Shared Praxis: A Pedagogy of Hope for Public Theology

texto de Clarence Joldersma

Calvin College

“Who is so foolishly curious as to send his son to school to learn what the teacher thinks?”

–Augustine, De Magistro

Paulo Freire has recently suggested that “hope is an ontological need” (1994, p. 8). He suggests that human existence, especially in the struggle to improve it, fundamentally requires hope. It is a necessary condition, an ontological ground, for the possibility of transforming the world into a more equitable place. People need “possible dreams,” even (or especially) in adverse circumstances. Consequently, according to Freire, the central task of an educator “is to unveil opportunities for hope, no matter what the obstacles may be” (1994, p. 9). For Freire, good pedagogy fundamentally ought to be an enterprise of hope oriented to the socio-cultural context in which that education takes place. Education thus ought to be viewed primarily as a public, cultural activity and “teachers as cultural workers” (Freire 1998). What follows is an exploration of a pedagogical approach that, by being a pedagogy of hope for present society, can contribute to successfully accomplishing the public mission of religiously affiliated educational institutions.

Essential to that public mission is “doing” public theology with our students, something that centrally involves unveiling hope with our students for the public realm. In this essay I describe a pedagogical approach, shared praxis (Groome 1980, 1991), that I believe is particularly well suited for educating for public theology and thus is an excellent way of unveiling hope. My description follows closely each of Groome’s five elements or movements of shared praxis. Each element is described, including its appropriateness for doing public theology. Then I explain why that movement is essential for doing public theology and how it is good pedagogy. Along with these reasons are philosophical rationales for why we ought to include the various elements of shared praxis in our pedagogy. Finally, I explore how this approach to teaching can be considered what Freire calls a pedagogy of hope.

In order to situate this pedagogy of hope for public theology, I would like first to clarify my use of the terms “public” and “public theology”. I take the notion of public to be a space for conversation between people from various traditions, a sphere for discourse about common issues and problems with an eye to forming a common mind and action (Taylor 1995, p. 259). As such, the notion of public does not refer primarily to official positions and public pronouncements about socio-political issues of social institutions such as schools, churches, or governments, but to a space for conversation located (metaphorically) outside of these formal declarations: “It is a space of discussion which is self-consciously seen as being outside power” (Taylor, 264). Instead of being the realm of official pronouncements, the notion of public here refers to the space for more informal conversations that concern the public good. Of course, that doesn’t preclude these public discussions from occurring in institutional settings; in fact, that is often exactly where it does take place. However, I would maintain the “public” is located on the periphery or outside of formal positions and pronouncements of those institutions.

The realm of ‘the public’ is not monolithic or uniform, but a complex “constituted by open conversations, plural discourses, and diverse communities” (Tracy 1992, p. 5). The public as a form of society is actually constituted of many spaces for discussion, which, though connected, have a relative distinctiveness based on interest, language and participants. Taylor suggests that there are “topical” public spaces, regional areas of conversation that are nevertheless public, which in turn contribute to a “metatopical” public realm in which they are nested. For example, the academy can be considered a topical public space. Since a central feature of the mission of academic institutions ought to be that they exist for the common good, the conversations that occur there can be thought of as taking place in a public arena. There are three senses in which this is so. First, the conversations that constitute academic disciplines, such as biology or history, are public arenas. Secondly, applications of insights and knowledge of a discipline are public when they have a focus on issues concerning the common good. Therefore, thirdly, the act of teaching and learning in academic classrooms themselves ought to be regarded as topical public spheres, spaces where the pedagogical conversation focusses forming common understandings and actions. However, to work towards a truly Freirean pedagogy of hope, those topical conversations in the classroom ought ultimately to be aimed towards the dialogue of the metatopical public space.

Public theology generally involves employing the theological symbols of a religious tradition in the public realm (Tracy 1992, p. 25). As such public theology is the attempt to contribute the resources of a theological tradition to the well-being of society by bringing them into the public conversation about common issues and actions. For example, a Roman Catholic tradition might contribute a “pervasive appreciation of the sacramental principle” (Hellwig 1997, p. 17), a Lutheran tradition might contribute a “two kingdom” theology and “Luther’s emphasis upon Christian service in the secular kingdom” (Solberg 1997, p. 78), a Wesleyan/Holiness tradition might contribute “social holiness” theology and its idea of “holiness outreach to those in need” (Stanley & Stanley 1997, p. 317), and a Mennonite tradition might contribute a “vision of discipleship” and its idea of human being “the agency of God’s reconciling love in the world” (Sawatsky 1997, p. 195). These examples suggest, on the one hand, that various theological traditions have distinctive contributions to make to public dialogues, and that without them something might well be missing from the public realm. On the other hand, these examples show that theological resources brought to the discussion have “public” possibility. Both of these features are important for public theology as such.

Public theology is not just any old theological discussion that happens to have been overheard in public. Instead, it most naturally fits with a particular definition of religion. Religion has often been thought of as a private affair practiced solely with a concern for personal values and fulfillment, leaving the public political and social aspects of life unexamined (Davis 1992, p. 166). In this, religion is thought of as something private along side and outside of society and culture, an optional extra exercised by those people ‘with faith’. In this case theological discussions will remain couched in exclusivist ‘in-house’ terms and encapsulated within a private domain. Of course, even on this conception of religion, there can be a kind of public theology, but it would likely be a matter of public witness either vocalized in the exclusivist terms of the private religion or structured as alternative communities of faith. This ‘public’ theology, however, does not contribute much to the public conversation as such, for it is not offered as a element of any dialogue per se. I would suggest a robust public theology requires a different conception of religion. Rather than focussing it narrowly on ‘belief in God’ or some other substantive definition of religion, I’d like to suggest that religion ought to be construed more broadly and functionally, “as the symbol that provides a ‘total’ world interpretation, the myth that relates people to the ‘ultimate’ conditions of their existence” (Baum 1980, p. 27). Religion then is located in the realm of ultimate concern as human responses to the deepest questions of life. On this broad definition, everyone is religious, whether they articulate this or not. Everyone has a comprehensive framework of basic beliefs as answers to these ultimate concerns, whether or not they are articulated, that shape how to live and think about the world. This set of basic beliefs could be called a ‘basic theology’. Articulating one’s basic theology, critically examining it, showing its relation to a larger faith tradition, debating its truth, exploring how it can help clarify non-theological issues, and exploring how it can lead to human flourishing can then all be claimed as doing public theology.

The above functional definition of religion creates the possibility of a genuine religious pluralism in which, for example, “Christians must recognize themselves as one religious voice among others in the public conversation” (Thiemann 1992, p. 39). On this more level playing field, public theology can then be a natural and necessary part of the dialogue about social and cultural issues, in part because it frames these discussions in a religious perspective. A public theology then becomes a deliberate attempt to make apparent the “profoundly public import of religious commitment” (Himes & Himes 1993, p. 4). A truly effective public theology becomes public when the basic theology of an individual or a religious tradition contributes to the public conversation about the well-being of society using terms understood by those do not share that basic theology or are not part of that religious tradition.

The mission of religiously affiliated educational institutions ought to include a public concern and thus a public theology. Historically this has been true. Marsden (1994) has pointed out (exhaustively!) that almost all of the educational institutions founded by various religious traditions in the United States viewed their task as working for the public good. Hughes & Adrian (1997) provide key examples of religiously grounded institutions who currently see their particular religious affiliation as a resource to draw on for the public good. For example, Calvin College, part of the Reformed tradition, views its mission in these terms, contending that “the classroom is a context for looking outward, for equipping students with an understanding of the world in which they live and for bringing a redemptive message to that world” (Bratt et al. 1996, p. 25), a mission informed by the Christian theological triad of creation, fall, redemption (Wolterstorff 1987, p. 12). Classroom activity of religiously affiliated institutions ought to exhibit a concern for the public and ought to attempt to develop a public theology as a way of engaging the public sphere. Generally, religiously affiliated institutions that see their task in terms of participation in the public realm often wish to bring to the classroom the heritage of the particular tradition to which they are related. Furthermore, they might wish their students to grapple with their own basic theologies in the context of that heritage. Thus also the classrooms of these institutions can be regarded as public, part of a topical public space of conversation even while discussing the implications of theological symbols for an academic discipline or for the metatopical public realm. That is, these classrooms can be viewed as topical public arenas where students ought to have the opportunity to develop a metatopical public theology, one that is part of the public conversation at large, in the context of the theological heritage of the educational institution.

Of course, different religiously-affiliated institutions face different challenges in this regard. Some have a highly homogeneous population of students, largely from a particular religious tradition. Others face an extremely heterogeneous grouping of students, drawn from a wide variety of denominational affiliations. Still others have a significant segment of students who come from no discernable religious tradition at all, counting themselves as nonreligious. Compounding this complexity is that many students, regardless of tradition, see religion as something private, separate from the public realm, and an optional extra that certain people have and not others. Yet, for whatever reason, all of these students have chosen a religiously affiliated institution of higher learning that includes in its mission doing public theology. Thus, given the mission of the school, educators in these religiously-affiliated institutions face the similar overall pedagogical challenge of helping students develop a public theology. This may include several prongs: getting the students to recognize that they each have a (perhaps implicit) basic theology, having them critically evaluate that theology in light of a theological heritage, providing opportunity to explore public implications of their theology for an academic discipline, soliciting students to engage in conversation with other basic theologies that are different from their own, and inviting students to speculate how their theology can be an important ingredient in public conversations about socio-cultural issues and problems. What sort of pedagogy might be appropriate for these differing sorts of tasks?

By pedagogy I mean “a way of being with people” as a teacher (Groome 1991, p. 295). I use the notion of pedagogy to pinpoint an underlying attitude and strategy rather than the particular methods of teaching one might employ to enact the pedagogy. Thus I mean a way of being with students that lies behind methods such as lectures, group discussions, projects, papers, role-playing, socratic questioning, journaling, and reading. I see Groome’s Freirean pedagogy of hope as a style of encountering students that seeks to honor them as “historical subject-agents” (Groome 1991, p. 295). It is a way of informing students’ beliefs and empowering them to transform themselves and the world. How ought we to be with our students if we are to raise the possibilities of a public theology with our students? What sort of pedagogical features will help foster public theology with our students?

I’d like to suggest that Groome’s pedagogical approach of shared praxis is especially well suited for doing public theology as defined above. He describes shared praxis as “a group of Christians sharing in dialogue their critical reflection on present action in light of the Christian Story and its Vision towards the end of lived Christian faith” (Groome, 1980, p. 184). The five elements that Groome identifies, often called movements to illustrate their dynamic character, form an exciting strategy for doing public theology in our classrooms, not only ones in theology but also those in chemistry, environmental science, english and history. Although there is a logic to their order, they are not meant as a step-by-step recipe (method) for teaching (i.e., do step one, then step two, and so on). Instead, the various movements or elements might intertwine, loop back, or occur simultaneously in the classroom. However, for conceptual reasons I’d like to explore each one separately, showing why it is important for and effective in fostering public theology.

Articulating Present Action

One element of shared praxis is an invitation to the students to express or articulate either their own or their society’s “present action”, namely, the attitudes, beliefs and actions that their society or they themselves hold on a particular issue or topic. In Groome’s original application, this usually focuses on asking the students to express what they believe or know about a particular doctrine, symbol or practice of the Roman Catholic church, such as the practice of confession, the sacrament of communion or the doctrine of Christ. This movement may not be part of an efficient way to catechize or indoctrinate a ‘private’ theology; however, if Tracy is right that ‘public’ inevitably involves conversation, then articulating present action is certainly a crucial step in doing public theology. Unlike the banking education that Freire (1970) is critical of, public theology’s emphasis on conversation needs a pedagogy that honors the student as a dialogical subject and thus requires students’ self-perceptions as a key ingredient.

