Developing a Redemptive IMagination
Though we may want to change the world, we often begin with a superficial understanding of what is shaping our imagination for the work we are trying to do in the world. This 3-part mini-course begins with Dave Blanchard who explores how we develop an alternative imagination of the future, in order to foreshadow the Kingdom to come through our work. Then, philosopher, professor, and author James K.A. Smith helps us understand the relationship between what we worship, what we love, and what we do. Last, we hear from author and professor Steve Garber, who connects our desire to change the world with our vocation as image bearers, seeing ourselves as responsible and implicated to advance the common good.
AN ALTERNATIVE IMAGINATION
// DAVE BLANCHARD
“The future of culture depends largely on the worldview of the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
That’s a perspective we often find ourselves sharing as we tell people about the reason we do what we do at Praxis. Dave Blanchard, CEO and Co-Founder of Praxis, shares from the conviction that entrepreneurs are culture makers, artists of a unique flavor that paint on a blank corporate canvas, which gives them an incredible platform to create new visions of the larger construct of the world. For this reason, we must approach innovation with an intentional theological, cultural, and entrepreneurial lens, so we can discover a “way to live” for each of us as creators made in the image of God, the Imago Dei.
Worship & IMagination
// Jamie Smith
Professor, philosopher, author, and Praxis mentor, James K. A. Smith, shows the linkage between the "liturgies" (rhythms, rituals, and practices) of our lives, our imagination, and what we create. We are what we love; we might not love what we think; we make what we want.
He argues that worship is the "calibration technology" that God has provided to shape our hearts and minds to love what is good, and therefore to create what is good.
Vocation & Responsibility
// Steve Garber
Dr. Steven Garber is professor of marketplace theology at Regent College in Vancouver and the director of the Program in Leadership, Theology and Society. In his work as the principal of the Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture, his work focused on the meaning of vocation for the common good.
Steve has made a life's work of understanding how people sustain their vocational energy and integrity over the long haul. In this meditation on vocation and responsibility, he explains and illustrates how meaningful lives are sustained by paying attention to the health of our worldview, our mentors, and our community.
This mini-course is about the way we use the power (or influence) we hold in our lives—and nearly all of us do have influence in some sphere. While the world’s “power-over” strategy is characterized by control and dominance, Jesus demonstrated a “power-under” strategy characterized by humility and sacrificial service. In this two-session mini-course with Andy Crouch (Author and Praxis Partner) and Peter Greer (CEO of Hope International), you will learn that the power we have been given was intended for us to serve others for their good and flourishing, not for our own benefit. When we rediscover this truth about the relationship between power and service, we strengthen our impact, our community and ourselves in the process. These sessions are essential to the vision for redemptive entrepreneurship, which is all about leveraging personal and organizational power for the sake of others, while leading and growing ventures that join God in the renewal of all things.
Authority & Vulnerability
// Andy Crouch
True human flourishing requires the stewardship of power, which Andy Crouch defines here as equal parts of authority and vulnerability. Though we might naturally think that flourishing consists of maximum authority (capacity for meaningful action) with the least possible vulnerability (exposure to meaningful risk), that's not the way God has created us. We need both authority and vulnerability to fulfill our purpose and participate in his redemptive work in the world.
In this talk based on his book Strong and Weak, Andy (Partner for Theology & Culture at Praxis) points us to Jesus as the ultimate example of living in full authority, as the son of God, and full vulnerability, in dying on the Cross. He shows us how we can be more faithful image-bearers as we steward our power in our leadership in general—and in our entrepreneurial journey in particular.
The Spiritual danger of doing good
// Peter Greer
The vast majority of social entrepreneurs begin their journey of service and mission with the best of intentions. Peter Greer, CEO of microfinance development organization Hope International and Praxis Venture Partner, discovered that despite all the care he took to guard his heart and practices against selfish motives and misusing his own power, he was prone to "self-centered service.”
In this talk, Peter contrasts the marks of self-centered service with the marks of true service for the sake of others.
One of the largest temptations that entrepreneurs, innovators and creators will face in their work and life is doing good things for the wrong motives. In this three-session mini-course, Andy Crouch, Pastor Jon Tyson and entrepreneur Will Haughey address issues of comparison, identity, contentment, intimacy with God, and how to redefine our work success in terms of faithfulness rather than in terms of specific outcomes.
How (not) to Change the world
// Andy Crouch
Andy Crouch is the Partner for Theology & Culture at Praxis and has profoundly shaped the thinking behind The Praxis Course.
In this talk, Andy addresses the widely-held ambition to "change the world" that comes from our creative calling as God's image bearers. He explains four incomplete ways that Christians have responded to culture (condemn, critique, copy, consume). Then he confronts us with our limitations in creating change - even within ourselves - and offers three ways to pursue true transformation and take on our creative calling as image bearers.
Results May Vary
// Jon Tyson
Jon Tyson, Praxis spiritual director, pastor, and ministry entrepreneur, contrasts our typical definition of success with Jesus' definition. In this talk he looks at the story of "the seventy-two" who were sent out by Jesus in Luke 10. When they exulted in the fact that the demons submitted to them, he rebuked them and showed them what it meant to "rejoice that your names are written in heaven." In his remarks, Jon Tyson offers a way for Christ-following entrepreneurs to order their lives to be faithful and fruitful in the long run.
Jon applies this passage to our need to compare ourselves and our accomplishments with others. He argues that this is possibly even more problematic for entrepreneurs; and he shows us the power of contentment, faithfulness, and intimacy with God—independent of results.
The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship
// Will Haughey
Will Haughey, co-founder of Tegu and Praxis Venture Partner, addresses the internal turmoil he experienced while building his venture and how it reframed his understanding of the identity of the entrepreneur. As he opens up about the struggles of entrepreneurship, Haughey encourages us with ways that the Christ-following entrepreneur can face them with grit and grace.