You Are What You Love

You Are What You Love

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  • Author(s):
  • Published: April 5, 2016
  • Publisher: Brazos Press
  • Page count: 224
  • ISBN: 9781587433801
  • eBook ISBN: 9781493403660

You Are What You Love

You are what you love. But you might not love what you think.

In this book, award-winning author James K. A. Smith shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. We might not realize the ways our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made. Smith helps readers recognize the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices. He explains that worship is the "imagination station" that incubates our loves and longings so that our cultural endeavors are indexed toward God and his kingdom. This is why the church and worshiping in a local community of believers should be the hub and heart of Christian formation and discipleship.

Following the publication of his influential work Desiring the Kingdom, Smith received numerous requests from pastors and leaders for a more accessible version of that book's content. No mere abridgment, this new book draws on years of Smith's popular presentations on the ideas in Desiring the Kingdom to offer a fresh, bottom-up rearticulation. The author creatively uses film, literature, and music illustrations to engage readers and includes new material on marriage, family, youth ministry, and faith and work. He also suggests individual and communal practices for shaping the Christian life.


"James K. A. Smith's You Are What You Love provides a user-friendly introduction to the sweeping Augustinian insight that we are shaped most by what we love most, more so than by what we think or do. If sin and virtue are disordered and rightly ordered love, respectively, and if the only way to change is to change what we worship, then this will lead us to rethink how we conduct Christian work and ministry. Jamie gives some foundational ideas on how this affects our corporate worship, our Christian education and formation, and our vocations in the world. An important, provocative volume!"

Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

"What do you love? is the most important question of our lives. With his characteristic ease, energy, and insightfulness, James K. A. 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, Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology, Yale Divinity School; founder and director, Yale Center for Faith and Culture; author of A Public Faith and Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World

"In this wise and provocative book, Jamie Smith has the audacity to ask the question: Do we love what we think we love? It is not a comfortable question if we strive to answer it honestly. Smith presses us to do so and then shows us the renewed and abundant life that awaits Christians whose habits and practices--whose liturgies of living--work to open our hearts to our God and our neighbors."

Alan Jacobs, Honors College, Baylor University

"Desiring the Kingdom influenced me more than any single book of the past decade. I--and the rest of the church--owe a great debt to James K. A. Smith's scholarship, now made particularly accessible in You Are What You Love. As a means for reimagining the task of discipleship, this book should be required reading for every pastor, lay leader, and parent."

Jen Pollock Michel, author of Christianity Today's 2015 Book of the Year, Teach Us to Want

"Smith has an exceptional gift for disentangling things. Here again his efforts disentangle our minds and our hearts so our imaginations can be set free to be captured by and reflective of the kingdom of God. In these ways, Smith gives us a profound gift so we can seek and find what we need most."

Mark Labberton, president, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Attention, all 'general readers'--not academics or specialists (though they're welcome too), but people who are tired of shoddy thinking and trendy slogans: this is the kind of book you've been hungering for. It's a bit like one of those 'Great Courses.' An inspired teacher, a compelling subject, and you. What are you waiting for?"

John Wilson, editor, Books & Culture

"Informed by the insights of St. Augustine, You Are What You Love explores the substance of Christian discipleship as total life transformation through worship and liturgy. More than any other contemporary writer, Smith has helped me to understand how belief is embodied in us primarily through our habits of desire, and that God himself is the true satisfaction of our hungry hearts. This book should be read by every follower of Jesus."

Sandra McCracken, singer and songwriter

"Jamie Smith writes with enormous understanding, authority, and warmth. Masterful!"

Cornelius Plantinga Jr., president emeritus, Calvin Theological Seminary; author of Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists


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