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Shared Christian Praxis Unit MMIN 611 revised 1.8.09.

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Presentation on theme: "Shared Christian Praxis Unit MMIN 611 revised 1.8.09."— Presentation transcript:

1 Shared Christian Praxis Unit MMIN 611 revised

2 2 Contents of this file Intro to Tom Groome & SCP My experiecne with Groome Foreign elements in Groome’s Approache Movements of SCP

3 3 How do you... When preaching, how do you gain and keep listeners’ focused attention? In teaching-learning events, how do you facilitate appropriation of biblical truth by participants? Conduct yourself as a spouse? Parent? Friend?

4 4 An introduction to Thomas H. Groome’s Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education & Pastoral Ministry (The Way of Shared Christian Praxis)‏

5 5 My Experience with Tom Groome 3 courses at Boston College First rate scholar. Very personable. Good conversationalist. Engaging teacher. Innovative Roman Catholic educator.

6 6 Shared This approach to Christian teaching and ministry is dialogical. Participants engage in conversation with each other, as well as foster a conversation between their lives and the biblical text (Groome would say, “The Christian Story and Vision”).

7 7 Christian Not religious in general, but specifically Christian. Thus, the importance of “the Christian Story.”

8 8 Praxis Not theory apart from practice, nor practice apart from theory. Theory and practice melded together. Groome would also name experience as a vehicle of God’s revelation.

9 9 Foreign elements in Groome’s approach Praxis Epistemology Form, Inform & Transform Identity and Agency Ontology Conation (contrasted with cognition)‏ Christian Story and Vision Dialectical hermeneutic

10 10 Introduction to Shared Christian Praxis A style of doing ministry Championed by Thomas Groome Aims at transformation Based on a particular understanding of “knowing”

11 11 Groome advocates a way of knowing that is be broader than cognition (p. 8)‏ “Thus, and ontological turn in our pedagogy encourages educators to engage and form, inform and transform the very being of people in the world” (p. 8)‏

12 12 Purposes of Christian Religious Education For the Reign of God (14)‏ For Lived Christian Faith (18)‏ For the Wholeness of Human Freedom that is Fullness of Life for All (21)‏ Transformation of being

13 13 Thomas Groome on the Desired Outcomes of Ministry Ontology, not just Conation, not just cognition Ontological turn Identity and Agency

14 14 Key skill: question crafting and posing When approaching a teaching=learning event, rather than thinking in terms of “What am I going to tell them?, Think in term of “What am I going to ask them?”

15 15 Selections from Thomas H. Groome’s Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education & Pastoral Ministry

16 16 Sharing Faith, p.2 “I have been convinced for some time that the learning outcome for Christian religious education should be more than what the Western world typically means by “knowledge”; that it is to engage the whole “being” of people, their heads, hearts and life-styles, and is to form, inform and transform their identity and agency in the world.”

17 17 Sharing Faith, p.7 “…my hope is to contribute to broadening the philosophical foundations of Christian religious education beyond epistemology and people’s ways of ‘knowing’ to embrace ontology and people’s whole way of ‘being’ as human beings in the world.”

18 18 Sharing Faith, p. 8 The nature and purposes of Christian religious education require that we promote personal cognition as a critically reflective, dialectical and dialogical process that encourages a “right relationship” between knower and known in a community of discourse and that we broaden our concern beyond simply cognition. The incarnational principle that stands at the heart of Christianity demands a pedagogy that is grounded in and shapes people’s ontic selves – their identity and agency in the world. For instance, our aim is not simply that people know about justice, but that they be just, not only understand compassion but be compassionate, and son on. We are then, to attend to all the dimensions of human ‘being’ and articulate our most basic philosophical foundation and task as ontological rather than simply epistemological. We need to make an ‘ontological turn’ in the very foundations of Christian religious education.

19 19 Sharing Faith, p. 8 Thus an ontological turn’ in our pedagogy encourages educators to engage and inform, form and transform the very ‘being’ of people in the world. I sometimes use the term epistemic ontology to reflect our educational interest and to signal my central conviction that epistemology and ontology, ‘knowing’ and ‘being,’ should be united in the philosophical foundations of Christian religious education.

20 20 Sharing Faith, p. 9 The last term to be indicated briefly here is conation. I am prompted to revive this ancient term because it carries a holistic meaning. All education intends some learning outcome. When Christian religious education is ground in an “epistemic ontology,’ and treats people as ‘agent-subjects-in-relationship,’ the learning outcome effected includes but is more than what is typically meant by knowledge of cognition. Conation, I argue, is a more comprehensive term than cognition and more adequately names the earning outcome intended by CRE. For now, by conation, I mean what is realized when the whole ontic being of ‘agent- subjects-in-relationship’ is actively engaged to consciously know, desire, and do what is most humanizing and life-giving (i.e., “true”) for all. And for people who find the term too strange, I also use wisdom as a synonym for conation.

21 21 The desired outcome of SCP… Transformation of Being. Epistemology is ontological, rather than merely intellectual. What it means to “know” moves beyond cognition to identity and agency. (Groome: “conation”)‏

22 22 John 17:3 window And this is eternal life, that they know …

23 23 Epistemology “deliberate attention to the dynamics, sources, and reiliabiity of human knowing” (p. 7)‏ p. 36

24 24 Epistemological Terms Conation (p )‏ Cognition Ontology & ontological Being agents

25 25 A Primary Issue Dividing Epistemological Philosophies Mix of Reason (Rationalism) and Experience (Empericism)‏

26 26 A History of Epistemological Inquiry The gods know; humans know only if the gods reveal knowledge to them. Pre-Socratic philosophers (600 BCE): humans are agents of their own knowing. Sophists Skeptics - denied possibility of reliable knowledge Plato & Aristotle

27 27 Plato B.C.E. (Before the Common Era)‏ Experience is unreliable … Two kinds of Reality 1.the true and unchanging world of eternal ideas. 2.the changing/becoming world of objects in time and space 1.Therefore, sensory experience is an insufficient means of arriving at reliable knowledge.