Although this movement can be enacted in the classroom in many ways, for public theology it most effectively includes a questioning stance. For example, an educator might ask his or her students to articulate what religious symbols might possibly have some import on a particular public issue under discussion. Or, students might be asked what they themselves believe to be the ultimate meaning or significance that frames a particular state of affairs. Alternatively, an educator might ask his or her students to express what they believe to be their religious tradition’s understanding of symbols such as Kingdom of God, creation, grace or redemption as they bear on a conversation in class. Concretely, this might be facilitated by a general class discussion or by asking students to write a short essay outlining their own understanding. Or it might involve a cooperative education activity such as “think/pair/share” (Johnson & Johnson 1994) in which students jot down their own basic beliefs and share it verbally with a partner. Overall, the point of this movement for public theology is an invitation to uncover the participants’ own experience and understanding, their own “consciousness” of either the theological symbols of a tradition or their own basic theology. This element is crucial regardless of whether or not the students can actually identify a tradition’s religious symbols and whether or not they are part of an identifiable religious tradition, because the point of this element is to involve the students’own basic beliefs, attitudes, and actions. As Plato already suggested, learning always begins from what is known by the students.

This movement is crucial for a pedagogy aimed at doing public theology in a classroom. I would argue that uncovering theological resources for public discussion–whether that be for an academic issue in a discipline or a socio-cultural issue outside the academy–ought to begin with the student’s own articulations of theological resources at hand. Because doing public theology in a classroom ought to involve students’ basic beliefs and actions for their own conversation in the public realm, it is crucial that the theological resources not be summarily imposed by experts onto students. Students should articulate their own theological understandings to whatever level of sophistication (or ignorance) this might be. The crucial aspect of this pedagogical movement is recognizing that students ought to articulate these things themselves; no one can do it for them. If they are to take ownership of a public conversation, the educator cannot do the work for them at the front of the classroom.

This is because humans are historically-situated beings, as Freire never tires of mentioning. Both teachers and students are beings bounded by finite perspectives. If the enlightenment view of humans as time-transcendent rational minds were right, then this pedagogical movement might not be necessary. “Disengaged selves” (Taylor 1989) might be able to transcend individual, finite starting points and, by means of Reason, understand the essential meanings of theological symbols abstractly. For that there might be no need to build on the personal experiences and understandings of the students; abstract analysis and argumentation would be the only requisite activities. However, the more recent retrieval of a holistic anthropology makes Groome’s first movement crucial pedagogically. This anthropology holds that humans are historical, finite, perspectival and essentially embodied. The existing self is a bodily, historical participant in the world first of all, and only secondly a reflective being that might momentarily withdraw from that participation. There is no method that leads to an absolutely transcendent stance, a “view from nowhere” (Nagel 1986). It follows then that the students with whom we aim to develop public theologies and deliberate responsible social actions are in fact historical and finite agent-subjects. There is no a priori or transcendent starting point for the educative process, but only the students’ own historical situatedness, their own de facto understandings of the public import of theological symbols in their socio-cultural situation. Part of that historical setting translates pedagogically into having students articulate their own understandings of the theological resources that might be drawn from a historical tradition in developing a public theology. Freire’s dialogical model is peeking through here.

Good pedagogy always involves looking out for the good of the student (Van Manen 1991, p. 43). This means that students need direction and guidance from educators in the activity of doing public theology. But if students are indeed historical, finite beings and public theology crucially involves conversation, then giving direction ought to include having the students make connections themselves. The pedagogical guidance of this movement, then, is requiring students to articulate the starting points for these connections. In teaching for public theology, therefore, educators ought to include regularly the students’ own historically-situated basic beliefs. Only by asking the students themselves to articulate their own basic theological starting points will it be likely that the student will form a personally and deeply held public theology; only then will students be able to connect genuinely theological symbols and public concerns or issues. The first movement of shared praxis, thus, provides the platform from which genuine learning begins and from which doing public theology ought to start.

Critical Reflection

A second element of shared praxis Groome calls “critical reflection”. This is encouraging students to critically reflect on their own beliefs, attitudes and actions. In Christian religious education, Groome’s original application of shared praxis, this means asking probing questions about why a theological symbol might be perceived by the student in a particular way and from where the student might have obtained their ideas. It includes asking where the interpretation came from, what its validity might be and what alternative readings might exist. Critical reflection might include uncovering inconsistencies in thinking, attitudes and actions. This movement supports and complements the first one by revealing the historical influences that have shaped the students’ understanding of a particular religious symbol (or even exploring their relative ignorance of that symbol). It involves trying to unearth the sources of our students’ understandings and to recognize the assumptions on which they are based. Groome means for students and teacher to uncover and discover together the personal and socio-cultural sources of the “present action” and the consequences of those positions.

This movement also is important particularly for public theology. Thiemann suggests that “any appeal to hidden or private sources of authority or justification is inappropriate for a genuinely public theology” (Thiemann 1991, p. 20). That suggests that crucial to a pedagogy appropriate for public theology is a critical reflection on the theology itself. Unlike a more unreflective memorization of a tradition’s beliefs that a ‘private’ religion might embrace, doing public theology requires a critical examination of the deeply held beliefs, precisely because of their role in the metatopical public conversation. And in a classroom doing public theology, because the students are active subjects rather than passive recipients of predigested beliefs, the requirement of critical reflection shows up as a self-critique undertaken by the students themselves with guidance from the teacher.

Pedagogically, this movement can be facilitated by asking probing questions about where the students obtained their particular basic theologies or where their tradition might have acquired its present theology. It might involve queries concerning what historical influences might have shaped their personal as well as their tradition’s understanding of a theological symbol, always with a view to uncovering the assumptions that have in fact informed the students particularly or those that have shaped their traditions generally. This might include pushing the students, by means of questions, towards recognizing the underlying (philosophical) preconceptions that shape present beliefs. It could mean devoting some time to tracing the historical influences on present understandings. Finally, it might mean asking students to look for inconsistencies in their thought (attitude, action) patterns. Behind this questioning posture is the process of nudging students to critical reflection on their own positions.

Pedagogically, this is an important movement. Good pedagogy does not just accept any old idea or opinion about theological symbols as equally valid. Conversely, public theology necessarily involves critical reflection. The second movement of shared praxis attempts to get participants to reflect critically on their personal understandings of these theological symbols and actions, suggesting that these might need critical examination and possible change or refinement. Students ought to take a critical stance towards their own “present action” because it might be faulty, limited, inconsistent or superficial and because of the inevitable give and take of conversations in the public realm. Students are helped by deepening, broadening or enriching their basic theologies so that they can participate more effectively in the public conversation and contribute more incisively to the common good.

Underlying this movement also is the Freirean idea that humans are historically and socially situated, for that is often why we need to be critical of our ideas. This movement is part of enacting Freire’s process of “conscientization” with our students. However, conscientization also suggests that historical determinism is wrong, at the same time recognizing that being historically-situated means that no one can transcend historicity altogether. Humans are not merely wafted on the impersonal forces of history; instead, because they are reflective beings they can take some critical distance from particular historical and social embeddedness. This pedagogical move, by embodying this insight, presupposes that being historical means also being an agent for change, for a change agent requires having the ability to reflect on the historical factors that have shaped the present. In fact, this pedagogical movement is an attempt to get students to recognize that the contingency of history is in large part precisely due to human agency based in reflection. The pedagogical feature of this element of shared praxis is to get students to recognize that their experiences and positions are not ‘just the way things are’ (or worse, should be); the shape of history, society and culture is contingent, for things could have been different if humans had thought and acted differently. This movement is meant to get students to recognize that their own basic theologies (practices and beliefs) are actually historically influenced choices among a variety not taken.

Something deeper is going on here as well, namely, a particular interpretation of history. A condition for this pedagogical element is that history is itself a movement between a ‘now’ and a ‘not yet’. It is an implicit acknowledgment that current personal basic theologies have not yet ‘arrived’, but that instead they are located in a gap between how we actually view things and what they ought to be like. The ability to critique something is located in the space between ‘is’ and ‘ought’. It is motivated by the possibility that which is, including one’s personal interpretations and beliefs, are different from how they ought to be. This is a sort of openness to the future, an “anticipatory encircling of what is to come” (Caputo 1997a, p. 157), an expression of what Derrida identifies as a universal pattern of expectation with his “messianic structure” of reality (Caputo 1997a, p. 22). This is also the sort of openness required for the possibility of there being a pedagogy of hope in the first place, for without a space between is and ought there could be no hope. In Christian terms, God’s reign is to come; it has not yet fully arrived. His Kingdom, though it is here, is not yet here in its fullness; the way things are is not yet how they ought to be. This ontological structure is a condition for this element of Groome’s pedagogy: we ought to be critical of how things are, including our own beliefs and understandings. In a very real sense, the pedagogical heart of this movement draws structurally on the theological symbol of the Kingdom of God by suggesting that our current understandings are not necessarily they way that they should be.

Requiring students themselves to critically reflect on their own beliefs is good pedagogy for two other reasons as well, both of which also reflect the historically-situated nature of being human. First of all, it treats the students as “bearers of responsibilities” (Goudzwaard 1979, p. 214). Responsibility is a complex relationship, for it involves a relation to oneself within the context of someone else. It is a “call to explain oneself” (Derrida 1995, p. 2), a call to give an account to someone else (God, teacher, parent, friend, student, child, society). In that sense it is a relationship with another. Yet responsibility entails that no one can answer for you; there is no real responsibility that isn’t deeply personal, for ultimately in giving your answer it is your answer rather than someone else’s. In that sense it is it is a relationship with oneself. Furthermore, responsibility means being personally answerable without having all the facts to answer with, being answerable for the unforseen consequences. Finally, part of responsibility is the having the duty to personally shape and change things that are not right.

It is in this complex sense that students as historically-situated are responsible beings in doing public theology. They are personally answerable for their own basic beliefs and actions to someone or something other than themselves. Yet students themselves are each responsible to shape and change their own basic theological symbols in light of the historical influences and cultural sources that have shaped them; although teachers may well rightly assess the soundness of their students’ basic theologies, nevertheless it remains the students’ duty and freedom ultimately to accept or reject the assessment (even if only after the class is finished and the grades are in). And they must do so without waiting for all the ‘right’ information and insight to inform them. Because students are on the one hand finite and historical and on the other hand active agent-subjects, they must face their historical embeddedness with responsibility.

Secondly, this movement is good pedagogy for public theology because the critique is done within a classroom setting in a communal manner. The presence of questions that facilitate this movement formally means that an educator is not leaving the students to their own devices. This constitutes looking out for the good of the student, envisioned as a dialogical being. However, since educators also are dialogical in nature, they are responsible for more than merely asking questions. Because they themselves must be answerable for their guidance in the classroom, the educators’ questions ought to steer in certain directions and avoid others. They should draw the students’ attention to particular sources and implications of their own understandings in light of either more objective communally-recognized standards or more personal self-professed ones. Questions themselves are never neutral and critique is always bound to standards. On the one hand, this lays the ground work for affirming what is already good and right in the students’ historically conditioned basic theologies. On the other hand, this prepares students to recognize that their present responses and understandings are finite, fallible, and imperfect and therefore requires plotting a course beyond them. Both of these are crucial for doing public theology; both are important in responsible pedagogy.

Presenting Story and Vision

A third element of shared praxis is identified by Groome as making accessible the Christian Story and Vision. In Groome’s notion of Christian religious education “Story” means the historical roots and the realization of the Christian faith over time as well as in its present community, the church (Groome 1991, p. 216). “Vision” in Christian religious education means the promises and responsibilities that arise from the Story for the lives of the people who claim it as their own (Groome 1991, p. 217). Vision reflects “God’s promises of shalom and wholeness, yet empower[s] people in their historical responsibility to work in partnership for the realization of what God wills–peace and justice, love and freedom, wholeness and fullness of life for all” (1991, p. 217). In Christian religious education Story and Vision are attempts to articulate the revelation and implications of God’s reign. Because this is itself an interpretation, making Story and Vision accessible is not presenting the predigested knowledge of a finished, clear-cut package. Yet it is not mere fabrication and novelty either. Instead, it has what Groome describes as “trustworthy guidance for people in the present to discern together who their God is and how they are to live as a people of God” (1991, p. 219). God has never allowed the faith community to go totally astray in what it expresses as God’s self-disclosure in their history.

For a pedagogy oriented to public theology, the movement of Story/Vision is crucial. Thiemann suggests, “religious communities will recover their public voices only when they rediscover their own roots” (1991, p. 40). Public voice and overt consciousness of religious heritage are intertwined. Because no public theology is individual and ahistorical, it requires situating personal beliefs in the context of a larger religious tradition. Furthermore, the dialogical anthropology that undergirds public theology implies that humans are not autonomous and atomic individuals, but communal and dialogical. This means that a pedagogy doing public theology requires an interaction between personal basic theologies and a larger religious tradition. This is the essence of Groome’s movement of Story/Vision.

