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Written by James K.A. Smith, the book – You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power Of Habit, was published in 2016 by the Baker Publishing Group. A professor from Calvin College, Michigan, James K.A. Smith has essentially written this book to elucidate how what we worship shapes our selves, culture, and life, intrinsically. In this book, he explores the religious realm in the light of principles of Christianity and the inevitability to gain virtues by following the path of God.

Aside from this book, James K.A. Smith has written on other compelling subjects like Imagining the Kingdom, and Who’s afraid of Relativism. Through his works, the author had always made an effort to bring fundamentals of behavior in synchronicity with virtues, religious beliefs and liturgy.

James K.A. Smith is also an editor by profession and leads the Comment magazine. His works are closely linked with the fundamentals of theology and philosophical views.

Central idea behind the book – Book review: You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power Of Habit

The main theme of the book is how worshipping, recognizing the cultures and the practices surrounding shapes our identity, inner self and the whole world around us. You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power Of Habit says while doing what we love, we are modifying the virtues, our core beliefs, God, and his kingdom. These things are becoming the culture we are living in.

Further, K. A. Smith shows how that culture is a powerful tool to modify habits of any person, and how Christian faith and beliefs have created a better culture and possibilities for people. He has explained how worshipping and discipleship form the core in shaping our lives. It creates our personality, which, in turn, resonates with the culture and strengthens the society at large. More importantly, to gain the godly virtues, it is necessary to believe through heart and not merely by practice or preaching. As a reason, liturgy in the church will have an undeniable role in shaping the culture around.

Summary of the book

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power Of Habit explores Christian worship and ideals of discipleship through the lens of habitual behavior and practice of what we love. Also, the book essentially chalks out the aspects of Christian life and the extroversion among the people, and how it will impact the understanding of the true gain of virtues. The reducing beliefs of Christian faith and worship into mere knowledge has been a point of deep introspection by K. A. Smith. He emphasizes that practicing discipleship through heart is of prime importance that is also mentioned in biblical records.

The striking thought of You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power Of Habit compels the readers to explore the role of habits, and how they cannot be ignored in making us what we are. It says – what we love is altering our disposition, unconsciously- the culture that we are living in is largely what we love to do and not merely think or desire.

The book is divided into seven chapters drawing the fundamentals of Christian worship and learning from the heart is vital to follow your faith.

Book review – You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power Of Habit

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Published in 2016, this book holds significance in the modern world where we are losing focus on the fundamental realities of our culture and religion. In bold strokes, this book reiterates that principles of Christianity are central to the culture that people build and wish to live in. Liturgy in church and worshipping by the local community has a strong impact on what people practice, day-to-day.

The book manages to synchronize theological and philosophical perspectives beautifully. It meshes and grabs the habitual and cultural possibilities in a way that faith and worship take centre stage. The theme of the book explains that it believed that children in society learn with education and lessons taught at school. Contrarily, we actually become what we love and experience around us, and what we love becomes our habits and eventually shapes the culture for us. Our faith is what we should follow with heart and soul.

In a quote, the author says merely preaching is not effective to create a culture of worship and faith- our habits depend on what we love to do. By simply telling someone not to do any sin, you will not fundamentally rewire their actions. Changing the habits and practicing the beliefs will have more impact on a person, more than any other action.

Further, the book explicates that our desires are driven by what we feel and love rather than what we perceive or think. Our thinking is more likely to sway with changes in our inner self. The author has also tried to connect habits with the idea of virtue.

The book also emphasizes that we can always train ourselves to become what we desire to be. The author puts forth that not merely by listening to the parables we are strengthening our faith. But also, by actions, we can make recognizable changes to what we follow and practice in our faith.

Key takeaways for readers

Book Review: You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power Of Habit by K.A. James outlines important points and ideologies which are relevant to our generation. This book questions the thinking capacity of the readers and presents how culture, worship and habits are entwined.

The following three core ideologies are the main focus of You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power Of Habit by K.A. James:

  • What we love and how we respond to events and things around us is creating our identity, unconsciously.
  • To follow religious beliefs and practice ideal discipleship, it is necessary to observe the godly virtues through our soul.
  • Liturgy in church is another extension to gaining the virtues that we need in our lives.

Readers can relish the illustration presented on practicing religion through heart. The desires and longing that form the heart motivates us to follow the culture and worship, according to our religious beliefs. If you want to know how the modern world has reduced faith into a repository of information and how to do more with religious beliefs, then this is an ideal book to read.