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Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,358 Ratings  ·  144 Reviews
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 Chri
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published July 10th 2008 by IVP Books (first published 2008)
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Aug 16, 2013 Rachel rated it did not like it
This book was so vague and ambiguous, that I had to force myself to keep plodding through it to try to figure out what this guy's worldview was. I am extremely disappointed with it, and his "the Bible's authors [speaking specifically of the Genesis account of creation] didn't intend for the details to be historical", going on to advocate the "scientific theory of the big bang" was just the cherry on top. Ugh. I am fed up with weak Christianity...
Feb 04, 2010 John rated it it was amazing
You ever get on a roll where every book you pick up or movie you watch is great? That's where I've been in 2010. Keep it coming!

"Culture Making" was a book I wanted to read but was afraid to read. I suppose I've been a little worn down in recent years by evangelicals' obsession with all things culture. Andy Crouch stands well above the fray, though.

What was perhaps most surprising about "Culture Making" to me was the scope of Crouch's vision. Crouch takes on the whole thing in his book: from wha
Kate Padilla
May 02, 2010 Kate Padilla rated it it was amazing
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 s
Jan 18, 2015 Mathew rated it it was amazing
Andy Crouch wants Christians to think rightly about culture. And not only how we think about it, but also how it fits within the framework of what God has accomplished in the person and work of Jesus Christ. He says that he had “a hunch that the language of ‘engaging the culture,’ let alone the ‘culture wars,’ fell far short. . . . I also sensed that most churches were neglecting the centrality of culture to the bible story and the gospel itself” (p. 5) and “Indeed, the good news is the world is ...more
Mar 19, 2014 Kevan rated it really liked it
When I chose this book to read, I was hoping for a massive kick-in-the-pants to 'get out and make.' I was hoping that it would be a rallying cry for Christians (and all people) to be more creative and enterprising. The book delivered, but it did more: it gave some cautionary advice that I had actually never thought about, and made it worth sticking around to the end of the book to discover, despite the occasional reading obstacles. I'll explain.

First, the parts that got me riled up (in a good w
David Shane
Feb 09, 2011 David Shane rated it liked it
This is a book about culture - about what culture is, God's role in culture, and what our actions as Christians should be, in roughly that order. I found it to be a helpful book in understanding what culture is and how to affect it, a thought-provoking book when it examined scripture through the lens of culture, and an encouraging book when discussing how we personally can and should act.

The author begins by removing from us the common idea that we can even talk about "the culture" in a simple m
Mark Ward
Oct 24, 2011 Mark Ward rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, favorites
I went to a liberal arts school.

Why did I bother?

Why did I bother learning the history of art or music? Why not just learn what it takes to make money now?

Andy Crouch answers with a book-length "because God said so." That's what you'll find in Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. This is an expansive book that travels through sociology, through the whole storyline of Scripture, and into practical suggestions.

But it's not what you might expect coming from a centrist evangelical like C
Sep 26, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Crouch diagnoses four ways evangelical Christians have related to culture: condemn, critique, copy, consume. Although each of this may be appropriate for particular things, as a way of relating to culture as a whole they are unsatisfying. Instead Christians should be creating and cultivating culture. Crouch grounds this in the Bible story, from creation on through Jesus Christ and into new creation.

I found this book thought-provoking and challenging. I think all Christians in the art
Chris Lee
Jan 04, 2015 Chris Lee rated it it was amazing
Fantastic in every way. Words of wisdom on every page, and eloquently written. I'd recommend to any Christian seriously committed to creative work... but part of the point, in fact, is that when creativity is properly defined, that group should be wider than you think (ie. the entire Church).

I found the last couple chapters which discussed vocation particularly personally valuable. It's such a deeply personal topic that it's tricky to discuss to any measure of practical application, but Crouch's
Tim Lapetino
Aug 20, 2015 Tim Lapetino rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic, challenging, life-changing and thought-provoking book. I could say so much about this book, but it's better to be read. Needless to say, Crouch's book was affirming to my thoughts and desires as someone who studies culture, and thoughtful and deep in all the ways I'd hope a Christian to be on this topic. Gone are old stereotypes and cliched faith answers, left with a book that I'll chew on for a long time to come.

I'm sure I'll ready it again and again. Highest recommendati
Nov 06, 2015 Aisha rated it really liked it
Very well written. I think the author or someone should write a user friendly version without as much of the academia (because not everyone reads or comprehends at this level) - something we can hand to our friends and say THIS, this is how we change the world.

