Beyond Integration: Towards Wholeness in our Theological Vocation
James K. A. Smith argues that the issue of theological education and vocation may more helpfully be framed around the image of “orientation” or “alignment” rather than “integration.” While affirming the importance of the question that “integration” raises — namely the divide in faith and scholarship, various specialized discipline, or between the church and the academy — Smith argues that the image itself is limiting. For, it suggests that each of these exist in semi-autonomous “domains” from which we need to find points of intersection. Conversely, Smith argues that “orientation” is a more apt image. Orientation suggests goals or directions. It raises questions like what for?, Why are we doing what we’re doing?, What sort of person do we want to graduate? It has a telos.
James K. A. Smith (PhD, Villanova University) is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, teaching in the Department of Congregational and Ministry Studies and as a Research Fellow of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He has been a visiting professor at Fuller Seminary, and Reformed Theological Seminary, and Regent College. Originally trained in philosophical theology and contemporary French philosophy, Smith’s work is focused on cultural criticism informed by the Christian theological tradition. He is also well-published (for a complete list, see his faculty page), perhaps most recognized for his Cultural Liturgies project, including the award-winning first volume, Desiring the Kingdom, and the recently published second volume, Imaging the Kingdom.