In James K.A. Smith’s award winning book, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, he shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while many aspire to shape culture, they tend to be less aware of the fact that culture shapes us. What are the formative influences that capture our imaginations? Where, to whom, and to what, do we devote our attention? How do we know if the objects we desire are enriching or deforming? The answer to all these questions depends on where we cast our affections, and those affections form our habits.
In a public lecture at Upper House, and in partnership with Geneva Campus Church, Smith will unpack a rich account of culture-making, through what he argues is the lens of Christian practice. Where dominant contemporary cultural liturgies thrive on our acceptance of mass consumption, violence, exploitation, and injustice, Smith argues that a deeply rooted life of spiritual discipline incubates the loves and longings that lead to a more peaceable kingdom.
James K. A. Smith is a professor of philosophy at Calvin College, where he holds the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview. Trained as a philosopher with a focus on contemporary French thought, Smith has expanded on that scholarly platform to become an engaged public intellectual and cultural critic. An award-winning author and widely-traveled speaker, he has emerged as a thought leader with a unique gift of translation, building bridges between the academy, society, and the church.
The author of a number of influential books, Smith also regularly writes for magazines and newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Slate, First Things, Christianity Today, Books & Culture, and The Hedgehog Review. He serves as editor-in-chief of Comment Magazine.
He and his wife, Deanna, are elementary school sweethearts with four children in college. Natives of Stratford, Ontario, they lived in Philadelphia and Los Angeles before settling in the Heritage Hill neighborhood of Grand Rapids.