Recently, I read the book entitled Desiring the Kingdom by James (“Jamie”) K. A. Smith (2009). As a philosopher, Smith attempts to provide a critique of current Christian worldview parlance and approach by offering another model in which to view the human person, formation, faith, and the role of the Christian college or university.
Rather than a book review, per say, I want to offer my reactions and recommend that you consider reading it yourself, rather than simply reacting to my comments. While I do not agree with all that Smith advances regarding formational approaches to the human person, I believe that his perspectives are worthy of consideration and offer those in Christian higher education and the church a perspective worthy of discussion and dialogue.
Overall the book attempts to rearticulate the telos (or goal) of Christian education from being one that relates to establishing a distinctively Christian worldview through the development of the cognitive domain to being one that views education as formational and guided by what we love and desire, as fostered through worship. What he aims at is the differentiation between education as informative and education as formative. As you can well imagine, this topic greatly interests me.
Smith critiques an understanding of the Christian faith as being reduced to a set of ideas and principles, which creates worldview thinking at the expense of our calling to be passionate followers of Christ who love rightly both God and neighbor. Smith argues that we are oriented to the world by the primacy of that love. Therefore, Smith offers Christian worship as the most profound practice that shapes our identity and takes us beyond a mere belief system to a fully embodied identity as loving God and neighbor.