Worship & IMagination

James K.A. Smith - Author & Professor of Theology at Calvin College

Jamie Smith shows us that what we love drives what we make.

Professor, philosopher, author, and friend of Praxis James K. A. Smith shows the linkage between the "liturgies" (rhythms, rituals, and practices) of our lives, our imagination, and what we create. We are what we love; we might not love what we think; we make what we want. 

He argues that worship is the "calibration technology" that God has provided to shape our hearts and minds to love what is good, and therefore to create what is good. 

This connects with the foundational mindset of redemptive entrepreneurship and how the imagination of the founders of a generation's startups determines what that generation will stand for.






WATCH (25 min)

Disclaimer: Jamie presented this talk to a room full of entrepreneurs, however we believe this conversation is applicable and necessary for all people to hear, across all areas of life. Expand the word "entrepreneurship" to include the decisions you make daily on what you create, prioritize, spend time on in your work, how you run your household, choose what to do in your free time, etc. as opposed to strictly confined to the realm of starting and running a business.

REFLECT (3-5 min)

Spend five minutes in silence, praying and reflecting on the videos. Ask participants to jot down questions that were raised, significant key points, where they felt encouraged or challenged by the Lord, etc.

DISCUSS (45 min)

1. Christians often talk about the “connection between faith and work”, have you ever considered what Jamie describes in his talk, the “connection between worship and work”? 


2. Jamie mentioned that there is a gap between what you believe you want and what you actually want. Where have you seen this gap in your own life? (For example: diets, exercise, disciplines etc.)

3. How did the story George Lucas carried around in his unconscious shape his creative work? How might the biblical story shape your work?


4. Jamie speaks of taking a "liturgical audit" of your life. What powerful liturgies or practices do you engage in at work, at home, and in your free time, that aren’t just something that you do, but do something to you? What particular vision of the good life or story about the world is embedded in those practices?


5. In order to curate your subconscious, what liturgies or practices do you need in your life in order to learn how to love well? How might you order your life so you habitually want the Kingdom of God?



Start each day this week by reading the Book of Common Prayer, the first liturgical book published for the church's general use in 1549. At the end of the week, reflect on how it shaped your desires and your work toward the "right" end of flourishing.  




Additional Readings: 

  • James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, Ch 1: You Are What You Love: To Worship is Human

  • Saint Augustine, Late Have I Loved Thee: Selected Writings of Saint Augustine on Love"Preface" and "Selected Sermons"

  • James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation, Ch 1: Homo Liturgicus: The Human Person as Lover