What “mechanism” could be employed to motivate them and help them govern their way of life, decisions, actions, pursuits, and relationships?
The answer simply is this: Habits.
Habits are what we ultimately value most deeply. Habits are love’s fulcrum, according to James Smith in his book Desiring the Kingdom. The fulcrum is the support on which the levers of our lives rest. Habits serve us or hurt us.
Desire for a vision must motivate our actions and our decisions by becoming an integral part of the fabric of our heart’s dispositions, those precognitive tendencies, which Aristotle and Aquinas called habits.
Our love is predisposed to be aimed in certain directions, which over time and practice become habits.
Good habits are virtues; bad are vices. We learn habits. They are not innate, not biological, but they are a kind of second nature, intricately woven into the entirety of our being.
Habits are like default, quasi-automatic dispositions, the product of long development and formation. Habits become our hard wiring; the way we function without reflection or cognition. Habits tend to fly under the radar.
Habits are the fulcrum of desire, the hinge that turns our heart.
How are habits are formed?
This is why we must have a theology of embodiment. We must understand that we are affective, desiring animals, and embodied creatures.
Alongside a theology of embodiment, we need to present messages that will capture hearts, shock us at our gut, shock us out of familiarity, touch our center of gravity and identity, and our embodiment. The most effective discipleship, therefore, is the kind that sends us out of the classroom or the church building and into the world.
We feel our way more than we think our way through the world, because worldview is more imagination than intellect. Imagination runs off the fuel of images that touch our senses.
The result of a “come, follow me” discipleship approach is a more holistic, less dualistic picture of the world and of humanity. We learn through our gut; we are embodied.
As it turns out, I will offer two more posts: One to summarize the importance of what James Smith’s book, Desiring the Kingdom.calls Cultural Liturgies, and the Final post, a personal inventory questionnaire to help you make application.