Praxis Collaborative & Journeys (Praxis) was conceived with two beautiful questions. Can something be created that really makes the world a better place for all living things? Will you labor with the gifts and resources you’ve been given to create that something which makes the world a better place? Of course, these are questions that I wanted to respond wholeheartedly in the affirmative, but it was not as easy to do as I had hoped.
Rather than obtaining clear cut answers in 2018, I received a mission and vision to embody Praxis. I believe I am being called to take a journey of growth through the vehicle of Praxis to make this world a better place. Praxis will help me become a whole human being, able to work with other human beings and the natural world, to bring Heaven to Earth, in all the places where Hell is found. This is way more than I bargained for when I started. I realize that I don’t have what it takes to make this all work out.
In the past, I jumped into this kind of effort full of confidence in my ability to just make things happen. I didn’t listen to anyone very much, except for those teachers who had all the right credentials or positional status in the church. I had all the answers, or at least I knew where I could get all the answers if I simply prayed earnestly and studied diligently enough. The Bible was the authoritative, inerrant Word of God and I was somewhat of a zealot, chosen to help change the world through the use of it.
Conservative evangelical Christianity taught me all this. It dominated my thinking for most of my adult life. It brought me a sense of order in a chaotic ever changing world. It gave me assurance that when I died I would go to heaven. It helped me get back on my feet after divorce. It gave me direction and moral certainty in a world that appears to be going to hell in a handbasket. It helped me partner with a loving wife to raise and provide for a blended family of five millennial children. I am grateful to the institution of conservative evangelical Christianity because it gave me a foundation upon which to grow up from a childlike faith.
But this childlike faith cannot empower me to embody a vision like Praxis. Praxis is supposed to help the world become a better place by promoting the transformation of individual and collective human consciousness, to be, as we are created, in the image and likeness of God. People who are transformed focus on the here and now. They work together in harmony to restore life sustaining and life enhancing ways of being for all on the planet. They do all they can to stop the life degrading and destroying systems and ways of being that currently dominate Earth.
Conservative evangelical Christianity is in a state of childlike faith. It is immature and has a lot of growing up to do. It seems to perpetuate racism instead of eliminating it. It seems to separate and divide or colonize people more than bring them together as one in Christ. It seems to take full advantage of an economic system that rewards a small group of people at the expense of the growing poor and huddled masses that Jesus called the “least of these”. It seems content to spend exorbitant amounts of money building storage barns in the form of mega churches, private Christian schools, and global colonizing nonprofit organizations, thus gaining the whole world, at the expense of losing its very soul. It seems to have fallen into the trap that Lord Acton warned about, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Becoming aware of all this has brought great disorder to my life. But a great teacher once said something to the effect that, “true spiritual transformation requires a process of order, disorder and reorder.”
Well, if that’s the case, I’m certainly on my way towards spiritual transformation. I have benefited tremendously from the order that conservative evangelical Christianity provided for me. But my life entered disorder as I became aware of the tremendous shortcomings of its immature faith and arrested development. Now, my faith is being reordered through the ancient mystical and contemplative ways of the great wisdom teacher, Jesus of Nazareth. I’m learning to live with power, love and great grace.
This was supposed to be a short post. I planned to talk about the journey above in more detail later, in the months to come, after explaining the core tenets of Praxis and how we’ll execute them in the world. However, all this spilled out.
So now, let’s get back on track, shall we. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing a little about each tenet of Praxis’ mission and vision and I invite you to comment and engage in the conversation about what it is supposed to be. After all, I envision it becoming a community and a collaboration of experiential learners doing life together across the planet to make this world a better place, filled with love, power and self-control. It is supposed to be a vehicle, a tool, that helps us give the gift of life sustaining and enhancing ways of being to all living organisms, as we transform by the renewing of our minds.
It’s a big, powerful and individually impossible, mission and vision that is way out of my comfort zone and control. I am making my plans, but I know some One, some Thing, is directing my steps, as biblical scripture and the poet David Whyte reveal to us:
What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.
I’m super excited about this. I am terrified, as well. This is how I know I’m right where I need to be. I hope you will join me.
Praxis Collaborative & Journeys Mission and Vision:
Promote Mindfulness and Transformation of Human Consciousness through Nature-based and Contemplative Practices, Adventure Travel, and Conversations Catalyzed by Beautiful Questions.
Wholeness, as envisioned by Howard Thurman’s poem:
Thou art made for wholeness,
Body, mind, Spirit: One creative synthesis
Moving in perfect harmony within, without
With fellow [humanity] and nature all around
To make Heaven where Hell is found.