Examining A New-Ancient Way For You To Relate To God

Unpacking The Participatory Paradigm

For a while now I’ve been writing about an alternative to the spiritual growth model. For reasons already covered, a new yet ancient way of living the Christian life is necessary. Too many Christians are stymied by inadequate Christian life models. Others don’t realize there are different ways of living as a Christian. Both types of Christian are left frustrated yet hungry for more of something that effectively helps them know God. The Participatory Paradigm presents this effective way.  

Here is my description of the Participatory Paradigm: 

The Trinity possesses all you need for living. Access into the life and work of the Father, Son, and Spirit is yours through Jesus Christ. Your responsibility, journey, and goal is to participate as fully as possible in their life and work. Conversely, the Triune God’s life, work, and virtues are constantly moving in and through you. Your life is consistently transforming as you commune with God by participating in Him. 

Let’s unpack this description one phrase at a time: 

The Trinity possesses all you need for living – 

All you desire to be (and of course, much more), God is. Your only hope for actually living as a Christian is to live by participating in God’s life. You do not have the resources to do it. In fact, your passions, preoccupations, and choices prevent God’s grace from freely operating in you. However, you can experientially learn to participate in what is already going on within the Trinity. 

Access into the life and work of the Father, Son, and Spirit is yours through Jesus Christ – 

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life leading to union with the Trinity. He is the One and Only means of access to God. As God and human, He is able to bring human beings into this kind of relationship with God. 

Your responsibility, journey, and goal is to participate as fully as possible in their life and work – 

God doesn’t force Himself on you. You say, “Yes,” to God then receive what He offers, opening your heart to the current of His life, love, and light. Synergistically, you and the Trinity function together as Christ is formed in you. As you put forth every effort and use time-honored means to commune with the Trinity, grace carries you deeper and deeper into the Mystery of God Himself. 

Conversely, the Triune God’s life, work, and virtues are constantly moving in and through you – 

God lovingly and wisely provides all that is needed for intimate communion and all the grace to make it happen. St. John said it best; “We love him because he first loved us.” Through God’s merciful love and gracious life, humans are enabled to know God and become like Him. 

Your life is consistently transforming as you commune with God by participating in Him –  

Transformation happens as you more fully live in God and He lives more fully in you. You cannot transform yourself. The Triune God does this in you as you participate in the Triune God. 

This has been the experiential theology of the Church from her inception. Eastern Orthodox scholar, Vladimir Lossky, writes:

…to know the mystery of the Trinity in its fullness is to enter into perfect union with God…in other words, to enter into the divine life, the very life of the Holy Trinity, and to become, in St. Peter’s words, “partakers of the divine nature”…. Trinitarian theology is thus a theology of union, a mystical theology which appeals to experience, and which presupposes a continuous and progressive series of changes in created nature, a more and more intimate communion of the human person with the Holy Trinity. (p. 67, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church) 

To summarize, I am inviting you to a new-ancient way of relating to God by: 

  • Participation in what is already going on in the Trinity
  • Accessing this life through Jesus Christ
  • Being enabled to live this life by the Holy Spirit 
  • Being enraptured by the Church in substantial ways to live this kind of life
  • Taking personal responsibility to live this kind of life 

Do you have a better understanding of the Participatory Paradigm? I hope so. Realize, it will only truly be understood as you experience it. More on that later. 

What are your thoughts about the Participatory Paradigm? Share below. 

Dr. K 

 

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

3 thoughts on “Examining A New-Ancient Way For You To Relate To God

  1. “…grace carries you deeper and deeper into the mystery of God himself”
    As I try to quiet my mind and thoughts, it is so easy for them to be flooded and bombarded with to-do lists or random distractions. That can easily turn into frustration towards myself for not being able to fully engage my heart, mind and spirit with God for even just a short while! I need that reminder of God’s grace constantly receiving me and guiding me so that I won’t throw in the towel and give up but instead patiently allow myself to learn stillness and rest over time.

    • Hi Jenna. Great thoughts. As you struggle in grace to move into God more fully, you discover how powerful are your thoughts. They don’t normally want you to know God from your heart. There are practical ways of dealing with these thoughts – write down what you can’t forget, dismiss stupid thoughts, or say a phrase (e.g. “Lord, have mercy”) that will bring your heart back to God. The important thing, as you’ve said, is to not let the struggle discourage you. This kind of communion with God will always be a struggle. It’s common to all of us. Yet in the midst of the struggle, you discover God and the resources (grace, love, forgiveness, peace, etc.) that he offers. Thanks for engaging the journey and for your good comments. Love you!!

  2. balancing the indicatives of who the Trinity is and what the Trinity does with the imperative commands to participate is the watershed of preaching for me. Staying right there at that pinnacle in balance is the only way to communicate healthy Scriptural truth! Thanks for this great reminder!

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