Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

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Hardcover New In the wake of strident condemnations of modern culture comes the refreshing voice of Andy Crouch, who tells us why it's not enough for Christians to critique ... culture, copy culture, or passively consume culture. Planting his reference points in sociology, Scripture, and everyday life, he opens our eyes to the full breadth of what culture does: it defines the horizons of the possible and the impossible in very concrete, tangible ways. God Himself changed culture-the horizons of the possible-through pivotal acts like the Exodus and the Resurrection. So how do Christians become agents of cultural change? The first guiding parable, for Crouch, is that the only way to change culture is to create more of it. He uses his careful reading of Genesis to probe the notions of creating vs. cultivating, artists vs. gardeners, then turns to Jesus and His disciples to demonstrate how seemingly small acts may have worldwide repercussions. Crouch rejects the ever-present temptation to seek power (echoed in Read more Show Less

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Hardcover New In the wake of strident condemnations of modern culture comes the refreshing voice of Andy Crouch, who tells us why it's not enough for Christians to critique ... culture, copy culture, or passively consume culture. Planting his reference points in sociology, Scripture, and everyday life, he opens our eyes to the full breadth of what culture does: it defines the horizons of the possible and the impossible in very concrete, tangible ways. God Himself changed culture-the horizons of the possible-through pivotal acts like the Exodus and the Resurrection. So how do Christians become agents of cultural change? The first guiding parable, for Crouch, is that the only way to change culture is to create more of it. He uses his careful reading of Genesis to probe the notions of creating vs. cultivating, artists vs. gardeners, then turns to Jesus and His disciples to demonstrate how seemingly small acts may have worldwide repercussions. Crouch rejects the ever-present temptation to seek power (echoed in Read more Show Less

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Overview

2009 Christianity Today Book Award winner!

Named one of Publishers Weekly's best books of 2008 (religion category)

It is not enough to condemn culture. Nor is it sufficient merely to critique culture or to copy culture. Most of the time, we just consume culture. But the only way to change culture is to create culture.

Andy Crouch unleashes a stirring manifesto calling Christians to be culture makers. For too long, Christians have had an insufficient view of culture and have waged misguided "culture wars." But we must reclaim the cultural mandate to be the creative cultivators that God designed us to be. Culture is what we make of the world, both in creating cultural artifacts as well as in making sense of the world around us. By making chairs and omelets, languages and laws, we participate in the good work of culture making.

Crouch unpacks the complexities of how culture works and gives us tools for cultivating and creating culture. He navigates the dynamics of cultural change and probes the role and efficacy of our various cultural gestures and postures. Keen biblical exposition demonstrates that creating culture is central to the whole scriptural narrative, the ministry of Jesus and the call to the church. He guards against naive assumptions about "changing the world," but points us to hopeful examples from church history and contemporary society of how culture is made and shaped. Ultimately, our culture making is done in partnership with God's own making and transforming of culture.

A model of his premise, this landmark book is sure to be a rallying cry for a new generation of culturally creative Christians. Discover your calling and join the culture makers.

