Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Cycle of Action and Reflection

By Larry Lindley

God no longer seems to part the seas or stop the sun so people can be slaughtered. God isn’t even needed any more to help us find a parking place. There’s an app for that.

So how does God work God’s will in the world today? Peter Hodgson suggests that it is through the praxis of believers. He writes that praxis is where God and history come together.

The concept is simple: praxis is a cycle of action and reflection. One acts, and then reflects on that action. If it is Christian praxis that we are talking about, the reflection is on both the effectiveness and the gospel faithfulness of the action. Then based on the reflection, new action is taken, which is again reflected upon, and so on.

Without action, reflection can be of little consequence in the real world, and without reflection, action can lead to burnout, or be misguided. We see everywhere today actions made in the name of Christianity that show evidence of little or no reflection.

The bible can be read as a set of dos and don’ts, but it is more accurately a book of stories, of the praxis of a people seeking God.

(The author  is a  Bread for the World advocate in Indianapolis.  He has a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Washington and a Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary, where he is currently an adjunct faculty member. He is an ordained American Baptist minister and retired home missionary)

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