Probably a lot of pastors read this book but it's really the Christian innovator, the businessman, the artist, writer and parent that should absorb some of the principles. It was the kind of book that I had to force myself to keep going th
Mar 08, 2014 Harriette rated it it was amazing
On my second time through this book (first time was December 2011), I was struck again by how brilliant it is. When Christians or anyone else sets out to "change the world," they demonstrate much arrogance. Rather, networking with a small group of people (think family or small business), we may be able to launch cultural goods that can improve the lives of individuals. None of our cultural endeavours is guaranteed to succeed, but when done with faith-full-ness we may be surprised how God multipl ...more
Mar 21, 2014 Bpatoosk rated it really liked it
I would agree with comments on the cover that this is an exceptionally important book when considering both the interaction of christianity and culture and also our roles as individuals in culture in general. The first several chapters, specifically, were excellent for providing an understanding of what culture is and identifying one's personal current position in it, and the last several chapters were solid on how to move on from there.
The chapters in between.... well, they were fine. More the
Kevin Orth
Sep 07, 2015 Kevin Orth rated it did not like it
This is the third time I picked up a book based on it's title and subtitle, got a little bit of the way in only to realize the true message of the read is postulatizing a conservative Christian world view.

What I take issue with is the "bait and switch". It is great if an author wants to discuss a topic from a particular, religious view. What would be respectful of perspective readers is letting them know that is what you are doing rather than titling your work as if it is written from secular pe
Alex Stroshine
Andy Crouch's 2008 book "Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling" has been on my to-read list for a long time. I have frequently seen it cited since its original publication and it has exerted a comparable influence upon evangelicals' approach to culture as N.T. Wright's 2007 "Surprised By Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church" has for Christians' understanding of eschatology.

I am a bit torn over what to rate this book. It's a 4/5 in initiating Christian
Joel Ohman
Mar 28, 2016 Joel Ohman rated it it was amazing
The only way to change culture is to create culture - in fact, this is what the Creation/Culture Mandate calls all Christians to do - and yet, the most common response to culture by Christians is either to condemn culture and attempt to separate themselves from it (as if that is really even a possibility) or to embrace culture and assimilate into it. Crouch details the creative calling that each Christian has on their lives in regards to creating the culture around us - highly recommended readin ...more
Scott Burns
Jun 08, 2015 Scott Burns rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mission
I've given this 2 stars based on the categories in GoodReads… 2* = "it was ok".

There are some good insights throughout the book (eg. God's redemption of "the cross" into a sign of hope; the danger of power; the role of grace and community; the way he handles his brief discussion of spiritual disciplines) and some great quotes and quips from other authors. He challenges us to consider our posture toward culture, and how the various things we do make some things possible while rendering other thin
May 09, 2014 Thomas rated it really liked it
A smart, accessible, balanced exploration of the what, why and how of "culture" and cultural participation from an evangelical perspective and (largely) for an evangelical audience. Crouch suggests that culture is “what we make of the world” (everything from omelets to highway systems), and we make something of the world because that is who are made to be as bearers of the image of God. The way in which we seek to make culture, as image bearers, is through responsible exercise of power, in commu ...more
Sean Post
Jan 25, 2014 Sean Post rated it it was amazing
"Culture Making" is simply marvelous. To echo the words of Gary Haugen in his recommendation for the book, "Good books are either brilliant or helpful. This is both." Crouch writes wonderfully as anthropologist, sociologist, and theologian. His ideas are presented clearly and are rooted in an ultimate motivation to see these principles lived.

His thesis is simple: We are all making something of the world. That is to say, we are all making culture (for culture is what we make of the world). All o
Bob Robinson
Oct 16, 2015 Bob Robinson rated it it was amazing
Andy Crouch, in his landmark book, Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling, makes the case that the essence of humanity is that we are “creative cultivators.” This is rooted in his correct interpretation of the opening chapters of the Bible, where humans are created in the image of God, placed in the garden and given the task to “cultivate” (עָבַד) it (see Genesis 1:26-18 and 2:15)

But Crouch states that culture is not merely “a set of ideas” but rather “primarily a set of tangible goods”
Sep 13, 2009 John rated it really liked it
Andy Crouch's book offers a thoughtful, and more importantly, an engaged vision of the relationship between Christians and the cultures within which we live and breathe.

