Desiring the Kingdom : Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation Paperback
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 240 pages, black & white illustrations
- Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
- Publication Date: 30/09/2009
- Category: Christian theology
- ISBN: 9780801035777
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Review by bunniehopp
The premise of Desiring the Kingdom is that because we are “desiring beings” rather than “thinking beings”, the most effective education for Christians would be a combination of those activities which involve both our materiality and spirituality, our bodies and emotions as well as our intellects. Having stated that thesis, James Smith explores the ways we are “culturally” educated into secular society, and then looks at what we do in liturgy and worship as educative activities that forms us into Christians.In examining the “culture” education to which we are exposed, Smith suggests what we are being taught about being consumers, about national loyalty, about love as sexuality. He asks the reader to evaluate the virtues of persons of “culture” education with what is valued as virtues of Christian persons. He then begins a lengthy examination of how we are educated as Christians through liturgy and worship. He looks at various parts of liturgy and describes what might be being taught in each. His insights into the cultural re-education provided by individual aspects of worship/liturgy awakened in me an appreciation for the ideal of what liturgical activities could mean. This section was the most valuable, insightful, and enriching part of the book for me. If a reader didn’t have enough time or interest to study the full education argument of the book, the sections in Part 2, beginning with Chapter 4 describing liturgy and worship are worth reading and contemplating on their own. Smith has described worship/liturgy in ways that help us realize that what we do on Sundays really does/or can impact our activities and decisions for the whole week. He begins by asking why some people get up on Sundays, leave home and go to a church at a particular time. He answers by saying that some people are called, and respond to that call. What a privilege it is to have been called.I would recommend Desiring the Kingdom. James Smith helps us see, question, and reevaluate our usual activities.