In this book, award-winning author James K. A. Smith shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. Read more...
In this book, award-winning author James K. A. Smith shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. We might not realize the ways our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made. Smith helps readers recognize the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices. He explains that worship is the "imagination station" that incubates our loves and longings so that our cultural endeavors are indexed toward God and his kingdom. This is why the church and worshiping in a local community of believers should be the hub and heart of Christian formation and discipleship.
Following the publication of his influential work Desiring the Kingdom, Smith received numerous requests from pastors and leaders for a more accessible version of that book's content. No mere abridgment, this new book draws on years of Smith's popular presentations on the ideas in Desiring the Kingdom to offer a fresh, bottom-up rearticulation. The author creatively uses film, literature, and music illustrations to engage readers and includes new material on marriage, family, youth ministry, and faith and work. He also suggests individual and communal practices for shaping the Christian life.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Smith (Desiring the Kingdom), philosophy professor at Calvin College, offers a thought-provoking analysis of present-day American culture's secular liturgies, which he defines as "rituals that are loaded with an ultimate Story about who we are and what we're for," and argues persuasively for the need "to intentionally recalibrate the unconscious" in order to worship faithfully. Making an intriguing exploration of the shopping mall as a modern-day temple with a "consumer gospel," Smith invites readers to take a "liturgical audit" of other secular temples that provide formative, not innocuous, experiences. Unpacking the dramatic narrative of worship, including confession, sacraments, and weddings, Smith lifts up the power of story and "the historic practices of the faith," maintaining that faithful worship is "embodied, tangible, and visceral." He asserts that repetitive spiritual practices, at home and in church, have the power to shape moral character: "We become what we worship because what we worship is what we love." Examples from Smith's personal life as well as references to literature, philosophy, film, and art make this compelling and inspiring contribution to the study of spiritual disciplines both accessible and engaging. (Apr.)