Take A Sneak Preview Of The Participatory Paradigm

Plus, 7 Observations That Help Explain It

Today I present a visual image of the Participatory Paradigm. In essence, I’m trying to put in visual form what is already taking place and has been since the Church began. The attempt at doing this is actually pretty silly (and could be dangerous). It’s like putting combustible air in a box. Mystery cannot be contained in a diagram. Yet, here I go. Please forgive me if I trample on your sensibilities. Love constrains me to present this to my readers and friends. I hope this diagram challenges your present understanding of the Christian life. I hope it elicits questions which you’ll share with me.

This is an initial draft. There is much work yet to do to make this presentable. But, I wanted to share it with you in light of what I have been writing and for future reference.

Drum roll please…here is a diagram of The Participatory Paradigm… 

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I’ve been working on this digram for almost a year. True. I am a slow learner. But, actually the realities of this visual paradigm have been working on me for years. There are limitations to any diagram and this one falls short in many ways. Yet, it encapsulates so much about what the Christian life is, at least how it was lived for centuries after Christ.  

Observations On The Participatory Paradigm Diagram 

  1. At the core of life is our relationship with God within the framework of the Church.
  2. Out of the Holy Trinity flows the uncreated energies of God in which we participate creating a context for union with God. (gold arrows)
  3. In union with God, we live into and through the life of the Church by the operation of grace into all aspects of life. (green arrows)
  4. We live in constant movement “out of and back into” these relationships (Trinity & Church) liturgically, eucharistically, sacramentally, and ascetically.  (green arrows)
  5. It is in four primary practices – Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving, and Manual Labor – that our spiritual lives are honed to the benefit of others. 
  6. Every area of our lives – micro & macro – are affected by these core relationships, synergistic movements, and transforming practices. 
  7. From the standpoint of the true Christian (“ME” in the diagram), participation is mandatory or none of this matters.  

Study the Participatory Paradigm diagram. How does this “picture” compare to your picture of the Christian life?  Are there similarities, differences, gaps, questions, or clarifications needed? Share below.

Dr. K   

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

4 thoughts on “Take A Sneak Preview Of The Participatory Paradigm

  1. WOW – there’s a lot here to soak in. I think I’m going to need you to explain item #2 a bit more, please.

    • Hi Patricia. I so appreciate you!! I love that you noticed something a little different with #2. If you read my post from 1/15/2017, you’ll see a brief explanation of the concept of “energies.” The reality of “uncreated energies” comes from the writings of some of the Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. They were addressing the issue of knowing an unknowable God. God’s energies are God Himself manifesting Himself in ways we humans can absorb. It’s His work in us to “produce” people who have the potential to experientially know Him. We often talk about God’s love, mercy, grace, goodness, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, joy, peace, etc. These are types of “energies” that He works in us/operates in us as we participate in Him. I hope this brief explanation helps. Thanks for engaging the UnCommon Journey. I always enjoy your insights. Keith

  2. It seems to capture everything. How does this fit with the Luke 10:27 mandate of Loving God with heart, soul, mind, strength, and loving others? Maybe Luke 10:27 is more linear, but I can see your diagram, in certain ways, in that verse. Do you think Jesus captured all of that in His statement of the mishnah?

    • Hi Pastor Rob. Thanks for your good comment and question. Loving God in the ways Jesus says can only be done well from the love He/the Trinity possesses and instills in us. We love because He first loved us. Apart from Jesus Christ, we can do nothing. So, the primary mandate is to so live in Christ and His love – in communion with Him – such that we love as He does. This includes our hearts, minds, bodies, and relationships. Evangelicals have focused on the mind and done little to help us develop our hearts, souls, bodies, and authentic relationships. This paradigm addresses all of this. At the core is our communion/participation in the Trinity which is then lived out through the Church into every area of our lives. How it is lived out is where we find resistance. We aren’t quite sure how to do this liturgically, sacramentally, eucharistically, and ascetically. The ancient church helps us if we’re open for the help. Thanks for engaging the UnCommon Journey. It’s great to have you as a companion on the journey. Keith

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