Pair-a-dimes & Patterns for Faith

I am finding there is a paradigm problem in Christianity – or as the old saying goes ‘people who forget the past are doomed to repeat it’…well…what if they don’t know where they are going? Is there still a type of ‘doom’ there? 

I have found that many people within Christianity do not have a paradigm they follow as part of their faith. I’ll show you a few examples so you can see what I mean:

(a) Matthew’s paradigm is ‘follow Jesus’…how do we do that? Well there is this step – ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’…but what is that kingdom? Thank you beatitudes – an index to the teachings about the kingdom of God. It explains how to follow Jesus (this kingdom) – and what this kingdom is all about.

(b) John’s paradigm is wound up in the idea ‘the word was made flesh’. The word is ‘the word of God’ being made flesh is ‘living it in our reality’. So we will find a book complete with the teachings of Jesus (about God) and how by living them we can see the kingdom of God come alive.

I like both paradigms myself – they help to incorporate a vision of what this Christian walk is all about – ‘following/discipleship’ or ‘Living the Word of God daily’. But both help encapsulate a goal for the faith, a pathway, a foundation if you will – to build from.

This lacks in Christianity in general – there seems to be no set paradigm to attach to in churches. And when one is presented – it’s choppy and unsound. This for example:

(a) The ‘accept Jesus’ pattern is about a point of conversion…in which the person accepting is now ‘saved’. That’s the paradigm – it changes from church to church as to what is next and needed – but the essence is ‘holding onto your salvation so as not to lose it’. Problem is – what if they do lose it? They really are not given a good foundational pattern to build from.

The paradigms used in churches are not very completed or well rounded – the best attempts are seen in an article of faith – and even then – what exactly is that article of faith asking you? Does it contain the golden rule? How about the 2 great commandments? How about God is love? What about ideas concerning judgement? Humility? Mercy? Compassion? Equality? Money? Responsibility?

Those articles are actually not paradigms as much as they are statements thinking about the mystery of God. No, a paradigm should be some little form you can use to define your faith (the foundational statement)…and what that faith will become. Otherwise, you might not know where you are going.  

What is you foundational statement – paradigm for your faith?

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9 thoughts on “Pair-a-dimes & Patterns for Faith

  1. If faith in Christ were dependent upon the church, we’d be sunk. Faith is a work of God through the Holy Spirit and even when the church doesn’t get it right (which is the constant concerning her throughout history) people still come to faith in Christ. It amazes me really and is probably what changed my focus from nit-picking the church to just loving Jesus.

  2. Pam – what would you say your foundational statement is – for example – I always fall back on the Matthew pattern and the idea ‘follow Jesus’ – his teachings and his lifestyle. It helps me to focus what it is I am doing with my faith walk – I am a follower of a teacher.

  3. Is it really possible to reduce a faith to a single foundational statement? Isn’t it possible that as soon as you try to do that, you fail to capture everything about your faith and you lose something in the translation?

  4. I like what Pam said about faith in Christ and the church.

    I too think the paradigm is about what God has done for us.

    Too often the focus is on us, and what we are doing, or must do.

    Christ and His work for us must remain central or we reduce the Christian faith ino Christian ‘religion’.

    Thanks very much. Intersting topic.

    – Steve Martin San Clemente, CA

  5. Jason

    My foundation is this………..I Thessalonians 5:21.”test everything and hold on to what is good.”

  6. “Is it really possible to reduce a faith to a single foundational statement?” (MS)

    That’s a great question Mystical – and it is true – by boiling it down to a sentence we might miss something from the whole encapsulation of what our faith really means. I guess what I am aiming for is a ‘paradigm’ for one’s faith – the way someone encapsulates their faith…and I think we all do this.

    Jesus even did this – he mentions one line that can sum up the law and the prophets – as in the intention behind the commandments. The gospel writers even frame Jesus’ teachings in a way – namely in Matthew – as to how to follow God – and it’s a neat little picture they paint – but can be summed up in ‘follow me’. (Jesus’ first words to the disciples).

    That’s what I am trying to get at – and I use the Matthew model as set out – following means to learn and live the teachings in this life. It’s also placing a focus on the important issues with God – like responsibility, mercy, humility, integrity, and peace – all of which are laid out in the index (beatitudes) and then later also taught more on. The key being…building a life from a foundation – that being the teachings of importance according to Matthew. But that’s the way I do it – I always wondered how others ‘order their faith’.

    “Christ and His work for us must remain central or we reduce the Christian faith into Christian ‘religion’.” (Steve)

    I think Christ and his work is central to the faith we all follow – true. But God leaves faith in our hands to care for and develop – like a seed one could say. The thing is we have to care for our faith and develop a way to structure our faith – and everyone in any faith does this. That’s why I ask – what is your paradigm – your pattern of following this faith to help keep an order to what it is you are learning.

    I mention and Matthew and John both do this in their gospels – provide these cntral themes to their stories – by which one can start the building process of faith – and have some way to keep it in order. It’s always about following the teachings of Jesus – Matthew says ‘follow me’ and John says ‘the word made flesh’ – which are basically the same ideas – the teaching becoming a living reality. However, Matthew’s is more a discipleship model while John’s is a more personal model. I like them both.

  7. That’s a great question Mystical – and it is true – by boiling it down to a sentence we might miss something from the whole encapsulation of what our faith really means. I guess what I am aiming for is a ‘paradigm’ for one’s faith – the way someone encapsulates their faith…and I think we all do this.

    I think my Idea doesnt miss anything…………………………”But test everything and hold on to what is good”……………..pretty easy in my simple mind.

  8. Societyvs,

    A single statement would probably be that my faith is in Jesus, a person Who is Truth in bodily form by Who’s character, I measure all truth.

    Jesus is my teacher, but before He was my teacher, He was my Savior from sin, and then the Lord of my life. Jesus is alive and lives in me by faith and because of this, I am being made into His likeness. In Christ, I am being transformed. I am enjoying a wonderful relationship with God. I was created to walk with God and enjoy Him forever.

    That was a trick question, Janson. You know I am too verbose for simple statements!;-}

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