This movement might take the form of presenting both a tradition’s understanding of particular theological symbols as well as their past understandings of how it might apply to the public realm. This could take the form of lectures, videos, readings, guest speakers or even student presentations. However, in the spirit of Groome’s intent, it would be important to present these not as the absolute, right answer transcending space and time nor as novel, controversial reinterpretations, but as historically-developed, socially-situated insights developed in the context of a community of faith. For example, it might include offering the Lutheran notion of Christian liberty as the fundamentally paradoxical position of being “perfectly free lord of all, subject to none” and at the same time a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all” (Solberg 1997, p. 75) or presenting the Reformed notion of predestination as “an assurance amid persecution and chaos that the good order of God still held in the external realm, as did God’s effectual calling to the elect to be agents of redemption” (Bratt 1997, p. 130). The point of doing so is to provide resources for the students developing a public theology. Therefore, part of the Story/Vision for doing public theology might also include giving students examples of how a religious tradition has previously attempted to contribute to the public realm, as Leo XIII expressed in Rerum Novarum (1891) or Abraham Kuyper articulated in his Lectures on Calvinism (1898). It might also take the form of presenting instances of contemporary authors doing public theology, as Ron Sider does in Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, as Michael Northcott does in The Environment and Christian Ethics or as Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen does in The Person in Psychology. In general, I take presenting Story/Vision for public theology to mean not only presenting the theological symbols that might have public potential but also providing examples of others in the tradition who have used these symbols in the public realm, examples of “trustworthy guidance for people in the present to discern together who their God is and how they are to live as a people of God”.

The central insight of this movement is that students ought to develop their own public theology only in the context of traditions and communities. Being a personal bearer of responsibility, as a student in fact is, has a communal dimension for it always take place in the context of historical traditions. Responsibly arriving at truth and right action thus always involves answering to a tradition, or perhaps traditions, even if this includes in the end differing with them. Therefore this element of shared praxis provides the classroom with space for the students, as historical agents, to encounter a tradition’s (or perhaps more than one) communally embodied theological resources and their collective uses in responding to public issues.

However, there is a deeper reason for using the words “Story” and “Vision” to name what is being presented. It’s not merely a nice rhetorical flourish to present theological resources for a public theology in a narrative structure. According to Metz, a theology of salvation is not first of all argumentative, but is “fundamentally a memorative and narrative theology” (Metz 1989, p. 258). Despite the good work of systematic theologians, theological resources thus are first of all in narrative form. This is the first reason for highlighting the essential narrative form of Story/Vision. However, if public theology is not to remain merely a contemplative activity but is to become ethical action, this provides a second reason for accenting the narrative structure. In the words of Alisdair MacIntyre, “I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’” (MacIntyre 1984, p. 216). History on this account is an “enacted narrative”. Students engaging the public realm, whether that be entering dialogue or undertaking public service projects, do so as characters with roles in these stories. It is thus important for them to locate themselves in the broader, older stories.

However, Story is only part of what ought to be presented; Vision is equally important for public theology. Of course, Story and Vision are not really separable, for vision is actually an essential feature of story. MacIntyre remarks that “it is crucial that at any given point in an enacted dramatic narrative we do not know what will happen next” (MacIntyre 1984, p. 215); for a story to be story it is structurally important not knowing what is coming. However, this is also an essential condition for having vision. The other side of not knowing is that “we live out our lives. . . in light of certain conceptions of a possible shared future” (MacIntyre 1984, p. 215), one that pulls us in certain directions for action and not others. A vision for life, of a possible future, is required precisely because we don’t know what the future will be. Students as change agents need to locate themselves in the context of what sorts of changes are worthy to aim for. Since this is part of the structure of any story, presentation of a community’s Vision naturally comes along with its Story. For example, the Mennonite Story about discipleship naturally translates into a Vision of “service and peace-making” and the “pursuit of justice and peace around the world” (Sawatsky 1997, p. 197). Or, the Wesleyan/Holiness Story about sanctification naturally translates into a Vision that “makes the renewal of persons, the church, and society possible here and now rather than postponing renewal to a future age or dispensation” (Stanley & Stanley 1997, p. 316). Vision not only flows out of story but is an integral component of it.

The notion of vision is also vital for public theology. Doing public theology requires having a creative vision for society, a transforming vision for life here on earth, a vision of how to change history and culture. A public theology fits into the space provided by this vision. Public theology involves uncovering, developing, instilling and acting on the content of that transforming vision. According to Tracy, public theology centrally involves employing prophetic symbols that bring to the public conversation a utopian hope for a better society (Tracy 1992, p. 41). Without a vision for how society could be, or ought to be, there would be no space for putting the theological resources to work in the public realm. For a basic theology to claim a place in the public conversation requires a vision for that society. However, the visionary nature of such a vision needs to be highlighted. That is, although a vision is necessary for concrete public discussion and action, the vision qua vision ought not be construed as a set of objective beliefs, a rational plan for thought and action without remainder. If this personal and communal vision is treated as a set of objective truths, absolutely true from no particular vantage point themselves, we would no longer have a vision, but instead a rational blueprint. This substitute for the notion of vision is what motivated the enlightenment’s false ideals of progress and autonomy by means of Reason. By contrast, a vision qua vision is a normative guide for the present that calls from elsewhere. The notion of vision is constituted by the “messianic structure” of historical reality, for a vision is essentially tied to “a future that will never be present, that is prohibited in principle from ever being actualized at some future point in time” (Caputo 1997b, p. 77). This is not a form of pessimism about putting visions into practice; instead, it is a way of saying that what ultimately guides and motivates historical actions and thoughts is something other than rationally constructed blueprints. Without this structure, a vision would be in danger of always collapsing into the present ‘what is’. What is needed as a condition for public theology is seeing itself as a historically-situated content of a transforming vision.

Pedagogically, presenting Story and Vision is a way for an educator to look out for the good of the students. This is because implicit in the presentation is both the notion that there is a right understanding and that it might well be embedded in the traditions’ interpretation. Thus, although the tradition’s voice is not presented as the absolute, final answer, it is nevertheless part of an educator’s pedagogical responsibility to present what he or she believes to be the tradition’s best answer, position, or contribution to an issue. Looking out for the students’ good in doing public theology at this level is constituted by the invitation to the students to consider the tradition’s theological resources and affirm what is right in what they encounter in that Story and Vision.

Appropriation in Dialogue

A fourth element is what Groome calls “appropriation of the Story/Vision” by the participants. Although for Groome this means that the students should take seriously the claims of the Story/Vision, he does not mean for them to accept passively a predigested package of a tradition’s theology. Instead, this movement of shared praxis inquires into the students’ thinking and feeling in response to the Story/Vision they have just encountered. It solicits “personal sentiments and feelings, disagreements or reservations” (Groome 1991, p. 250). In this process, the participants are invited to integrate the Story/Vision into their own lives (their own stories/visions) by means of their own subjective agency, making it their own and attempting to understand how they are to be “reshapers of its [Story/Vision] historical realization in their place and time” (Groome 1991, p. 250). In Christian religious education, it means students’ taking what they perceive to be the truth about the faith community’s official or communal understanding and practice of the doctrine, sacrament, symbol or practice under discussion. This process is never a passive reception of obvious truths; instead, appropriation is embedded in the process of dialogue.

This movement, too, is crucial for public theology as such. The non-foundationalist character of the narrative construal of theology means that rational argumentation is a distorted abstraction of doing public theology. Yet neither does the narrative structure allow for a relativism of believing what you please, for as “a normative discipline, it cannot simply echo all it hears in the ebb and flow of history” (Thiemann 1991, p. 136). Instead, the temporal character of theological thinking calls for a true conviction of the heart of those who engage the resources of theology in the public conversation. This requires, in the classroom focussed on doing public theology, a space for the students to appropriate critically the theological resources of religious tradition in which they are being educated. Without that there could be no public theology for them, for it would remain the private theology of the institution’s community of faith rather then their own. Students need to own the theology if they are going to use it authentically in public discourse. This makes appropriation necessary for public theology.

As part of a pedagogy, the fourth movement might be embodied by encouraging students to critically assess and take in what they perceive to be the insights presented in class or in the readings. Weekly journals might be assigned to interact with the readings in which students critically appraise the wisdom of the authors and adopt freshly articulated, modified versions as their own ideas. Class time could include small-group cooperative learning strategies in which students attempt to puzzle out together, dialogically, what is right about a particular public theology of an author and how it might fit with their own worldview. Whole-class discussions might facilitate this movement effectively. Finally, the process of appropriation might be modeled by using literature that itself exemplifies how to appropriate theological symbols that inform public issues.

The essential feature of this movement is the notion of appropriation. Although this could be construed in a quasi-violent way of ripping ideas out of their context arbitrarily, that is not what is intended. Instead, appropriation is to be accomplished in a dialogue between student and Story/Vision. The central characteristic of dialogue lies “in the process of question and answer, giving and taking, talking at cross purposes and seeing each other’s point” (Gadamer 1975/1988, p. 331), with the intent of working out common meanings. A genuine conversation not only presupposes a common language as a condition for ironing out potential differences but also genuinely accepting the other’s point of view as worthy of consideration. In that sense “a conversation has a spirit of its own” (Gadamer 1975/1988, p. 345), for the conversation transcends any of the participants by virtue of each being open to the other. Appropriation can be thought of as a dialogue between the stories/visions of students and the Story/Vision in which the participants are open to each other and to the message of the Story/Vision with the intent of working out a common meaning. As such, appropriation in the classroom is an analogue to the conversation that constitutes the public sphere outside of school.

This element structures into the pedagogy of shared praxis a way of avoiding the imposition of so called ‘right’ beliefs and actions (i.e., the Story/Vision) on functionally passive students, something Freire rightly warns us against repeatedly. Students don’t develop responsible personal positions by only affirming what others, more powerful in the tradition, say. Asking students to appropriate, rather than merely passively accept, recognizes that the Story and Vision aren’t fully right or true, but may be fallible and distorted. Furthermore, as a “bearer of responsibility” each student must be treated as an active agent, a Freirean dialogical subject. Part of being a subject is the production of personal stories and visions (Kerby 1991). Thus it is essential that each participant must be active in developing his or her own public theology while being invited to be faithful to their collectively informed traditions of faith. The pedagogical kernel of this feature is that the classroom, instead of being a forum for the teacher’s ‘right answer’ on public theology to be reproduced by passive students and instead of the class being an argumentative debate with winners and losers, ought to be a forum for conversation where each person is treated as a subject, an actively thinking historical being who is in the process of developing his or her own public theology.

The dialogical element also is important pedagogically for the educator’s task of looking out for the good of the students. The educator’s presentation of the perceived right action (Story/Vision) as traditionally embodied in a community is a way of influencing the students in a particular direction for their own good. As a counterpoint to that, another part of the educator’s responsibility is to keep space for the students to develop their own stories and visions. As Freire says, “the learner shares the responsibility to participate in the production of understanding of the knowledge that he or she supposedly simply receives from the teacher” (Freire 1998, p. xxiv). This co-responsibility is facilitated by including the movement of dialogue in the classroom. Furthermore, part of influencing students is modeling how interaction in any public realm ought to go. Thus, including dialogue as a crucial element in pedagogy also models to the students that discussion in any public realm isn’t a monological presentation of the ‘right answer in the back of the book’ but a dialogical conversation in which there is genuine interaction with others who might have fundamental differences of outlook and action. Doing public theology in a classroom requires dialogue to be successful.

Decision and Response

A fifth element is what Groome labels the “decision/response for lived Christian faith” (1991, p. 266). In Christian religious education, participants are invited to make decisions about how to live the Christian faith in the world. The intent is to enable participants “to make historical choices about the praxis of Christian faith in the world” (Groome 1991, p. 266). Groome uses this movement to give students opportunity to make their own decisions about the meaning of symbols, events, doctrines, and sacraments of the church and, in doing so, suggests to the students that the choice is their’s to make. The movement’s intent is to influence students to see themselves as “Christian actors” in the world, namely, agent-subjects who make cognitive, affective and action commitments on personal, intrapersonal and socio/political levels (Groome 1991, pp. 268-269).

