You are what you love…

T. M. Moore

An important development in Evangelical circles in recent years has been the emphasis on worldview thinking.  A number of organizations have sprung up to provide worldview education for both young people and adults.  Large segments of this movement have been inspired by the work of people like Francis Schaefer and Abraham Kuyper.  Books, such as James Sire’s The Universe Next Door:  A Basic Worldview Catalog, serve as primary texts.  Worldview thinking has also gained prominence in the world of Christian higher education.


Much of this emphasis on “thinking worldview-ishly” is good and should be applauded.  Yet, a common concern is the tendency to become too cognitive, too “heady.”  After all, maturing as a disciple of Christ is about more than what we know.


A helpful corrective is offered by theologian and culture commentator T. M. Moore in an article entitled “You Are What You Love.”


A person’s worldview … reflects what he or she loves more than what he or she believes. It’s not that beliefs and understandings don’t matter, or don’t make up an important component of a person’s worldview; rather, it’s simply that they take second place to whatever a person loves and desires the most.


Although it’s not a book review as such, Moore’s article nicely summarizes the major theme of James K. A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom:  Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation.


The everyday practices in which we engage—which Dr. Smith refers to by the term, “liturgies”—have a powerful effect on shaping our affections and beliefs. … [He] explains that our worldview comes to be an expression of the everyday activities that fill our time and command our bodily functions. …


Galatians 4:3 is the Scripture passage that Moore uses in his explanation of everyday liturgies: “In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.”


These “liturgies”—shopping, indulging our bodies, working more than we should, and so forth—are what Paul refers to as ‘elementary principles.” The Greek word is stoicheia and derives from a verb which means to walk or to conduct one’s life. The way we walk, how we conduct our lives is built up by a wide diversity of “elementary principles,” or, we might better call them, “everyday practices.” To be brief, we are what we do, and, as Dr. Smith would say, what we do determines what we love, which defines our worldview. So if what we spend the bulk of our time and conscious energy doing–with our eyes, mouths, brains, and bodies–is fixed in and dictated by the world of flesh and things, then flesh and things are what we will love the most. And if flesh and things are what we love the most–as indicated by the fact that our time and energy are devoted mainly to these–then these will be the defining elements of our worldview. We may profess to be a Christian but, if our everyday practices are taken up with satisfying the material desires of our flesh, then our worldview will be sensual and materialistic rather than spiritual and true.


The rest of “You Are What You Love” can be found here, where it’s also available as a Podcast. 


T. M. Moore is content manager for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and dean of the Colson Center’s Centurions Program, an advanced lay training program.  He is also principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of over twenty books, and his papers, essays, poems, and reviews have appeared in dozens of journals and numerous websites.



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