It's a good thing that Crouch wants to move us away from the simplistic notion of "the culture," and instead help us to see the plurality of cultures that we find ourselves in. His definition of culture, "what we make of the world," presents Christians with an opportunity to involve ourselves in the world both as creators and cul
Joel Arnold
Oct 20, 2012 Joel Arnold rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book even though there was plenty not to agree with. Crouch is a very good writer. He has a nice, smooth and sometimes poetic style. This book is clear and easy to read. It's also quite thought provoking in many ways. Trying to summarize the content concisely:

-Crouch defines culture very broadly. Almost any of our actions that affect or change the state of nature in some way qualify as culture. Crouch rightly roots culture in the creation mandate of Gen. 1:28.
-Another way to defin
May 02, 2015 Poiema rated it it was ok
Shelves: culture
It took me a long time to get through this book and I'm having a hard time figuring out why. The subject matters to me. The writing was good, I had no major quibbles with the author's conclusions, and his work is obviously well researched. But somehow I did not feel an igniting spark that leaped from him to me.

I'm definitely in the minority here; most other reviewers give the book 5 stars. I'm concluding that it was just one of those quirky situations where the author's style failed to engage me
Jan 07, 2014 Sandra rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sandra by: Byron Boerger, Hearts & Minds Books
Great book, great writing! I want to capture some of my favorite passages in my book notes, at which point I may change my rating to five stars.

Crouch challenges the Christian assumption (that I've succumbed to plenty!) that Christianity is counter-cultural, and therefore, modern culture is bad and must be resisted, whereas Jesus was teaching a different culture that needs to supplant whatever we call culture out there.

He makes the point that God created the world and it was good, and it's too
Jul 28, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
We are created to create; in the manner of our Heavenly Father to bring forth order from disorder. We were also created to rule: to maintain order and separation; to “cultivate” in the garden. This is how Andy Crouch’s excellent Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling begins.

Somewhat early in the book, Crouch argues that many Christians who say they want to transform cultures or worldviews subtly rewrite the problem they study into a fundamentally intellectual problem. Perhaps inevitabl
J.E. Jr.
Oct 18, 2011 J.E. Jr. rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-life
This was a great read, and challenging in its content. Crouch offers a view of how everyone is engaged in the process of participating in, sustaining, and (at least in some way) cultivating culture. He lays this out in a manner that is clear and understandable, both in the abstract as well as in how each of us might more fully take up our role in participation.

One thing I appreciated about the book is the constructive critique of “worldview” as an approach to engaging/changing/shaping culture. W
Mar 03, 2013 Lashawn rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this. This book opened my eyes on the nature of culture. The culture of world. The culture of church. The culture of science fiction. And knowing that you must know culture in order to change it.

I was struck most by his four postures Christians use to respond to culture outside of the church: condemning, critiquing, consuming and copying, and found myself applying it on numerous occasions. For instance, Jon and I went to the mall were we went to a restaurant called Kato'
Dec 13, 2008 Brett rated it it was amazing
From birth to death, culture shapes our experience of the world, molding our perceptions of the possible and impossible. At the same time, culture (“what we make of the world”) is both a profound gift and responsibility from God, a point Crouch draws from throughout the arch of the biblical narrative. Crouch offers three excellent contributions to the ongoing discussion of Christians in culture. First, Crouch shares five questions for understanding and evaluating cultural acts and artifacts. Thi ...more
Julie Golding Page
Jul 21, 2009 Julie Golding Page rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology-women
This book has been touted as the best Christianity & culture book since Niebuhr's landmark "Christ and Culture." Despite the hype, this may well be a correct estimation of this fine book.

Any reader interested in how Christianity and culture interact - whether a non-Christian who wants to see what makes Christians "tick" or a Christian seeking to integrate a passion for culture with personal faith and integrity - will not be disappointed by this book. A short review cannot do it justice, so I
John Gardner
Jun 19, 2011 John Gardner rated it really liked it
“Culture” is a word often used but rarely understood. To some it connotes art, music, and fine dining. To others, it expresses a unique ethnic or national heritage. For some, it is the battleground on which the “culture wars” are fought.

Andy Crouch would have us understand “culture” as including all of these, but so much more. In Culture Making, we come to see culture as “the name for our relentless, restless human effort to take the world as it’s given to us and make something else”. As Christi
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Andy is the author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, winner of Christianity Today’s 2009 Book Award for Christianity and Culture and named one of the best books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly, Relevant, Outreach and Leadership. A senior editor at Christianity Today International, he has served as
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“The bigger the change we hope for, the longer we must be willing to invest, work for, and wait for it.” 6 likes
“I wonder what we Christians are known for in the world outside our churches. Are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture? I’m afraid so. Why aren’t we known as cultivators—people who tend and nourish what is best in human culture, who do the hard and painstaking work to preserve the best of what people before us have done? Why aren’t we known as creators—people who dare to think and do something that has never been thought or done before, something that makes the world more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful?” 6 likes
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