Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation

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Overview

A Philosophical Theology of Culture

Philosopher James K. A. Smith reshapes the very project of Christian education in Desiring the Kingdom. The first of three volumes that will ultimately provide a comprehensive theology of culture, Desiring the Kingdom focuses education around the themes of liturgy, formation, and desire. Smith's ultimate purpose is to re-vision Christian education as a formative process that redirects our desire toward God's kingdom and its vision of flourishing. In the same way, he re-visions Christian worship as a pedagogical practice that trains our love.

"James Smith shows in clear, simple, and passionate prose what worship has to do with formation and what both have to do with education. He argues that the God-directed, embodied love that worship gives us is central to all three areas and that those concerned as Christians with teaching and learning need to pay attention, first and last, to the ordering of love. This is an important book and one whose audience should be much broader than the merely scholarly."--Paul J. Griffiths, Duke Divinity School

"In lucid and lively prose, Jamie Smith reaches back past Calvin to Augustine, crafting a new and insightful Reformed vision for higher education that focuses on the fundamental desires of the human heart rather than on worldviews. Smith deftly describes the 'liturgies' of contemporary life that are played out in churches--but also in shopping malls, sports arenas, and the ad industry--and then re-imagines the Christian university as a place where students learn to properly love the world and not just think about it."--Douglas Jacobsen and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen, Messiah College; authors of Scholarship and Christian Faith: Enlarging the Conversation

"This is a wise, provocative, and inspiring book. It prophetically blurs the boundaries between theory and practice, between theology and other disciplines, between descriptive analysis and constructive imagination. Anyone involved in Christian education should read this book to glimpse a holistic vision of learning and formation. Anyone involved in the worship life of Christian communities should read this book to discover again all that is at stake in the choices we make about our practices."--John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801035777
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Series: Cultural Liturgies
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 177,978
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

James K. A. Smith (PhD, Villanova University) is the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition, he is editor of Comment magazine and a senior fellow of the Colossian Forum. He has penned the critically acclaimed Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? and Introducing Radical Orthodoxy, and his edited books include After Modernity? and Hermeneutics at the Crossroads. Smith is the editor of the well-received Church and Postmodern Culture series (www.churchandpomo.org).
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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Beyond "Perspectives": Faith and Learning Take Practice
Making the Familiar Strange: A Phenomenology of Cultural Liturgies
The End of Christian Education: From Worldview to Worship (and Back Again)
Picturing Education as Formation in Orwell's Road to Wigan Pier
Elements of a Theology of Culture: Pedagogy, Liturgy, and the Church
Part I: Desiring, Imaginative Animals: We Are What We Love
1. Homo Liturgicus: The Human Person as Lover
From Thinking Things to Liturgical Animals
From Worldviews to Social Imaginaries
From Spheres to Aims: Liturgical Institutions
2: Love Takes Practice: Liturgy, Formation, and Counterformation
Why Victoria's In on the Secret: Picturing Discipleship at the Moulin Rouge
"Thick" and "Thin" Practices: Ritual Forces of Cultural Formation
Formation, Mis-Formation, and Counter-Formation: Liturgies Secular and Christian
3. Lovers in a Dangerous Time: Cultural Exegesis of "Secular" Liturgies
"Reading" Culture Through the Lens of Worship
Consuming Transcendence: Worship at the Mall
Marketing (as) Evangelism
Picturing the Liturgy of Consumerism in The Persuaders
Sacrificial Violence: The "Military-Entertainment" Complex
Cathedrals of Learning: Liturgies of the University
Picturing the University's Liturgies in Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons
Apologetic Excursus: The Persisting Witness of Idolatry
Picturing Resistance in 1984
Part II: Desiring the Kingdom: The Practiced Shape of the Christian Life
4. From Worship to Worldview: Christian Worship and the Formation of Desire
The Primacy of Worship to Worldview
The Sacramental Imagination: Resisting Naturalism and Supernaturalism
Picturing the Sacramental Imagination in Graham Greene and Anne Sexton
Excursus: The Shape of Christian Worship
5. Practicing (for) the Kingdom: An Exegesis of the Social Imaginary Embedded in Christian Worship
Liturgical Time: Rhythms and Cadences of Hope
Call to Worship: An Invitation to Be Human
God's Greeting: Hospitality, Community, and Graced Dependence
Baptism: Initiation into a Royal Priesthood/Constitution of a New People
Song: Hymning the Language of the Kingdom
Confession: Brokenness, Grace, Hope
Law: Order, Norms, and Freedom for the Good
The Creed: Situating Belief
Prayer: Vocalizing Desire
Scripture and Sermon: Re-narrating the World
Eucharist: Supper with the King
Offering: Kingdom Economics
Sending: The Great Commission as Cultural Mandate
Worship, Discipleship and Discipline: Practices Beyond Sunday
6. A Christian University is for Lovers: The Education of Desire
A New Monasticism for the University: Why Christian Colleges Should Corrupt the Youth
Christian Education Takes Practice: Three Monastic Opportunities
Excursus: Christian Worship as Faculty Development: From Christian Scholars to "Ecclesial" Scholars
Indexes
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