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Groome, Thomas H., 1980, Christian Religious Education: Sharing Our Story and Vision. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Dr Alex Tang

The Shared Praxis is Groome’s contribution to Christian education pedagogy. In this very comprehensive book, Groome examined the nature, purpose and context of Christian religious education. He defined “Christian religious education is a political activity with pilgrims in time that deliberately and intentionally attends with them to the activity of God in our present, to the Story of the Christian faith community, and to the Vision of God’s Kingdom, the seeds of which are already among us.”(p.25) [italics author’s]. The key to the understanding of Shared Praxis is the understanding of time. Instead of linear time or kronos, Groome suggested that kairos time, especially the present time being most important. In the present time, which he described as “present of things present, the present of things past, and the present of things future” is where true learning take place.

He suggested that the Shared Praxis approach is the most reasonable way to do Christian religious education.

There are five components or movements in shared praxis. They are (1) present action, (2) critical reflection, (3) dialogue, (4) the Christian Story, and (5) the Vision that arises from that Story. It is in the present time that action takes place. Action is a reflection of our self. Hence critical reflection of such action in terms of past Christian tradition, present situation and the future of what is hoped for in the Kingdom. This is to be done within the context of the Christian Story. The hope is the Vision of the educational outcome. Groome summarised with “Christian religious education by shared praxis can be described as a group of Christians sharing in dialogue their critical reflection on present action in light of the Christian Story and its Vision toward the end of lived Christian faith.”(p.184) [italics author’s].

It is an innovative approach to Christian religious education and a viable alternative to the more traditional schooling approach.



Notes:

Organisation of his book
• The nature of Christian Religious Education (the What)
• The Purpose of Christian Religious Education (the Why)
• The Context of Christian Religious Education (the Where)
• An approach to Christian Religious Education: Shared Praxis (the How)
• Readiness for Christian Religious Education by Shared Praxis (the When)
• The Copartners in Christian Religious Education (the Who)

Three Assumptions and Concerns of educators over Time p.5-17

“I name the nature of education activity as a political activity with pilgrims in time that deliberately and intentionally attends with people to our present, to the past heritage it embodies, and to the future possibility it holds for the total person and community.”p.21 [italics author’s]

“Christian religious education is a political activity with pilgrims in time that deliberately and intentionally attends with them to the activity of God in our present, to the Story of the Christian faith community, and to the Vision of God’s Kingdom, the seeds of which are already among us.”p.25

“Christian religious education by shared praxis can be described as a group of Christians sharing in dialogue their critical reflection on present action in light of the Christian Story and its Vision toward the end of lived Christian faith.”p.184

Five components of shared praxis
1. present action
a. whole engagement of the human being in everything.
b. Present means “present of things present, the present of things past, and the present of things future”.

2. critical reflection
a. critical reason to evaluate the present
b. critical memory to uncover the past in the present
c. creative imagination to envision the future in the present


3. dialogue
a. dialogue begins with one’s self
b. telling and listening
c. disclosure and discovery for people involved


4. the Story
a. “By Christian Story I mean the whole faith tradition of our people however that is expressed or embodied”. (italics author) p.192


5. the Vision that arises from the Story
a. “I intend the metaphor Vision to be a comprehensive representation of the lived response which the Christian Story invites and of the promise God makes in that Story” p.193

GUIDELINES FOR DECISION MAKING IN A GROUP USING SHARED PRAXIS

1. consequences – resulting in making the Kingdom present and preparing for its arrival
2. continuity – with the Story before them
3. community/church – corporate discernment has greater reliability that individual ones.

SHARED PRAXIS IN PRAXIS: THE FIVE MOVEMENT

1. “The participants are invited to name their own activity concerning the topic for attention (present action)
2. They are invited to reflect on why they do what they do, and what the likely or intended consequences of their action are (critical reflection)
3. The educator makes present to the group the Christian community Story concerning the topic at hand and the faith response it invites (Story and its Vision)
4. The participants are invited to appropriate the Story to their lives in a dialectic with their own stories (dialectic between Story and stories)
5. There is an opportunity to choose faith response for the future (dialectic between Vision and visions)” p.207-208
 

|posted 5 July 2006|

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