Making Sense of "Culture Making", Part 10: Grace & Some Final Thoughts

In my previous Culture Making article, I discussed power and community as necessary elements of any sort of culture making enterprise. In this article, I'll be focusing on grace, which might just be the most important."Grace" is one of those words for Christians, and by that I mean a word we use all the time, though we may not always know what it means, or why we're using it. In his wonderful book, What's So Amazing About Grace, Philip Yancey writes that "grace" may be our last best word: … [Read more...]

Making Sense of "Culture Making", Part 9: Power & Community

Here it is, the penultimate installment of my "Culture Making" series, i.e., my "blog-through" of Andy Crouch's Culture Making. But first, I need to get something off my chest: as I've been reading the book's final chapters, something's been bugging me. I alluded to it in the series' previous installment, and I think I've finally figured out what it is: the final section of the book, "Calling", doesn't have the same sort of arc as the first two sections. The first section, "Culture", attempts to … [Read more...]

Making Sense of "Culture Making", Part 8: Searching for "Traces of God"

The previous chapter of Culture Making was, to be honest, a bit of a downer and I think that it's thrown me for a bit of a loop: I've been having some difficulty fully parsing the book's remaining chapters. Crouch had been building a convincing case for our role as culture makers through much of Culture Making, so I'm still trying to make sense of this sudden appearance of pessimism. If I had to boil down what I believe Crouch is saying so far, it's that it is impossible for us to truly affect … [Read more...]

Making Sense of "Culture Making", Part 5: The Jesus Effect

In Culture Making's previous chapter, Andy Crouch took some of the familiar Biblical stories concerning the origins and history of Israel and placed them within a proper historical and social context -- a very thought-provoking process that breathed some new life and understanding into said passages (for me, at least). He continues that approach in the next two chapters of Culture Making, which look at Jesus and the Book of Acts.Crouch starts his chapter on Jesus by drawing a stark contrast … [Read more...]

Making Sense of "Culture Making", Part 4: Israel & God's Irony

In Reaching for the Invisible God, Philip Yancey made an observation regarding God's method for interacting with the world that stuck with me for a long time:I think of God's style as "ironic." A more straightforward approach would respond to each new problem with an immediate solution. A woman gets sick; God heals her. A man is falsely imprisoned; God releases him. Rarely does God use that approach, however. An author of great subtlety, he lets the plot line play out in perilous ways, then … [Read more...]

Making Sense of “Culture Making”, Part 3: In The Beginning

In the first section of Culture Making, Andy Crouch took a fairly high-level view of "culture" and discussed such topics as defining culture, evaluating cultural goods, methods for bringing about and measuring the value and longevity of cultural change, and even a brief summary of the American church's engagement with the prevailing culture. As we enter the book's second section, and specifically, its sixth chapter, Crouch shifts from this high-level view to one that is very particular and … [Read more...]

Making Sense of "Culture Making", Part 2: Worldviews and Cultural Change

My previous entry in this series -- read it here -- ended with some thoughts on Andy Crouch's discussion of the cultural impact of the Resurrection, arguably the most important event in history for Christians. Crouch was discussing how we measure cultural change and what brings about true cultural change, and made the insightful observation that an inverse relationship exists between the speed of a cultural change and the longevity of its impact. In other words, a cultural change that occurs … [Read more...]

Making Sense of "Culture Making", Part 1

I've recently begun reading Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch and will be blogging my way through the book, i.e., marking down intriguing ideas, attempting to digest what Crouch writes, and thinking about its implications.1. What is "culture"?Crouch -- a former columnist for Christianity Today and currently the editorial director of the Christian Vision Project at Christianity Today International -- begins his book in a fairly ambitious manner, by attempting to … [Read more...]