“I don’t understand that!”
This is a common response to our complex world – confusion, uncertainty, or indifference can overwhelm…
In Praxis, Columbia’s 1-year certificate that combines urban studies with discipleship and experiential learning, students are equipped to handle this very experience of cultural understanding in what we’ve termed the Praxis cycle: Observe-Engage-Integrate.
Praxis is an experience of constant cultural observation. For example, a day in New York with Praxis can involve a walk by the landmarks of Wall Street, a moving visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, followed by a challenging conversation with an advocate for the homeless. The day is capped with dinner and a Broadway show. In Praxis, we see a whole lot.
Beyond observation, however, comes the need to engage – the ongoing analysis of what we observe. In Praxis, engagement is ongoing through activities like team conversation and meeting with individuals or organizations “on the ground” who are engaging culture in creative ways. For example, during a tour of Vancouver neighbourhoods and churches, students hear from urban pastors about the challenge of fostering community in the busyness of city life, brainstorming creative ways to respond.
As Christians sent into the world (John 20:21), Praxis pushes students beyond observation and engagement to something more. Integration helps students to ask the question, “How will I respond?” The variety of volunteer experiences is one way integration takes place in Praxis. From soup kitchens, to community centres, to church neighbourhood parties, to construction work, Praxis students integrate faith in tangible acts of service.
All together, these three areas of the Praxis Cycle – Observe-Engage-Integrate – reflect the ongoing process of equipping students to tangibly apply their faith in the world.
To experience the Praxis Cycle as a student, click here to receive more information or register for the upcoming school year.