Andy Crouch—Partner for Theology & Culture at Praxis
Andy Crouch shows us that redemptive work involves sacrifice.
Last session, Andy suggested that in order to change the world, we must first focus on how we become changed.
In this talk called "What is Redemption?," Andy proposes one of the ways that we become changed is by offering ourselves (and the work of our ventures) as living sacrifices, as Paul puts it in Romans 12. By giving up some of what we might claim so that others can flourish, we can more fully live out our calling as redemptive workers, leaders, creators, or entrepreneurs.
Through the biblical story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz, we learn how sacrifice creates space for us to join God in his work of restoration in the world, which is not about returning to a nostalgic vision of the past; nor is it about the pursuit of unlimited technological progress. Instead, God's mission of restoration is to free people from systems of bondage and vulnerability.
Jesus sacrificed himself so that we can be restored to him, and we continue this pattern of personal and organizational "sacrifice" on a much smaller level, so that our corner of the world can likewise be restored to him. This is what we mean when we say that "restoration through sacrifice" is the mark of redemptive work.
Andy delivered this talk at the Redemptive Imagination Summit, a gathering of the Praxis community to collaborate on creative responses to cultural, social, and market opportunities.
OPEN IN PRAYER
Re-CONNECT (10-15 min)
last time, we were prompted to ask ourselves this question between sessions: "What is god doing (in me and in the world)?" what intrigued, surprised, or inspired you as you reflected on this question?
WATCH (28 min)
REFLECT (3-5 min)
Spend a couple minutes in silence, praying and reflecting on the videos. Ask participants to jot down questions that were raised, significant points, where they felt encouraged or challenged by the Lord, etc.
DISCUSS (45 min)
1. andy suggests that entrepreneurial christians should see sacrifice as a critical element in their redemptive work. is this a new concept for you? How so?
how is this different from the way we normally talk about sacrifice in a work context?
2. though we normally think of sacrifice in extreme terms, andy says that sacrifice can be routine as well as radical. for example, boaz made sure the workers could glean to the edges of his fields, which brought them restoration because it gave them the dignity of work. some leaders make the routine sacrifice of tithing the profits from their business to nonprofits and churches, which also brings restoration through the work of those organizations.
can you think of another examples of routine sacrifice made in a work context by a leader you admire?
3. Andy says, "creative restoration ... is taking up all that has been lost and placed in bondage in the course of human history and offering it a new future. in some mysterious way, creative restoration most often comes through sacrifice: voluntary surrender of things that we could claim, that we could own. But instead, we offer and give up, in hope that the offering and giving will unlock the kind of creativity that we could never muster on our own." Do you have examples of this in your life, or in the lives of others you've seen?
4. andy says that we as humans hold onto two things: control and safety. when we willingly sacrifice something, we surrender our grip on these two things and turn them over to god. can you identify with this kind of surrender, or have you seen it in others?
what is one thing you could sacrifice or surrender that could loosen your grip on control and safety?
5. What are our "Bethlehems" today? What places, companies, or industries do you wish would embody a new narrative of restoration? consider what a small sacrifice might look like in one of those arenas.
PROTOTYPE (3 min)
experiment with some form of routine sacrifice—ideally relating to work—in the time before the next session.
END IN PRAYER
FINISHED THIS SESSION?
- Read The 2017 Praxis Community Letter to learn more about what we mean by Redemptive Entrepreneurship.