Educating for public theology ought to include this fifth movement as well. The invitation to commit to particular basic beliefs (positions and actions) is an important ingredient for doing public theology. Without personal commitment in some deep sense there would be no theology, for without “the true conviction of the heart” there would only really be “empty externals” (Thiemann 1991, p. 126). Participation in a public conversation by contributing beliefs to which one is not committed is counterproductive and perhaps ultimately incoherent. Thus a pedagogical moment for commitment seems entirely necessary for doing public theology. And, if Thiemann is right to suggest that a strict theory/practice split for public theology is inappropriate (Thiemann 1991, p. 133), then at some point in educating for public theology, there ought to be opportunities for the students to commit to right public action, informed by their public theology. This could take diverse forms, from writing position papers to participating in service learning opportunities. However, the important kernel, pedagogically, is that these be genuine expressions of their own religious beliefs, their own decision/responses to the Story/Vision as presented in class, based on the dialogue that occurred throughout the course, including the critical reflection on their own present actions concerning social issues and theological symbols.

The pedagogical feature in this element of shared praxis is the dimension of commitment. Although closely related to the element of dialogue, conceptually this kernel is distinct. A call to dialogue is attempting to create space in the classroom for conversation with other participants and with the Story/Vision. By contrast, the invitation to the students for their responses and decisions is a call to commitment. As defined by Polanyi, commitment is “a personal choice, seeking, and eventually accepting, something believed. . . to be impersonally given” (Polanyi 1962, p. 302). Commitment to something by a student is part of what it means to be a bearer of responsibility and contrasts with two possible misconceptions. On the one hand is the emotivist error, namely, the mistaken idea that the position at which one arrives is an arbitrary subjective choice and an expression of personal taste (see MacIntyre 1984, pp. 11ff). This is not commitment because it isn’t arrived at as something impersonally given, forced upon a person by the weight of its truthfulness and trustworthiness. Expressing a taste doesn’t require the idea of being answerable for it. On the other hand is the objectivist error, namely, the mistaken idea that a position can be accepted on the basis of pure reason by an autonomous, ahistorical being (see M. Johnson 1993, pp. 126 ff.). This isn’t commitment because this is merely impersonal assent from a supposed “God’s eye view” rather than involving any personal choice, i.e, agentive evaluation and passion by a historically-situated being who doesn’t have all the facts but yet needs to come to action. Commitment, the delicate balance between these two poles, goes beyond dialogue in that it is its provisional closure by signaling the common meanings that have been discovered and constructed. Of course, it is difficult for commitment to occur without dialogue, since the former moment is a centrally effective way to ensure at once personal involvement (evaluation) and impersonal, non-arbitrary criteria for personal acceptance.

Commitment respects the students as bearers of responsibility because the commitment is ultimately the responsibility of the students themselves. It can’t be done for them, as Augustine already suggested quite sarcastically in De Magistro (Augustine 1953, p. 100). Simultaneously, including the act of commitment as a pedagogical moment is looking out for the good of the student because all learning requires this sort of closure. It is a way of being with students that structurally involves them as historical agents responding to the “messiah structure” of reality (Derrida 1995) with faith, regardless of the determinate form this faith may take. It is to suggest to them that they themselves are responsible for their own thoughts and deeds, attitudes and beliefs, personally and socio/politically. They must be invited to perceive and commit to obedient, faithful responses, broadly construed, to the best of their ability.

A Pedagogy of Hope

Employing the five elements of shared praxis for public theology in the classroom constitutes what Freire would call a pedagogy of hope. Shared praxis structures into the classroom, as a way of being with students, the “possible dreams” required for public theology. It “unveils opportunities for hope” for the students by pointing them, structurally, to resources to draw on for public conversation in the world and by urging them to committed action of their own choosing. Shared praxis can be viewed as a visionary pedagogy of hope that not only embodies optimism for the future but also bases this in the development of concrete commitments of public theology by the students. Of course, this is partly because shared praxis could itself be interpreted as embodying a particular public theology, for it can be thought of as an educational incarnation of a central Christian theological symbol itself, namely, the metaphor of the Kingdom of God. Freire’s pedagogy of hope has Christian roots.

At present we experience God’s reign in its state of inbetweenness, between its announcement and its completion; it occupies the gap between the now and the not yet. This gives the room to interpret the metaphor of Kingdom as a transforming vision, a foresight and openness towards the possibility of changing present reality (society, culture) towards a future better state; a Kingdom vision on this interpretation is something that sees a gap between what is and what ought to be, between the now and the future, between fallenness and perfection, between the good possibilities of the structure of creation and the deformed direction of the present. As an expression of this Kingdom vision, a central insight that any public theology can contribute to the public sphere is this sense of inbetweenness. In a similar vein, what shared praxis contributes to a classroom is an analogical inbetweenness. It is a pedagogy that embodies the very thing we might seek to instill in our students, namely, the sense of a gap which calls us to social conversation and action, which urges us to public activity in the world guided by a transformative vision. Functionally, a transforming vision operates as a corrective to what is. Yet it isn’t merely a call for more of the same. As a transforming vision, the metaphor of Kingdom creates a critical distance from what is by having an openness to what ought to be; analogously, shared praxis can be thought of as a space to articulate and to develop what ought to be. A transforming Kingdom vision functionally is a force that motivates to action, to doing public theology. Similarly, the dynamic movement of shared praxis is fueled by a normative vision, an ought, something to hope for and strive towards.

Creating awareness of a transforming vision in our students leads to what could be called possibility thinking, the movement to what could be from what is. To do this in the classroom itself requires a gap, a space that following Vygotsky (1978) we could call the zone of proximal development, a space that requires cooperative efforts among students and teacher to work through successfully. However, I wish to use Vygotsky’s notion in a slightly unusual sense. Students cannot be successful by merely (abstractly) discussing a transforming vision, they need to experience it in the very talking about it in order to truly understand it; the act of developing a basic vision for life ought to itself be life-transforming. To do public theology, to think that our theological symbols are important for the public sphere, to believe that a transforming vision will be a crucial element for changing society for the better, requires feeling the transition from the is to the ought (without collapsing the latter onto the former). If there is a gap between the is and the ought, then to think that we can and that we should be moved by the ought, rather than acquiescing to the is, requires actually experiencing the movement across the gap between the two.

The term ‘gap’, although useful, needs to be augmented for illuminating how my version of the zone of proximal development accounts for experiencing public theology in the classroom. It is not enough to view ‘is’ and ‘ought’ as essential (traditional) categories, i.e., demarcating two mutually exclusive realms or sets. Instead, it is also important to view them as radial categories (Lakoff 1987), i.e, categories which not only have a distance between them but also a place of meeting; they radiate towards each other and meet in an ecotone. The zone of proximal development, the locus of education where teachers pull students along beyond where they could go by themselves, could then be viewed as the place where the two categories meet. It is likely that their meeting is a central condition for the possibility of a transforming vision springing into action, including public conversation. If that is so, then part of a transforming vision is being able to experience the possibility of the actual transformation through the gap between is and ought if it is to be an optimistic vision. Of course, hope is not really a mere option for a truly transformative vision. A despairing vision would see the gap between the is and the ought as an unbridgeable chasm; hence it would not be a transformative vision. In the same way, recapitulating the optimism of a transforming vision, shared praxis is also always structurally an optimistic pedagogy in character, for it always believes that incremental change in the students will lead to a qualitative difference. In a strong sense, shared praxis is operating, in the classroom, with its own transforming vision; in that sense, it is structurally a Freirean pedagogy of hope. In a very real sense, then, shared praxis can be thought to embody a central Christian theological resource, a transformative Kingdom vision, to facilitate conversation and action for the public good. It might be thought of as public theology in educational action even as it is employed to do public theology with our students.

References

Augustine. (1953). Augustine: Earlier Writings, J. H. S. Burleigh (trans.). Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press.

Baum, G. (1992). Definitions of Religion in Sociology. M. Eliade & D. Tracy (eds.), What is Religion? An Inquiry for Christian Theology. New York: Seabury.

Bratt, J. D. (1997). What Can the Reformed Tradition Contribute to Christian Higher Education? R. T. Hughes, & W. B. Adrian (eds.), Models for Christian Higher Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Bratt, J.D.; De Jong, J.R.; Harkema, P.M.; Timmerman, J.H.; Van Harn, G.L.; Weaver, G.D.; Zuidervaart, L.P. (1996). An Expanded Mission Statement of Calvin College: Vision, Purpose, Commitment. Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin College Provost’s Office.

Caputo, J. D. (1997a). Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida. New York: Fordham University Press.

Caputo, J. D. (1997b). The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Derrida, J. (1995). The Gift of Death, D. Willis, (trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.

Freire, P. (1994). Pedagogy of Hope : Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed, M. B. Ramos (trans.). New York: Continuum.

Freire, P. (1998). Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach. Boulder, CO: Westview.

Hellwig, M. (1997). What Can the Roman Catholic Tradition Contribute to Christian Higher Education? R. T.

Hughes, & W. B. Adrian (eds.), Models for Christian Higher Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Himes, M. J., & Himes, K. R. (1993). Fullness of Faith: The Public Significance of Theology. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Johnson, M. (1993). Moral Imagination: Implications of Cognitive Science for Ethics. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Johnson, D., & Johnson, R. (1994). Learning Together and Alone: Cooperation, Competition, and Individualization, Fourth edition. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Joldersma, C. W. (1996). Faith/Learning Integration. Journal of Research on Christian Education 5 (1), 67-87.

Kerby, A. P. (1991). Narrative and the Self. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Kung, H. (1974). On Being Christian, E. Quin (trans.). Glasgow: Collins & Son.

Kuyper, A. (1898/1931). Lectures on Calvinism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Leo XIII. (1891/1942). Rerum Novarum. Boston, MA: St. Paul Books.

MacIntyre, A. (1984). After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Second Edition. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Metz, J. B. (1989). A Short Apology of Narrative. S. Hauerwas, & L. G. Jones (eds.), Why Narrative: Readings in Narrative Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Nagel, T. (1986). The View from Nowhere. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Northcott, M. (1996). The Environment and Christian Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Polanyi, M. (1962). Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Sawatsky, R. J. (1997). What Can the Mennonite Tradition Contribute to Christian Higher Education? R. T. Hughes, & W. B. Adrian (eds.), Models for Christian Higher Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Schine, J. (ed). (1997). Service Learning. Ninety-Sixth Yearbook of the Society for the Study of Education. K. J. Rehage (society editor). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Solberg, R. W. (1997). What Can the Lutheran Tradition Contribute to Christian Higher Education? R. T. Hughes, & W. B. Adrian (eds.), Models for Christian Higher Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Stanley, J. E., & Stanley, S. C. (1997). What Can the Wesleyan/Holiness Tradition Contribute to Christian Higher Education? R. T. Hughes, & W. B. Adrian (eds.), Models for Christian Higher Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Stewart Van Leeuwen, M. (1985). The Person In Psychology: A Contemporary Christian Appraisal. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Taylor, C. (1995). Philosophical Arguments. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Taylor, C. (1989). Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Thiemann, R.F. (1991). Constructing a Public Theology: The Church in a Pluralistic Culture. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox.

Tracy, P. (1992). Theology, Critical Social Theory, and the Public Realm. D. S. Browning & F. S. Fiorenza, (eds.), Habermas, Modernity and Public Theology. New York: Crossroad.

VanDyk, J. (1990). The place of “Shared Praxis” in the teacher education program. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southeast Regional Association of Teacher Educators, Savannah, GA.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Walsh, B. J. & Middleton R. J. (1984). The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Wolterstorff, N. P. (1989). Keeping Faith: Talks for New Faculty at Calvin College. Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin College.

Wolterstorff, N. P. (1996). The Travail of Theology in the Modern Academy. In The Future of Theology: Essays in Honor of J. Moltmann. M. Volf, C. Krieg, T. Kucharz (eds.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Clarence Joldersma

Calvin College

“Who is so foolishly curious as to send his son to school to learn what the teacher thinks?”

