Food for thought anoth­er fol­low up to my post on church here, some­one referred me to the ideas of Professor J. Smith, of Calvin College. He is a philoso­pher by back­ground but has some inter­est­ing thoughts on the impor­tance of the way we do church/education/everyday life, and how the way we do these things prob­a­bly has more of an impact in teach­ing truths about the world than what we actu­al­ly say.  I think he chal­lenges us to con­sid­er the empha­sis we place on head knowl­edge rather than form­ing Christian dis­ci­ples and ensur­ing that we aren’t just buy­ing into the world’s way of doing things in the church.

He has a cur­rent book out called Desiring the Kingdom which I’m keen to read, but as a taster he gave some lec­tures at New College this year, which were quite thought pro­vok­ing for me. You can down­load them here.

As a side note, I’m not sure I com­plete­ly agree with all he has to say, but I do think that it’s a good chal­lenge to our cur­rent cul­ture where we think that if we teach peo­ple knowl­edge then they will act in accor­dance with that, and instead sug­gests that per­haps we need to be think­ing more about the way we com­mu­ni­cate truth. I won­der though if there may be a dan­ger that we go too far and think that the way we do church will change a per­son with­out teach­ing any knowl­edge, a risk which is just as seri­ous. Also, I’m not 100% sure what he means by ‘litur­gy’ because I sus­pect he is com­ing from quite a dif­fer­ent con­text when using this term. I don’t think he just means the prayer book, but that’s all I think of when I con­sid­er the term ‘litur­gy.’ Thirdly I won­der if he’s a bit too philo­soph­i­cal about it all and may actu­al­ly be spout­ing things which psy­chol­o­gists have known for a while. (I’m def­i­nite­ly not a psy­chol­o­gist but some of the things he described sound­ed a lot like CBT to me).

None the less, I think it’s worth a listen.

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