The Story Behind "CURATE"


"You need to curate your heart. You need to worship well. Because you are what you love. And you worship what you love." - James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (Baker Publishing Group)

Bryan came across this quote, and the phrase "curate your heart" resonated deeply with him. Smith's work has been influential in both of our lives since first reading him in seminary, opening our eyes to the need for intentionally curating our hearts in the worship of Jesus. We cannot become like Jesus if we don't worship Him as our first love. 

This concept directed us to lead a beautiful 6-week Sunday evening church service dedicated to doing just that -- curating our hearts -- in preparation for Easter this spring, so we titled the service "CURATE." As we prayed and thought through ideas and words and phrases that carried potential inspiration for naming this ministry, the word "curate" started to resonate with me, also, and the name stuck! 

There are three different ideas that stand as the foundation for naming our ministry CURATE:

  1. As James K.A. Smith put it above, we need to curate our hearts, because we worship what we love, and we become like whatever it is we worship. Saint Augustine wrote about our loves being properly ordered, and Smith notes that we are shaped more by what we love than by our knowledge. Because we are loving beings, we need to arrange our hearts properly in order to live into the fullness of what Christ has both offered to us and called us into.

  2. Curate, while not an often used term, draws up an image. When we hear the word "curate," we think of museum curators. What does a museum curator do? They don't make the artwork; rather, they arrange the artwork and environment for people to enjoy and experience. You and I are incapable of transforming ourselves into the image of Christ--this is the work of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 2 reminds us that we are God's tapestry, and He is the one creating a masterpiece out of us. We do, however, play an important role: we can open ourselves and our lives to the work of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual direction is aimed at this very thing.

  3. While we usually think of a curator in the setting of a museum, during the 17th century, it was a word used to describe the work of pastors. The word derives from the Latin curate animarum, or "the cure of souls." The cure of souls is a partnership with the Holy Spirit and invites God to do His healing and transformative work.

Everything we do, from leading retreats, to offering one-on-one or group spiritual direction, to teaching about spiritual formation, is aimed at one thing: that you may encounter the fullness of God in your life, and in turn offer that to the world around you. Such an aim requires intentionality, prayer, and a heart willing to be curated by the faithful love of Christ Jesus. 

-Bryan and Rachel