Tag Archive: praxis


An effective social action will operate at a deeper level where the wrestling is with the loyalties, barriers and spells that rule a way of life and its institutions.  In such an arrangement no doubt occasions of public confrontation will arise.  When they do Christian action will have a symbolic or dramatic character, enforcing its deeper persuasions.  Early Christianity was more like guerilla theater than social revolution, but it overthrew principalities and powers.

A revitalised message comes out of drastic involvement in the life-options of the situation… there are many areas of solidarity with human scandal and many forms of private and costly wrestling with pervasive tyrannies old and new… but imaginative solidarity with our modern disorders informs all such resistance both public and private.  It is in this crucible that the powerful new rhetoric and witness are forged, and the revolution of images.

p. 27-29, Theopoetics

teilhard 2

THE SPIRITUAL PROBLEM (diagnosed for the Western church)

  1. Christian confession has rendered Christ as static figure
  2. Christ’s principal business is judgement
  3. Christ has become a law of life, instead of being a way of life
  4. Christ is portrayed as single, individual existent – static and absolute in space and time/ permanent and fixed
  5. The mystery of God has been locked into an externalised, single individual human person
  6. This individual, Jesus of Nazareth, has been rendered as the single individual superhero
  7. This reduces the rest of humankind as mere spectators to the divine drama
  8. The consequent doctrines of Original Sin and the Fall, have induced the Christian fixation on rescue religion and the need to be saved
  9. Which has created the radical and complete separation between God and creation

4 things:

  • Expansiveness, large heart
  • Decision to be faithful to the church despite harm – repeatedly blocked him from sharing philosophical writing
  • Church is about transformation not legalism
  • Vision is experiential – trusting his own experience

Mystical theology – full acknowledgement of revelation and full acknowledgement of personal experience across all sensory perceiving. Goal to be immersed in God like a drop in an ocean… guiding preoccupation with listening, personal experience of divine love… liberates!

Teilhard was a French palaeontologist and a Jesuit priest > stretcher-bearer “writings in time of war” Gave his spiritual works to a lay woman who published them! Teilhard was deeply distressed by the one sidedness of both science and religion, and by the unnecessary and tragic consequences of their bifurcation. .. devoted equal commitment to internal and external facts. His writing has had a profound effect on 20th century thinking across many disciplines: science, history, international development. Critiques: didn’t engage with other faiths, didn’t go ‘far enough’ into consciousness.

Genesis is an ongoing state of becoming > what is Christs role then? Christ is the driving loving energy of cosmogenesis. Teilhard: looking for Christ the evolver. Not King and Master outsider/adjudicator but Christ who fills and moves all things.

“By means of all created things, without exception,
the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us.
We imagine it as distant and inaccessible,
when in fact we live stepped in its burning layers.”

Evolution is the process if suffering > creation is groaning > has casualties. At cosmos and individual level (stars explode and new ones are born).

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves,
the tides and gravity,
we shall harness for God the energies of love,
and then, for a second time in the history of the world,
man will have discovered fire.”

‘to bear the sins of the guilty world’ means precisely, translated and transposed into terms of cosmogenesis, ‘to bear the weight of a world in a state of evolution. (Christianity and Evolution, p218-219)

The recognition that ‘God cannot create except evolutively’ provides a radical solution… to the problem of evil (which is a direct ‘effect’ of evolution), and at the same time explains the manifest and mysterious association of matter and spirit. (Christianity and Evolution, p179)

Christ must no longer be constitutionally restricted in his operation to a mere ‘redemption’ of our planet. (Christianity and Evolution, p241)

If a Christ is to be completely acceptable as an object of worship, he must be presented as the saviour of the idea and reality of evolution. (Christianity and Evolution, p78)

I can only be saved by becoming one with the universe. (The Heart of Matter, p78)

Development of consciousness – choice and decision-making > ethics

Something is wiped out and something else comes? Way we are broken open that are impelling is to grow. Earthquake – want to hold onto everything, for it to stay the same (building), cosmos says “No”, need to re-build, change, evolve. Progression vs. regression – want to lock it down to earlier ‘known’ state. Christianity wants to find a culprit, aggression and blame with preaching love that does not make sense to people outside the church. Not merely – sin will be made clean but an invitation to participate in the ascent of creation.

Have to experience something that will actually change us.
We are star dust.


Hubble Heritage Team/NASA/ES

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

 We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability –
and that it may take a very long time.

 And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually – let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own goodwill)
will make of you tomorrow.

 Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.”

Communities of Necessity


Reflections on “Making Space” – Pohl


  •  Keeping them
  • When to release others/ourselves
  • If viewed with scepticism then empty

Important to follow through on commitments that have been made – big or small – be explicit.

The practice of patience and accompaniment – what is the bigger picture we are all called to?

Commit to a slow process and working it out together.

Vanier – more I live in community life, most problems are never resolved but with time and listening stop being a problem… but there’s always another problem.

Listen. See it out in the open àlooks different.

Truth-teller to yourself – ask others to do that. What is the agenda? Is keeping the promise for me or for you?

Miss the value of what is different when we try and colonise.

Ability to listen and be brave – Andreana’s blog

Dewey – all communities will fail if they don’t have a single missional purpose.


Some of my most painful experiences in community (and most powerful and transformative experiences of grace) have been in realising a need to release myself or others of a commitment we have made – can you think of examples of this in your own life? are there ways to learn to recognise this sooner, for ourselves and others , to work for “making space” before there is hurt or a sense betrayal?

