How does worship work? How exactly does liturgical formation shape people? And how does the Spirit marshal the dynamics of such transformation? In the second of James K. A. Smith's three-volume theology of culture, the author expands and deepens the analysis of cultural liturgies and Christian worship he developed in his acclaimed Desiring the Kingdom. Drawing on the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Pierre Bourdieu, this book helps readers understand and appreciate the bodily basis of habit formation and how liturgical formation--both "secular" and Christian--affects one's fundamental orientation to the world. Worship "works" by leveraging one's body to transform his or her imagination, and it does this through stories understood on a register that is closer to body than mind. This has critical implications for thinking about the nature of Christian formation and the role of the arts in Christian mission.
Students of philosophy, liturgical studies, and theology will welcome this work as will scholars, pastors, worship leaders, and Christian educators. Imagining the Kingdom includes analyses of popular films, novels, and other cultural phenomena, such as The King's Speech, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, the iPhone, and Facebook.
How to Read This Book
Introduction: A Sentimental Education: On Christian Action
Part 1: Incarnate Significance: The Body as Background
1. Erotic Comprehension
2. The Social Body
Part 2: Sanctified Perception
3. "We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live": How Worship Works
4. Restor(y)ing the World: Christian Formation for Mission