Nothing magic here, but these habits of heart have been running through my mind for a long time. In my thirties I began wondering “why some people keep on keeping on, and why others don’t?” Loving my students as I did, this plagued me, and I eventually spent ten years studying this, writing a dissertation and then a book, exploring its challenges and questions.
The book argued that there are three commitments that mark people who keep at it over a lifetime: a worldview that can make sense of faith and hope and love in a pluralizing, secularizing world, a mentor whose life shows that beliefs can become behavior, and a community that sustains our loves and longings through its corporate, embodied practices. I never saw this as a discovery so much as an observation, a reality written into the nature of the universe, into the way life is for everyone everywhere.
The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior has had a good reading over the years, with many printings and two editions, and it is still true that every week someone somewhere writes me about their reading of the book, asking questions about its meaning for their lives.
Yesterday morning at the Praxis Academy I was intrigued to see this thesis written into the time for reflection. 1) How developed is your worldview— your model for living? 2) Who are your potential mentors whom you could pursue who embody your worldview? 3) Who are the people— a band of sisters and brothers —that you could do life with that would pursue a similar way of living together?
And then pressing this into the purposes of Praxis, “As you think about entrepreneurship with impact, what might success do to you? How would you process failure?”
The Praxis community has chosen this framework as the curricular structure for the Academy, inviting the students into a vision for vocations that are sustained over time. All this makes sense to me, not so much because I wrote a book about it, but because our hopes are always for the long-term fruitfulness of our labor. While flash-in-the-pan is interesting, it finally doesn’t matter. What does, of course, is seeing the worldview become a way of life, seeing the belief become behavior.
And that is why Praxis does what it does, and why I am committed to their work. Over the last months we have been in a deepening conversation about my work with them, and in the last few days have agreed that I will become the first Praxis Scholar, offering more intentional and focused attention to the hopes and dreams, programs and practices of the Praxis community— its mentors, its Fellows and its students. Given that I have come to love them and their vision, I am very glad to join them.
Good work with good people. If I can do that until I cannot, I will be a happy man.
For more, please see: http://www.washingtoninst.org/8568/praxis-where-belief-becomes-behavior/