 What is the bigger picture we are called to? This is to love each other well – and sometimes that means letting go. Keeping people bound to us by a promise when we should release them can be selfish or even abusive. Using language that assigns blame for break down in this scenario can add layers to that if a person feels guilt for ‘breaking’ a promise and how that affects others. If you release someone from a promise that has a completely different feeling than them ‘breaking’ the promise because they may be in a position where they feel they have no other choice. Ask them, what is the bigger picture they are being called to? It may not be leaving/breaking to go FROM something but to go TO something. Loving one another well is hearing that and supporting it to happen. How many relationships are ending in divorce because it’s so hard to negotiate loving one another well and keeping the larger picture we’re called to in view over resisting change that challenges our own point of view of how things should be. “Commit to a slow process, working it out together. Listen. See it out in the open – looks different.”


What does it mean to be a “truth-teller” to yourself? ‘I am a good person.’ Is that true?

‘I am a generous person’

‘I am a selfish person’

‘I am a good friend’

Pick a statement, one of these or your own, and spend 3-5 mins writing or thinking about the answer. Argue it. Then take the opposing statement ‘I am NOT a good person’ and argue that. Is it black and white? How much does family of origin factor in to some of your practices and responses? Expectations of others and yourself?

Is keeping the promise for me or for you? Think about this in light of the above because our motivations aren’t always clear, to ourselves let alone others.

 You are you and I am me. I cannot expect, and should not try to change, you to respond in a scenario the way that I would myself. My way is not the right way it is just ‘my’ way. Try saying that aloud a few times “My way is not the right way…”

Reflections on “Making Space” – Pohl

Living into community

  • gratitude
  • keeping promises
  • speaking truth
  • hospitality

Cultivating the practices that sustain us.


Thou hast given me so much, give me one thing more… grateful heart – pulsing out beat of thankfulness for whatever is going on around you.

Communities that struggle are the most joyful > negro spirituals: deep pain, deep joy

We don’t know full stories – how our stories end, be happy with where we are.

Our gratitude is linked to expectations – for some people in the world to be given 3 meals a day > very grateful. Now we can eat whenever we want… it’s a given… a “norm”, we take it for granted and it will take something more/extra/different to be grateful again. Discipline of saying grace.

Have a choice to give out of our burden of wealth. Responsibility to share what we have.

Desire for things to be different vs. grateful for what we have > tension.

Where have we seen models/rituals/rhythms of gratitude done well? > noticing comes before gratitude.

  • Credo Tuesday Gathering and prayers
  • Lighting candles/prayers for others à physical actions
  • The Artists Way affirmations and dates – Julia Cameron
  • The OK line

ok line

Builds resilience
in the spectrum, not so bad
episode > moves
reflect, build confidence.


we share life together

we share life together
you and I
you know me and I know you
I try to tell you about my day
while we load the dishwasher, bathe the kids, clear the
table, sign the permission slip, find today’s
reader, break up the fight…
Are you listening to me?
I don’t feel heard.
I do things for you all the time
and you do them for me
we’ve been at this for a while
and we have our rhythms and habits…
do you think though, we could ask more often
“What do you need?”
I suppose I want to pick and choose
only being helpful in those ways
I like
we each need the reminder that
love finds a way
you know me and I know you
you and I
we share life together


Talitha Fraser



A community of this kind must be (a) consciously choiceful, (b) explicitly committed to and willing to be called to life in the Gospels, (c) open to change through the authentic living-out of its principles, and willing to be challenged to fuller Christian praxis, and (d) prepared to confront the patterns of the Commodity Form – injustice, manipulation, domination, dishonesty, escape – not only as they appear in the culture at large but also as they surface within the group itself.

…The continued intimacy of shared life which is open to new life, however, is one which necessarily entails the suffering of growth and of daily dying to immediate gratification, to the satisfaction of one’s clamoring ego, and to one’s defenses against self-revelation.

~ John F. Kavanaugh, S.J.

I will tell you something about stories
[he said]
They aren’t just entertainment
Don’t be fooled.
They are all we have you see.
All we have to fight off illness and death.

You don’t have anything if
you don’t have stories.
Their evil is mighty
but it can’t stand up to our stories.
So they try to destroy the stories.
Let the stories be confused or forgotten.
They would like that…
Because we would be defenceless then…

Leslie Marmon Silco – Ceremony

Stories are all we have – the hermeneutic approach of the Bartimaeus Institute.

Native Americans make storytelling dolls out of pottery – collecting the clay is a spiritual and mindful process, native plants and minerals are used for the colours and designs, shaped and smoothed by hand, sanded, slip coats applied and then hand polished – a lengthy and involved process.  These beautiful artworks generally depict an elder with children in their lap,  honouring the oral tradition of the culture, validating the importance of each persons voice in family/community and the importance of the role of storytellers in society for keeping awareness alive.

MLK once said: the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.  That is to say that we need to draw on the wisdom of tradition, history and our elders to better understand ourselves and the world in which we live.

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God.  It is the Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made God known (Greek: exegesato) – Jesus ‘decodes’ gives meaning to God.

Luke 10:25-30, 36f
A) What must I do to inherit eternal life?
B) What’s written in the Torah? How do you read it?
C) Love the Lord your God
D) Given right answer. Do this.
E) Who is my nieghbour?
F) Who was neighbour to the robbed man?
G) One who showed mercy.
H) Go and do it.

3 disciplines of interpretation: what stands? how do we read it? what do we do with it?

Who around you has stories you could be learning from?  Are you making space to hear them?
If you live a life trying to be like Jesus, what are the ways in which your life points to or gives meaning to God?
What ways does what you read influence/affect praxis in your life?

We need wisdom that is older, wider, deeper than we are – sacred stories provide that.  Listening to the old stories needs to be central to any expression of faith that is related to transformation. We need to have a practise of returning to the well of imagination.