Late last summer I was introduced to James K. A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom. It wasn’t until spring of this year that I started actually reading the book. His ideas resonate with me; they speak directly to my heart. Which is exactly his intention. In the book, Smith makes the case that all things speak to our hearts, and most of what we do is done out of what our heart desires. While we think that we are rational beings controlled by our heads Smith argues that our gut, or intention, or desire, -this sort of subconscious bent- is what ultimately governs the paths we walk.
I think Smith is on to something. My stomach is hungry for it.
How can I motivate this kind of a desire for the Kingdom of God in the hearts of my students. It seems that so many Anabaptist youth today are distracted. They are drawn to things that connect less with God and more with the frivolity of this world. Along the way they pick up insecurities, carelessness, arrogance, and a host of issues that could plague them all their lives.
The world speaks a heart language. Schools and churches too often focus on the mind. They worry about what a person can do with his lips or his cerebrum and forget that it is with our hands and our hearts that the Kingdom comes to earth.
We think we use words to educate. How can we engage the heart? Christian educators are failing if their students don’t develop into builders of the Kingdom of God. All the learning in the world would hardly make the world a better place unless that knowledge is first drawn from the source of knowledge Himself. And then in that drawing out of knowledge, all find themselves drawn back to the Holy Father again. How can we build that attraction back again from all the emptiness and pride, back again to the kingdom of God with such a draw that it becomes a subconscious bent, a yearning that reaches into the heart of our youth and becomes the passion of every artery?
Among other things, Smith writes of using liturgies and stories to train the heart. This gave me an idea for my school devotions this year. I’d like to share a recounting of the story of God in a way that would draw children to become Kingdom builders. I’d like to shape a story where the Kingdom is glorious, where what is noble shines with nobility, and what is smoke dies in darkness.
I will attempt to share this in school devotions this year. And as the project progresses, I will post it in installments here under the heading “Olde Time”. (I don’t know that that will be the final title, but it works for now)
I welcome your comments. I enter at grade one. Do you have perspectives that would balance this project and increase its effectiveness? I would be very happy to hear from you in the comments below.