–Augustine, De Magistro

Paulo Freire has recently suggested that “hope is an ontological need” (1994, p. 8). He suggests that human existence, especially in the struggle to improve it, fundamentally requires hope. It is a necessary condition, an ontological ground, for the possibility of transforming the world into a more equitable place. People need “possible dreams,” even (or especially) in adverse circumstances. Consequently, according to Freire, the central task of an educator “is to unveil opportunities for hope, no matter what the obstacles may be” (1994, p. 9). For Freire, good pedagogy fundamentally ought to be an enterprise of hope oriented to the socio-cultural context in which that education takes place. Education thus ought to be viewed primarily as a public, cultural activity and “teachers as cultural workers” (Freire 1998). What follows is an exploration of a pedagogical approach that, by being a pedagogy of hope for present society, can contribute to successfully accomplishing the public mission of religiously affiliated educational institutions.

Essential to that public mission is “doing” public theology with our students, something that centrally involves unveiling hope with our students for the public realm. In this essay I describe a pedagogical approach, shared praxis (Groome 1980, 1991), that I believe is particularly well suited for educating for public theology and thus is an excellent way of unveiling hope. My description follows closely each of Groome’s five elements or movements of shared praxis. Each element is described, including its appropriateness for doing public theology. Then I explain why that movement is essential for doing public theology and how it is good pedagogy. Along with these reasons are philosophical rationales for why we ought to include the various elements of shared praxis in our pedagogy. Finally, I explore how this approach to teaching can be considered what Freire calls a pedagogy of hope.

In order to situate this pedagogy of hope for public theology, I would like first to clarify my use of the terms “public” and “public theology”. I take the notion of public to be a space for conversation between people from various traditions, a sphere for discourse about common issues and problems with an eye to forming a common mind and action (Taylor 1995, p. 259). As such, the notion of public does not refer primarily to official positions and public pronouncements about socio-political issues of social institutions such as schools, churches, or governments, but to a space for conversation located (metaphorically) outside of these formal declarations: “It is a space of discussion which is self-consciously seen as being outside power” (Taylor, 264). Instead of being the realm of official pronouncements, the notion of public here refers to the space for more informal conversations that concern the public good. Of course, that doesn’t preclude these public discussions from occurring in institutional settings; in fact, that is often exactly where it does take place. However, I would maintain the “public” is located on the periphery or outside of formal positions and pronouncements of those institutions.

The realm of ‘the public’ is not monolithic or uniform, but a complex “constituted by open conversations, plural discourses, and diverse communities” (Tracy 1992, p. 5). The public as a form of society is actually constituted of many spaces for discussion, which, though connected, have a relative distinctiveness based on interest, language and participants. Taylor suggests that there are “topical” public spaces, regional areas of conversation that are nevertheless public, which in turn contribute to a “metatopical” public realm in which they are nested. For example, the academy can be considered a topical public space. Since a central feature of the mission of academic institutions ought to be that they exist for the common good, the conversations that occur there can be thought of as taking place in a public arena. There are three senses in which this is so. First, the conversations that constitute academic disciplines, such as biology or history, are public arenas. Secondly, applications of insights and knowledge of a discipline are public when they have a focus on issues concerning the common good. Therefore, thirdly, the act of teaching and learning in academic classrooms themselves ought to be regarded as topical public spheres, spaces where the pedagogical conversation focusses forming common understandings and actions. However, to work towards a truly Freirean pedagogy of hope, those topical conversations in the classroom ought ultimately to be aimed towards the dialogue of the metatopical public space.

Public theology generally involves employing the theological symbols of a religious tradition in the public realm (Tracy 1992, p. 25). As such public theology is the attempt to contribute the resources of a theological tradition to the well-being of society by bringing them into the public conversation about common issues and actions. For example, a Roman Catholic tradition might contribute a “pervasive appreciation of the sacramental principle” (Hellwig 1997, p. 17), a Lutheran tradition might contribute a “two kingdom” theology and “Luther’s emphasis upon Christian service in the secular kingdom” (Solberg 1997, p. 78), a Wesleyan/Holiness tradition might contribute “social holiness” theology and its idea of “holiness outreach to those in need” (Stanley & Stanley 1997, p. 317), and a Mennonite tradition might contribute a “vision of discipleship” and its idea of human being “the agency of God’s reconciling love in the world” (Sawatsky 1997, p. 195). These examples suggest, on the one hand, that various theological traditions have distinctive contributions to make to public dialogues, and that without them something might well be missing from the public realm. On the other hand, these examples show that theological resources brought to the discussion have “public” possibility. Both of these features are important for public theology as such.

Public theology is not just any old theological discussion that happens to have been overheard in public. Instead, it most naturally fits with a particular definition of religion. Religion has often been thought of as a private affair practiced solely with a concern for personal values and fulfillment, leaving the public political and social aspects of life unexamined (Davis 1992, p. 166). In this, religion is thought of as something private along side and outside of society and culture, an optional extra exercised by those people ‘with faith’. In this case theological discussions will remain couched in exclusivist ‘in-house’ terms and encapsulated within a private domain. Of course, even on this conception of religion, there can be a kind of public theology, but it would likely be a matter of public witness either vocalized in the exclusivist terms of the private religion or structured as alternative communities of faith. This ‘public’ theology, however, does not contribute much to the public conversation as such, for it is not offered as a element of any dialogue per se. I would suggest a robust public theology requires a different conception of religion. Rather than focussing it narrowly on ‘belief in God’ or some other substantive definition of religion, I’d like to suggest that religion ought to be construed more broadly and functionally, “as the symbol that provides a ‘total’ world interpretation, the myth that relates people to the ‘ultimate’ conditions of their existence” (Baum 1980, p. 27). Religion then is located in the realm of ultimate concern as human responses to the deepest questions of life. On this broad definition, everyone is religious, whether they articulate this or not. Everyone has a comprehensive framework of basic beliefs as answers to these ultimate concerns, whether or not they are articulated, that shape how to live and think about the world. This set of basic beliefs could be called a ‘basic theology’. Articulating one’s basic theology, critically examining it, showing its relation to a larger faith tradition, debating its truth, exploring how it can help clarify non-theological issues, and exploring how it can lead to human flourishing can then all be claimed as doing public theology.

The above functional definition of religion creates the possibility of a genuine religious pluralism in which, for example, “Christians must recognize themselves as one religious voice among others in the public conversation” (Thiemann 1992, p. 39). On this more level playing field, public theology can then be a natural and necessary part of the dialogue about social and cultural issues, in part because it frames these discussions in a religious perspective. A public theology then becomes a deliberate attempt to make apparent the “profoundly public import of religious commitment” (Himes & Himes 1993, p. 4). A truly effective public theology becomes public when the basic theology of an individual or a religious tradition contributes to the public conversation about the well-being of society using terms understood by those do not share that basic theology or are not part of that religious tradition.

The mission of religiously affiliated educational institutions ought to include a public concern and thus a public theology. Historically this has been true. Marsden (1994) has pointed out (exhaustively!) that almost all of the educational institutions founded by various religious traditions in the United States viewed their task as working for the public good. Hughes & Adrian (1997) provide key examples of religiously grounded institutions who currently see their particular religious affiliation as a resource to draw on for the public good. For example, Calvin College, part of the Reformed tradition, views its mission in these terms, contending that “the classroom is a context for looking outward, for equipping students with an understanding of the world in which they live and for bringing a redemptive message to that world” (Bratt et al. 1996, p. 25), a mission informed by the Christian theological triad of creation, fall, redemption (Wolterstorff 1987, p. 12). Classroom activity of religiously affiliated institutions ought to exhibit a concern for the public and ought to attempt to develop a public theology as a way of engaging the public sphere. Generally, religiously affiliated institutions that see their task in terms of participation in the public realm often wish to bring to the classroom the heritage of the particular tradition to which they are related. Furthermore, they might wish their students to grapple with their own basic theologies in the context of that heritage. Thus also the classrooms of these institutions can be regarded as public, part of a topical public space of conversation even while discussing the implications of theological symbols for an academic discipline or for the metatopical public realm. That is, these classrooms can be viewed as topical public arenas where students ought to have the opportunity to develop a metatopical public theology, one that is part of the public conversation at large, in the context of the theological heritage of the educational institution.

Of course, different religiously-affiliated institutions face different challenges in this regard. Some have a highly homogeneous population of students, largely from a particular religious tradition. Others face an extremely heterogeneous grouping of students, drawn from a wide variety of denominational affiliations. Still others have a significant segment of students who come from no discernable religious tradition at all, counting themselves as nonreligious. Compounding this complexity is that many students, regardless of tradition, see religion as something private, separate from the public realm, and an optional extra that certain people have and not others. Yet, for whatever reason, all of these students have chosen a religiously affiliated institution of higher learning that includes in its mission doing public theology. Thus, given the mission of the school, educators in these religiously-affiliated institutions face the similar overall pedagogical challenge of helping students develop a public theology. This may include several prongs: getting the students to recognize that they each have a (perhaps implicit) basic theology, having them critically evaluate that theology in light of a theological heritage, providing opportunity to explore public implications of their theology for an academic discipline, soliciting students to engage in conversation with other basic theologies that are different from their own, and inviting students to speculate how their theology can be an important ingredient in public conversations about socio-cultural issues and problems. What sort of pedagogy might be appropriate for these differing sorts of tasks?

By pedagogy I mean “a way of being with people” as a teacher (Groome 1991, p. 295). I use the notion of pedagogy to pinpoint an underlying attitude and strategy rather than the particular methods of teaching one might employ to enact the pedagogy. Thus I mean a way of being with students that lies behind methods such as lectures, group discussions, projects, papers, role-playing, socratic questioning, journaling, and reading. I see Groome’s Freirean pedagogy of hope as a style of encountering students that seeks to honor them as “historical subject-agents” (Groome 1991, p. 295). It is a way of informing students’ beliefs and empowering them to transform themselves and the world. How ought we to be with our students if we are to raise the possibilities of a public theology with our students? What sort of pedagogical features will help foster public theology with our students?

I’d like to suggest that Groome’s pedagogical approach of shared praxis is especially well suited for doing public theology as defined above. He describes shared praxis as “a group of Christians sharing in dialogue their critical reflection on present action in light of the Christian Story and its Vision towards the end of lived Christian faith” (Groome, 1980, p. 184). The five elements that Groome identifies, often called movements to illustrate their dynamic character, form an exciting strategy for doing public theology in our classrooms, not only ones in theology but also those in chemistry, environmental science, english and history. Although there is a logic to their order, they are not meant as a step-by-step recipe (method) for teaching (i.e., do step one, then step two, and so on). Instead, the various movements or elements might intertwine, loop back, or occur simultaneously in the classroom. However, for conceptual reasons I’d like to explore each one separately, showing why it is important for and effective in fostering public theology.

Articulating Present Action

One element of shared praxis is an invitation to the students to express or articulate either their own or their society’s “present action”, namely, the attitudes, beliefs and actions that their society or they themselves hold on a particular issue or topic. In Groome’s original application, this usually focuses on asking the students to express what they believe or know about a particular doctrine, symbol or practice of the Roman Catholic church, such as the practice of confession, the sacrament of communion or the doctrine of Christ. This movement may not be part of an efficient way to catechize or indoctrinate a ‘private’ theology; however, if Tracy is right that ‘public’ inevitably involves conversation, then articulating present action is certainly a crucial step in doing public theology. Unlike the banking education that Freire (1970) is critical of, public theology’s emphasis on conversation needs a pedagogy that honors the student as a dialogical subject and thus requires students’ self-perceptions as a key ingredient.

Although this movement can be enacted in the classroom in many ways, for public theology it most effectively includes a questioning stance. For example, an educator might ask his or her students to articulate what religious symbols might possibly have some import on a particular public issue under discussion. Or, students might be asked what they themselves believe to be the ultimate meaning or significance that frames a particular state of affairs. Alternatively, an educator might ask his or her students to express what they believe to be their religious tradition’s understanding of symbols such as Kingdom of God, creation, grace or redemption as they bear on a conversation in class. Concretely, this might be facilitated by a general class discussion or by asking students to write a short essay outlining their own understanding. Or it might involve a cooperative education activity such as “think/pair/share” (Johnson & Johnson 1994) in which students jot down their own basic beliefs and share it verbally with a partner. Overall, the point of this movement for public theology is an invitation to uncover the participants’ own experience and understanding, their own “consciousness” of either the theological symbols of a tradition or their own basic theology. This element is crucial regardless of whether or not the students can actually identify a tradition’s religious symbols and whether or not they are part of an identifiable religious tradition, because the point of this element is to involve the students’own basic beliefs, attitudes, and actions. As Plato already suggested, learning always begins from what is known by the students.

