Know thyself. Read You Are What You Love.

To me, Sundays are a wonderful gift from God. In keeping with my Christian Reformed liturgy, I spent the intermission between Sunday worship services eating, sleeping, and reading—in that order.

Appropriately, I spent the afternoon reading James K. A. Smith’s, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit.  Smith’s book is really excellent. To use a modern expression, Smith’s anthropology is disruptive. Smith’s central thesis is that you are because you love, not because you think. Smith writes, “It is our desires that orient and direct us toward some ultimate telos we take to be the good life, the version of the kingdom we live toward. To be human is to be a lover and to love something ultimate.”

An anthropology that is rooted in love rejects the solipsism of Descartes and the “thinking thing” orientation that permeates our institutions. If our identities are predominantly formed by what we love rather than by what we think, shouldn’t our schools and churches spend at least as much time shaping our hearts as our minds? This is a paradigm-shifting claim.

Like a good merlot with a sirloin steak, You Are What You Love pairs extremely well with two books by R. J. Snell:  Authentic Cosmopolitanism: Love, Sin, and Grace in the Christian University and Acedia and its Discontents: Metaphysical Boredom in an Empire of Desire. In fact, these three books could form the foundation of a compelling honors program at a Christian university. (hint. hint.) All three books encourage careful thinking about Christian identity, love, and purpose. You Are What You Love is the most accessible (and most Reformed).

Know thyself. Read You Are What You Love. I’m aware that this suggestion doesn’t cost me anything, so I have decided to add some skin in the game. I’ll buy you a copy of the book. Though I doubt it will be a problem, I’ll limit the offer to the first 30 people who request one in the comments. You may comment on this post or on my Facebook page. I see this as a small contribution, and I hope to discuss the book with you.



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