Christian Religious Education: Sharing Our Story and Vision

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Title: Christian Religious Education: Sharing Our Story and Vision.

Author: Groome, Thomas H.

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Part I. The Nature of Christian Religious Education

1. Education in Time

  • Education: "The English word comes from the Latin ducare (and its cognate ducere), meaning "to lead," and the prefix e, meaning "out." At its root meaning, then, education is an activity of "leading out."
  • Three dimensions or points of emphasis can be discerned in "leading out": 1) a point from which, 2) a present process, and 3) a future toward which the leading out is done.

2. A Coming to Terms

Part II. The Purpose of Christian Religious Education

3. Education for the Kingdom of God 4. For Christian Faith 5. For Human Freedom

Part III. The Context of Christian Religious Education

6. On Becoming Christian Together

Part IV. An Approach to Christian Religious Education: Shared Praxis

  • 7. In Search of a "Way of Knowing" for Christian Religious Education
  • 8. Some Philosophical Roots for a Praxis Way of Knowing

9. Shared Christian Praxis

  • Christian religious education by shared praxis can be described as a group of Christians sharing in dialogue their critical reflection on present action in light of the Christian Story and its Vision toward the end of lived Christian faith.
  • five main components in Christian education by shared praxis, These are: 1) present action, 2) critical reflection, 3) dialogue, 4) the Story, and 5) the Vision that arises from the Story.
  • Present Action
    • It means our whole human engagement in the world, our every doing that has any intentionality or deliberateness to it. Present action is whatever way we give expression to ourselves. It
    • Thus while critical reflection is primarily on the self, it is ultimately on the social context by which the self comes to its self-identity. means our whole human engagement in the world, our every doing that has any intentionality or deliberateness to it. Present action is whatever way we give expression to ourselves.
    • I intend the word present here to have the meaning I gave it in Chapter 1 the present of things present, the present of things past, and the present of things future.
  • Critical Reflection
      • Critical Reason to Evaluate the Present
      • Critical reflection is an activity in which one calls upon 1) critical reason to evaluate the present, 2) critical memory to uncover the past in the present, and 3) creative imagination to envision the future in the present.
      • Critical reflection, then, is first an attempt to notice the obvious, to critically apprehend it rather than passively accept it as "just the way things are.
    • Critical Memory to Uncover the Past in the Present
      • With the activity of memory critical reflection becomes a reflection upon one's reflection, a process of remembering the source of one's thinking.
      • The purpose of naming our present and knowing our story is that we may have so freedom to imagine and choose our future.
    • Creative Imagination to Envision the Future in the Present.
      • The reason we attend to the present and the past is that we may intend the future. But intending the future requires imagination; otherwise the future will be little more than repetition of the past.
      • Critical reflection, then, requires the exercise of reason, memory, and imagination. I hasten to add that such are the predominant but not exclusive concerns of each dimension. All three are necessary for attending to the past, the present, In critical reflection on present action (praxis) the exercise of creative imagination is an expression of hope.
      • One cannot remember one's own story dispassionately, nor choose a future action without appetite to move the will.
      • I intend critical, instead, in the sense I have previously described as a dialectical critique. A dialectical critique affirms what is good and true in present action, recognizes its limitations, ind attempts to move beyond it.
  • Dialogue
    • In a shared praxis approach to Christian religious education the participants' critical reflections on their present action as Christians are shared in dialogue within the pedagogical setting.
    • Dialogue is an essential part of the catechesis. In fact, the whole content and process of a shared praxis approach is to be dialogical.
    • Two essential activities are constitutive of dialogue, telling and listening
    • When dialog involves authentic expressing/listening activity, then the consequences are both disclosure and discovery for the people involved.
    • Dialogue is different from discussing. authentic dialogue presupposes "critical thinking"
    • However, when our reflective activity is in response to the Christian Story and then our praxis is specifically Christian.
  • The Story
    • Story is NT a simple narrative
    • By Christian Story I mean the whole faith tradition of our people however that is expressed or embodied.
    • The term Story is intended as a metaphor for all such expressions of our faith tradition as they are all part of our Christian Story.
    • If we are to know God and find salvation in our present, we must remember the Story of that faith community.
  • The Vision
    • By Vision, then, I mean the Kingdom of God, God' Vision for creation.
    • Story and Vision are not separate realities, but two aspects of the same reality. The Story is the Story of the Kingdom; the Vision is the Vision of the Kingdom. The Vision is our response to and God's promise in the Story, and the Story is the unfolding of the Vision.
    • the educator has the responsibility of ensuring that the Story is encountered and its Vision proposed.
  • Present Dialectical Hermeneutics
    • Hermeneutics The science of interpretation
    • Present - In this hermeneutical context I mean by present the time of our existence in which the consequences of the past and the possibilities of our future reside.
    • Dialectical - Dialectical. In the context of present hermeneutics a dialectical relationship has three united but discernibly different moments, and they are not easily named. The most helpful terms for the three moments may be affirming, refusing, and moving beyondr.

