you are what you love (intro)

This entry was posted by on Monday, 23 January, 2017 at

So I’ve somehow managed to persuade a wonderful bunch of friends scattered around various parts of the UK and Ireland to join me in reading a book and entering into some conversation together. Thanks to all of you who have been so willing to join me on this little journey. We have friends reading along in Coleraine, Ballyclare, Belfast, Dublin, Maynooth, Galway, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and maybe a few other places as well! If anyone else would like to jump aboard, the book is called “You Are What You Love” by James K.A. Smith. It’s available in some good bookshops and all evil online retailers.

I’m hoping to read a chapter a week over the next couple of months, and blog my responses here. I’m not going to try and write a well-structured and polished piece of dazzling prose each week, but just set down some of my gut-reactions to the chapter in a pretty simple and maybe scruffy way. That seems more honest and also more sustainable! Some of it may be just summarising some key points from the book, some of it may be questions I have, or thoughts that were set in motion by what I read.

I’m just getting the ball rolling here – what I would really love is for y’all to jump in and share your thoughts and reactions. You can do that below in the comments, or on your own blogs or some other corner of the internet – just share a link here so we can find it. Be as brief or as long-winded as you like. And you don’t have to like the book!

As a good place to start: in chapter one Smith quotes some verses from Philippians 1:9-11, which I find helpful in setting the tone for our conversation:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.

I’d love for us to have plenty of intellectually stimulating discussion – but our primary goal is not simply knowledge as an end in itself, but knowledge that helps us love well and live well. I’m aware I can get carried away by a love of words and ideas and debate – so I need this reminder often. What I most need is not more information, but formation of my heart and character and relationships and desires and habits.

With that in mind, let’s begin. My responses to chapter 1 will follow shortly…

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