“We want to be woke. We instinctually know that the system is broken, and life doesn’t work as it could or should. We long for a better way of seeing, and a better way of living. Jesus invites us into this better reality.” – Mark Scandrette
One doesn’t have to look very far to see that things are not the way our Creator intended them to be.
We inhabit an age where 1 in 4 young people are experiencing some form of mental illness, where the average age of first-exposure to pornography is 11 years old, where there are some 60 million displaced persons on the planet, where there is war, disease, famine, broken marriages, broken families, broken hearts. The system has faltered, and we are on a quest for healing and truth more so now than ever before.
We inhabit the age of a global generation, where ‘worlds apart’ is no longer a concept because of our ability to reach out to one another in a heartbeat. Yet it is an age where we are paradoxically the loneliest generation; logging in and out of our relationships with a password, vulnerability filtered, and a deepening sense of individualism. The system has faltered, and we are on a quest for belonging and authenticity more so now than ever before.
We inhabit an age of busyness, where ‘hurried sickness’ is an instigator of family breakdown, where the many things that tug-of-war our attention impairs our ability to engage with the larger story our Creator is writing us into. The system has faltered, and we are on a quest for peace and purpose more so now than ever before.
Healing, truth, belonging, authenticity, peace, purpose.
The human heart cries out for these things. We desire to engage with something real (#nofilter), something life-giving, purposeful and bigger than ourselves. We desire it, but nowhere near as much as our God does. His Word, this gift we have had for over 2,000 years, is His revelation of not only what He has done and promises to do, but what His heart aches for in this very present reality. This divine ache; it urges us to walk in the footsteps of His son Jesus, so closely in fact, that we are covered in the dust He upturns at every step.
So it begs us to ask: how would this world look if we all were to walk this closely behind Jesus, and truly be the hands and feet of what He said and did?
How do we do it?
How are we to live in between these times? On the tightrope between Jesus’ ministry on earth and his later coming?
How are we to live – in our workplaces, institutions and various communities – in a way so that the gap between what is and what is intended to be, begins to close?
1. Practice, as distinguished from theory.
2. A process whereby a lesson is enacted.
It is so easy to get stuck in our theories and comfortably ‘doing church’ at 10am on Sundays (with all the right intentions of course), yet in the process, forgetting that we carry the solution that our cities so desperately need.
Praxis is about putting hands and feet on our theories and walking them outside church walls, with the kind of faith that says – ‘wherever my hands and feet go today, therein lies the potential to inspire eternal impact.’
Praxis is loving our neighbour (Matthew 12), loving our enemies (Matthew 5), caring for the orphan and the widow (James 1), speaking up for the destitute (Proverbs 31), throwing dinner parties for the poor (Luke 14).
Praxis causes questions, excitement, mind renewal, disruption, even the occasional offence.
And the thing about Praxis is that it isn’t for the elite, the ’called’, those with a title, or in evident positions of leadership or influence. Jesus didn’t dominate the world with a franchised program model and a buzzing social media feed; he brought hope and change wherever he was at the time, with whatever he had in his hands at the time. If this is the model we are following, then Praxis is for all.
‘God has given each of you special abilities, be sure to use them to help people.’ (1 Peter 4:30)
When we enact, move, do – when we Praxis – light exposes darkness, we see creation in its truest form and this world as it was intended to be. Just imagine what we could witness if we, as an intentional community, walked the many teachings of Jesus out on a day-to-day basis.
Would weapons drop? Would politicians shake hands? Would persons of differing race and religion look one another in the eye?
Would relationships restore? Would the orphan have a home? Would there be enough to go around?
Praxis then, is surely love in action. And love in action, is surely the theme of our existence.
This Saturday 25th March, Thrive, in partnership with Fresh Hope Churches of Christ, are hosting a one-day conference for young adults to come together and unpack what it looks like to Praxis – to live in a way that bridges the divide between the way things are, and the way things are intended to be. Author, activist and speaker Mark Scandrette will be joining us all the way from San Francisco, and we would love you to join us as we gather and explore the myriad of ways that we can bring life, joy and hope to this world.
Click here to register (https://www.stickytickets.com.au/49051/praxis_young_adults_conference.aspx)
“Every act of love, gratitude and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support….every prayer…all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God into the new creation that God will one day make.” – NT Wright