I don’t know how exactly to describe Jamie Smith’s new book, On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts, published by Brazos. I just know I recommend it.
Smith himself describes the book as one last take at Christianity for someone tempted to leave the faith behind. Augustine is the guide—so ancient he’s strange, so common in his experiences that he feels contemporary.
Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin University and author of many thought-provoking books. And he is himself an excellent guide to Augustine. Yet in this book he goes beyond telling us about Augustine. Smith uses Augustine to help us answer our deepest questions and find satisfaction for our deepest longings.
“Humans are those strange creatures who can never be fully satisfied by anything created,” Smith writes. “Though that never stops us from trying.”
Smith joined me on Gospelbound to discuss conversion as compass, authenticity as loneliness, and ambition as bottomless.
This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Southeastern Seminary. In a changing ministry landscape, Southeastern’s four-year master of divinity and master of business administration program was built on a foundation of rigorous theological training and practical vocational training. Learn more at sebts.edu.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Collin Hansen: I don’t know how exactly to describe Jamie Smith’s new book, On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts, published by Brazos. I just know I recommend it. Smith himself describes the book as one last take at Christianity for someone tempted to leave the faith behind, Augustine as the guide, so ancient, he’s strange, so common in his experiences that he feels contemporary. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin University, and author of many thought-provoking books, and he is himself an excellent guide to Augustine, yet in this book, he goes beyond telling us about Augustine. Smith uses Augustine to help us answer our deepest questions and satisfy our deepest longings. Smith writes this: “Humans are those strange creatures who can never be fully satisfied by anything created, though that never stops us from trying.” Smith joins me on Gospelbound to discuss conversion as compass, authenticity as loneliness, and ambition as bottomless. Thank you for joining me, Jamie.
James Smith: Yeah, it’s great to chat with you, Collin. Thanks.
Collin Hansen: What do you mean when you say we are already Augustinian, we just didn’t know it?
James Smith: Yeah. This is one of the kind of subtexts of the book that it probably is also the most challenging part of the book. There’s this fascinating story that behind 20th-century existentialism, Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, figures like that, who influenced both literature, and film, and so on, and really bequeathed to us this project of finding ourselves, this project of authenticity. It turns out that the backstory to their work is a direct encounter with St. Augustine. So Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time, which is of course a book that not many people have read, but all of us have been influenced by, it was published in 1928. It turns out, however, that all of the core concepts of that book that was such a bombshell on the 20th century, first emerged when Heidegger was lecturing on Augustine’s confessions in 1921.
James Smith: So, and Camus, who people are revisiting today since he wrote a book called The Plague, Camus did his doctoral dissertation on Augustine and Neoplatonism. So there’s just this really interesting way in which the questions that we’ve inherited from these kind of trickled down philosophical effects, ultimately track back to Augustine. I think a lot of 20th-century folks would be, a lot of contemporary folks would be surprised to know how much they are indebted to the influence of this ancient African doctor of the church.
Collin Hansen: Well, you observe that Augustine associates happiness with rest. It doesn’t seem to be what we prioritize so much. We seem to prioritize entertainment or leisure more so. What’s the difference between those two, rest on one hand, entertainment and leisure on the other?
James Smith: Yeah. This is where, to diagnose our situation, another good Augustinian to help us is Blaise Pascal. So Augustine, like Pascal would say, “Our culture, one way to diagnose the restlessness of our culture, the fact that we are unsettled and don’t know who we are or what we’re made for, is precisely our incessant penchant for distraction.” That is one of the ways we keep trying to entertain ourselves. One of the reasons we keep trying to entertain ourselves, is precisely so we can kind of cover over the fact that we don’t know who we are, or whose we are, or what we’re about. So we pursue, even our leisure, even our leisure is its own kind of restless pursuit, you know what I mean? We’re kind of clocking up experiences. We’re trying to master something.
James Smith: So I think there’s a profound unsettledness, alienation, anxiety. There’s a profound anxiety under our inability to rest, and Augustine knew that. I mean, Augustine experienced that for a lot of, first 30 years of his life, which is why then it’s so interesting that he identifies peace, wholeness, with actually achieving rest, and he thinks there’s a way in which such rest still eludes us. There’s a kind of eschatological characteristic to that, but he also thinks that there is a possibility of finding a kind of contentment, because we are known, and that seems very relevant. It sounds like it could be a hopeful message for today.