10. Shared Praxis in Praxis

  • Five recognizable pedagogical movements -
    1. The participants are invited to name their own activity concerning the topic for attention (present action).
    2. They are invited to reflect on why they do what they do, and what the likely or intended consequences of their actions are (critical reflection).
    3. The educator makes present to the group the Christian community Story concerning the topic at hand and the faith response it invites (Story and its Vision).
    4. The participants are invited to appropriate the Story to their lives in a dialectic with their own stories (dialectic between Story and stories
    5. There is an opportunity to choose a a personal faith response for the future (dialectic between Vision and visions).
    • First movement: Naming the present action.
      • The first movement is an invitation to the participants to name their present action in response to the particular focus of the unit.
      • Opening question
      • When the group is attending to a particular belief, I usually begin with a question like "What is your own understanding of [the belief]?" If an ethical issue or some Christian practice is being dealt with, I begin by inquiring how they presently respond to that issue in the
      • The important task is to elicit a personal statement on present action rather than a statement of theona based on what "they say"
    • Second movement The participants stories and visions.
        • OnIn this sense the movement is the participants' becoming aware of their own stories and visions as they are expressed in present action. "why we do what we do and what our hopes are in doing it" as related to the topic for attention
        • Questions -
    • Third Movement The Christian community story and vision
      • This is the most obviously catechetical movement in the process. It is the 'echoing," the handing down, of what has come to us over our past pilgrimage
      • is to end with a sattement such an that is my understanding of the tradition on this topic. What do you think?"
    • Fourth movement - Dialectical Hermeneutic Between the story and participants' stories
      • The fourth movement is a critique of the Story in light of the stories and a critique of the participants' present stories in light of the past Story.
    • Fifth Movement - Dialectical hermeneutic between the vision and participants' visions.
      • The intention for the fifth movement is to critique the visions embodied in our present action in the light of the Vision of God's Kingdom and to decide on future action that will be an appropriate response to that Vision.
  • General reflections on using shared praxis.
    • Variation and sequence
    • Timing and shared praxis
    • The environment of shared praxis
    • Emotional environment - The whole atmosphere of the gathering needs to be one of welcome, warmth, and openness.
    • Physical environment -
  • The relationship of Theology to Christian religious education
    • Christian theology, in the strictest and most technical sense of the term, is the discipline that articulates an understanding of the meaning of God in our lives based on an in-depth and systematic investigation of both the Christian faith tradition and the lived experience of people.
    • These three sources—magisterium, scholars, and the "sense of the faithful"—cooperate in mutual dialogue, support, and correction in a Church where all God's people are part of the ecclesia docens as well as the ecclesia discens.
  • Liturgy and the shared praxis approach Christian liturgy and education both have their own primary purpose, and for each this purpose should remain primary. Liturgy is to enable people to ritualize and express together in worship their relationship with God. Christian religious education is to sponsor people in Christian faith and human freedom.

Part V. Readiness for Christian Religious Education by Shared Praxis

11. Shared Praxis from a Piagetian Perspective

Part VI. The CoPartners in Christian Religious Education

12. Our Students, Our Selves Postscript: Until Break of DayBibliographyIndex

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