“If ‘you-are-what-you-think,’ then filling your thinking organ with Bible verses should translate into Christlike character, right? If ‘you-are-what-you-think,’ then changing what you think should change who you are, right? Right?”
“You Are What You Love,” by James K. A. Smith, is a compelling argument for us to engage in learning that isn’t just IN-formational, but to recognize that our heart and character and will and personality and desires are FORMED, not taught.
Even before I finished half of this book, I already knew it was being added to my list of Best Ministry/Leadership Books that I will return to again and again (link in bio, code “BEST”). Smith’s writing has the perfect mix of heady philosophy and witty humor that draws you in, engages your heart and your mind, and leaves you with much to consider after each chapter.
One thing that I’m still thinking about after finishing is the need for habits that FORM my family and I at home. All of us have routines and rituals, but most of us don’t realize how they are already formational ones. Checking social media and news first thing in the morning is forming me into a distractible consumer who turns to ever-updating sources for entertainment and stimulus. Choosing fast food more often than not on the way to a night of Netflix is forming me into a rushed multi-tasker (read: low performance) that misses the beauty of sitting at a table with my family to share a prepared meal that creates space for unity and connection.
We all have routines and rituals, but Smith pleads with the reader to create INTENTIONAL ones that align us with Who created us and empowers us for What we were created for. And this isn’t brought about by some new book or shiny technique or cutting-edge strategy or crafted teaching. As Smith says, “you won’t be liberated from DE-formation by new IN-formation.”
I highly recommend you check out this book and start considering what things in your life are already forming your character.