All tagged James K. A. Smith

You Are What You Love NOT What You Think

The way to get to someone's heart is not (solely) through the mind. We humans are more than just "brains on a stick." God gave us bodies and, therefore, the whole body must be discipled. This is not some call for aestheticism or mutilation of the flesh, but rather a call for understanding that we inhabit a physical world with physical bodies that must be captured up in to God's story as well as the mind.

Liturgy Series: Part 7 – Baptism

Baptism serves as a constant reminder that God chooses that which is weak in the world to shame the strong (1 Cor. 1:27). Whereas the priesthood of the old covenant was available only to a select few based on blood. The waters of baptism open the priesthood to all serving as testament forever that water truly is thicker than blood.

The Bloody Marriage of Military & Sport

Sports, the movies, the mall, the news cycle, etc. all serve in a liturgical manner; they all shape us and form us in certain ways simply by our exposure to them. When Smith speaks of “liturgies” he’s talking about cultural rituals that tend to shape us in ways that we aren’t necessarily aware of. In other words, liturgies don’t ask for permission to shape the way we think and feel about certain things, they just do it.

Liturgy Series: Part 6 – Confession & Pardon

The disordered desires of a people result not only in individual sins but ultimately take shape in the world we inhabit. Too often we limit the scope of our sin to our personal relationship with God or (a little better) to the ways our sins affect our closest relationships. Now, while sin certain does have a (powerful) affect on those things, Smith points out the cultural and cosmic effects of sin as well.

Liturgy Series: Part 4 – Music

Like all parts of the liturgy, music is both unavoidable and massively impactful. Whether we like it or not the words and rhythms we sing as a congregation are shaping us into a teleological people (a people facing a certain kingdom). Considering the weight of this proposition we should be increasingly concerned with which kingdom our songs are pointing us.

Doing What Everyone Else Does, Plus Jesus: A Critique of the "Christian Worldview"

I finished reading James K.A. Smith's book Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation a couple weeks ago. I would have to say that it is the best book I've read this year (so far). The book does a wonderful job at challenging the popular conversations surrounding "Christian Worldview" talk without being over critical while at the same time offering  an attractive alternative. Smith argues throughout the book that centering the Christian faith around something like a "worldview" has many pitfalls. Again, it should be noted that Smith is not advocating that we abandon the concept of developing a "Christian Worldview" but suggests that such a center cannot hold.

Far from disparaging the commands of God by ignoring them (like many reformed/pietists) or calling people to earn their salvation through adherence to a moral code (like Moral Therapeutic Deists), Smith shows that the purpose of the law is to subvert any claim on autonomy and direct the community of the church into a lifestyle that is aimed at the way the world is truly suppose to be; aimed at the Kingdom.

While truth in the form of theology & philosophy is very helpful it is stories that ultimately grab us! In fact it is stories that grab us first as children before we even have the capacity to understand theological treatises. Christians should not shy away from stories but instead embrace them and learn to tell them better!