Collin Hansen: You’ve already described a little bit of the origins of our obsession with authenticity and how that has shaped the book. Explain this question you ask: “What if authenticity is the source of our loneliness?”
James Smith: Yeah. Yeah. So the long story here is kind of a mashup mixed tape of Augustine and Charles Taylor, and what’s interesting is if you read Augustine today and read him, say in light of Taylor’s diagnosis of our secular age in which he says, “One of the big shifts that happened in modernity is we started to imagine that human beings are these buffered selves,” as he called them, right? That was supposed to promise a kind of security and autonomy for us. So this notion that I am sort of master of my domain, so to speak, I’m lord of my castle, that autonomy was supposed to be liberation, but the shadow effect of that so-called liberation that came with autonomy was we sort of enclosed ourselves in these fortresses of solitude. So yes, I get to decide allegedly who I am, and what I’m about, and what my good is, but the price is we lose the porosity of our relationality.
James Smith: And so, I do think that there’s a significant way in which the increase in social isolation and the epidemic of loneliness that we experience in a prosperous, late modernity is the fruit of our misbegotten liberation as autonomous, independent, self-sufficient world makers, and in that sense, the quest for authenticity in which I get to be me, you do you kind of thing, is also the recipe for loneliness and isolation, and just also a recipe for what I see in young people is a deep existential burden of always having to make it up, and there’s an exhaustion I think, that comes with that.
Collin Hansen: By the way, you get a lot of extra credit points on the Gospelbound podcast for multiple references to Seinfeld in one right answer there.
James Smith: Fantastic. We date ourselves here, but yeah, okay. That’s great.
Collin Hansen: I think that just goes without saying.
James Smith: Do I get points for Big Lebowski references?
Collin Hansen: Also Big Lebowski, yes. Also correct. Many profound insights in this book, we’ve already heard some of them. Here’s another one. You write this: “It’s precisely when I try to make creation my home, when I disenchant it as an end in itself, that it becomes a foreign country, that distant land to the prodigal’s wandering, arid, barren, a region of nothingness, even if it’s filled with earthly delights.” Tell us a little bit more about Augustine’s teaching on disordered loves and how that can help us to navigate this world. Here’s another quote from you that I found extremely helpful. You said, “Disordered love is like falling in love with the boat, rather than the destination.” I love that.
James Smith: Yeah, and that’s a common metaphor for Augustine. So this might be the very heart of Augustine spirituality, or it’s one of the ventricles of his spirituality, which is we will find the joy, and rest, and peace we are looking for when we learn how to rightly love the right things in the right way. And maybe since it’s closest to us, that is experienced existentially is fundamentally a question of, how do I relate to creation, and its relationship to the creator? And for Augustine, disordered love is when I seize upon and foist infinite expectations on created things, as if they could satisfy like the infinite creator. Now, one of the things I think that is important, and he thinks that that’s just doomed to disappointment. Do you know what I mean? Because the infinite hunger I have for meaning and significance and fulfillment could never be returned by finite things. Anything created is finite.
James Smith: Now, I think it’s really important, this is sometimes misunderstood, as if Augustine is suggesting you have to love God instead of creation, or love God, hate the world, which is not his point at all, actually. You have to rightly relate to the gift of creation, so that and by means of rightly loving the creator, who is the giver of the gifts of creation. And so one way to diagnose again, the sort of frenetic anxiety of our late modern secularized culture, is we keep seizing upon created things which are good in and of themselves, but we keep seizing upon them as if they could be everything, whether it’s power, or sex, or money, or material possessions, or whatever. None of those things are bad in and of themselves, it’s if you seize upon them and make them your God, if you love them as an end in itself. And Augustine by the way, emphasizes Christians are not immune to such temptations, right? We can still be suckered by that.
James Smith: In contrast, rightly ordered love is where once I know to actually… And once by the grace of God, we should say, my loves are rightly ordered to find my end in the Trinitarian creator I know by grace through Christ, then in effect, in fact, you get all of creation back as a gift that you hold with an open hand. So you receive it, you even sort of small e enjoy it, you might say, because ultimately, you are not looking to it for ultimate satisfaction. You are receiving it as a gift from the one who can only ever ultimately satisfy. Does that help?
Collin Hansen: It does, it does. Did Augustine leave himself a little bit more open to that critique about loving God and loving the world on sex, or do you think that’s an unfair critique of him?
