the world around you, you will see some things that need something new. When you see that a change is needed you are on your way. It is as simple as seeing the need for new paint on your railing. Yup. We need new paint and will get to it next year. However, needed changes in society also must be observed. One of the things I see everywhere I turn is the need for new churches. New instances of an old concept. New tweaks to make the new churches a little better than the pre-existing ones. Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching.” I’m in on that.

2. Acknowledging

It is vital that the process not stop with observing. Anyone can tell you what is wrong. Acknowledging that change is indeed possible and that you may have a part to play in creating the change necessary is a critical step. To follow the analogy of the Grotto, you won’t get there if you don’t look into the possibility. Did you make a mental note to Google “Grotto Bruce Peninsula?” If not, you ain’t goin’ there! Your loss, in my view.

3. Desiring

The next step is the desire to participate. When you don’t care, you don’t participate. When you don’t participate, you get bored. If you like being bored, stay with the program. If you don’t, you have to find a desire for a new change. Now you have to go back to step one and start paying attention in a way you have not done. The easiest way to start is to engage your imagination. When you imagine a change you may or may not start to want that change for yourself. Nobody can want it for you. You have to find it in yourself. Of course, if you know me at all, you know I am resolute that what you desire ought to be consistent with what the Lord wants for you. There are experiences the Lord has uniquely created for you. Find them. Desire them.

4. Creating

Get out there and create your own opportunities. This takes effort. And it takes risk. Nothing happens until you take the chance to try something new. Get used to trying small new things. New foods. New routes. Perhaps it simply starts with you finding a new interesting way to get from your home to your church. Some people are in such a rut they won’t even try. They worry the change might not taste right or the route might take a minute longer. You can stay with Pablum and not take any food risks if you like! Or you can explore the possibilities. Shaking up the small things might give you more courage to take on bigger experiences. Create the way to the new day.

5. Enacting

When you jump in, there is no return. It makes sense in the creation process for you to take in as much information as you can. Will Rogers said, “There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” Brig Hart says, “If you are walking through a minefield, follow someone — at a distance.” Make sure you do your research. Make it broad-based research. Create a plan. But eventually, you have to act.

If you live a long and full life, as you near the end, your created memories may be all you have left. Those rich memories are the ones you can pass on to the next generation. You will be the one who encourages them to go for it! There was probably someone in your life who bucked the masses and encouraged you to go for it.

Where are you on this track? Are you observing all you can? You won’t get to kainos if you don’t start the process. Today is all you have. Get started now!

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