Mann Center hosts James K.A. Smith for Hodges Lecture

Asia Simone Burns, Editor-In-Chief

Samford was visited by professor and author James K.A. Smith April 6 as he delivered the esteemed Andrew Gerow Hodges Lecture.

The lecture was sponsored by Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership. It is the namesake of Birmingham businessman Andrew Gerow Hodges and was endowed to provide a forum to hear nationally and internationally known thought-leaders, according to the Mann Center.

“Smith is a professor of reform theology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids,” Director of the Mann Center Drayton Nabers said. “He is an author that has written a number of well-received books. He develops how–and he writes more vividly on the subject than anyone else–Christians through liturgy and worship develop habits and follow Christ.”

Smith’s lecture was titled “Worship, Formation and Public Virtue: The Church and the Common Good.”

“He talked a lot about how our worship, our daily liturgy and our daily living shapes who we are in the public community,” said Kelly Adams, Mann Center program administrator.

The decision to invite Smith to campus grew out of a pre-existing respect for his work; this semester, a faculty reading circle was created that read Smith’s most recent book “You Are What You Love.”

“Drayton Nabers has read all of Dr. Smith’s books,” Adams said. “(Samford Provost Michael Hardin) said he had all of his books on his bookshelves. We felt that (Smith’s book) is very applicable to our daily lives right now. I think that it really speaks to what kind of leaders we are.”
Nabers and Adams said the lecture aligned with the Mann Center’s mission to teach through practice.

“(The lecture) challenges us to think about who we worship and the community in which we worship,” Adams said, “and I think that it encourages us to turn to positive habits and disciplines that are going to shape our character in healthy ways that are pleasing to our creator.”

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