Cambridge Summer Praxis

5/22/18

Dear Cambridge Community,

Praxis is a community forum to explore topics that do not fit neatly into our curriculum but nonetheless align with our mission of “academic discipleship.” Praxis comes from a Greek word, meaning “action.” It is contrasted to theory, another word with a Greek origin, meaning “contemplation.” A fully human life involves both theory and praxis. Since our classes focus on thinking well, we desire a forum to encourage living well. In 2017-18, Praxis addressed the topic of sexual ethics, which included the virtue of chastity, the vocations of celibacy and marriage, and the theology of the body. We chose this topic because of the undeniable moral confusion in our society and, regrettably, in our churches.

In 2018-19, Praxis will address the topic of leisure, properly understood as Sabbath living (Hebrews 4:9-10). We chose this topic because much of what passes for “leisure” in our society enervates rather than energizes, and impoverishes rather than enriches. Relaxation is not identical to rest.

To carry out a vision of Sabbath living, students are committing to 3 practices over the summer that, we hope, will redeem time, rest bodies, and renew spirits. We created a document with a menu of practices for Sabbath living, which are organized according to Gary L. Thomas’ nine spiritual temperaments in his book, Sacred Pathways. Click here for the sign-up sheet and detailed guidance on the practices.

Since nothing inspires quite like “leading by example,” faculty are committing to these practices, and also reading Norman Wirzba’s book, Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight. We encourage you to join your children as well. There is no “us” versus “them” when it comes to Sabbath living: we all need help to enter God’s rest so that our lives are not marked by frenetic worry and fruitless exhaustion.

As students undertake the practices of Sabbath living this summer, we encourage them to submit Sabbath living-inspired reflections, photographs, or videos to Emily Eber. She will be sharing submissions on the School’s blog and social sites.

When students return from the summer recess, they will participate in Praxis discussion groups that are divided by grade and facilitated by faculty advisors. During those meetings, our aim is to deepen reflection on the practices. An altered menu of practices will be presented to students that are suited for the rhythms of the academic year.

The 17th-century Anglican priest and poet, George Herbert, reminds us in his poem, “The Pulley,” why God withheld rest from humanity when he created us. “‘For if I should,’ said [God], ‘Bestow this jewel also on my creature, / He would adore my gifts instead of me, / And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature; / So both should losers be.” In the poem, God concludes: “If goodness lead him not, yet weariness / May toss him to my breast.”

Join us as we enter the Lord’s rest.

Sabbath blessings,

The Cambridge School of Dallas Praxis Committee

Christopher Benson, Professor of English
Sara Gudde, Professor of Theology and Mathematics
Jay Howell, Dean of School, Professor of Philosophy
Moryam VanOpstal, Professor of History and Government