Christianity Today Book Award winner
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The only way to change culture is to create culture.
Most of the time, we just consume or copy culture. But that is not enough. We must also do more than condemn or critique it. The only way to change it is to create it.
For too long, Christians have had an insufficient view of culture and have waged misguided "culture wars." But Andy Crouch says we must reclaim the cultural mandate to be the creative cultivators God designed us to be. Culture is what we make of the world, both in making cultural artifacts as well as in making sense of the world around us.
In this expanded edition of his award-winning book Crouch unpacks the complexities of how culture works, the dynamics of cultural change, and tools for cultivating culture. Keen biblical exposition demonstrates that creating culture is central to the whole scriptural narrative, the ministry of Jesus, and the call to the church. With a conversation between Crouch and Tish Harrison Warren as the new afterword, this expanded edition addresses the current landscape and forges a way for the future of culture making. Enter into it with guided questions for reflection and discussion for a deeper experience.
"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."
"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."
"Andy Crouch's book is thoughtful, stimulating and challenging."
"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."
"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 mantel 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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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!"
"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."
"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."
"Very readable and thought-provoking."
"This book will clarify your thinking, inspire your production, and affirm your parenting."
"Simply the best book that I've read recently. Not only is it brilliant, it's accessible. I cannot gush about this book enough. It really is that good."
"Theologically rich and practically helpful, Culture Making is a significant contribution to the discussion of Christ and culture and a useful guide for those who want to make something of the world God has created."
"Thoughtful and engaging. . . . Crouch's book does signal a hopeful development, which is that the evangelical pursuit of culture warfare was and is a dead end."
"Crouch writes as one who cares what Christians do with their time in light of God's Kingdom coming."
"Culture Making is a fresh and relevant take on how Christians should relate to the wider culture. This book will serve to make us more effective interpreters of and contributors to the cultural landscape."
"As an academic and a culture critic, I am not given to gushing over new publications. But Culture Making brought me pretty close to doing just such a non-scholarly thing! With so much coming out these days on religion and culture, one becomes a bit jaded about the possibility of something really fresh emerging. Well, this book is fresh, compelling, and engagingly written. More important, it goes deeply into its subject."
"Crouch's voice is intriguing and fresh—offering an alternative that escapes the many 'Jesus-stamped' merchandise items as an evangelical tool and implementing a fresh vision for creativity and engaging cultural lifestyles."
"Good introduction to how Christians need to do more than fatalistically talk about the dangers of the world."
"Culture Making is an enjoyable and fascinating book that helps demystify the idea of culture."
"This is a must-read book for those who are tired of talking and ready for action. The author sets the scene and tells the story of culture, then rapidly sweeps the reader into this story, finishing with a heart-stopping, imagination-grabbing challenge to go and make something of the world."
"If people tell me that something is a must-read, I tend to be a bit skeptical. That said, I was pleasantly blown away by Crouch's book. I loved the approach of talking about 'postures' and 'gestures' toward culture. One last thing to praise was the chaste humility of the book. All to say, Culture Making probably is one of those rare must-read books that comes along every so often. A book of rare learning, helpful and accessible synthesis, and godly humility, it might actually change the evangelical culture on how to make and engage culture. If so, all I can say is thanks be to God."
"With all the books on the market about the intersection of faith and culture, you have to wonder why we need another one. The answer is simple: it's unlikely that any other book out there accomplishes what Culture Making does, and certainly not in the way that Andy Crouch does. Substantial content, beautifully expressed. Highly recommended."
"Andy Crouch, long a culture influence through film, writing, music and service, points Christians to a new, deeper understanding of their calling in culture. Readers will be profoundly impacted by this book written by one of today's top voices on the subject."
"Those who have struggled with the sacred-secular dichotomy will find this book life-giving; every Christian interested in changing culture should read it."
"Crouch works through the Bible's narrative arc to show the hand of God in the development of culture and makes the case that Christians must be producers, not just critics, of culture in order to create societal good."
Preface to the Paperback Edition
Part One: Culture
1. The Horizons of the Possible
2. Cultural Worlds
3. Teardowns, Technology and Change
4. Cultivation and Creation
5. Gestures and Postures
Part Two: Gospel
6. The Garden and the City
Interlude: The Primordial Story
7. The Least of the Nations
8. Jesus as Culture Maker
9. From Pentecost . . .
10. . . . To Revelation
11. The Glorious Impossible
Part Three: Calling
12. Why We Can't Change the World
13. The Traces of God
Postscript: Artist in His Studio
Afterword: A Conversation Between Andy Crouch and Tish Harrison Warren
Questions for Reflection and Discussion by Al Hsu and Nate Barksdale
Notes and Further Reading