Professor James K.A. Smith, Calvin College
Christian worship and Christian education have a similar end: sending. The goal of each is to form disciples of Jesus who bear God’s image to and for the world. Each seeks the formation of actors who bear witness to God’s coming kingdom. In these lectures, James K.A. Smith will challenge some of our assumptions about why and how we act and the central role of the imagination in shaping our perception of the world and our action within it.
6:00pm Wed 23 May - Opening Event Pre-Lecture Drinks and Canapés At New College Village (Opposite New College)
7:30pm Wed 23 May - Talk 1 - Erotic Comprehension: The Bodily Basis of Meaning
7:30pm Thurs 24 May - Talk 2 Sanctified Perception: How Worship Works
‘Erotic Comprehension: The Bodily Basis of Meaning’– Wed 23rd May, 7.30pm
Both our identity and our action flow from our most fundamental desires, longings and loves. In this first lecture Prof Smith will outline an alternative theological anthropology as the basis for Christian formation, both in worship and education. He will argue that humans are primarily lovers; the core of the human person is located in the heart defining what we love as ultimate. Christian faith is not just a set of beliefs and doctrines but a mode of erotic comprehension by which we imagine the world differently.
‘Sanctified Perception: How Worship Works’– Thurs 24th May, 7.30pm
Psychology and cognitive science have begun to appreciate what Christian spirituality has known for ages: action flows out of our habits. Action and behavior is generated by acquired dispositions and habits that become “second nature”. In this lecture, Prof Smith will draw on the work of Pierre Bourdieu to consider how perception is shaped by communal practices inscribed in us a pre-intellectual way of relating to and perceiving our world. He will suggest that the goal of Christian worship and Christian education, is to “sanctify” perception in order to shape Christian actors.
A Joint Conference of The Anglican Education Commission (AEC) and The Centre for Apologetic Scholarship & Education (CASE)
Smith's work resonates strongly with the work of the Anglican Education Fellowship as represented in our recent book 'New Perspectives on Anglican Education: Reconsidering Purpose and Plotting a Future Direction'. As a result, we will be exploring some of these issues through the lectures and at an all day conference on the 26th May at New College. If you can get to Sydney in May please join us for the New College Lectures and the conference at which Professor Smith will present a keynote address.