definition: par•a•digm (pār'ə-dīm', -dĭm')

3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this blog is four-fold:
to recognize that every person functions within a basic paradigm, which affects how all information is processed;
(2) to understand the paradigms of others;
(3) to discuss, in particular, paradigms which are related to science, religion, and philosophy.

(4) to reveal the paradigm shifts in my own life, a process that has completely changed the direction and purpose of my existence.

The purpose of this blog is NOT to convince anyone that their paradigms or beliefs are correct or incorrect. I am hoping for an honest dialog, but the discussions must remain respectful of others, even if there is profound disagreement. If any comments are not respectful, they will be removed.
(Revised 1/13/09)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Re-Focus -- Paradigm Shifts

Sometimes a message at church is so thought provoking that I feel the urge to share it with other people. This morning, I heard one of those messages.* The topic was about how easy it is to get stuck in patterns of looking at things--paradigms, as it were. We get used to how we view life and it is very difficult step out of our patterns (or paradigms) and take a fresh view of a situation. It is particularly hard to do this during the rough times in life. Nevertheless, it is possible to retrain the brain--to refocus on different ways to view problems.

Where do you turn in the rough times, when you see absolutely no way out of the situation you are in? Sometimes the answer is right in front of our face! Take a look at the passage that was the illustration for today's message: 2 Kings 6:8-18 [see full text, below]. The young man in this passage had gone to bed, confident in the prophet Elisha's ability to warn him of danger. Lo and behold, he woke up to the sight of an entire enemy army surrounding them. He was understandably upset, because he could not see a way out. He was depending upon his own resources and understanding instead of turning to God. His response was to say to Elisha, "Oh, sir, what will we do now?" Elisha, who was more mature in his understanding of the ways of God, replied to the terrified young man, "Don't be afraid, ... for there are more on our side than on theirs." Now, logic would have said to this young man, "Oh, really?!--There are only you and I and yet you tell me that there are more on our side than on theirs!" Elisha knew that the young man would be unable to understand what he meant unless the "eyes" of his understanding were opened, so he prayed to God for the young man to see the enormity of God's resources. When the youth saw the vast army, with its chariots of fire (roughly equivalent to massive tanks, in present day understanding), he was no longer afraid, but his natural human response was to ask Elisha if he should kill thir enemies. “Of course not!” Elisha replied. “Do we kill prisoners of war? Give them food and drink and send them home again to their master.” The conclusion of the story is that the armies of God were never even used. Nobody died. Instead, they fed their enemies and sent them home. The last verse states that, "after that, the Aramean raiders stayed away from the land of Israel." What an ending!

=> Consider focusing on a new way to view the tough times, when victory seems impossible.

*To watch a video of this message, go to and click on "Teachings." The message from Sunday is usually available by the end of the day on Monday.
2 Kings 6:8-23 (New Living Translation) (Bold type is used for emphasis--mine)

Elisha Traps the Arameans

8 When the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he would confer with his officers and say, “We will mobilize our forces at such and such a place.” 9 But immediately Elisha, the man of God, would warn the king of Israel, “Do not go near that place, for the Arameans are planning to mobilize their troops there.” 10 So the king of Israel would send word to the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he would be on the alert there.
11 The king of Aram became very upset over this. He called his officers together and demanded, “Which of you is the traitor? Who has been informing the king of Israel of my plans?”
12 “It’s not us, my lord the king,” one of the officers replied. “Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in the privacy of your bedroom!”
13 “Go and find out where he is,” the king commanded, “so I can send troops to seize him.”
And the report came back: “Elisha is at Dothan.” 14 So one night the king of Aram sent a great army with many chariots and horses to surround the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir,
what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.
16 “
Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire [of the Lord's armies of heaven].
18 As the Aramean army advanced toward him, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, please make them blind.” So the Lord struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked.
19 Then Elisha went out and told them, “You have come the wrong way! This isn’t the right city! Follow me, and I will take you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to the city of Samaria.
20 As soon as they had entered Samaria, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, now open their eyes and let them see.” So the Lord opened their eyes, and they discovered that they were in the middle of Samaria.
21 When the king of Israel saw them, he shouted to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them? Should I kill them?”
22 “Of course not!” Elisha replied. “Do we kill prisoners of war? Give them food and drink and send them home again to their master.”
23 So the king made a great feast for them and then sent them home to their master.
After that, the Aramean raiders stayed away from the land of Israel.