James Smith: Yeah, I do think that. It’s one of the places where I pushed back on Augustine in the book is that… and there’s probably just a bit of biography that shapes his thinking here, right?
Collin Hansen: Right.
James Smith: So since he spent 20 years as a playboy, for him, the only way he could imagine rightly ordered relationship to sex is celibacy. And I just think that that’s, you could say the Protestant Reformation was in some ways in that regard, an Augustinian reform of Augustine on that point, because we said, no, no, no. Even even our sexual lives can be sanctified as gifts to be received. Yeah.
Collin Hansen: Here’s a line I liked a lot. You say, “Conversion is not an arrival at our final destination, it’s the acquisition of a compass.” How do you see that view then reshaping our spiritual priorities?
James Smith: Yeah, and I’d be interested to see what you think of this, because I think maybe one of the other ventricles of the heart of Augustine spirituality, I mean, ultimately, it’s grace all the way down. And then to this question, Augustine’s what I describe as a spiritual realist, and what that means is he is very suspicious of, and refuses, and actually is not shy to criticize any form of Christianity that pretends to perfection in this life. And that actually seems like a timely word for us, only in because even those of us who are Christians, are Christians in an age of sort of technocratic solutions where we think anything that’s good must be a solution to a problem, and that we can overcome it, and it’s interesting to think how much that seeps into even our spiritual lives.
James Smith: And Augustine is just kind of a wide-eyed realist about being in Christ is not a solution to everything, and this is because he has a deep eschatology, and I think this is something that people don’t always appreciate about Augustine. The reason why it’s the acquisition of a compass is because, okay, now I know where home is, and I know who’s going to receive me there, and I’m confident of that, but I still have many miles to go before I sleep, and we pray every day, “Thy kingdom come,” and it’s not here yet, and there still are wolves at the door, and ditches on the road, and Augustine, you can hear this in his preaching.
James Smith: I mean, one of the things I hope people might be pointed to in the book, is to discover that we have all these sermons of Saint Augustine, and you hear this deep pastoral realism in his preaching, where he’s just meeting people where they are and he says, “Look, I know the Christian life is hard, and there’s no shortcuts to arrival. There’s just the faithfulness of God along the way, in being present and forgiving.” It’s one of the reasons why I think confession is at the heart of our liturgical life. It’s a key component of our common liturgical life.
Collin Hansen: It seems that we have a hard time holding some of those tensions together that Augustine does. And so, just as I processed that quote, and I thought a little bit about that compass metaphor, it made me think of how, especially evangelicals are divided more or less between the kind of holiness tradition as well as the more Reformed tradition, but they both seem to struggle in this respect. The holiness tradition seems to push toward the perfectionism, expecting too much, a bit of an over-realized, but then the Reformed side, there can become a complacency that you see probably characteristically of Baptists especially, that there’s a push toward conversion in the Baptist tradition, or a push toward the covenant children perhaps, and other aspects of the Reformed tradition that doesn’t seem to really play out in terms of discipleship, so perhaps it’s under-realized in those ways. So that’s why I appreciate where you’re coming from on the Christian realism of Augustine, where there is real progress, but not quite the same expectations of the perfectionism.
James Smith: Yeah. I think one of the other temptations maybe that’s a little more endemic to the Reformed tradition too, is confusing holiness with legalism.
Collin Hansen: Yeah.
James Smith: Because we sort of love law and rule, and Augustine would be obviously, I think his spiritual realism pushes back on that as well. Oftentimes, legalism covers over the grace and mercy of that spiritual realism.
Collin Hansen: Yeah. Well, I think that’s probably both sides of that I described there, because when you think about the early fundamentalism of the 20th century, so much of holiness was defined in those externals, and then became problematic in terms of its legalism, and we continue to live with that legacy today, and it actually seems to be one way that united the holiness and Reformed traditions in that early 20th century of Prohibition and things like that. Throughout the book, your writing on freedom stands out and you write this: “If freedom is going to be more than mere freedom from, if freedom is the power of freedom for, then I have to trade autonomy for a different kind of dependence. Coming to the end of myself is the realization that I’m dependent on someone other than myself, if I’m going to be truly free.”
Collin Hansen: You mentioned earlier, Jamie, that these are temptations for Christians as well. We’re not merely talking about the world as if we’re diagnosing, but I think that this idea that happiness comes through the proliferation of choices is so deeply ingrained, even in Christians, that I’m not sure we can even tell the difference in terms of this kind of freedom, versus the kind of freedom that we imagine and enjoy as Americans, or at least more broadly, as Westerners. So how do we develop a taste for dependence?
