James K. A. Smith begins his book in earnest with the following axiom: “We are what we love, and our love is shaped, primed, and aimed by liturgical practices that take hold of our gut and aim our heart to certain ends.” (40) And for Smith, we need to understand this philosophical anthropology before we can consider what the purpose of a Christian education, and how it might be informed by liturgical practices. Furthermore, he wishes to ponder the link between the Church and the Christian educational institution: it has been conceived as a link of ideas, a site of the conflation of world views, between the secular and the sacred: this leads to multiple (and seemingly endless) discussions of the “integration of faith and learning.” But, again, Smith returns to the premise that humans are not primarily thinkers, but, rather, they’re lovers. (41)
I think this is a useful idea; I continue to be interested in this very idea, and I appreciate the sort of phenomenological approach that I think Smith is (at least in part) taking. We desire, and what of this desire, or these desires? How have they come about and how do we change them? And what does this mean for curricula in the Christian academy?