You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

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You Are What You Love:
The Spiritual Power of Habit
by James K.A. Smith

From the cover

“What do you love? is the most important question of our lives. With his characteristic ease, energy, and insightfulness, Smith explores in this compelling book not only what it is that we should love but also how we can learn to love what we should.”

— Miroslav Volf, Yale Divinity School

Our modern blinders: Reading the Bible with Cartesian eyes
“We’ve become so used to reading the Bible with Cartesian eyes — seeing the world through Descartes’s ‘I think,
therefore I am’ lens — that we see it confirming our intellectualism and thinking-thingism. But on a closer reading,
when we set aside those uniquely modern blinders, we’ll find a very different model assumed in the Scriptures…
In fact, Paul’s prayer (Phil. 1:9–11) is the inverse: he prays that their love might abound more and more
because, in some sense, love is the condition for knowledge. It is not that we know in order to love, but rather: I love
in order to know…
There is a very different model of the human person at work here. Instead of the rationalist, intellectualist model
that implies ‘You are what you think,’ Paul’s prayer hints at a very different conviction: ‘You are what you love.’”

You are what you worship
“If you are what you love, and your ultimate loves are formed and aimed by your immersion in practices and cultural
rituals, then such practices fundamentally shape who you are….At stake in the formation of your loves is your
religious and spiritual identity, which is manifested not only in what you think or what you believe but in what you do
— and what those practices do to you. In order to appreciate the spiritual significance of such cultural practices, let’s
call these sorts of formative, love-shaping rituals ‘liturgies.’ It’s a bit of an old, churchy word, but I want to both revive
and expand it because it crystalizes a final aspect of this model of the human person: to say ‘you are what you love’
is synonymous with saying ‘you are what you worship.’ … We become what we worship because we worship what
we love. It’s not a question of whether you worship but what you worship — which is why John Calvin refers to the
human heart as an ‘idol factory.’ We can’t not worship because we can’t not love something as ultimate.”

‘Excarnation’: Disembodying the Christian faith
“One of the unintended consequences of the Protestant Reformation was a disenchantment of the world. Critical
of the ways such an enchanted, sacramental understanding of the world had lapsed into sheer superstition, the
later Reformers emphasized the simple hearing of the Word, the message of the gospel, and the arid simplicity of
Christian worship. The result was a process of excarnation — of disembodying the Christian faith, turning it into a
‘heady’ affair that could be boiled down to a message and grasped with the mind.”

Additional Info

Additional information

Weight 14 oz