James Smith: Yeah, I mean, sadly I think maybe the gateway to that is experiencing the implosion and crisis of our fabled autonomy, right? So in some ways, to be opened up to this alternative vision of freedom as a graced dependence, you have to experience the failure of the alternative, which is for Augustine, just sort of dissolves us. I mean, you think multiplying your options and getting to determine the good is liberating, until you sort of live that way for a while, and you’re liquified by the experience. And so, that would be, I think one way into it, which you wouldn’t want to wish on anyone, but I do think culturally, I do think culturally we probably are going to have to experience that, and I think are beginning to, do you know what I mean? I think there are interesting signals in which people are looking around and saying, “There’s got to be a better way to be human.” Do you know what I mean? This liberation feels like a prison.
James Smith: So on the other hand, maybe, maybe it’s seeing it modeled. So maybe there’s something about lives lived in covenant promise, where people sort of willingly give themselves over to obligations and expectations, and communities. Marriages lived well would be only one microcosm of this, where then people see… What you hope that manifests is a kind of joy, and peace, and contentment that piques people’s interest and you start to wonder, oh, what’s in that sauce? What’s happening over there? I’m not sure.
Collin Hansen: Yeah, I agree on marriage, and I wonder if parenting is a little bit helpful in this regard, because marriage, we seem to import so many of these ideas that you’re writing against in this book, or that you’re helping us to navigate through. It still is very easily about self-fulfillment. It’s still very much about… And then all of a sudden, you realize, “Wait a minute, happiness comes in the proliferation of choices. Did I make the right choice? Maybe there’s a better choice out there.” And so, a lot of those temptations come in marriage in a way that it’s a little bit harder with kids, because you may have made a decision to have children, but you didn’t choose those children. So there’s a bit of an objectivity.
Collin Hansen: Independence. Independence.
James Smith: Yeah, exactly. And there’s a sense in which you are now obligated to an other who’s other than you, and to live into that. I think that’s right. Yeah.
Collin Hansen: Yeah.
James Smith: It’s interesting. I mean, I should say, Augustine’s vision and what I think is a biblical vision of this positive view of freedom of grace dependence, it is important to realize that it is still actually the graced empowering of our agency, right? So it’s not a kind of cookie cutter-ism, or it’s not just this robotic sense of conformity, that it’s actually the true joy and freedom that comes from finally being given the power to be what you were called to be. And I think you want people to see that it shouldn’t just look like conformity, it should look like being launched into fullness of humanity.
Collin Hansen: Yeah. A few more questions here with James K.A. Smith author of On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts. I think listeners can see just how personally challenging and moving your book was. I first heard you speaking on this topic at this Sojourn Network conference, and I hadn’t yet read the book. Of course, I’ve known a lot about your writings for a long time, but this one just hit me in an especially personal way, and you asked this thought-provoking question: what do we want when we want attention? And I don’t know if it’s just because I’m a podcaster, writer, all that sort of stuff with Google Analytics open on my laptop at all times.
James Smith: Right?
Collin Hansen: But how does Augustine help us turn that question and to find an answer in Christ?
James Smith: Yeah. This was, I would say, one of my most important journeys with Augustine on this question too, of our ambition and our ambition for attention, and think you’re right that this is obviously a especially pertinent question and for people who have sort of public roles, leadership roles to play, and what I love about Augustine is he’s so honest about how mixed his motives are. So, on the one hand, he’s critical of disordered ambition, where I want to be seen and imagine being seen will make me happy, right? That’s where I get suckered by the enemy, is imagining if I just increase my attention, if I just make this Amazon ranking, ah, I’ll finally be happy, and Augustine says, “Look, it doesn’t matter what benchmark you set, if that’s your aim, you will always be disappointed.”
James Smith: Whereas, if my ambition, and he doesn’t demonize ambition per se, he says, if I’m ambitious because I want to use my gifts for the sake of bearing God’s mission in the world, then I can actually live out an ambition, which even gives me the freedom to fail, because I know my Father loves me, not because of my performance, but because his love makes it possible for me to perform. And then I think my favorite part of Augustine’s honesty is he says, “Am I doing this for God’s attention or your attention?” And his answer is yes. He just owns up to the conflicted-ness. That’s back to the spiritual realism that you were talking about, and I think that is more liberating than imagining I could ever be rid of my weakness for the praise of men, and I find it more liberating to live into the confession and God’s absolution on that matter.
