A paradigm is simply the way that a person perceives reality. Defined this way, we can quickly see that no two people wear exactly the same glasses all of the time. For example, if you have been married for more than one day, you have come to the realization that something in your spouse's brain often misfires when it comes to recollecting conversations. This misfiring particularly takes place regarding areas of dispute such as in-laws, money, sex, and the proper way to squeeze a tube of toothpaste.
This has got to be the best description of a paradigm I have met. Theology isn't all stuffy and dry, says she approaching the fourth chapter in two days. The authors say the paradigms of conservative evangelicals are deistic, naturalistic, rationalistic, and technique- and control-oriented, four paradigms to play with.
Deistic: God set the universe up and walked away, the whole thing now runs like a clock, needing no further attention.
Naturalistic: stuff we can physically perceive is more real than anything supernatural.
Rationalistic: reason, intellect, and logic are worth more than emotion and intuition.
Technique- and control-oriented: everything can be organised, and God must fit in a neat little box and not get messy.
The alternative is a supernatural paradigm, where we expect God to act like he does in the bible. This includes healing, guidance, signs and wonders, and things that do not finish at 11:15am precisely. Our church service technically finishes at around 11:15am, but it is unusual for the building to be emptied completely before noon. Part is people staying to pray, part is people staying to connect, catch up, socialise, plan where they're going to eat together, and just be family. I like the parts before and after the service as much as the bit in the middle.
Spiritual gifts are usually regarded as solely that: spiritual. A "natural" gift for administration isn't often seen as a spiritual gift. In Exodus 31, God says he has given someone "skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts--to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship." Wood is not supernatural, especially when it's a splinter sat in your hand. This guy looks like a jewellery maker, carpenter, stone mason, and general craftsman. Not traditional spiritual gifts, but complex skills. Sawing wood in a straight line isn't something just anyone can do, but here it's described as a gift from God.
Now I'm caught up with the rest of the group! Paradigms and worldviews, and being "naturally supernatural," without the dimmed lights, soft piano music and velvet drapes. Should be an interesting week. It's a good read.
Update: Amazon shipped my copy today. Hopefully I'll have it by Wednesday.