A strange, but graceful juxtaposition— but that is the way of Praxis.
With a vision for the way the world ought to be, and perhaps even could be, year by year they bring together some of the greatest needs that we see and hear from every corner of the earth, with very good and gifted people who offer their hard-won expertise in addressing the complexities of the way the world is.
For example, this photo is of three good men, one who spent the years of his life overseeing one of the biggest companies of the world, and the others the visionaries behind an effort to address the heartaches of “trash communities” in the megacities of the 21st-century. Edwin Keh flew here from Hong Kong to be part of the conversation that Praxis facilitates, bringing decades of experience in the global marketplace as a senior vice-president and then COO of Wal-Mart; Brett Durbin and Timm Collins from Topeka, KS, with a vision of hope for some of the most devastated environments of the world, the trash dump communities in the Philippines, Kenya, Honduras, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.
Where on earth would they ever meet? How would they ever talk?
Except over a cup of something at Praxis, committed as it is to giving flesh-and-bones to doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God in the push-and-shove of entrepreneurial hope and hard work in organizations like the Trash Mountain Project of Brett and Timm.
But the stories go on and on, because this is the work of Praxis. This week that includes someone from Dallas working to recreate hope among the children of the homeless in cities across the country, someone who runs a cafe in San Francisco which works to transform the loop of incarceration and recidivism of urban youth in that city,
someone from Atlanta who is working to create a path forward for the children of immigrants with no history of school and schooling, someone from Kansas City who is reimagining the way financial resources are stewarded on behalf of the needs of the neediest people in the world, someone from New York City who is creating economic opportunities for survivors of human trafficking in India and Cambodia,
someone in Colorado Springs who is developing ways to form the moral imaginations of adolescents to move beyond their own small worlds of entitlement and consumption,
someone from Haiti who is creating educational opportunities for the transformation of her country, someone from Washington DC who is developing “the human trafficking institute” so that the nations of the earth will develop legal resources to address this modern scourge, someone from Birmingham with a vision for urban youth to learn woodworking skills that will serve them and their city for the rest of life,
someone from San Francisco who has imagined a legal clinic that serves those in need regardless of income and ability, someone in Nashville whose organization works to help heal the wounds of survivors of the long wars in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo— and of course I have only skimmed the surface of these people, and their labors of love and longing.
The good work of Praxis is to help grow these visions into being, forming a sustainable trajectory of well-conceived and well-planned growth over time that keeps the hope alive, deepening the work and developing their resources through the years. It never ceases to amaze me who it is that is drawn in on both sides, the hopers and the dreamers who have already given legs to their ideas, as well as the mentors who offer their years of wisdom and experience on behalf of the next generation of those committed to being common grace for the common good.
In every different way each one is a signpost, a hint of hope showing that all is not lost, that sometimes some people are willing to give their hearts away for the sake of the world.