Last winter, I got to travel to San Francisco for the annual clergy retreat for our diocese, Churches for the Sake of Others. We were able to share our experiences working in ministry, fellowship together, and hear from our bishop, Todd Hunter.
As I prepared for the retreat, I heard that James K.A. Smith would be delivering several lectures during our time together. This gave me a small thrill—I’d become a fan of Smith’s ideas after some Restoration folks recommended his books Desiring the Kingdom and Imagining the Kingdom.
At the same time, I was apprehensive. This guy is a philosophy professor at Calvin College and while I enjoyed reading his work, about half of what he wrote went straight over my head. And now I was going to be in a room with fellow clergy having to nod my head and pretend I understood everything.
Fortunately, I was wrong. Jamie Smith was a totally disarming, totally dynamic speaker. His sessions were a blur, as I scribbled notes and immediately thought of all the ways that these ideas would impact the way I thought about teaching, preaching, parenting—basically my whole life.
During this season of Community Groups, we are going to talk about his latest book, You Are What You Love. In this book, this phenomenally insightful thinker has wrangled his ideas into language that is applied and easy to manage. This book has a lot to say about discipleship and how we live out the mission of the church, embodying the gospel with integrity.