Because life is a series of edits

Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith (1.2)

In Thought on June 18, 2012 at 9:32 am

DTK cover

Still more from chapter 1 (I can't get enough):

"Our worldview is more a matter of the imagination than the intellect, and the imagination runs off the fuel of images that are channeled by the senses…An orientation toward a particular vision of the good life becoems embedded in our dispositions or 'adaptive unconscious' by being pictured in conrete, alluring ways that attract us at a noncognitive level." (pgs. 57-58)

"For the most part, we make our way in the world by means of under-the-radar intuition and attunement – that we live not so much by what we know but instead by know-how…Our love or desire – aimed at a vision of the good life that moves and motivates us – is operative, I suggest, on a largely nonconscious level…If Christian education is, in some significant sense, about the formation of a Christian worldview, then we need to consider how the unconscious is shaped and formed." (p. 60)

"Worldview-talk – particularly in its recently distorted form, but also perhaps even at its best moments – still retains a picture of the human person that situates the center of gravity of human identity in the cognitive regions of the mind rather than the affective regions of the gut/heart/body. While it rejects thinking-thing-ism, it is prone to fall prey to believing-thing-ism, where 'beliefs' are still treated as quasi-ideas, propositions that require assent. In short, it still retains an emphasis on the cognitive and often remains blind to the significance of the affective and bodily center of who we are. The result is a narrow, reductionistic understanding of the human person that fails to appreciate the primarily affective, noncognitive way that we negotiate being-in-the-world." (p. 63)

"There are two correlates to this cognitive emphasis: First, this focus on a Christian worldview as a system of beliefs and doctrines marginalizes or ignores the centrality of distinctly Christian practices that constitute worship…Second, this focus on beliefs is inattentive to the pedagogical significance of material practices." (p. 64)

"A social imaginary is not how we think about the world, but how we imagine the world before we ever think about it; hence the social imaginary is made up of the stuff that funds the imagination – stories, myths, pictures, narratives. Furthermore, such stories are always already communal and traditioned. There are no private stories: every narrative draws upon tellings that have been handed down (traditio)." (p. 66)

"Now what does this have to do with a Christian worldview? I suggest that instead of thinkinga bout worldview as a distinctly Christian 'knowledge,' we should talk about a Christian 'social imaginary' that constitutes a distinctly Christian understanding of the world that is implicit in the practices of Christian worship. Discipleship and formation are less about erecting an edifice of Christian knowledge than they are a matter of developing a Christian know-how that intuitively 'understands' the world in the light of the fullness of the gospel." (p. 68)

"We might also suggest that we love before we know…This conclusion echoes an ancient wisdom in the Christian tradition, which might be formulated as an axiom: 'desire forms knowledge.' What we do (practices) is intimately linked to what we desire (love), so what we do determines whether, how, and what we can know." (p. 70)

"Desire shapes how one sees and understands the world, and so the key question for the Christian in pursuit of knowledge is first to consider the shape and 'aim' of one's desire, and to specifically seek to increase one's desire for God." (p. 71)

"Thus our cultural criticism should not be asking what ideas or beliefs are being bandied about in 'culture'; rather, we should be discerning to what ends all sorts of cultural institutions are seeking to direct our love." (p. 73)

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