The Chicago Wisdom Project Continued

If the Climate Emergency and the Impeachment hearings and the meltdown of democracy that we are facing in the West today in varied expressions around the world teach me anything it is that 1) the modern consciousness is failing us.  And 2) education as we are doing it in the West is failing us at the deepest level, namely that of values and of spirituality. 

Photo of Ted Richards from his website, entitled “The Crucifixion Release”. For original post, click HERE.

Ted Richards offers some medicine for the failures of education today through his  Chicago Wisdom Project, founded in 2009 as “a response to the industrial and corporate models of education that have become increasingly prevalent in the American educational landscape.”  Richards believes that education is not merely about concepts and curriculum but also about values, process and pedagogy. He writes:

The context for learning is a metaphor for the world. Today, our learning spaces are based on the metaphors of capitalist competition; of mechanism and industrialism; and of the prison. As a consequence, we are not providing a way to offer our youth to re-image our world.

Logo of the Chicago Wisdom Project. For website of the project, click HERE.

The is what prophets do—they reimagine the world.  The work we prepare young people to do via education impacts both individual and community:

We believe that our students can become creators of culture, not merely consumers, and inspire them to challenge the assumptions of modern, industrial culture through the arts. 

Richards seeks a debate about the true meaning of education that takes us “beyond the test-centered and utilitarian focus of the current political discourse.”

Chicago Wisdom Project participants on retreat. Taken from Ted Richard’s website HERE.

Among the work of the CWP, which launched on the south side of Chicago, are after school programs; rites of passage retreats and summer camps; organized community events and a community garden and urban farm. The young people involved have written books, made films, created works of visual and performance art including theater, song and dance.

Always evolving, their most recent focus has shifted from running youth programs to dealing directly with the crises of Modernity through trainings, curriculum development, and writing, including the publication of Re-imagining Magazine:

Chicago Wisdom Project participant reading poetry. Photo originally posted HERE.

They are seeking to spread a new story since

...the stories of the Modern world no longer sustain us, bringing us to brink of catastrophe ecologically, economically, spirituality. Our troubles cannot be solved merely through technology, or even politics; rather, we need to re-image what it means to be human. We seek new stories, new poetics, new ideas—and we put our ideas and stories into action. This work requires the wisdom of those at the margins, and by those with the courage to imagine a new world.

Website homepage for the Baltimore Wisdom Project.

They describe their mission this way:

Our shared mission is to re-imagine education and re imagine the world by enhancing the lives of youth and adults with holistic education, intercultural understanding and anti-oppressive, liberationist thought leadership.

Along with The Baltimore Wisdom Project, the Chicago Wisdom Project is part of the 501(c)3 nonprofit “Wisdom Projects, Inc.”

To learn more or donate to the Chicago Wisdom Project, click HERE.

See Matthew Fox, Confessions, 353-359.  Matthew Fox, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human

Banner Image: Students in a Chicago Wisdom Project class. Photo from CWP website section on “Reimagining Education”.

Queries for Contemplation

The Chicago Wisdom Project asks us to “re-image what it means to be human.”  Are you involved in that spiritual work also, that imaginative and prophetic work?  How is it going?

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.

After 29 successful years of offering an alternative educational model to adults, Matthew Fox here lays out his basic educational philosophy and presents a revolution in education in the process.  “A.W.E.” stands for Ancestral Wisdom Education: balancing the three R’s by honoring the teachings of the Ancestors of all species, and by teaching values through what Fox calls “the 10 C’s.”

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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