All day long I have been listening to people who care about the way the world turns out, men and women who dream dreams, and then work at them. Not a romantic among them, they are people who have the eyes of their hearts wide open to the way the world is, and have begun organizations committed to the way things ought to be.

Called the Praxis Labs, this week is for entrepreneurs in the non-profit sector; another learning community exists for business entrepreneurs, and I was with them in the fall in this same setting in the Catskills of New York, about an hour and a half north of New York City– a beautiful place to ponder the complex wrongs of the world, a respite in its own way for folk whose day-by-day lives are full of the weight of the world.

From working at education reform in the cities of the U.S. to health care reform in Uganda, from social services for children with disabilities in Washington DC to a network of colleges for African women, twelve different projects are here this week, each represented by one or two visionaries who have brought their passions into being with organization and hope.

I could not be more impressed. The leadership of Dave Blanchard, Josh Kwang and Jon Hart is remarkable, very gifted they are and yet it is not about “them.” They are true servant leaders, driven by nothing less than a selfless love for God and the world, Formed by a belief that the truest truths are learned “over-the-shoulder and through-the-heart,” the Praxis pedagogy is mentor-intensive, with long hours of focused conversation about the whats and hows of making things happen, and so they bring in more senior people from all over to think aloud and together with the fellows. Over time they are developing a network of equally serious people who are committing themselves to a vision of common grace for the common good.

Tonight I offered an after-dinner reflection on being implicated in the way the world turns out. Not a new idea for me, but uniquely imagined for these people in this place, I talked about why it is that we see ourselves as responsible, for love’s sake, for the heartaches and wounds of the world. Sometimes political, sometimes economic, sometimes educational, sometimes medical, sometimes social, and most of the time all merged together into an unholy mess that is ours to care about.

Why do we? And how do we? That was what we thought about together tonight, and that is what Praxis is about all week long, year after year.

Steven Garber is the Senior Fellow for Vocation and the Common Good for the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. A teacher of many people in many places, he continues to serve as a consultant to colleges and corporations, facilitating both individual and institutional vocation. A husband, a father and a grandfather, a he has long lived in Washington DC, living a life among family, friends, and flowers.

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