Culture Making by Andy Crouch
Upon the cover alone, this book had two things going against it: 1) the class I had to read it for was not proving itself reliable to quality literature, and 2) it was a Christian look at our role within the broader, “mainstream” world.
Disclaimer: I am a Christian. I just don’t like the way Christians portray themselves in our literature with it comes to our role in not-necessarily-“Christian”-culture.
Andy Crouch approaches such a touchy subject with grace and respect but establishes his point so as to say, “I respect you, and I deserve your respect.”
And deserve our respect he does. I have not yet read such a firm, realistic understanding of anyone’s–be them “Christian” or not–role in society. We don’t all come from trust funds and fame. Some of us start from the ground up, driven only by our unquenchable desire to change the world like it’s never been changed before. Past literature on the subject says one of two things “It’s not your job, as an evangelical Christian, to change the world because the world cannot be changed and there’s no use trying” or “You can do it. Follow steps 1, 2, and 3 and fasten your seatbelt. It happened to me, it can happen to you, too!” Crouch takes a step back, sighs, shakes his head a bit and says, “You can’t change the world. You are one person. But, don’t lose heart. Keep trying. Changing the world isn’t as grand as it seems. You want to change the world? Change your family. Change a few friends. Start small, and don’t stop.”
Crouch writes in such a style so as not to apply specific to the Christian community. Do not be fooled–that is his intended audience. But, unlike a lot of stereotypical Christian-literature, he doesn’t hype up the “Godyness.” He does not flower Christianity with scented roses and hyperbolic language, and he doesn’t promise every dream to come true upon “trusting in Him.” He has a definite center, but he is deeper than that.
And, to the audience for which he intended, he has a different message than they might be expecting. As to our role as Christians in the world (and not of the world, as we’re told in Sunday School), he states his thesis very matter-of-factly. “We are created in the image of God. And since God is the Creator, so are we creators.” It’s as simple as that .We are made to take part in the world because we were made to create within the world, and to add our artistic voice to the grand mural growing each and every day.
Anyone, “Christian” or not, “creator” or not, would better himself (or herself) by reading this book.