Towards a New Integral and Transformative Model of Religious Education for Nigeria in the 21 st Century
Chapter Three: Towards an Understanding of Thomas H. Groome’s Shared Christian Praxis Approach to Christian Religious Education
The hermeneutics of the Christian life is always historically contextualised if it is to be meaningful to humankind. Fruitful renewals in humankind’s history bear testimony to this reality. Thomas Groome’s approach to Christian religious education (henceforth CRE) designated as shared Christian praxis aims at making the Christian faith more meaningful and self-engaging. Unlike the hitherto rote-learning method of faith communication, this approach is basically dialogical and relational. In other words, faith communication is no longer viewed as a form of indoctrination of the other but rather, as a dialogical encounter with God in the person of Jesus Christ through the Christian community. In that case, Groome’s approach of faith communication as shared Christian praxis is not only relational but holistic, since it engages all the dimensions of the human person as a being with others in the community. Thus, faith is embraced as a free choice and interpersonal commitment towards God, self, others, and creation.
Groome as the pioneer of shared Christian praxis, was one among religious educators that established the philosophical, theological and educational principles for a new approach to RE. His study began to take a centre-stage since his first major publication entitled: Christian Religious Education: Sharing our Story and Vision.1 His shared Christian praxis focuses more on the changing patterns ← 179 | 180 → about what it means to know and become human in Christian faith-formation. The concern aimed to move beyond the polarity and tension between past tradition and present experience to bring about a balance...