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Philosopher and Author James K.A. Smith to Wrap up King Institute for Faith and Culture Lecture Series 2015-16 at King, Emmanuel Episcopal Church April 11

BRISTOL, Tenn., March 29, 2016 – The King Institute for Faith and Culture welcomes philosopher and popular author James K.A. Smith on April 11 as the final lecturer for the 2015/16 lecture season. He will speak on “You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit” at 9:15 a.m. in King University’s Memorial Chapel on the main campus in Bristol, Tenn. At 7 p.m. that same evening, Smith will speak on “Wonder, Mystery, Longing: Cracks in the Secular” at Emmanuel Episcopal Church located at 700 Cumberland Street in Bristol, Va. The lectures are co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier.

Dr. Martin Dotterweich, associate professor of History at King University, observes that “Jamie Smith has the rare ability to distill exceptionally difficult concepts into compelling and lively language, an ability he demonstrated beautifully as King’s 2011 commencement speaker. Thinking across academic disciplines and engaging with popular culture, he has given a fresh voice to ancient questions about life and learning.”

Shannon Harris, PhD, interim director of the King Institute for Faith and Culture emphasizes, “James K.A. Smith is one of the most important Christian philosophers of today. We are honored and excited to have him as a wonderful end piece to a robust and invigorating season for the King Institute for Faith and Culture.” 

James K.A. Smith teaches Philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he holds the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview. He also teaches in the Department of Congregational and Ministry Studies, serves as a Research Fellow of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and occasionally teaches in the Ph.D. program at Calvin Theological Seminary. He has been a visiting professor at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, and Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Smith previously taught at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

A native of Ontario, Canada, Smith has written numerous books, including “Who’s Afraid of Relativism?” and “How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor.” In 2009, Smith published “Desiring the Kingdom” to help college students put their desires in proper order. He followed that work up with “Imagining the Kingdom,” which is about “how worship works.” Smith points out, “human beings are at their core defined by what they worship rather than primarily by what they think, know, or believe.” Smith believes the future of the Church is in remembering things we have forgotten. Smith works at the intersection of philosophy, theology, and cultural criticism.

Paul J. Griffiths of Duke Divinity School has been quoted as saying, “James Smith shows in clear, simple, and passionate prose what worship has to do with formation and what both have to do with education. He argues that the God-directed embodied love that worship gives us is central to all three areas and that those concerned as Christians with teaching and learning need to pay attention, first and last, to the ordering of love. This is an important book and one whose audience should be much broader than the merely scholarly.”

Smith edits Comment magazine and is a senior fellow at Cardus, a Canadian think tank dedicated to renewal of North American social architecture. His work has also appeared in publications such as Christianity Today, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press.

James K.A. Smith received a Bachelor’s of Science from Emmaus Bible College, a Master of Philosophy from the Institute for Christian Studies, and a Ph.D. from Villanova University.

James K.A. Smith’s lectures are open to the public and free of charge. Visit http://faithandculture.king.edu or contact Dr. Shannon Harris, interim director of the King University Institute for Faith and Culture at svharris@king.edu, 423-652-4836, or 423-747-3524 for additional information.

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