This movement is crucial for a pedagogy aimed at doing public theology in a classroom. I would argue that uncovering theological resources for public discussion–whether that be for an academic issue in a discipline or a socio-cultural issue outside the academy–ought to begin with the student’s own articulations of theological resources at hand. Because doing public theology in a classroom ought to involve students’ basic beliefs and actions for their own conversation in the public realm, it is crucial that the theological resources not be summarily imposed by experts onto students. Students should articulate their own theological understandings to whatever level of sophistication (or ignorance) this might be. The crucial aspect of this pedagogical movement is recognizing that students ought to articulate these things themselves; no one can do it for them. If they are to take ownership of a public conversation, the educator cannot do the work for them at the front of the classroom.

This is because humans are historically-situated beings, as Freire never tires of mentioning. Both teachers and students are beings bounded by finite perspectives. If the enlightenment view of humans as time-transcendent rational minds were right, then this pedagogical movement might not be necessary. “Disengaged selves” (Taylor 1989) might be able to transcend individual, finite starting points and, by means of Reason, understand the essential meanings of theological symbols abstractly. For that there might be no need to build on the personal experiences and understandings of the students; abstract analysis and argumentation would be the only requisite activities. However, the more recent retrieval of a holistic anthropology makes Groome’s first movement crucial pedagogically. This anthropology holds that humans are historical, finite, perspectival and essentially embodied. The existing self is a bodily, historical participant in the world first of all, and only secondly a reflective being that might momentarily withdraw from that participation. There is no method that leads to an absolutely transcendent stance, a “view from nowhere” (Nagel 1986). It follows then that the students with whom we aim to develop public theologies and deliberate responsible social actions are in fact historical and finite agent-subjects. There is no a priori or transcendent starting point for the educative process, but only the students’ own historical situatedness, their own de facto understandings of the public import of theological symbols in their socio-cultural situation. Part of that historical setting translates pedagogically into having students articulate their own understandings of the theological resources that might be drawn from a historical tradition in developing a public theology. Freire’s dialogical model is peeking through here.

Good pedagogy always involves looking out for the good of the student (Van Manen 1991, p. 43). This means that students need direction and guidance from educators in the activity of doing public theology. But if students are indeed historical, finite beings and public theology crucially involves conversation, then giving direction ought to include having the students make connections themselves. The pedagogical guidance of this movement, then, is requiring students to articulate the starting points for these connections. In teaching for public theology, therefore, educators ought to include regularly the students’ own historically-situated basic beliefs. Only by asking the students themselves to articulate their own basic theological starting points will it be likely that the student will form a personally and deeply held public theology; only then will students be able to connect genuinely theological symbols and public concerns or issues. The first movement of shared praxis, thus, provides the platform from which genuine learning begins and from which doing public theology ought to start.

Critical Reflection

A second element of shared praxis Groome calls “critical reflection”. This is encouraging students to critically reflect on their own beliefs, attitudes and actions. In Christian religious education, Groome’s original application of shared praxis, this means asking probing questions about why a theological symbol might be perceived by the student in a particular way and from where the student might have obtained their ideas. It includes asking where the interpretation came from, what its validity might be and what alternative readings might exist. Critical reflection might include uncovering inconsistencies in thinking, attitudes and actions. This movement supports and complements the first one by revealing the historical influences that have shaped the students’ understanding of a particular religious symbol (or even exploring their relative ignorance of that symbol). It involves trying to unearth the sources of our students’ understandings and to recognize the assumptions on which they are based. Groome means for students and teacher to uncover and discover together the personal and socio-cultural sources of the “present action” and the consequences of those positions.

This movement also is important particularly for public theology. Thiemann suggests that “any appeal to hidden or private sources of authority or justification is inappropriate for a genuinely public theology” (Thiemann 1991, p. 20). That suggests that crucial to a pedagogy appropriate for public theology is a critical reflection on the theology itself. Unlike a more unreflective memorization of a tradition’s beliefs that a ‘private’ religion might embrace, doing public theology requires a critical examination of the deeply held beliefs, precisely because of their role in the metatopical public conversation. And in a classroom doing public theology, because the students are active subjects rather than passive recipients of predigested beliefs, the requirement of critical reflection shows up as a self-critique undertaken by the students themselves with guidance from the teacher.

Pedagogically, this movement can be facilitated by asking probing questions about where the students obtained their particular basic theologies or where their tradition might have acquired its present theology. It might involve queries concerning what historical influences might have shaped their personal as well as their tradition’s understanding of a theological symbol, always with a view to uncovering the assumptions that have in fact informed the students particularly or those that have shaped their traditions generally. This might include pushing the students, by means of questions, towards recognizing the underlying (philosophical) preconceptions that shape present beliefs. It could mean devoting some time to tracing the historical influences on present understandings. Finally, it might mean asking students to look for inconsistencies in their thought (attitude, action) patterns. Behind this questioning posture is the process of nudging students to critical reflection on their own positions.

Pedagogically, this is an important movement. Good pedagogy does not just accept any old idea or opinion about theological symbols as equally valid. Conversely, public theology necessarily involves critical reflection. The second movement of shared praxis attempts to get participants to reflect critically on their personal understandings of these theological symbols and actions, suggesting that these might need critical examination and possible change or refinement. Students ought to take a critical stance towards their own “present action” because it might be faulty, limited, inconsistent or superficial and because of the inevitable give and take of conversations in the public realm. Students are helped by deepening, broadening or enriching their basic theologies so that they can participate more effectively in the public conversation and contribute more incisively to the common good.

Underlying this movement also is the Freirean idea that humans are historically and socially situated, for that is often why we need to be critical of our ideas. This movement is part of enacting Freire’s process of “conscientization” with our students. However, conscientization also suggests that historical determinism is wrong, at the same time recognizing that being historically-situated means that no one can transcend historicity altogether. Humans are not merely wafted on the impersonal forces of history; instead, because they are reflective beings they can take some critical distance from particular historical and social embeddedness. This pedagogical move, by embodying this insight, presupposes that being historical means also being an agent for change, for a change agent requires having the ability to reflect on the historical factors that have shaped the present. In fact, this pedagogical movement is an attempt to get students to recognize that the contingency of history is in large part precisely due to human agency based in reflection. The pedagogical feature of this element of shared praxis is to get students to recognize that their experiences and positions are not ‘just the way things are’ (or worse, should be); the shape of history, society and culture is contingent, for things could have been different if humans had thought and acted differently. This movement is meant to get students to recognize that their own basic theologies (practices and beliefs) are actually historically influenced choices among a variety not taken.

Something deeper is going on here as well, namely, a particular interpretation of history. A condition for this pedagogical element is that history is itself a movement between a ‘now’ and a ‘not yet’. It is an implicit acknowledgment that current personal basic theologies have not yet ‘arrived’, but that instead they are located in a gap between how we actually view things and what they ought to be like. The ability to critique something is located in the space between ‘is’ and ‘ought’. It is motivated by the possibility that which is, including one’s personal interpretations and beliefs, are different from how they ought to be. This is a sort of openness to the future, an “anticipatory encircling of what is to come” (Caputo 1997a, p. 157), an expression of what Derrida identifies as a universal pattern of expectation with his “messianic structure” of reality (Caputo 1997a, p. 22). This is also the sort of openness required for the possibility of there being a pedagogy of hope in the first place, for without a space between is and ought there could be no hope. In Christian terms, God’s reign is to come; it has not yet fully arrived. His Kingdom, though it is here, is not yet here in its fullness; the way things are is not yet how they ought to be. This ontological structure is a condition for this element of Groome’s pedagogy: we ought to be critical of how things are, including our own beliefs and understandings. In a very real sense, the pedagogical heart of this movement draws structurally on the theological symbol of the Kingdom of God by suggesting that our current understandings are not necessarily they way that they should be.

Requiring students themselves to critically reflect on their own beliefs is good pedagogy for two other reasons as well, both of which also reflect the historically-situated nature of being human. First of all, it treats the students as “bearers of responsibilities” (Goudzwaard 1979, p. 214). Responsibility is a complex relationship, for it involves a relation to oneself within the context of someone else. It is a “call to explain oneself” (Derrida 1995, p. 2), a call to give an account to someone else (God, teacher, parent, friend, student, child, society). In that sense it is a relationship with another. Yet responsibility entails that no one can answer for you; there is no real responsibility that isn’t deeply personal, for ultimately in giving your answer it is your answer rather than someone else’s. In that sense it is it is a relationship with oneself. Furthermore, responsibility means being personally answerable without having all the facts to answer with, being answerable for the unforseen consequences. Finally, part of responsibility is the having the duty to personally shape and change things that are not right.

It is in this complex sense that students as historically-situated are responsible beings in doing public theology. They are personally answerable for their own basic beliefs and actions to someone or something other than themselves. Yet students themselves are each responsible to shape and change their own basic theological symbols in light of the historical influences and cultural sources that have shaped them; although teachers may well rightly assess the soundness of their students’ basic theologies, nevertheless it remains the students’ duty and freedom ultimately to accept or reject the assessment (even if only after the class is finished and the grades are in). And they must do so without waiting for all the ‘right’ information and insight to inform them. Because students are on the one hand finite and historical and on the other hand active agent-subjects, they must face their historical embeddedness with responsibility.

Secondly, this movement is good pedagogy for public theology because the critique is done within a classroom setting in a communal manner. The presence of questions that facilitate this movement formally means that an educator is not leaving the students to their own devices. This constitutes looking out for the good of the student, envisioned as a dialogical being. However, since educators also are dialogical in nature, they are responsible for more than merely asking questions. Because they themselves must be answerable for their guidance in the classroom, the educators’ questions ought to steer in certain directions and avoid others. They should draw the students’ attention to particular sources and implications of their own understandings in light of either more objective communally-recognized standards or more personal self-professed ones. Questions themselves are never neutral and critique is always bound to standards. On the one hand, this lays the ground work for affirming what is already good and right in the students’ historically conditioned basic theologies. On the other hand, this prepares students to recognize that their present responses and understandings are finite, fallible, and imperfect and therefore requires plotting a course beyond them. Both of these are crucial for doing public theology; both are important in responsible pedagogy.

Presenting Story and Vision

A third element of shared praxis is identified by Groome as making accessible the Christian Story and Vision. In Groome’s notion of Christian religious education “Story” means the historical roots and the realization of the Christian faith over time as well as in its present community, the church (Groome 1991, p. 216). “Vision” in Christian religious education means the promises and responsibilities that arise from the Story for the lives of the people who claim it as their own (Groome 1991, p. 217). Vision reflects “God’s promises of shalom and wholeness, yet empower[s] people in their historical responsibility to work in partnership for the realization of what God wills–peace and justice, love and freedom, wholeness and fullness of life for all” (1991, p. 217). In Christian religious education Story and Vision are attempts to articulate the revelation and implications of God’s reign. Because this is itself an interpretation, making Story and Vision accessible is not presenting the predigested knowledge of a finished, clear-cut package. Yet it is not mere fabrication and novelty either. Instead, it has what Groome describes as “trustworthy guidance for people in the present to discern together who their God is and how they are to live as a people of God” (1991, p. 219). God has never allowed the faith community to go totally astray in what it expresses as God’s self-disclosure in their history.

For a pedagogy oriented to public theology, the movement of Story/Vision is crucial. Thiemann suggests, “religious communities will recover their public voices only when they rediscover their own roots” (1991, p. 40). Public voice and overt consciousness of religious heritage are intertwined. Because no public theology is individual and ahistorical, it requires situating personal beliefs in the context of a larger religious tradition. Furthermore, the dialogical anthropology that undergirds public theology implies that humans are not autonomous and atomic individuals, but communal and dialogical. This means that a pedagogy doing public theology requires an interaction between personal basic theologies and a larger religious tradition. This is the essence of Groome’s movement of Story/Vision.

