The Story Behind "CURATE"

 The story behind starting and naming 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. We Worship What We Love

    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. Making Space to Notice God’s Work

    The word “curate” has become a buzzword in personal branding and social media circles, referring more to crafting an image. When we heard the word "curate," though, we first thought 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 formation and spiritual direction are aimed at this very thing: intentionally making space to notice God’s artistry in our daily moments.

  3. The Cure of Souls

    While we usually think of a curator in the setting of a museum or personal branding, during the 17th century, it was a word used to describe the work of pastors. The word derives from the Latin cura animarum, or "the cure of souls." We see the cure of souls as a partnership with the Holy Spirit, submitting and responding to God’s invitations of healing and transformation as we minister to those in our care. We see the cure of souls as a partnership with the Holy Spirit, submitting and responding to God’s invitations of healing and transformation as we minister to those in our care.

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