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IFL Hosts Talks by Philosopher James K. A. Smith

April 30, 2010

The Institute for Faith and Learning welcomed James K. A. Smith to the Baylor campus on Friday, April 23, 2010. Professor Smith was the featured speaker at a Brown Bag Luncheon for all Baylor faculty and staff. His presentation, "From the Classroom to the Dorm Room and Back Again: Formation Across the University," considered the role of Christian higher education in forming students not only intellectually, but also the importance of shaping the loves and desires that motivate the paths students will pursue in life. Luncheon participants had the opportunity to raise questions following the lecture, and with many serving in residence halls, there was great interest in how Smith's ideas might be put into practice.

Additionally, Professor Smith shared breakfast and discussion with an IFL-sponsored reading group whose focus through the spring semester was on his work, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Baker, 2009). As with the luncheon, the conversation was challenging and productive. Finally, in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy, Professor Smith offered an afternoon lecture titled, "Worship, Justice, and the City of God: An Augustinian Response to Jeffrey Stout's Democracy and Tradition." The lecture drew over fifty faculty members and students to consider the possibilities of Christian involvement with the state.

James Smith is associate professor of philosophy and adjunct professor of congregational and ministry studies at Calvin College. He also serves as the executive director of the Society of Christian Philosophers. Born in Ontario, Canada, and educated in Canada and the United States, Professor Smith earned his doctorate at Villanova University under the direction of John Caputo. He was previously associate professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, and has been a visiting professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Regent College.

In addition to Desiring the Kingdom, Professor Smith's books include: The Devil Reads Derrida: And Other Essays on the University, the Church, Politics, and the Arts (Eerdmans, 2009); Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Baker, 2006); Introducing Radical Orthodoxy: Mapping a Post-secular Theology (Baker, 2004); and Speech and Theology: Language and the Logic of Incarnation (Routledge, 2002).