This movement might take the form of presenting both a tradition’s understanding of particular theological symbols as well as their past understandings of how it might apply to the public realm. This could take the form of lectures, videos, readings, guest speakers or even student presentations. However, in the spirit of Groome’s intent, it would be important to present these not as the absolute, right answer transcending space and time nor as novel, controversial reinterpretations, but as historically-developed, socially-situated insights developed in the context of a community of faith. For example, it might include offering the Lutheran notion of Christian liberty as the fundamentally paradoxical position of being “perfectly free lord of all, subject to none” and at the same time a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all” (Solberg 1997, p. 75) or presenting the Reformed notion of predestination as “an assurance amid persecution and chaos that the good order of God still held in the external realm, as did God’s effectual calling to the elect to be agents of redemption” (Bratt 1997, p. 130). The point of doing so is to provide resources for the students developing a public theology. Therefore, part of the Story/Vision for doing public theology might also include giving students examples of how a religious tradition has previously attempted to contribute to the public realm, as Leo XIII expressed in Rerum Novarum (1891) or Abraham Kuyper articulated in his Lectures on Calvinism (1898). It might also take the form of presenting instances of contemporary authors doing public theology, as Ron Sider does in Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, as Michael Northcott does in The Environment and Christian Ethics or as Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen does in The Person in Psychology. In general, I take presenting Story/Vision for public theology to mean not only presenting the theological symbols that might have public potential but also providing examples of others in the tradition who have used these symbols in the public realm, examples of “trustworthy guidance for people in the present to discern together who their God is and how they are to live as a people of God”.

The central insight of this movement is that students ought to develop their own public theology only in the context of traditions and communities. Being a personal bearer of responsibility, as a student in fact is, has a communal dimension for it always take place in the context of historical traditions. Responsibly arriving at truth and right action thus always involves answering to a tradition, or perhaps traditions, even if this includes in the end differing with them. Therefore this element of shared praxis provides the classroom with space for the students, as historical agents, to encounter a tradition’s (or perhaps more than one) communally embodied theological resources and their collective uses in responding to public issues.

However, there is a deeper reason for using the words “Story” and “Vision” to name what is being presented. It’s not merely a nice rhetorical flourish to present theological resources for a public theology in a narrative structure. According to Metz, a theology of salvation is not first of all argumentative, but is “fundamentally a memorative and narrative theology” (Metz 1989, p. 258). Despite the good work of systematic theologians, theological resources thus are first of all in narrative form. This is the first reason for highlighting the essential narrative form of Story/Vision. However, if public theology is not to remain merely a contemplative activity but is to become ethical action, this provides a second reason for accenting the narrative structure. In the words of Alisdair MacIntyre, “I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’” (MacIntyre 1984, p. 216). History on this account is an “enacted narrative”. Students engaging the public realm, whether that be entering dialogue or undertaking public service projects, do so as characters with roles in these stories. It is thus important for them to locate themselves in the broader, older stories.

However, Story is only part of what ought to be presented; Vision is equally important for public theology. Of course, Story and Vision are not really separable, for vision is actually an essential feature of story. MacIntyre remarks that “it is crucial that at any given point in an enacted dramatic narrative we do not know what will happen next” (MacIntyre 1984, p. 215); for a story to be story it is structurally important not knowing what is coming. However, this is also an essential condition for having vision. The other side of not knowing is that “we live out our lives. . . in light of certain conceptions of a possible shared future” (MacIntyre 1984, p. 215), one that pulls us in certain directions for action and not others. A vision for life, of a possible future, is required precisely because we don’t know what the future will be. Students as change agents need to locate themselves in the context of what sorts of changes are worthy to aim for. Since this is part of the structure of any story, presentation of a community’s Vision naturally comes along with its Story. For example, the Mennonite Story about discipleship naturally translates into a Vision of “service and peace-making” and the “pursuit of justice and peace around the world” (Sawatsky 1997, p. 197). Or, the Wesleyan/Holiness Story about sanctification naturally translates into a Vision that “makes the renewal of persons, the church, and society possible here and now rather than postponing renewal to a future age or dispensation” (Stanley & Stanley 1997, p. 316). Vision not only flows out of story but is an integral component of it.

The notion of vision is also vital for public theology. Doing public theology requires having a creative vision for society, a transforming vision for life here on earth, a vision of how to change history and culture. A public theology fits into the space provided by this vision. Public theology involves uncovering, developing, instilling and acting on the content of that transforming vision. According to Tracy, public theology centrally involves employing prophetic symbols that bring to the public conversation a utopian hope for a better society (Tracy 1992, p. 41). Without a vision for how society could be, or ought to be, there would be no space for putting the theological resources to work in the public realm. For a basic theology to claim a place in the public conversation requires a vision for that society. However, the visionary nature of such a vision needs to be highlighted. That is, although a vision is necessary for concrete public discussion and action, the vision qua vision ought not be construed as a set of objective beliefs, a rational plan for thought and action without remainder. If this personal and communal vision is treated as a set of objective truths, absolutely true from no particular vantage point themselves, we would no longer have a vision, but instead a rational blueprint. This substitute for the notion of vision is what motivated the enlightenment’s false ideals of progress and autonomy by means of Reason. By contrast, a vision qua vision is a normative guide for the present that calls from elsewhere. The notion of vision is constituted by the “messianic structure” of historical reality, for a vision is essentially tied to “a future that will never be present, that is prohibited in principle from ever being actualized at some future point in time” (Caputo 1997b, p. 77). This is not a form of pessimism about putting visions into practice; instead, it is a way of saying that what ultimately guides and motivates historical actions and thoughts is something other than rationally constructed blueprints. Without this structure, a vision would be in danger of always collapsing into the present ‘what is’. What is needed as a condition for public theology is seeing itself as a historically-situated content of a transforming vision.

Pedagogically, presenting Story and Vision is a way for an educator to look out for the good of the students. This is because implicit in the presentation is both the notion that there is a right understanding and that it might well be embedded in the traditions’ interpretation. Thus, although the tradition’s voice is not presented as the absolute, final answer, it is nevertheless part of an educator’s pedagogical responsibility to present what he or she believes to be the tradition’s best answer, position, or contribution to an issue. Looking out for the students’ good in doing public theology at this level is constituted by the invitation to the students to consider the tradition’s theological resources and affirm what is right in what they encounter in that Story and Vision.

Appropriation in Dialogue

A fourth element is what Groome calls “appropriation of the Story/Vision” by the participants. Although for Groome this means that the students should take seriously the claims of the Story/Vision, he does not mean for them to accept passively a predigested package of a tradition’s theology. Instead, this movement of shared praxis inquires into the students’ thinking and feeling in response to the Story/Vision they have just encountered. It solicits “personal sentiments and feelings, disagreements or reservations” (Groome 1991, p. 250). In this process, the participants are invited to integrate the Story/Vision into their own lives (their own stories/visions) by means of their own subjective agency, making it their own and attempting to understand how they are to be “reshapers of its [Story/Vision] historical realization in their place and time” (Groome 1991, p. 250). In Christian religious education, it means students’ taking what they perceive to be the truth about the faith community’s official or communal understanding and practice of the doctrine, sacrament, symbol or practice under discussion. This process is never a passive reception of obvious truths; instead, appropriation is embedded in the process of dialogue.

This movement, too, is crucial for public theology as such. The non-foundationalist character of the narrative construal of theology means that rational argumentation is a distorted abstraction of doing public theology. Yet neither does the narrative structure allow for a relativism of believing what you please, for as “a normative discipline, it cannot simply echo all it hears in the ebb and flow of history” (Thiemann 1991, p. 136). Instead, the temporal character of theological thinking calls for a true conviction of the heart of those who engage the resources of theology in the public conversation. This requires, in the classroom focussed on doing public theology, a space for the students to appropriate critically the theological resources of religious tradition in which they are being educated. Without that there could be no public theology for them, for it would remain the private theology of the institution’s community of faith rather then their own. Students need to own the theology if they are going to use it authentically in public discourse. This makes appropriation necessary for public theology.

As part of a pedagogy, the fourth movement might be embodied by encouraging students to critically assess and take in what they perceive to be the insights presented in class or in the readings. Weekly journals might be assigned to interact with the readings in which students critically appraise the wisdom of the authors and adopt freshly articulated, modified versions as their own ideas. Class time could include small-group cooperative learning strategies in which students attempt to puzzle out together, dialogically, what is right about a particular public theology of an author and how it might fit with their own worldview. Whole-class discussions might facilitate this movement effectively. Finally, the process of appropriation might be modeled by using literature that itself exemplifies how to appropriate theological symbols that inform public issues.

The essential feature of this movement is the notion of appropriation. Although this could be construed in a quasi-violent way of ripping ideas out of their context arbitrarily, that is not what is intended. Instead, appropriation is to be accomplished in a dialogue between student and Story/Vision. The central characteristic of dialogue lies “in the process of question and answer, giving and taking, talking at cross purposes and seeing each other’s point” (Gadamer 1975/1988, p. 331), with the intent of working out common meanings. A genuine conversation not only presupposes a common language as a condition for ironing out potential differences but also genuinely accepting the other’s point of view as worthy of consideration. In that sense “a conversation has a spirit of its own” (Gadamer 1975/1988, p. 345), for the conversation transcends any of the participants by virtue of each being open to the other. Appropriation can be thought of as a dialogue between the stories/visions of students and the Story/Vision in which the participants are open to each other and to the message of the Story/Vision with the intent of working out a common meaning. As such, appropriation in the classroom is an analogue to the conversation that constitutes the public sphere outside of school.

This element structures into the pedagogy of shared praxis a way of avoiding the imposition of so called ‘right’ beliefs and actions (i.e., the Story/Vision) on functionally passive students, something Freire rightly warns us against repeatedly. Students don’t develop responsible personal positions by only affirming what others, more powerful in the tradition, say. Asking students to appropriate, rather than merely passively accept, recognizes that the Story and Vision aren’t fully right or true, but may be fallible and distorted. Furthermore, as a “bearer of responsibility” each student must be treated as an active agent, a Freirean dialogical subject. Part of being a subject is the production of personal stories and visions (Kerby 1991). Thus it is essential that each participant must be active in developing his or her own public theology while being invited to be faithful to their collectively informed traditions of faith. The pedagogical kernel of this feature is that the classroom, instead of being a forum for the teacher’s ‘right answer’ on public theology to be reproduced by passive students and instead of the class being an argumentative debate with winners and losers, ought to be a forum for conversation where each person is treated as a subject, an actively thinking historical being who is in the process of developing his or her own public theology.

The dialogical element also is important pedagogically for the educator’s task of looking out for the good of the students. The educator’s presentation of the perceived right action (Story/Vision) as traditionally embodied in a community is a way of influencing the students in a particular direction for their own good. As a counterpoint to that, another part of the educator’s responsibility is to keep space for the students to develop their own stories and visions. As Freire says, “the learner shares the responsibility to participate in the production of understanding of the knowledge that he or she supposedly simply receives from the teacher” (Freire 1998, p. xxiv). This co-responsibility is facilitated by including the movement of dialogue in the classroom. Furthermore, part of influencing students is modeling how interaction in any public realm ought to go. Thus, including dialogue as a crucial element in pedagogy also models to the students that discussion in any public realm isn’t a monological presentation of the ‘right answer in the back of the book’ but a dialogical conversation in which there is genuine interaction with others who might have fundamental differences of outlook and action. Doing public theology in a classroom requires dialogue to be successful.

Decision and Response

A fifth element is what Groome labels the “decision/response for lived Christian faith” (1991, p. 266). In Christian religious education, participants are invited to make decisions about how to live the Christian faith in the world. The intent is to enable participants “to make historical choices about the praxis of Christian faith in the world” (Groome 1991, p. 266). Groome uses this movement to give students opportunity to make their own decisions about the meaning of symbols, events, doctrines, and sacraments of the church and, in doing so, suggests to the students that the choice is their’s to make. The movement’s intent is to influence students to see themselves as “Christian actors” in the world, namely, agent-subjects who make cognitive, affective and action commitments on personal, intrapersonal and socio/political levels (Groome 1991, pp. 268-269).

