I read James K. A. Smith’s You Are What You Love this week.  Here is the description:

You are what you love. But you might not love what you think.

In this book, award-winning author James K. A. Smith shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. We might not realize the ways our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made. Smith helps readers recognize the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices. He explains that worship is the “imagination station” that incubates our loves and longings so that our cultural endeavors are indexed toward God and his kingdom. This is why the church and worshiping in a local community of believers should be the hub and heart of Christian formation and discipleship.

Favorite Quotes

  1. What do you want?  That’s the question.  It is the first, last, and most fundamental question of Christian discipleship (1).
  2. This means that our most fundamental orientation to the world – the longings and desires that orient us toward some version of the good life – is shaped and configured by imitation and practice (19).
  3. …the process of habituation can be unconscious and covert.  This is especially true when we don’t recognize cultural practices as liturgies – when we fail to realize that these aren’t just things we do but things that do something to us (32).
  4. We learn to crave things that aren’t good for us because we are immersed in systems and environments that channel us into this sort of eating (59).
  5. Isn’t this what Christian worship is also meant to do, week after week?  To let the Spirit of God, with whom nothing is impossible, convince us that this could be: that despite a million voices crying otherwise, the gracious good news of the gospel is true (94).
  6. …one of the most important decisions we can make regarding faith formation in our homes is the congregation to which we commit ourselves (118).
  7. What if we’re constructing defenses against the intellectual blasts of ideas and messages from the world but not insulating against the sort of toxic radiation that can seep through our intellectual defenses?  This happens when we parent our children as if they are thinking things (127).
  8. But we need to face a sobering reality: keeping young people entertained in our church buildings is not at all synonymous with forming them as dynamic members of the body of Christ (145).
  9. You could say God is not just the One who “pushes” us into existence; he is also the One who pulls us toward himself (186).
Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.