Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Paradigm Shift

A paradigm is simply the way through which we see our world. It is how we interpret events both past, present and future.

Imagine being magically transported back in time 300 years ago. How would you describe where you came from and how you lived? Would it be easy to adapt to their lifestyle? Would you dare tell them about the future?

Let’s ask this another way. Let’s transport Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, into our modern times. What would he think about what he saw in our churches today? Remember his writings were to people in the context of living out their Christian lives in homes. His instructions were meant for that context, with no other context imagined by him. Would he be pleased with how his words were being applied? Would his paradigm make it difficult for him comprehend his own words in the wineskin of the modern church?

What about us? Does our paradigm affect how we hear his words? If we haven’t even considered this question, then know for sure that it has.

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day had a paradigm of what they thought religion was to be like. In fact, one of them, Nicodemus, recognized Jesus as a significant teacher. Jesus immediately confronted him with a new paradigm of being born again. He even scolded Nick for not understanding his picture. Nicodemus had been so stuck in one paradigm about loving God that he had a difficult time recognizing God, when He showed up. Nick trusted the scriptures with all of his heart and yet was baffled by the simplicity of Jesus' life.

I like the term born again as it is meant to impress on us that we need to fully change our way of understanding our identity. It is pregnant with meaning; one of them being the need to grow from babes into maturity. It lends us the understanding that if we are to grow it should be in the context of a family.

Families don’t hire someone to look after themselves. Each one learns their responsibilities and privileges of being in the family. No one undermines a father and mother’s role in raising their kids. It is expected that kids mature and become the primary caregivers to the next generation. There is never an elitist group governing a family. They are quite capable of looking after themselves.

Paul’s picture of the body of Christ maturing in homes weaves beautifully with Jesus’ picture of family growth. 2000 years later, homes and families are still the bedrock of every society on the planet.

Why have we chosen a different paradigm of living out their words?

1 comment:

Jamie A. Grant said...

Family Unit = Church Unit

Easy analogies, easy to grasp, easy to explain. I love it. Much more useful expression than "the body," which we use to mean so many things these days.