Educating for public theology ought to include this fifth movement as well. The invitation to commit to particular basic beliefs (positions and actions) is an important ingredient for doing public theology. Without personal commitment in some deep sense there would be no theology, for without “the true conviction of the heart” there would only really be “empty externals” (Thiemann 1991, p. 126). Participation in a public conversation by contributing beliefs to which one is not committed is counterproductive and perhaps ultimately incoherent. Thus a pedagogical moment for commitment seems entirely necessary for doing public theology. And, if Thiemann is right to suggest that a strict theory/practice split for public theology is inappropriate (Thiemann 1991, p. 133), then at some point in educating for public theology, there ought to be opportunities for the students to commit to right public action, informed by their public theology. This could take diverse forms, from writing position papers to participating in service learning opportunities. However, the important kernel, pedagogically, is that these be genuine expressions of their own religious beliefs, their own decision/responses to the Story/Vision as presented in class, based on the dialogue that occurred throughout the course, including the critical reflection on their own present actions concerning social issues and theological symbols.

The pedagogical feature in this element of shared praxis is the dimension of commitment. Although closely related to the element of dialogue, conceptually this kernel is distinct. A call to dialogue is attempting to create space in the classroom for conversation with other participants and with the Story/Vision. By contrast, the invitation to the students for their responses and decisions is a call to commitment. As defined by Polanyi, commitment is “a personal choice, seeking, and eventually accepting, something believed. . . to be impersonally given” (Polanyi 1962, p. 302). Commitment to something by a student is part of what it means to be a bearer of responsibility and contrasts with two possible misconceptions. On the one hand is the emotivist error, namely, the mistaken idea that the position at which one arrives is an arbitrary subjective choice and an expression of personal taste (see MacIntyre 1984, pp. 11ff). This is not commitment because it isn’t arrived at as something impersonally given, forced upon a person by the weight of its truthfulness and trustworthiness. Expressing a taste doesn’t require the idea of being answerable for it. On the other hand is the objectivist error, namely, the mistaken idea that a position can be accepted on the basis of pure reason by an autonomous, ahistorical being (see M. Johnson 1993, pp. 126 ff.). This isn’t commitment because this is merely impersonal assent from a supposed “God’s eye view” rather than involving any personal choice, i.e, agentive evaluation and passion by a historically-situated being who doesn’t have all the facts but yet needs to come to action. Commitment, the delicate balance between these two poles, goes beyond dialogue in that it is its provisional closure by signaling the common meanings that have been discovered and constructed. Of course, it is difficult for commitment to occur without dialogue, since the former moment is a centrally effective way to ensure at once personal involvement (evaluation) and impersonal, non-arbitrary criteria for personal acceptance.

Commitment respects the students as bearers of responsibility because the commitment is ultimately the responsibility of the students themselves. It can’t be done for them, as Augustine already suggested quite sarcastically in De Magistro (Augustine 1953, p. 100). Simultaneously, including the act of commitment as a pedagogical moment is looking out for the good of the student because all learning requires this sort of closure. It is a way of being with students that structurally involves them as historical agents responding to the “messiah structure” of reality (Derrida 1995) with faith, regardless of the determinate form this faith may take. It is to suggest to them that they themselves are responsible for their own thoughts and deeds, attitudes and beliefs, personally and socio/politically. They must be invited to perceive and commit to obedient, faithful responses, broadly construed, to the best of their ability.

A Pedagogy of Hope

Employing the five elements of shared praxis for public theology in the classroom constitutes what Freire would call a pedagogy of hope. Shared praxis structures into the classroom, as a way of being with students, the “possible dreams” required for public theology. It “unveils opportunities for hope” for the students by pointing them, structurally, to resources to draw on for public conversation in the world and by urging them to committed action of their own choosing. Shared praxis can be viewed as a visionary pedagogy of hope that not only embodies optimism for the future but also bases this in the development of concrete commitments of public theology by the students. Of course, this is partly because shared praxis could itself be interpreted as embodying a particular public theology, for it can be thought of as an educational incarnation of a central Christian theological symbol itself, namely, the metaphor of the Kingdom of God. Freire’s pedagogy of hope has Christian roots.

At present we experience God’s reign in its state of inbetweenness, between its announcement and its completion; it occupies the gap between the now and the not yet. This gives the room to interpret the metaphor of Kingdom as a transforming vision, a foresight and openness towards the possibility of changing present reality (society, culture) towards a future better state; a Kingdom vision on this interpretation is something that sees a gap between what is and what ought to be, between the now and the future, between fallenness and perfection, between the good possibilities of the structure of creation and the deformed direction of the present. As an expression of this Kingdom vision, a central insight that any public theology can contribute to the public sphere is this sense of inbetweenness. In a similar vein, what shared praxis contributes to a classroom is an analogical inbetweenness. It is a pedagogy that embodies the very thing we might seek to instill in our students, namely, the sense of a gap which calls us to social conversation and action, which urges us to public activity in the world guided by a transformative vision. Functionally, a transforming vision operates as a corrective to what is. Yet it isn’t merely a call for more of the same. As a transforming vision, the metaphor of Kingdom creates a critical distance from what is by having an openness to what ought to be; analogously, shared praxis can be thought of as a space to articulate and to develop what ought to be. A transforming Kingdom vision functionally is a force that motivates to action, to doing public theology. Similarly, the dynamic movement of shared praxis is fueled by a normative vision, an ought, something to hope for and strive towards.

Creating awareness of a transforming vision in our students leads to what could be called possibility thinking, the movement to what could be from what is. To do this in the classroom itself requires a gap, a space that following Vygotsky (1978) we could call the zone of proximal development, a space that requires cooperative efforts among students and teacher to work through successfully. However, I wish to use Vygotsky’s notion in a slightly unusual sense. Students cannot be successful by merely (abstractly) discussing a transforming vision, they need to experience it in the very talking about it in order to truly understand it; the act of developing a basic vision for life ought to itself be life-transforming. To do public theology, to think that our theological symbols are important for the public sphere, to believe that a transforming vision will be a crucial element for changing society for the better, requires feeling the transition from the is to the ought (without collapsing the latter onto the former). If there is a gap between the is and the ought, then to think that we can and that we should be moved by the ought, rather than acquiescing to the is, requires actually experiencing the movement across the gap between the two.

The term ‘gap’, although useful, needs to be augmented for illuminating how my version of the zone of proximal development accounts for experiencing public theology in the classroom. It is not enough to view ‘is’ and ‘ought’ as essential (traditional) categories, i.e., demarcating two mutually exclusive realms or sets. Instead, it is also important to view them as radial categories (Lakoff 1987), i.e, categories which not only have a distance between them but also a place of meeting; they radiate towards each other and meet in an ecotone. The zone of proximal development, the locus of education where teachers pull students along beyond where they could go by themselves, could then be viewed as the place where the two categories meet. It is likely that their meeting is a central condition for the possibility of a transforming vision springing into action, including public conversation. If that is so, then part of a transforming vision is being able to experience the possibility of the actual transformation through the gap between is and ought if it is to be an optimistic vision. Of course, hope is not really a mere option for a truly transformative vision. A despairing vision would see the gap between the is and the ought as an unbridgeable chasm; hence it would not be a transformative vision. In the same way, recapitulating the optimism of a transforming vision, shared praxis is also always structurally an optimistic pedagogy in character, for it always believes that incremental change in the students will lead to a qualitative difference. In a strong sense, shared praxis is operating, in the classroom, with its own transforming vision; in that sense, it is structurally a Freirean pedagogy of hope. In a very real sense, then, shared praxis can be thought to embody a central Christian theological resource, a transformative Kingdom vision, to facilitate conversation and action for the public good. It might be thought of as public theology in educational action even as it is employed to do public theology with our students.

References

Augustine. (1953). Augustine: Earlier Writings, J. H. S. Burleigh (trans.). Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press.

Baum, G. (1992). Definitions of Religion in Sociology. M. Eliade & D. Tracy (eds.), What is Religion? An Inquiry for Christian Theology. New York: Seabury.

Bratt, J. D. (1997). What Can the Reformed Tradition Contribute to Christian Higher Education? R. T. Hughes, & W. B. Adrian (eds.), Models for Christian Higher Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Bratt, J.D.; De Jong, J.R.; Harkema, P.M.; Timmerman, J.H.; Van Harn, G.L.; Weaver, G.D.; Zuidervaart, L.P. (1996). An Expanded Mission Statement of Calvin College: Vision, Purpose, Commitment. Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin College Provost’s Office.

Caputo, J. D. (1997a). Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida. New York: Fordham University Press.

Caputo, J. D. (1997b). The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Derrida, J. (1995). The Gift of Death, D. Willis, (trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.

Freire, P. (1994). Pedagogy of Hope : Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed, M. B. Ramos (trans.). New York: Continuum.

Freire, P. (1998). Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach. Boulder, CO: Westview.

Hellwig, M. (1997). What Can the Roman Catholic Tradition Contribute to Christian Higher Education? R. T.

Hughes, & W. B. Adrian (eds.), Models for Christian Higher Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Himes, M. J., & Himes, K. R. (1993). Fullness of Faith: The Public Significance of Theology. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Johnson, M. (1993). Moral Imagination: Implications of Cognitive Science for Ethics. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Johnson, D., & Johnson, R. (1994). Learning Together and Alone: Cooperation, Competition, and Individualization, Fourth edition. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Joldersma, C. W. (1996). Faith/Learning Integration. Journal of Research on Christian Education 5 (1), 67-87.

Kerby, A. P. (1991). Narrative and the Self. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Kung, H. (1974). On Being Christian, E. Quin (trans.). Glasgow: Collins & Son.

Kuyper, A. (1898/1931). Lectures on Calvinism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Leo XIII. (1891/1942). Rerum Novarum. Boston, MA: St. Paul Books.

MacIntyre, A. (1984). After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Second Edition. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Metz, J. B. (1989). A Short Apology of Narrative. S. Hauerwas, & L. G. Jones (eds.), Why Narrative: Readings in Narrative Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Nagel, T. (1986). The View from Nowhere. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Northcott, M. (1996). The Environment and Christian Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Polanyi, M. (1962). Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Sawatsky, R. J. (1997). What Can the Mennonite Tradition Contribute to Christian Higher Education? R. T. Hughes, & W. B. Adrian (eds.), Models for Christian Higher Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Schine, J. (ed). (1997). Service Learning. Ninety-Sixth Yearbook of the Society for the Study of Education. K. J. Rehage (society editor). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Solberg, R. W. (1997). What Can the Lutheran Tradition Contribute to Christian Higher Education? R. T. Hughes, & W. B. Adrian (eds.), Models for Christian Higher Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Stanley, J. E., & Stanley, S. C. (1997). What Can the Wesleyan/Holiness Tradition Contribute to Christian Higher Education? R. T. Hughes, & W. B. Adrian (eds.), Models for Christian Higher Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Stewart Van Leeuwen, M. (1985). The Person In Psychology: A Contemporary Christian Appraisal. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Taylor, C. (1995). Philosophical Arguments. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Taylor, C. (1989). Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Thiemann, R.F. (1991). Constructing a Public Theology: The Church in a Pluralistic Culture. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox.

Tracy, P. (1992). Theology, Critical Social Theory, and the Public Realm. D. S. Browning & F. S. Fiorenza, (eds.), Habermas, Modernity and Public Theology. New York: Crossroad.

VanDyk, J. (1990). The place of “Shared Praxis” in the teacher education program. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southeast Regional Association of Teacher Educators, Savannah, GA.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Walsh, B. J. & Middleton R. J. (1984). The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Wolterstorff, N. P. (1989). Keeping Faith: Talks for New Faculty at Calvin College. Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin College.

Wolterstorff, N. P. (1996). The Travail of Theology in the Modern Academy. In The Future of Theology: Essays in Honor of J. Moltmann. M. Volf, C. Krieg, T. Kucharz (eds.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Fonte: http://www.calvin.edu/~cjolders/hope.html. Acesso em 15 de março de 2011.

  1. http://legalusdrugstore.com/7.jpg
    hospital pharmacy tech jobs http://rx-pharmacy.co.uk/catalogue/a.htm free pharmacy scholarships available online noroxin
    pharmacy technician training programs wiki http://rx-pharmacy.co.uk/catalogue/r.htm ess solution neighborcare pharmacy allegheny county pharmacy association
    thriftway pharmacy http://rx-pharmacy.co.uk/catalogue/f.htm online pharmacy technician certification zerit
    pharmacy net guide http://rx-pharmacy.co.uk/catalogue/b.htm nogales sonara pharmacy pharmacy metformin

Deixe uma resposta

O seu endereço de e-mail não será publicado. Campos obrigatórios são marcados com *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>