“I’m not suggesting we need less thinking; my point is that we need more than thinking. And we need to think carefully about the limits of thought (I tried to tease this out in the opening of Imagining, with a hat tip to Proust). That’s not a paradox; that’s intellectual honesty.”
We are thrilled that James K. A. Smith’s You Are What You Love will be released in just a few days from our sister division, Brazos Press.
In the video below, Smith explains how his new book relates to Desiring the Kingdom and his cultural-liturgies project.
You can learn more at www.JamesKASmith.com, and if you pre-order before April 5 you can join a private online Q&A with James K. A. Smith.
In this video from the recent Center for Pastor Theologians conference, Jamie Smith explores some themes from the forthcoming third volume in his Cultural Liturgies series. Specifically, his proposal for a richly Christian political theology.
“How we name things determines how we are going to relate to them. I don’t treat a “weed” the same way as I treat a “flower” even though both are plants. If the world is a “store” we will position ourselves as consumers. If the world is God’s “creation,” and we appreciate what that name means, then we will have to position ourselves in unique ways.”
“Along the way, as Anatolios directs, the reader proceeds beyond the coherence of Nicaea to its beauty and truth. In this refusal to separate doctrine and spirituality, action and reflection, Retrieving Nicaea provides a lasting contribution to both church and academy.”
James K.A. Smith was interviewed at The Living Church.
Could you briefly describe your own academic trilogy?
Desiring the Kingdom (2009) is an overview account of human beings as liturgical animals, so reading culture liturgically. Also, what would Christian education look like? Imagining the Kingdom (2013) covers how worship works. Awaiting the King (2017), its working title, will focus on political theology. If the body of Christ is the outpost of the city of God, how does that shape us for political engagement? How does it also relativize our tendency to partisan ideologies? I want to rewrite Augustine’s City of God for the 21st century. Augustine’s analysis of the Roman Empire is liturgical and so he’s looking at the rites of Rome.”
“The pragmatism of the ‘worship industry’ concerns me. Since our understanding of worship is restricted largely to what we do in church as a community, we devote our energies to making our worship that is attractive especially to the unbelievers and the marginal Christians.
We forget that an audience with God calls for a counter-cultural liturgical vocabulary. In Deuteronomy 12 Moses declares that the forms of true worship may not derive either from our own imaginations (v. 8) or the environment in which we live (vv. 29–31). The object of worship alone (i.e., God) determines the nature and forms of true worship.”
“This book is ideal for a scholar seeking to study church history, or an educated layperson wanting to know more about church councils, Gnostics, and modern day Muslims.”
“Principles of moral interpretation such as that of charity have become all the more pressing to adopt and practice as our internet age has pressed even more of our communication to be textually-mediated. We are constantly reading, interpreting, and engaging with the texts of other authors, other citizens of language like ourselves. If we fail to practice charity in interpretation, one of our most socially and morally formative practices, it can’t help but bleed out into other areas of our thought and life.”
James K.A. Smith – author of numerous books, including Imagining the Kingdom, Who’s Afraid of Relativism? , and the forthcoming You are What You Love from Brazos Press – will be speaking at the Desiring the Kingdom conference and the Center for Pastor Theologians.
Smith’s insight into the power and importance of story made me sing here and he does a great job of articulating this. I want to affirm wholeheartedly with Smith that narrative/story/poetic/artistic truth is powerful and essential to our human existence. As Smith and I have both argued in our own way, there is an irreducibility to poetic or narrative truth. One cannot just take a story or poem, getting its “meaning”—defined as the propositional truth contained within the supposed husk of the story— and then discard it.
Yet—and this is a big part of my whole goal in writing RGW—this is precisely how we have often read and interpreted and preached the Gospels, as if their narrative form is at best something to get through to the real, meaty, doctrinal truth, and at worst is an embarrassment and inferior form of truth-telling.
“On a regular basis pastors address the big questions – questions of life and death, meaning and meaninglessness, heaven and hell, the physical and spiritual. To be sure, no church wants a pastor to be an intellectual if this means being so cerebral and preoccupied with ideas that one cannot relate to other people. This kind of intellectual is so theoretical as to be practically good for nothing. However, the kind of intellectual I have in mind is a particular kind of generalist who knows how to relate big truths to real people.”
At Crux Sola, Christopher Skinner discussed his work with Nijay Gupta on a forthcoming Baker Academic title.
“Porter’s work will not only benefit the student as a substantial introduction to the many issues involved with the production, establishment, and transmission of the Greek New Testament, but it will also function as an excellence recourse for further study.”
“Many of us still struggle with reconciling the ideas of leisure and spirituality. After reading Heintzman’s book, these are a bit less of an oxymoron for me.”
“I cannot say enough about how important and well done this book is and how, if you are a preacher, you should buy it, read it slowly, and carefully consider how you will challenge your congregation to live up to the high call of God.”
Brian Walsh, at Empire Remixed, reviewed J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth, and used James K. A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom to work out how Middleton’s reimagining of eschatology might reshape Christian practice.
For Smith, the most foundational concrete practice is worship. The true story will only shape our perception of the world and transform our character if we learn it “by heart,” at “a gut level.”…And here we see the most powerful contribution of A New Heaven and a New Earth. In this exercise in biblical theology, Richard has powerfully, comprehensively and convincingly opened up the normative shape of the Christian story.
The World of the New Testament is a comprehensive resource for understanding the various contexts of the New Testament writings, especially for those who may be less familiar with the context of the New Testament. Particularly noteworthy is the breadth of subject matter covered and the annotated bibliography at the end of each essay.
Thank goodness for the great “engaging culture” series from Baker Academic, and for this long-awaited, just released new volume….I think this book is nothing short of magisterial, and stands, at this point, as the definitive Christian book in the field. There is simply nothing like it on the market, and it should appeal to any number of readers.
We see the virtues of Gathercole’s scholarship in this stimulating work. Defending Substitution makes precise distinctions and carefully attends to Scripture. Gathercole’s use of primary sources is always illuminating, and his parallels to noble deaths in classical literature are particularly helpful.
The Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament is probably, in this reviewer’s opinion, one of the best series based upon the Greek text available. Baker released their newest, 1-2 Thessalonians by Jeffrey A. D. Weima (Professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary) and it is a welcome addition.
Chris Tilling is organizing a Syndicate symposium to discuss Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, edited by Christopher Hays and Christopher Ansberry.