Desiring the Kingdom - Review
What is the relationship between our worship and our worldview? James K. A. Smith believes that the one fules the other; but which one comes first? Desiring the Kingdom is a book about original spirituality and how we can interpret classic liturgies into modern day disciplines. The central argument behind Smith's work is that we are feeling people before we are thinking people. God made us with a full range of passions that should be incorporated into how we interpret the world around us. As a feeling people we must inform those emotions through worship. Worship tells us how to feel so that we can be compassionately aligned with the heart of God. Smith's reference to worship, or liturgy, is not limited to the song list that your church drills through every weekend. Smith understands worship as a holistic experience that influences every part of humanity. He bases his modern day prescription off of the classic liturgical disciplines of the past. He concludes that the church should be concerned with shaping whole Christians through a thoughtful system of worship. This book is very well written and I intend to read more of Smith. He writes accurately and academically but has a very personable tone throughout the book. Never have I seen equal parts Latin, Greek and pop-culture reference. His argument was heavy at first but began to flow after the opening few chapters. The logical organization of Desiring the Kingdom makes it easy to follow Smith's arguments throughout the text. There were parts of this book that began to feel repetitive. I feel that the stated purpose of the book, a critique on modern Christian education, was too narrow. Smith's arguments are relevant far beyond the walls of the classroom and this self imposition limited the potential reach of this book.
I would recommend reading this book. Dont let the first few chapters disuade you. This book is more than a critique of modern education. It is also easier to understand than the clumsy illustrations presented. Smith encourages us to engage our world compassionately. The worship of God is cenetral to the formation of our feelings and ideas.