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Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling Hardcover – July 10, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"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." (David Neff, editor-in-chief and vice president, Christianity Today Media Group)

"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." (Phyllis Tickle, compiler of The Divine Hours and former religion editor, Publishers Weekly)

"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." (Makoto Fujimura, artist and founder, International Arts Movement)

"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!" (D. Michael Lindsay, author of Faith in the Halls of Power and assistant professor of sociology, Rice University)

"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." (Christian Smith, professor of sociology, University of Notre Dame)

"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)

"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!" (Mark Labberton, pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, and author of The Dangerous Act of Worship)

"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." (Frederica Mathewes-Green, author and columnist,

"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." (James Emery White, pastor, professor and author of Serious Times)

"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." (Richard J. Mouw, president and professor of Christian philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary)

"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)

"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)

"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." (Lauren F. Winner, assistant professor of Christian spirituality, Duke Divinity School, and author of Girl Meets God)

"Andy Crouch's book is thoughtful, stimulating and challenging." (Steve Turner, writer, poet and author of Conversations with Eric Clapton, U2: Rattle and Hum and Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts)

From the Author

Find out more at the Culture Making website. And join the Culture Making group on Facebook.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (July 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830833943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830833948
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andy is the author of Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, published in October 2013. His book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, won Christianity Today's 2009 Book Award for Christianity and Culture and was named one of the best books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly, Relevant, Outreach and Leadership. In December 2012 he became executive editor of Christianity Today, where he is also executive producer of This Is Our City, a multi-year project featuring documentary video, reporting, and essays about Christians seeking the flourishing of their cities.

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 the International Justice Mission's IJM Institute. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and in several editions of Best Christian Writing and Best Spiritual Writing. He lives with his family in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

From 1998 to 2003, Andy was the editor-in-chief of re:generation quarterly, a magazine for an emerging generation of culturally creative Christians. For ten years he was a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University. He studied classics at Cornell University and received an M.Div. summa cum laude from Boston University School of Theology. A classically trained musician who draws on pop, folk, rock, jazz, and gospel, he has led musical worship for congregations of 5 to 20,000.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Trevin Wax on November 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Let's reclaim the culture for Christ!
We need to transform the culture!
Let's redeem the culture!
We should resist the culture!

What do these phrases really mean?
What do we mean by "culture" when we talk about transforming it?
Is it our Christian calling to redeem "culture?"

Andy Crouch's new book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling (IVP, 2008) is a landmark work that will create a new culture of its own within evangelicalism. Crouch points out the areas where evangelical thinking about culture-making has been counterproductive, and he charts a new path - one that would have evangelicals understand culture in more tangible ways.

Crouch points out the fallacious ways in which we conceive of "culture." Christians too often think simplistically about "culture" - as if it were some nebulous, overarching thought system in our world. Crouch believes we are wrong to talk of "culture" in this way. Instead, we must start thinking of culture as specific cultural goods (29).

Culture is what human beings make of the world. And these things we make eventually affect the world we live in. We cannot withdraw or escape culture because it is what we were made to do (36).

Analyzing culture does not substitute for the creation of real cultural goods (64). "The only way to change culture is to create more of it," Crouch says (67).

Crouch sees much of evangelicalism's desire to "engage the culture" as well-intentioned but often misguided. We tend to take certain, appropriate gestures toward cultural artifacts and make them postures - our position towards all cultural artifacts.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jen in Madison on August 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Someone once told me that our twenties are about figuring out who we are, and our thirties are about figuring out what we should be doing with our lives. I'd say that's about right, in my own limited experience. A mid-career switch from a steady and well-paid job I was good at to a couple of iterations of a new vocation I'm not sure I'm good enough at--this has been the story of my life in my thirties, and I've sometimes gotten pretty lost in all of it. The Church's varied, and usually unsolicited, opinions on these matters often don't help at all.

"Culture Making" offers sharp insight into the issue of vocation, delivered methodically, yet beguilingly, via elegant and sometimes beautiful prose. Andy Crouch 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.

After defining the terms--culture is what we make of the world, creating new culture is the only way to change culture (although gestures of condemnation, critique, copying and consumption may certainly have validity)--Crouch filters the biblical story from Genesis to Revelation through the lens of culture, then addresses our role as co-creators and cultivators with God in this world and the next (it's filled with co-created cultural goods that pass what I call the `new Jerusalem test', and the idea takes my breath away). While all three sections of the book are tightly integrated, it is this third section, entitled "Calling", that really sings.

Crouch's broad definition of culture making--the introduction of any cultural good--is also liberating for those of us with a narrow view of vocation.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Tara Edelschick on July 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In a political, religious, and journalistic climate focused on culture "wars" and "clashes," I was leery of what another Christian book on culture might have to say. I was delighted to see the issue framed entirely outside the scope of those debates. Instead, this book was about creating culture.

It was smart, challenging, and most of all very humane. I couldn't stop thinking about it and talking about it long after I finished reading. For Christians who see their role as cultural critics, Andy's book provides a new framework for understanding our role as culture makers. For non-Christians, the book provides a fresh perspective on the grace that sustains and transforms our desires to build, create, and restore. Can't recommend it enough.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Alissa Wilkinson on July 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a must-read book for those of us who are tired of talking and ready for action. Crouch works through the story of humans as presented in the Bible to show God's work in developing human culture, whether it be words, omelets, art, government, or relationships.

Crouch provides an expanded definition of culture - beyond art, media, and politics - and calls Christians to be producers, not just critics, in order to create and promote good in society. He writes with discernment, providing context for the ways the American church has historically responded to culture (condemning, critiquing, copying, and consuming) and giving a vision of the way things could be.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Patton on July 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Andy Crouch's book is the best I've read on culture and Christian responsibility. He is a gentle but trenchant critic of the church's current and past failures, a smart celebrant of the church's successes, and best of all, a trustworthy guide toward a productive future of culture making.

Truth be told, I sort of expected all that, and was glad to have my expectations met. But I was surprised by what I see as the book's core accomplishment, which is a re-reading of the Bible that reveals the centrality of the concept of "culture." The book powerfully reorients us, not only in terms of our thinking about culture, but also our way of interacting with and living according to scripture. "Culture Making" deserves to be a watershed moment for Christian witness, and I hope it is.
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