Because life is a series of edits

Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith (2)

In Thought on July 6, 2012 at 9:57 am

DTK cover

Quotes from chapter two, "Love Takes Practice":

"In a culture whose civic religion prizes consumption as the height of human flourishing, marketing taps into our erotic religious nature and seeks to shape us in such a way that this passion and desire is directed to strange gods, alternative worship, and another kingdom. And it does so by triggering and tapping into our erotic core – the heart…The marketing industry is able to capture, form, and dircet our desires precisely because it has rightly discerned that we are embodied, desiring creatures whose being-in-the-world is governed by the imagination." (p. 76)

"What if we didn't see passion and desire as such as the problem, but rather sought to redirect it? What if we honored what the marketing industry has got right – that we are creatures of love and desire – and then responded in kind with counter-measures that focus on our passions, not primarily on our thoughts or beliefs?…The result would be what Inklings member Charles Williams called a 'romantic theology.'" (p. 77)

"The end of learning is love; the path of discipleship is romantic." (p. 79)

"Since research indicates that only about 5 percent of our daily activity is the product of conscious, intenetional actions that we 'choose,' one can see that there's a lot at stake in the formation of our automatic unconscious." (p. 81)

"No habit or practice is neutral…Certain kinds of habits and practices are aimed at certain ends (teloi), and other habits and practices are aimed at quite different ends – and at some important point, those different ends will be mutually exclusive; that is, it will come down to a matter of aiming at one or the other (cf. Matthew 6:24). All habits and practices are ultimately trying to make us into a certain kind of person. So one of the most important questions we need to ask is: Just what kind of person is this habit or practice trying to produce, and to what end is such a practice aimed?" (p. 83)

"Typical worldview-thinking is not primed to recognize something like this because it is too focused on the cognitive. If you think cultural critique is based on ideas or beliefs, and that cultural 'threats' come in the form of messages and 'values,' then you'll have a cultural radar that is only equipped to pick up on ideas and beliefs…If our cultural critique remains captivated by a cognitivist anthropology, then we'll fail to even see the role of practices." (pgs. 84-85)

"I want to distinguish liturgies as rituals of ultimate concern: rituals that are formative for identity, that inculcate particular visions of the good life, and do so in a way that means to trump other ritual formations…Liturgies are the most loaded forms of ritual practice because they are after nothing less than our hearts. They want to determine what we love ultimately….Liturgies are ritual practices that function as pedagogies of ultimate desire." (86-87)


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