Changing Paradigms

When I graduated from Commodore Perry High School, one of our speakers spoke about changing paradigms. Back then, I really didn’t know what a paradigm was, but now I have a better understanding of it. A paradigm is a model or an ideal. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a paradigm as “A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.” Each of us has a paradigm in which we view our lives.

Christianity in America needs to change it’s paradigm.

I don’t want this to just be a rant, but a conversation (maybe with myself), about some of the practices of American Christianity and what sort of change needs to be made. I read an article recently that Phyllis Tickle believes that we are on the cusp of another great religious reformation or movement. She said that a movement like this happens about every 500 years, the last being the Reformation where the Protestant Church was birthed out of the Catholic Church. This movement, she calls The Great Emergence, is also the name of her new book where she explains ways in which Christianity are changing (I’ll be ordering that book soon).

What are some areas of Christianity that need to change? I’m hoping to give a brief description below, and then in the upcoming days/weeks, expound on them a little further.

  1. Corporate Worship: How has corporate worship become about the traditions/things of worship rather than the object of worship (That’s God). Does our worship gatherings really send us out to serve the poor, feed the hungry, or to bring justice to our communities? How do we move away from consumeristic worship gatherings where the congregates want fed? How do we re-connect worship of God and Social Justice?
  2. How Christians Think: The beef sometimes is that Christians do not critically engage the Word of God, the Theology we believe in, the world we live in, or the issues that are before us.
  3. Community: What does it mean to be apart of a community, especially in the facebook/myspace era? If we were really to follow what the Bible says, would community look different?

Those are there topics I’ve been thinking about. Some others might be Spiritual Disciplines or the environment. I’m sure there are others that could be discussed. But, we’ll start with Worship later next week.

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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