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Baker Publishing Group
Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation

Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation

by James K. A. Smith, Glen Stassen
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Malls, stadiums, and universities are actually liturgical structures that influence and shape our thoughts and affections. Humans—as Augustine noted—are "desiring agents," full of longings and passions; in brief, we are what we love.

James K. A. Smith focuses on the themes of liturgy and desire in Desiring the Kingdom, the first book in what will be a three-volume set on the theology of culture. He redirects our yearnings to focus on the greatest good: God. Ultimately, Smith seeks to re-vision education through the process and practice of worship. Students of philosophy, theology, worldview, and culture will welcome Desiring the Kingdom, as will those involved in ministry and other interested readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801035777
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/01/2009
Series: Cultural Liturgies Series
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 186,982
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About 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 (

Table of Contents

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

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Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
bunniehopp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The premise of Desiring the Kingdom is that because we are ¿desiring beings¿ rather than ¿thinking beings¿, the most effective education for Christians would be a combination of those activities which involve both our materiality and spirituality, our bodies and emotions as well as our intellects. Having stated that thesis, James Smith explores the ways we are ¿culturally¿ educated into secular society, and then looks at what we do in liturgy and worship as educative activities that forms us into Christians.In examining the ¿culture¿ education to which we are exposed, Smith suggests what we are being taught about being consumers, about national loyalty, about love as sexuality. He asks the reader to evaluate the virtues of persons of ¿culture¿ education with what is valued as virtues of Christian persons. He then begins a lengthy examination of how we are educated as Christians through liturgy and worship. He looks at various parts of liturgy and describes what might be being taught in each. His insights into the cultural re-education provided by individual aspects of worship/liturgy awakened in me an appreciation for the ideal of what liturgical activities could mean. This section was the most valuable, insightful, and enriching part of the book for me. If a reader didn¿t have enough time or interest to study the full education argument of the book, the sections in Part 2, beginning with Chapter 4 describing liturgy and worship are worth reading and contemplating on their own. Smith has described worship/liturgy in ways that help us realize that what we do on Sundays really does/or can impact our activities and decisions for the whole week. He begins by asking why some people get up on Sundays, leave home and go to a church at a particular time. He answers by saying that some people are called, and respond to that call. What a privilege it is to have been called.I would recommend Desiring the Kingdom. James Smith helps us see, question, and reevaluate our usual activities.
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