Collin Hansen: I mean, this is maybe not as applicable to all the people who are going to be listening here, but it’s just an application of this. It’s amazing to me at whatever professional benchmark I reach, and of course, doing all of this for the sake of Jesus, in ministry, that whatever is out there in front of me that I think is finally going to make me feel like I arrive, I get there, and then there’s a moment that lasts, oh, maybe a few minutes, maybe a few hours, maybe I go out to eat or something like that, and then it’s done.
James Smith: Yeah, yeah.
Collin Hansen: And then it just resets, whether it’s a podcast ranking, or a benchmark of the number of users on a website, or a book, like you said, an Amazon ranking. It just, I mean, it’s like they say just proverbially, there’s always somebody wealthier than you.
James Smith: Yes, yeah. That’s right.
Collin Hansen: There’s always somebody smarter than you out there. So again, Augustine’s Christ word focus and grace focus is so wonderful. Another area that is challenging, especially with a lot of this focus on autonomy and choice, is friendship, and I’ve been trying to figure out a way of how would I describe our functional view of friendship today, and I think it’s basically, just folks we entertain ourselves alongside. That’s about as far… that’s about what I can come up with there.
James Smith: Yeah, that’s pretty good.
Collin Hansen: But you write that, “A friend is not an enabler. Love doesn’t always look like agreement.” How do we get to this more fulsome view of friendship that Augustine holds out for us?
James Smith: Ah, yeah. Well, it’s going to happen, for starters, in real proximate embodied lived communities, and not in our incessant online presences, and I also think the older I get, the more I realize such friendship takes a lot of work and it takes time. Do you know what I mean? You don’t just sort of say, “Hey, you know what? Starting Monday, let’s be friends in this deep way, and since we’re going to meet every Tuesday morning and we’ve made the decision, we’ll have that kind of friendship.” So there’s not a formula to it, right? It actually comes with the messiness of lives lived in proximity through thick and thin. Now, I do think we can make commitments to keep putting ourselves in the way of such relationality. Do you know what I mean? So I also don’t think, I don’t think you’re ever going to get to that depth of friendship if you’re never together, right, or never…
James Smith: And so, my wife and I have enjoyed a little practice with the dearest friends of ours that we call Wednesday night wine. I don’t know how this will go over with Gospelbound listeners. And so every week, every Wednesday, even if we do it on a Thursday, we still call it Wednesday wine, but for like 15 years we just are like, okay, after they put their kids to bed, we’re just going to sit around a table, we have one glass, and we just talk, and we keep a journal too, actually, of how we… And I do think everybody needs to just think about concrete practices. Sunday morning’s not going to be enough. I don’t think it’s quite the same as small group, but thinking about concrete practices so that you can at least put yourself in the way for a friendship to become something like that, and to live with uncomfortableness, to live with discomfort, I actually think is a virtue of such a friendship.
Collin Hansen: Well, tell me more about that discomfort. What do you mean?
James Smith: Yeah. So I mean, I think you’re right, your earlier definition of friendship is if we construe friendship instrumentally like that, I stick with the friendship just to the extent that, “Oh, this is fun, this is working, this is something I want to do,” as opposed to a friendship in which you confront me or I confront you, or you’re going through the valley of the shadow of death in your family, and I’m like, ah, I’m not really… no, no, no. I will be there, and I know that you would be alongside me. So I think such friendship is probably most forged in the hardest of times, which will be both suffering but also disappointment, and working through those things and realizing that they’re just, that’s part of a friendship. I would always get nervous about a friendship that never experiences those things, because I don’t think it’s ever really tested its depth.
Collin Hansen: Yeah. I think something clicked for me a number of years ago when I realized there’s no relationship that’s truly, deeply important to me, where I haven’t been very angry at that person, and vice versa.
James Smith: Yeah.
Collin Hansen: You guys, if they’re not angry at me, they don’t know me.
James Smith: I think that’s right. I think that’s exactly right, exactly right. Yes, yes, yes.
Collin Hansen: Oh, shout out to all my friends and family listening. All right, one last question I have here. You differentiate between posture and doctrine, in explaining Augustine’s attraction to the Manichaeans. I see that problem everywhere today, that posture and doctrine. How can we escape this fascination with what you describe as an explanatory power, and associating with tribes that we want to join? It just, again, something had clicked with me years ago when I realized this fight about theology isn’t about theology at all.