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Editorial Reviews

David Neff
"In Culture Making, Andy Crouch has given us a vision for creativity that is not reserved for the practitioners of high art, but that reveals the dignity of the most ordinary sorts of cultural creation. It is a transformative vision that inspires to action and--in the face of the almost inevitable failures--perseverance. In the end, cultural creativity is not a gift we own, exercise and grow anxious over, but one that we receive and nurture--and through which we come to know grace."
Phyllis Tickle
"In this graceful, articulate volume Crouch challenges Christian common wisdom about creation and challenges as well our traditional understandings about the Revelation to John and how it articulates with the rest of Holy Writ. As refreshing as it is smart, Culture Making is a significant addition to contemporary Christian thought."
Makoto Fujimura
"As an artist and an advocate for artists, I am grateful for this book. Andy Crouch's edifying analysis of culture and the church and his timely call for us to be culture makers make this work invaluable in today's faith journey. This is a groundbreaking guidebook for all who are concerned about cultural issues and the church."
D. Michael Lindsay
"Culture Making is a book that's been needed for decades, but it arrives at just the right moment. People of faith--now poised to use their influence--have much to contribute to the common good as creators and advocates, not just as critics and judges. But that requires careful thought and clear insight, both of which are abundantly found in this profound and practical book. Andy Crouch has long had a knack for observing the culture around us and then showing us how we can make it better. With Culture Making, Crouch offers all that and more. Anyone who cares for the renewal of our culture must read this book!"
Christian Smith
"American evangelicals in the last hundred years have found it easy to condemn culture, critique culture, copy culture and consume culture. It has been much harder for them to actively and imaginatively create culture. Andy Crouch is out to change that. I confess I doubt whether they can rise to the challenge. But I am persuaded by Crouch's case that the Christian calling requires it. Here is a voice worth taking very seriously."
Gary Haugen
"Good books are either brilliant or helpful, but the best books are both--and Andy Crouch has attained that rare combination of virtues in Culture Making. As a Christian, as a parent and as an organizational leader, I would like to make a difference in the world. Crouch not only helps me understand where that yearning comes from, but how to pursue it with passion, commitment, power and spiritual health. Culture Making is a joyful gift of intelligence and practical provocation for thoughtful Christians."
Mark Labberton
"Andy Crouch's Culture Making models what it argues: that a kingdom imagination that takes our richly enculturated lives seriously shows grace to be real, immanent and compelling. Surely this vocation must be central to God's call!"
Frederica Mathewes-Green
"Grappling with 'the culture' has become an obsession for contemporary Christians, but a misunderstanding of what cultures are and how they behave results in a great deal of frustration. Andy Crouch's Culture Making draws on both his broad experience and originality of insight to offer a bracing and clear-eyed view of the way forward."
James Emery White
"This is not a good book, because it provokes and prods, incites and inspires. It takes you on an uncomfortable journey, defying the status quo and questioning accepted perspectives. It offers a fresh voice with trenchant thinking, forcing you to blow the dust off the mantle of your own settled proclivities. It resonates deeply within you, even on those points you may question. It addresses the heart of the challenge of our day. No, this is not a good book. It is a great one."
Richard J. Mouw
"In this marvelous book Andy Crouch makes the case for cultural discipleship by giving us an exciting overview of the drama of creation, fallenness and renewal. And along the way he offers much wisdom about the very real cultural realities that we face as twenty-first-century Christians."
Kelly Monroe Kullberg
"A deep and thoughtful reminder that the resurrection of Jesus empowers us to cultivate the garden, to build in the ruins of our world, and to create within and around us cultures of life."
Tim Keller
"Culture Making is one of the few books taking the discussion about Christianity and culture to a new level. It is a rare mix of the theoretical and the practical, its definitions are nuanced but not abstract, and it strikes all kinds of fine balances. I highly recommend it."
Lauren F. Winner
"Are Christians to be countercultural?Or protect ourselves from 'the culture'?Or be 'in' culture but not 'of' it? In this bracing, super-smart book, Andy Crouch changes the terms of the conversation, calling Christians to make culture.I am hard-pressed to think of something that twenty-first-century American Christians need to read more."
Steve Turner
"Andy Crouch's book is thoughtful, stimulating and challenging."
Publishers Weekly

Crouch, editorial director of the Christian Vision Project at Christianity Today International and a member of the editorial board for Books & Culture, gives readers a sweeping new theology of culture. Crouch blends academic research on the nature of culture with extensive theological study and years of experience as a cultural critic; his conclusions will be fresh and challenging for Christian readers. For Crouch, culture is a good and intentional part of God's creation. It encompasses not simply the arts but everything we do-from making meals to balancing work with life. Traditional Christian responses to culture-condemnation, critique and copying-are not enough to change it (although all at times are valid); instead, culture must be both cultivated (the good must be preserved) and created. Crouch argues that it is impossible for any of us to change the world, but that each of us can create culture within our own sphere of influence, and while that may feel small, God specializes in using small and seemingly unimportant things. Those who have struggled with the sacred-secular dichotomy will find this book life-giving; every Christian interested in changing culture should read it. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830833948
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2008
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Crouch (M.Div., Boston University School of Theology) is executive editor of Christianity Today, where he was also executive producer of This Is Our City, a multiyear project featuring documentary video, reporting and essays about Christians seeking the flourishing of their cities. He served as executive producer for the documentary films Where Faith and Culture Meet and Round Trip. He also sits on the editorial board for Books & Culture and has been a columnist for Christianity Today.

His writing has appeared in several editions of The Best Christian Writing and The Best Spiritual Writing. He was editor-in-chief of re:generation quarterly and for ten years served as a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University. He is a coauthor of The Church in Emerging Culture and a contributor to the Worship Team Handbook.

A classically trained musician who draws on pop, folk, rock, jazz and gospel, Crouch has also led musical worship for congregations of 5 to 20,000.

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart 1: Culture
1. The Horizons of the Possible
2. Cultural Worlds
3. Teardowns, Technology and Change
4. Cultivation and Creation
5. Gestures and PosturesPart 2: Gospel
6. The Garden and the CityInterlude: The Primordial Story
7. The Least of the Nations
8. Jesus as Culture Maker
9. From Pentecost . . .
10. . . . To Revelation
11. The Glorious ImpossiblePart 3: Calling
12. Why We Can't Change the World
13. The Traces of God
14. Power
15. Community
16. Grace
Postscript: Artist in His Studio
Notes and Further Reading
Acknowledgments
Endorsements
About Andy Crouch
Questions for Reflection and Discussion by Al Hsu and Nate Barksdale
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