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Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,282 ratings  ·  232 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
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published July 10th 2008 by IVP Books (first published 2008)
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Jul 03, 2013 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 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 thi
An Idler
May 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Crouch studies at the feet of secular sociology, knocks together a theory of 'culture', then trundles it over to Scripture and sets about manhandling the text in search of discovering what he's just invented. The exegesis is bad, and it doesn't help that he's also a theistic evolutionist and a crypto-Gramscian (with his talk of praxis, unironic use of 'bourgeois', and redefinition of poverty as a power relationship.)

Along the way - filled with many illustrative asides that I guess ar
Mark Jr.
Aug 28, 2011 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 f
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Andy Crouch is a truly original thinker, and that's why when he speaks, I consider it an honor to get to listen.

That said, there are many reasons to read this important book, and I would guess many people will find their own reasons to value Crouch's gentle and persuasive plan for how Christians can become culture makers. The reason I treasure this book was because it took the stratospheric sounding idea of "making culture" and helped bring it back to the ground where I spend most of my life. ...more
Kate Padilla
Mar 18, 2010 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
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how to review this book. Like most books I read, I felt like a lot of it could've been easily edited out. I am a woman who LOVES the definition of terms and concepts before diving into them but boy howdy I got REAL TIRED of the omelette example. I don't know if I can ever hear the word and not get a feeling of dread that an impending cultural explanation is coming. BUT, there are some real gems in here. For anyone who creates (spoilers that's all of us let's be real), this may give ...more
Barnabas Piper
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very few books change my perspective in a discernible and pointed way, but this one did. Crouch offers some beautiful biblical insights and crafts a clear and useable direction for being a culture maker without being crushed by the need to "change the world". Really helpful and insightful book.
John Elliott
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I greatly appreciated Crouch’s nuanced, wholistic, Biblically-rooted approach to the work of culture-making. Particularly helpful were the chapters about our “postures” toward various elements of culture and his unpacking of Jesus as the greatest culture maker of all. I finished the book feeling both sobered and inspired, a mix that feels right to me given the nature of the subject. Would highly recommend to any Christian who seeks to understand his/her work in the broader context of God’s redem ...more
Jes Drew
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a good reminder that as Christians, we are called not only to become more like Christ, and reach a lost world, but also to fulfill the role given to our first parents as sub-creators. A very clearly-written, clear-cut world that keeps from going toward any extreme and shows pragmatic ways to be a Christian in a cultural world.
Jan 20, 2011 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
Jan 18, 2015 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
Wade Stotts
Dec 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
As a wise old pagan once said of his opponents, "when they speak ambiguously the vulgar assent to what they say." In other words, it's easy to get people on board when all you say is a buncha nothin'. That's the only way I can explain the appeal of this book.
Curby Graham
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the finest books I have read on the topic of culture and the Christian responsibility to be "culture-makers". Crouch points out that most Christians in the US tend to ignore the first two chapters and the last two chapters of the Bible. Humans were originally placed in the world to be culture makers and to cultivate the raw materials God created the world with. He points out that when God created Adam and Eve He then called His work "very good". To illustrate this principle Crouch mention ...more
David Shane
Feb 05, 2011 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" i
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Etheridge
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
We can condemn or criticize culture, consume or copy culture, or cultivate and create culture. This insightful truth alone makes this worth the read. It was less practical than I'd hoped, but that was Crouch's intention. He talks about not just thinking about culture, but creating it; and yet, I fear I am walking away just thinking about it.
Kelsey Gould
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Of all the books I read in 2018, this one will be my most recommended. Andy Crouch accomplishes insightful instruction on a dusty, oft-forgotten corner of the gospel and he does so without arrogance or indignation. This book has put me in my place in a way that leaves me feeling free and hopeful. You should read it.
Andrew Johnson
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very thought provoking book that will require a reread. There is so much to unpack that it’s hard to nail down what I learned. It does help me think about my own vocation.
C.A. Gray
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally original!

I didn’t think this book was likely to say anything I hadn’t already heard. But I was very pleasantly surprised. More than once I had to stop and journal about some of the revelations it contains. Very thought-provoking and profound!
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thought-provoking and deep, I'd recommend this widely. The principles are solid and can be applied broadly, even if it isn't all that practical or specific. (9/10)
C.A. Gray
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t think this book was likely to say anything I hadn’t already heard. But I was very pleasantly surprised. More than once I had to stop and journal about some of the revelations it contains. Very thought-provoking and profound!
Justin Lonas
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very helpful thinking on the purpose, potential, and limitations of creative work.
Jacob Rush
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really good stuff, with some really goofy stuff at points.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book very insightful, gave me new language and thoughts about what culture is. I think the last chapter was amazing. Would of given it 5 stars if he’d made the book shorter and mor concise.
Sep 26, 2011 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
Oct 28, 2013 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,
Tim Lapetino
Jul 26, 2013 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
Jen Yokel
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Second read... and even better than the first time. This is a dense book, best read slowly with a pen in hand, and perhaps in discussion with others. (I read it with The Rabbit Room community) And even if you have read a lot of books about Christianity and culture, this is well worth deep reading, wrestling, and revisiting again and again.
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very helpful, especially in providing a framework for understanding the somewhat nebulous concept of 'culture'. At times it felt a little bloated, like Crouch had tried to cram in a bit too much, but overall it was insightful, at least for me.
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Houston Christian...: What caused you to pick this book? 1 1 Jun 03, 2017 06:47AM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

For twelve years Andy was an editor and producer at Christianity Today (CT), including serving as executive editor from 2012 to 2016. He joined the John Templeton Foundation in 2017 as senior strategist for communication. His work and writing have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,
“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?” 12 likes
“The bigger the change we hope for, the longer we must be willing to invest, work for, and wait for it.” 11 likes
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