Collin Hansen: It’s about tribes, and it’s about posture.
James Smith: Yeah, and when Augustine was attracted to this sect called the Manichaean, they were the purveyors of enlightenment. They thought they were kind of the rationalists of their day. And so, what he was really looking for was association with the smart crowd. Do you know what I mean? And being sort of… and what he discovered when he got there is actually, their answers were not great. When he actually tested the answers, they’re like, “Ah, this doesn’t work.” So maybe people do have to go through the disappointment of realizing that those who claim to have the secret and know what everybody else doesn’t know, you do have to be actually curious enough to keep pressing those buttons and say, “Does this really work?” And that requires some intellectual integrity that I’m not sure that comes naturally to us, especially in our cultural moment where I think association is more important than insight.
James Smith: But I think what Augustine realized, the other side of it was actually embracing humility, right? So there’s a sense in which Augustine also had to come to grips with the limits of what he could know, and how fundamental trust was in that regard. And now, does he have a recipe for us breaking out of our echo chambers? I’m not sure. It’s not immediately obvious to me other than… you see, you’ll notice in the book, I often look at the dynamics of addiction and recovery as a kind of parallel of how Augustine thinks rightly ordered love works. And of course, oftentimes, sadly, the way out of our addictions is bottoming out, and the crisis point. And maybe one of Augustine’s words to us is, “Don’t be worried or frightened if a culture reaches its crisis point. Don’t feel like you have to wall yourself off in protection, be there for them in the crisis point, because that’s the opening. That’s the moment where the inbreaking could happen.”
Collin Hansen: Yeah. A little heavy dose of City of God right there.
James Smith: Yes, yes. Right, exactly. Yeah.
Collin Hansen: Well, and maybe for me, I mean, Augustine’s processing this through this sort of decadence or collapse, whatever you might want to say, of the late Roman Empire, and I think a lot of what we’ve seen politically in our day, and a lot of what we’ve seen then in changing tribes, and the differing associations and things like that, I think for me, that’s what that’s done.
James Smith: Yeah.
Collin Hansen: Because all of a sudden, issues that I thought were so clear were suddenly not so clear at all, and I felt like I don’t think I changed, but it seems like a lot of other people changed there, but I guess I just wasn’t really on the same page. I thought we were together in a certain way theologically, but then all of a sudden, that didn’t seem to be very important anymore. And so for me, something of that bottoming out has to do with losing associations, because I didn’t realize what the association was premised-
James Smith: Interesting.
Collin Hansen: … upon.
James Smith: Yeah, yeah. Interesting. I think you’re right. By the way, that was one of the sort of impulses for writing the book, is I do think there’s really remarkable cultural parallels between Augustine’s late ancient, end of the Roman Empire context, and our own. I don’t want to overstate that, but I do think there’s a kind of fractious, fraught cultural boil that he was living in, and it will feel familiar, I think, to people today.
Collin Hansen: Yeah. We don’t know what’s next, but we sense that this is winding down.
James Smith: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. Which is then why Augustine’s, this is where I think Augustine’s eschatological word is so significant, which is the fundamental base note is hope, right?
Collin Hansen: Right.
James Smith: Which is not confidence, which is not optimism, but it is still a fundamental hope because you sort of… Well, you know where home is, and your index to the North Star, and you’re kind of unsurprised by anything in the meantime.
Collin Hansen: Well, that’s a good way to end it there, because I should clarify what I said earlier. We do know what comes next as Christians.
James Smith: Sure.
Collin Hansen: And that fills us with hope, but the disordered love or the disordered hope would to be invest whatever’s next culturally or politically, with that kind of hope.
James Smith: In time, right.
Collin Hansen: Right. My guest on Gospelbound, James K. A. Smith, On the Road with Saint Augustine, is his book, A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts. I think it’s safe to say, Jamie, I could’ve kept talking for hours, but.
James Smith: Yeah, this has been really fun. We could’ve chatted forever. Thanks for your [inaudible 00:36:41].
Collin Hansen: Thank you. Thanks for taking the time, and also, thanks for helping to inspire my interest in Charles Taylor as well, which helped me to work on the book, Our Secular Age, and I’m just grateful for people out there who, well, especially you, who is pushing us in these directions. Thank you.
James Smith: Well, thanks so much. I appreciate it. Great to chat with you.