Article | FROM INDIVIDUAL TO CORPORATE PRAXIS: A SYSTEMIC RE-IMAGINING OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION by Barbara Fleischer

From Individual to Corporate Praxis my annotated copy

ABSTRACT – While praxis-oriented educational methodologies have become nearly normative in adult Christian religious education, an individ­ualist framework still colors many of the approaches involved. Par­ticipants gather for reflection, but are sent individually for action in the world. Yet, the complexities of issues that Christians are called to address as agents of effective social transformation increasingly re­quire models of communal or corporate praxis in which communities engage together in action as well as reflection. This article explores the systemic perspective and disciplines of learning organizations as a framework for reimagining the role of religious educator as a catalyst of true communal praxis in congregations.

Only the concerted and networked effort of persons engaged in communal praxis will begin to make a difference in the face of the already well-organized social systems that currently drive the workings of contem­porary societies. Religious educators who embrace the aim of social transformation will thus need to focus on developing and resourcing communities in praxis rhythms who network with other communities for concerted action.

Individu­alism, embedded in the dominant culture of the United States, often creates an obstacle to envisioning and carrying out communal praxis, though persons may be able to see the calls for social transforma­tion and outreach found throughout the Scriptures and later Christian writings. The flesh seems to be weak in many U.S. contexts for moving toward concerted action for justice.

From a learning organization (or learning congregation) perspec­tive, religious educators will not be primarily focused on transmitting the faith to individuals nor on forming faith-sharing communities, but rather on helping congregations actualize their shared vision of mission by learning and increasing their capacity for wise, intentional, and bib­lically informed action.