Paradigm Shift Anyone?
A paradigm is a model. We have many paradigms in life. I noticed something profound while completing the Frustrated Grace series. When I pointed out the things that are broken in the institutional church, people identified. They agreed with me in the areas of Christine doctrine that were completely in error.
Get Your House In Order
In discussing the issues of Christianity itself, I heard all kinds of support and encouragement. I realized that people wanted to fix the paradigm. I look at it like someone who lives in their home for a long time. They begin to see all that needs to be fixed in the home. They start chalking up all of these items on their “honey do” list.
Is Change Possible?
The problem with this list is that their spouse doesn’t ever seem to get anything done. Frustration builds over time as the issues seem to grow. Someone comes over and says to the frustrated spouse, “Woa, that door hinge is in trouble!” The spouse feels vindicated and heartily agrees. “Yes, yes it is and I’ve got it on the list!” As the visitor points out more stuff that appears to need attention, the home owner agrees enthusiastically. “I totally agree with you and I know we need to fix all of it!”
Shifting the Paradigm
I will hold things right there to draw a comparison. When I pointed out what was wrong with our Christian doctrines, people were on board. It was as if I was standing in their home and pointing out what was obvious to them. People want to “fix” their paradigm.
Frustrated Grace is a cartoon series focused on exposing the need for a paradigm shift. Click on the photo to get the Kindle version!
Seeing the Whole Problem
When I then tugged at changing, or moving from that paradigm, that was far different. Imagine the frustrated spouse is listening to the visitor. The visitor realizes that not just the inside of the house has issues, the very foundation of the home is bad.
They warn the home owner by saying, “Hey, you may not want to bother fixing all that stuff on the inside. Even if you do, the foundation is bad and your home may not be worth the investment. You may need to consider selling.” This is where the home owner chokes. They refuse to believe the foundation is bad. The cost of realization is too great. If they acknowledge the bad foundation, all they have known will have to change. They need a paradigm shift.
The Cost is Too Great!
If one cannot endure the loss of their home, their neighbors and their community, they will turn on the messenger. These individuals will turn a blind eye to the truth of their religion’s faulty foundation. Often, it is the one who exposes the truth that is rejected. To change one’s paradigm involves great cost. People would rather focus on trying to fix what they see within their religion. Their belief is that once they do, things will be wonderful. Someone once said, “change is hard for everyone”. I agree, yet change is really a choice. Once we choose to change, the struggle is over. This is where heeding the words of Jesus might be the best option.
The Narrow and Wide Gates
Matthew 7:13-14 New International Version (NIV)
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
I used to see this as “only a few people get into Heaven”. Now I realize that Jesus talked about false prophets immediately after this verse. Perhaps he was pointing a finger at religion? Religion is the progenitor of false prophets. What if religion is the wide gate? Religion strips raw the moment by moment relationship we could be having while loving God and others. It breaks it down holy intimacy, making it mechanical and stripping its power.
To Obey Man or God?
With religion, we obey do’s and don’ts. This alleviates guilt, which is usually brought on by religion’s, “do this or God will not be pleased”. When we obey, we feel alleviated and have been swallowed up by works based righteousness. I now see the narrow way as those who walk away from religion altogether to follow an open, honest relationship with our creator. Not many do this. One thing is sure, MANY follow the wide path of religion so it certainly isn’t “the narrow way”.
It’s Just Easier!
We like to be pacified, punch our Sunday ticket and then not think about doing “God duties” for the rest of the week. It’s far easier than walking the path of the “religiously rejected”. In today’s society, it is hard to walk this narrow path. People outside of religious institutions have to relearn how to live. They are now independent of the system and dependent upon their relationship with their creator.
Day to Day
Learning how to walk in the spirit is highly rewarding. It is a day to day journey of trusting the voice within. My deepest desire is to see more community spring up where we can enjoy one another and spread a message of love outside religion. I still believe. Lastly, let me say that if you choose religion, I am not upset with you. I am thrilled that you have found what works for you. I would hope if you do not hear or understand the song I’m singing, you will at least give me space to sing. If we honor one another in love, the universe, I believe, has room for more music.
Kimberly is an ordained minister who was a senior pastor and involved in ministry for over thirty years. She lived in Africa and traveled extensively in the United States and abroad, hosting conferences to groups in the thousands. She left organized religion to pursue a life of faith and faithfulness.
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Check out this recent blog by clicking here.
You can find her on Facebook where she posts under “PK Langley”