28 28 History continued… Aristotle, p. 42

29 29 Some key passages in Sharing Faith Page 65 “Empiricism contains a central insight…” Page 82 “Let us note that even a text like the Scriptures…” Page 115 “Thus far I have proposed…”

30 30 What is your teaching style? How do you prepare for a teaching/learning event? What do you take into consideration? What pedagogical “moves” do you make while teaching? What do you hope happens as a result of your having taught?

31 31 Movements of SCP, pp Focusing Activity Movement 1: Naming/Expressing “Present Praxis’ Movement 2: Critical Reflection on Present Action (Through reason, memory & imagination) Movement 3: Making Accessible Christian Story and Vision Movement 4: Dialectical Hermeneutic to Appropriate Christian Story/Vision to Participants’ Stories and Visions Movement 5: Decision/Response for Lived Christian Faith

32 32 The Movements of SCP Focusing Activity M1 - Looking at Life M2 - Reflecting on Life M3 - Knowing our Faith M4 - Making the Faith our Own M5 - Living the Faith

33 33 Focusing Activity (pages 155 Focuses the teaching-learning event by asking participants to look at some aspect of their present praxis of some life (Groome would say, “Generative”) theme.

34 34 Four guidelines for effective focusing activities (pp ) 1.Turns people to attend to an aspect of present praxis that reflects the generative theme. 2.Engages participants; elicits their active participation. (aesthetics; physical; sensory; RC: “How will they participate?” 3.Establishes and creates a shared sense of “what this is about.” 4.Proposes a theme that is appropriate and manageable for the participants on this occasion in this context. RC: Three characteristics of a good icebreaker for small group use: Gets people talking. Gets people talking about something they already know about. Gets people talking about something they already know about that is related to the topic or theme for that particular teaching-learning event.

35 35 Movement 1: Expressing Present Praxis Looking at Life

36 36 Movement 2: Critical Reflection on Present Praxis Reflecting on Life using: Memory Reason Imagination

37 37 Movement 3: Making Accessible Christian Story & Vision Knowing our Faith

38 38 Movement 4: Dialectical Hermeneutic to Appropriate Christian Story/Vision to Participants’ Stories and Visions Making the Faith Our Own Christian Story = the way Christians in the past have understood and done this. Christian Vision = God’s hope for the ways this will be understood and done.

39 39 Movement 5: Decision/Response for Lived Christian Faith Living our Faith Calls participants to make a decision regarding future praxis (how they will now proceed in light of discoveries/learnings acquired in this teaching-learning encounter).

40 40 Reflections on SCP A natural approach, but not simplistic (149-50). A “public church” approach. An emerging approach (Basic Christian Communities, pp ). Groome claims it is a comprehensive approach to ministry (a way of preaching teaching, counseling, strategic planning, etc.)‏ Engages participants. Empowers participants. Builds community as participants share their stories and perspectives. Calls for decision; new action. (RC: nothing changes without new action)‏

41 41 Potential Problems of SCP Leading participants to dialogue about their present praxis, to critically reflect on it, to appropriate the Christian Story and Vision, and to discern new action from can require considerable time. Can you do all this in 45 minutes? Movement 4 assumes that My Story and the Christian Story interpret each other. This gives experience equal authority to Scripture.

42 42 What is your Hermeneutical Mix? Culture? Tradition? Scripture? Experience? Reason?

43 43 To say it another way… Looking at Life Reflecting on Life Knowing our Faith Making the Faith our Own Living our Faith See what is happening. Think critically about it. Hear God’s Word Decide how God’s Word could change us Live the Truth

44 Two places to begin: Text and Life 44

45 45 1. Begin with biblical text and move to experience. (Textual curriculum)‏ Advantage: Allows biblical text to set the curriculum and confront the participants. Disadvantage: The text does not always address the felt needs and concerns of the participants.

46 46 2. Begin with lived experience and move to a biblical text. (Topical curriculum)‏ Advantage Easier to engage participants because you are discussing what is important to them; their felt needs. Disadvantages: (1) If used alone, it is difficult to lead participants to a systematic knowledge of the Bible. (2) May not address the real needs of participants.

47 47 Curriculum Examples Serendipity Bible: NIV text with three types of questions in margin: Open, Dig, Reflect Larry Richards: Hook, Book, Look & Took Max Lucado’s curriculum Common pattern: Living  Text  Living When I preach…

48 48 Invites Transformation

49 49 Learning Exercise # 1 (Begin with lived experience and move to a biblical text). Choose a contemporary concern by taking inventory of what’s happening in the life of your participants (or, in personal study, your life). What is happening internally, interpersonally, internationally? What biblical texts address these concerns?

50 50 From Life to Text For each of the five movements of SCP, craft some question that will help participants to engage that particular movement. Create a focusing activity to introduce this theme.

51 51 Learning Exercise #2 (Begin with a biblical text and move to experience). Pick a biblical text (verse, chapter, or book). Determine an overarching emphasis of the text. This becomes your focusing theme. Begin to identify the connections between the theme of the text and contemporary experience.

52 52 From Text to Life For each of the five movements of SCP, craft some question that will help participants to engage that particular movement. Create a focusing activity to introduce this theme.


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