Moving Beyond Ideas to the Heart

PrintOver the past few years, I’ve really come to appreciate the work of Jamie Smith. One book in particular that’s caught my attention is Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation.

In particular, Smith looks at how our formation (or he uses the word education at times) is not ultimately about disseminating ideas, but rather shaping hearts and desires. It’s profound to consider this, really. Not just at the Christian university level, but also for the local church setting. In our teaching and preaching, are we primarily just communicating ideas or are we shaping deep desires. As he remarks, education (or formation) is really happening at all times. So how are we forming those in our care?

To give an example, Smith considers the role of the mall within our western culture. Consider how this institution shapes and forms not just the minds of people, but it’s hearts, desires, and even bodies. It is a full five-sensory formational experience, if we allow it to be.

What if Christians recalled that the five senses are good gifts from God and are available to help form us at our core?

For Christian leaders and educators, this is a book worth picking up. I’ve put some quotes below that come from the book. Hopefully you’ll see how Smith begins to flesh this out a bit more. Pretty intriguing stuff! Continue reading

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Moving on from Modernist Perspectives of Theology & Mission

cogitto_ergo_sum

Currently I’m working towards my Doctor of Intercultural Studies/Missiology with Fuller Theological Seminary. The theme of my dissertation will be the impact that missional formation (both missional learning and praxis) has upon spiritual formation. We usually focus on how spiritual formation (or spiritual growth) leads to mission. But I am convinced of the reverse as well: missional formation will lead to the church’s spiritual formation. My short time of research thus far has not led me to many works that focus on this angle. And I’m particularly considering this topic and its effect amongst emerging creative folk, which is the context of those I participate with in work and ministry each day at Visible Music College.

Tonight I was reviewing a certain work on mission: The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends. It’s a book that deals with 12 issues of change in our world today and how the church needs to rethink mission (both globally and locally) in light of these issues. It has some good stuff we need to think through as we participate in mission in the 21st century. Continue reading

The Role of Stories in Life

peterson-wrk01.inddI’ve probably mentioned not a few times of my love for Eugene Peterson as a pastor-teacher. I can read and re-read any of Peterson’s work at any point. He’s simply one of my favorites. I recently decided to re-read Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology, which is part of Peterson’s “conversation” series. The book is based off the lines of a Gerald Manley Hopkins poem entitled As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Continue reading

C.S. Lewis on Poetry

reflections on the psalmsFor my birthday, I was given a gift card to Barnes & Noble. It’s great to know the people in my life know me so well – coffee, beer and books. I’m pretty easy to please!

So I stopped in to Barnes & Noble over the weekend to browse the shelves to see if I might find a candidate worth purchasing with my gift card. I did find something. My choice fell to C.S. Lewis’s Reflections on the Psalms. I decided on it because a) I’m teaching Old Testament Survey this semester, and we’ll take a whole 3-hour session to cover biblical poetry and the Psalms and b) knowing I teach at a creative-hub, such as Visible Music College, it seems appropriate to share C.S. Lewis’s thoughts on the Psalms. Here was a creative and imaginative giant. More a philosopher and story-writer, over and above being a poet. Yet still, I believe he’ll have some beautiful thoughts to offer on the Psalms.

Here’s something I came across in the Intro chapter on God’s desire to speak, or incarnate, through poetry: Continue reading

The Great C.S. Lewis on Desire

weight-of-gloryMany might have read or heard this quote before from The Weight of Glory, but below is a stirring quote by the great C.S. Lewis on desire.

Perhaps every desire that does arise within, even every wicked desire, is simply calling us towards he who is The Desire. Maybe we should not immediately suppress, push away these desires, but rather ask why such desires truly exist.

Listen to Lewis: Continue reading