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Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

, 2013
ISBN: 9780830874842

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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.

  • Intends to reach people of the Christian community on the threshold of cultural responsibility
  • Seeks to shed light on how culture is actually not about us, humans, but about God
  • Attempts to point Christians toward new, and also very old, directions for understanding our calling in culture

Part 1: Culture

  • The Horizons of the Possible
  • Cultural Worlds
  • Teardowns, Technology and Change
  • Cultivation and Creation
  • Gestures and Postures

Part 2: Gospel

  • The Garden and the City
  • Interlude: The Primordial Story
  • The Least of the Nations
  • Jesus as Culture Maker
  • From Pentecost . . .
  • . . . To Revelation
  • The Glorious Impossible

Part 3: Calling

  • Why We Can't Change the World
  • The Traces of God
  • Power
  • Community
  • Grace

  • Postscript: Artist in His Studio

Top Highlights

“Every human society is an enterprise of world-building.’* Culture is not just what human beings make of the world; it is not just the way human beings make sense of the world; it is in fact part of the world that every new human being has to make something of.” (Page 25)

“Culture requires a public: a group of people who have been sufficiently affected by a cultural good that their horizons of possibility and impossibility have in fact been altered, and their own cultural creativity has been spurred, by that good’s existence.” (Page 38)

“The only way to change culture is to create more of it.” (Page 67)

“So in a way the Creator’s greatest gift to his creation is the gift of structure—not a structure which locks the world, let alone the Creator himself, into eternal mechanical repetition, but a structure which provides freedom. And those who are made in his image will also be both creators and rulers. They will have a unique capacity to create—perhaps not to call something out of nothing in quite the way that God does in Genesis 1:1, but to reshape what exists into something genuinely new.” (Page 22)

“God’s first and best gift to humanity is culture, the realm in which human beings themselves will be the cultivators and creators, ultimately contributing to the cosmic purposes of the Cultivator and Creator of the natural world.” (Page 110)

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."

--Tim Keller, pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City, author, The Reason for God

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.

--Gary Haugen, president, International Justice Mission, author of Good News About Injustice and Just Courage

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.

--Kelly Monroe Kullberg, author of Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas, and founder and director of Project Development, The Veritas Forum

Andy Crouch

Andy Crouch (MDiv, Boston University School of Theology) is executive editor of Christianity Today and the author of books such as Culture Making and Playing God. Andy serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and Equitas Group, a philanthropic organization focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. He is also a senior fellow of International Justice Mission's Institute for Biblical Justice. His writing has appeared in Time, the Wall Street Journal and several editions of Best Christian Writing and Best Spiritual Writing. Crouch served as executive producer for the documentary films Where Faith and Culture Meet and Round Trip, as well as the multi-year project This Is Our City, which featured documentary video, reporting and essays about Christians seeking the flourishing of their cities. He also sits on the editorial board for Books Culture and was editor-in-chief of re:generation quarterly. He also spent ten years as a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University. A classically trained musician who draws on pop, folk, rock, jazz and gospel, Crouch has led musical worship for congregations of five to twenty thousand. He lives with his family in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.


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    Digital list price: $24.99
    Save $5.00 (20%)