Kyros: Our Name

Where our name comes from:

(KIR os)

The Greek word for power that is legitimate, but limited and compassionate

The Greek language permits more clarity for nuances in meaning than English does. Just think of all the Greek words we translate simply as “love” in English. And there is cronos for human’s linear time and kairos for God’s time. Likewise, Greeks name both the expressions of power, which we might naively call “good power” and “bad power”. Power in itself is not good or bad, anymore than anger is good or bad. Yet its expression can be harmful or beneficial, damaging or appropriate.

In ancient Greece, a man might use one kind of power (despos) toward slaves, but use a different kind of power (kyros) to his wife and children. In that patriarchal system, men held the power in the culture – yet vocabulary itself helped men understand appropriate expression of their authority over others. Kyros indicates a legitimate, but more limited, moral authority whose wielder takes into consideration the good of those over whom it is exercised. Such restricted power is not abused.

In today’s culture, parents have power over their children due to their responsibility for those children, their maturity and greater financial resources. In fact, adults generally have power over young people, teachers over students, and doctors over patients – because of greater knowledge and experience. Congregational leaders have power due to their ordained or elected role and/or their greater spiritual resources. If the realm of God is to come, these power relationships must be expressions of kyros. And we must eliminate despotic expressions of power, like interpersonal abuse, racism, elitism, ageism, etc.

As a ministry committed to encouraging healthy power relationships within congregations, we use the name of healthy power, Kyros. Our name speaks of the vision for faith communities in which everyone feels emotionally, physically, and spiritually safe because expressions of power are legitimate and compassionate, yet limited.