Monday 28 November 2016

James K.A. Smith on the Spiritual Power of Habit

I wrote the following mini review for EG, the quarterly magazine produced by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2016)

Written with verve, and with insight on every page, this is a distillation of work published more fully elsewhere, but all the more useful for the conciseness of its expression here.

According to Smith, who and what we worship shapes our lives. We’re defined not by what we know but by what we desire, and what we desire is formed by habits acquired over time through routines and rituals. Smith helps us recognise the shaping power of everyday culture (his analysis of the shopping mall is brilliant) and shows how being immersed in the practices of Christian worship recalibrates our hearts in ways that are directed towards God and his kingdom.

This is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the overlapping circles of worship, church, discipleship, spiritual formation, and living well in today’s world.

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