Because life is a series of edits

Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith (6)

In Books, Educators, Pedagogy on August 3, 2012 at 10:16 pm

DTK cover

Quotes from chapter six, "A Christian University Is for Lovers":

"What is education for? And more specifically, what is a distinctly Christian education for? But since we first asked the question, I hope we've come to appreciate three things: First, we humans are liturgical animals, whose fundamental orientation to the world is governed not primarily by what we think but by what we love, what we desire…Second, some practices are 'thicker' than others – rituals of ultimate concern that are bent on shaping our most fundamental wants and desires, trying to make us the kind of people who desire a vision of the kingdom that is antithetical to the kingdom of God…Third, Christianity is not only (or even primarily) a set of cognitive, heady beliefs; Christianity not fundamentally a worldview; rather, Christian practices, and particularly the practices of Christian worship, are the matrix for what can be articulated as a 'Christian world.'" (p. 215-216)

"But what if that's not enough? Or worse, what if a Christian perspective turns out to be a way of domesticating the radicality of the gospel? What if the rather abstract formulas of a Christian worldview turn out to be a way to tame and blunt the radical call to be a disciple of the coming kingdom? Could it be the case that learning a Christian perspective doesn't actually touch my desire, and that while I might be able to think about the world from a Christian perspective, at the end of the day I love not the kingdom of God but rather the kingdom of the market?" (p. 218)

"In too many cases, a Christian perspective doesn't seem to challenge the very configuration of these careers and vocations. To be blunt, our Christian colleges and universities generate an army of alumni who look pretty much like all the rest of their suburban neighbors, except that our graduates drive SUVs, inhabit their executive homes, and pursue the frenetic life of the middle class and the corporate ladder 'from a Christian perspective'…Such an approach reduces Christianity to a denuded intellectual framework that has diminished bite because such an intellectualized rendition of the faith doesn't touch our core passions." (p. 219)

"The domestication of Christianity as a perspective does little to disturb or reorient our practices; rather, it too often becomes a way of affirming the configurations of culture that we find around us – we just do what everyone else does 'plus Jesus'…What's the alternative? If Christian education is not merely about acquiring a Christian perspective or a Christian worldview, what is its goal? Its goal, I'm suggesting, is the same as the goal of Christian worship: to form radical disciples of Jesus and citizens of the baptismal city who, communally, take up the creational task of being God's image bearers, unfolding the cultural possibilities latent in creation – but doing so as empowered by the Spirit, following the example of Jesus's cruciform cultural labor." (p. 220)

"If the Christian university's motto is, 'I believe in order to understand,' the ecclesial university's motto is, 'I worship in order to understand.'" (p. 223)

"One of the most crucial things to appreciate about Christian formation is that it happens over time…Christian education 'takes practice.'" (p. 226, 230)

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