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The Christian faith does not terminate in propositions about God. This conviction comes through loud and clear in James K. A. Smith’s recently completed three-volume work, Cultural Liturgies. Smith’s trilogy may be read as a friendly yet firm word of ­caution to his Reformed coreligionists, especially his fellow ­neocalvinists. He wants them to recall that the intellect is not everything and that by intellectualizing the faith, they inadvertently court the danger of ­secularism.

Each title makes clear what Smith is after: Desiring the Kingdom encourages Christians to turn from the intellectual to the affective. Imagining the Kingdom maintains that it is not the intellect but the imagination (linked to the body and habits) that is primary. And Awaiting the King argues that Christians shouldn’t be content with expressing their opinions, but are also called to act in ways that leaven the common life of their communities.

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