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You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power…
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You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (edition 2016)

by James K. A. Smith (Author)

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948819,451 (4.23)3
You are what you love. But you might not love what you think. 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.… (more)
Member:126library
Title:You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
Authors:James K. A. Smith (Author)
Info:Brazos Press (2016), Edition: Illustrated, 224 pages
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You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith

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I couldn’t wait for the telos of this book. I found this book to be a tough read although I have enjoyed Smith’s other, purportedly more academic works. This perhaps in part because as much as the idea of this book is to push beyond intellectual frameworks to habit-forming practice, I found the book to be mostly about making an intellectual argument in favor of his mental mode of worship. I found the conceptual arguments to be the strongest (ie, chapter 1) and most engaging, while the least engaging were those that were supposed to flesh out his central argument. The irony of failing to articulate the application of an idea in a book about the importance of moving beyond concept to application is not lost on me. Additionally I found the reliance on ancient orthodoxy as the rule/solution to contemporary culture to be somewhat more rigid than I would have expected. There’s a case to be made for orthodox principles engaging with and transforming ones own cultural practices. It seems Smiths case is more about replacing one practice with another that ultimately seemed... unimaginative. ( )
  nrfaris | Dec 23, 2021 |
Our habits of doing form our habits of mind, and habits are more powerful than we give them credit for. Unfortunately most spaces and narratives we interact with reinforce secular values. Worse, religious spaces, in an attempt to be "relevant", have reformed themselves to fit into the secular narratives that people are comfortable with. We should ask people to engage in the same practices, iconography, and liturgy week after week -- especially those practices that have stood the test of time, and which are centered on God rather than on our experience of God.

I'm quite torn on this book. It became gradually apparent that its intended audience is practicing evangelicals who eschew Christian tradition. Personally I think the thesis is clever, correct and well-argued -- probably because of some pre-existing biases in my viewpoint. But I only got the slightest bit more out of reading the entire book than I got from reading a few review paragraphs about it before picking it up. And though I'm trying not to hold it against the book, the reliance on teleology gave me flashbacks to reading Robert Pirsig as an undiscerning young teenager, and the aw-shucks-I'm-just-a-downhome-boy(who-can-smoothly-quote-Pascal-and-Augustine-and-bell-hooks) vibe of the audiobook narration seemed disingenuous at best.

I'd strongly recommend a Cliff's Notes version of this book, but it's hard for me to recommend the whole work. ( )
  pammab | Nov 11, 2021 |
In this book, James K. A. Smith seems to me to be focusing on 3 main words: love, worship, & liturgy. The main idea I took from this book is that what we love, we worship and it forms us into who we are and what we do. It is not our knowledge & thinking that guide our lives but the liturgies or (in Mr. Smith's use) the habits or practices that we repeat. These subconsciously form our loves. They are all around us not only in our Christian assemblies but in all of our everyday living. The liturgies of our assemblies are thus of utmost importance in regularly recentering us in God's story of reconciling all things to Himself and not letting the liturgies of success in this world become our center.
  WaterMillChurch | Apr 5, 2020 |
Easy read with a simple premise based Matthew 15:19. Truly a spiritual investigation of the individual heart. Worth your time to read. ( )
  jonlands | Apr 6, 2018 |
I mostly loved this book. I have read a few other books by James K.A. Smith and was pleased to find that Smith had done an excellent job adapting his more niche, academic work for a broader audience and toward wider applications.

What I liked:
-A great argument for liturgy from a reformed perspective
-An insightful argument for the way that the liturgies (Christian and secular) shape our ontology, which shapes what we love, which shapes who we are
-Nice ideas for choosing to shape our minds by Christian narratives

Critiques:
-Smith rightly points out that teaching pastors have the responsibility to identify and critique the secular liturgies that are mis-leading the direction of our love. He unwittingly demonstrates a pitfall of looking to a single teacher, rather than a community of teachers, for these criticisms: the two most extended explications of secular liturgies that he describes are shopping malls and wedding planning. He was quite correct in what he said about these liturgies, but didn't acknowledge that the main participants these two liturgies are young women. Young women are traditionally the group that has their virtue most scrutinized while being the group of least power in the church. I wish he had been a bit more self-reflective (perhaps looking at the university) rather than choosing both of these examples.
-Smith presents a beautiful argument for the use of traditional church liturgy. I am personally in broad agreement with what he says about liturgical services. Her rightly points out that using the liturgy practiced by the church for centuries, we are telling ourselves and each other trustworthy stories about God and ourselves without falling prey to theological or cultural fads. However, it ends up feeling like such a hagiography of traditional liturgy without acknowledgement that the book of common prayer and even the creeds come from cultural contexts that had blind spots too--overemphasizing some themes and under emphasizing others.

I do highly recommend this book, and James K.A. Smith's work in general. ( )
1 vote LauraBee00 | Mar 7, 2018 |
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You are what you love. But you might not love what you think. 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.

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