In light of reading this article (see link below), I began to read a book by James K.A. Smith called Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation. It has produced a paradigm shift for me as it has shaped my passion for Christ to be “formed” in people (aka “discipleship” as seen Gal. 4:19).
His premise is that “ human person(s) are intentional creatures whose fundamental way of intending the world is love or desire.” In other words, creatures who do what they do, do it because love moves minds and hearts in a certain direction.
He continues on, ” this love or desire-which is unconscious or non-cognitive–is always aimed at some vision of the good life, some particular articulation of the kingdom.” As our desires aim at “some” vision of the good life, we descend or ascend into “ bodily practices, routines, or rituals that grab our hearts through our imagination, which is closely linked to our bodily senses” that are bad or good (Smith, 62-63).
The problem that we have is that we have bad “aim” with our desires, but we need to be cognizant of the things that “fill up the space” around us. Because what we take in, impacts our senses, and then formulates habits, that in turn, shape our aim, our grasp for the good life.
I have been reading in Matthew lately, and came across this passage:
“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’ (Mt. 13:14-15)
Their hearts are dull (its aim is off), and that affects their senses, which in turn affects their understanding. The implications for something like this is that we have to take in more than just reshaping our minds, and letting such trickle down. There is intention for what you take in around yourself, because it is shaping you whether you realize or not. What are you filling your space with?
The second implication I see is that it takes the pressure off in that we are being discipled by what we experience together as families, or even as church community as a whole. Our children are shaped by a “culture of grace” perhaps as they witness a mom and dad communicate over tough issues, or handle anxiety. They witness parents listening to a sermon, taking communion, thanking God before meals. These heart deep rituals are shaping whether we realize or not. Not only are children being shaped by such, but all of us! All of us are shaped and impacted by one another as we gather together and worship Jesus.
– A Travel Guide Through the Parables: For ages 3-11 join us on Sunday AM from 9-10 as we walk through the parables of Jesus with a very “hands-on” style of learning, and challenging us to let God’s Word transform our lives. (thru 3/2)
-JAM Winter Blast- Pray for our group of 30 (!) or so middle-schoolers as they trek up to Iowa for their weekend conference on the weekend of the February 21st through 23rd. The theme for Winter Blast this year is “SYNC: Aligning with God through prayer.” We will address the Person of Prayer (Who), the Purpose of Prayer (What and Why), the Practice of Prayer (When and Where) and then allow opportunities for students to put their learning into practice. Pray for some good weather, and a refreshingly fun trip for these kids. Should be a transforming weekend for all involved!
-Overflow Lock-In on March 28 through the 29th. An evening of dodge ball, glow-in-dark whiffle ball, lip-sync, improv, movies, video games, etc. More details to come. If interested in helping contact myself or Al & Rebecca Gaus.
– As a follow up, continue to pray for our newly dedicated babies (Lilly Azevedo, Atalie Engemann, Owen Roth), and for our youth as a whole. God is doing some good things within our youth programs, and I am very thankful for parents and a congregation dedicated to seeing the next generation put their hope in God. We are going to have some more dedications coming up, so if you are interested contact me.