I’ve recently had several discussions with SCCers about how we as Christians relate with the peoples and cultures here in the East Bay. To stimulate even more discussion, I’m recommending Culture-Making by Andy Crouch. Crouch is great at surveying the land, sizing up options and envisioning a way forward without sliding into some pre-fab, cookie cutter “methodology.” He’s more interested in teaching people how to think as unique individuals in particular places dealing with their own specific circumstances.
There are basically four postures towards culture, according to Crouch. We can ‘critique’ it, ‘condemn’ it, ‘consume’ it or ‘create’ it (he’s a man of ‘c’s). Throughout history, the church has fallen into the trap of advocating one posture to the exclusion of the others. Crouch argues that different circumstances call for different postures. Then he helps us discern which postures we should assume and when. All throughout there is an emphasis on embracing our God given calling to “create culture” with and through the gospel.
“Creating culture” is best done in community, argues Crouch. Jesus modeled this and nearly every successful cultural good ever produced was incubated in community. Crouch helpfully describes the various layers of community that commonly result in birthing of new and redemptive cultural goods, movements, trends, etc.
The last section of the book explores the limits of what we as humans can do through our (sometimes grandiose) dreams. I found it to be almost devotional in tone and was deeply encouraged. The section on “grace babies” was, by itself, worth the price of admission.
The energy in our community around becoming agents of grace is a beautiful thing. Unharnessed, it will dissipate. My hope is that Culture-Makers might help provide a framework for moving forward.
(There’s a free study guide to go along with the book here: Free study guide here.)