The Liturgies of Our Lives

I am currently working my way through James K.A. Smith’s book, Desiring the Kingdom. Great writer!

His analysis is that we all participate in liturgy. Every one of us. Saint, sinner. Believer, unbeliever. We have our liturgies and they form us.

His analysis is very similar to that of Dallas Willard, who would say that everyone gets an education. It’s just better if we choose what type of education we get.

Smith’s style is more lively. His basic premise is we are not thinking machines. We are human beings. We are passionate. We feel. He gives a short paragraph on how we went wrong following Descartes, who said, “I think, therefore I am.” He said Descartes shut himself off so he could only think, then says parenthetically, “Think about the course of history if he just would have gone out on a date.” (Smith is much more engaging… though Dallas Willard continues to be a great hero of mine.)

Cultural liturgies are all around us. His description of our liturgy of the mall is fantastic.

His point is this: the Church must be intentional in its liturgy. It has to counter the mis-information of the cultural liturgies all around us. The Church helps to direct the passions of the heart. Liturgies are key in forming great habits and practices.

Some readers will trip over the word “liturgy,” so I will leave it intentionally undefined at this moment just to add to that frustration. We need to trip over some things from time to time and then learn to unlearn the bad definitions we have put up with for far too long.

If you think you’re not “liturgical,” you are wrong.

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