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Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,713 Ratings  ·  177 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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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 thing in his book: from wha
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.

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 establishes his point s
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 from a centrist evangelical like C
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
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
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
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" in a simple m
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)
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
Shelves: christianity
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
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
Chris Crane
In the world of evangelical theology, particularly its perception by those outside the Church, our theology of culture is often the most criticized and mocked. While every evangelical does not share the same theology of culture, one could argue, generally speaking, there is a general posture of fear and distrust towards what has infamously been referred to as “the culture.” But is this really the best way to think of our Christian witness? Are there ways in which Christians have neglected aspect ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: phd-class, culture
Andy Crouch has written an extremely accessible and engaging book in his Culture Making. He strategically divided it into three different parts, the first working through what this concept of 'culture' is and how being able to impact the "horizons of possibility" is what it means to create 'cultural goods'. His analysis and insight in this first third of the book clearly lays out his conception of what culture is and what it means to interact with as well as impact (for good or bad) what culture ...more
Joel Arnold
Oct 20, 2012 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
Ben Smitthimedhin
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yesterday, when I was at Sanam Luang (สนามหลวง), I witnessed first hand the power of Andy Crouch's Culture Making. There are a group of Christians that meet together regularly in a small building with a sign above it saying "รักแท (Ruk Teh)" or "true love." The streets around the building were filled with homeless people who migrated into the city in search of jobs; many women have turned to prostitution as a means to financial stability. We met with these Christians and distributed free food bo ...more
Brian Taylor
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
In looking at Andy Stanley's book Culture Making: Rediscovering Our Creative Calling, I had hoped that I would have been more optimistic that it would have presented a body of believers as being more empowered to "make culture" than it suggested. I found that in it, there was too much emphasis on what culture is or isn't than it did on giving any indication that culture could be shaped or transformed by Christians empowered by the Holy Spirit and with a God-given plan.

I still would recommend thi
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I've been working my way through a list Ted gave me of important books and this was next. The topic is really important - what it means for Christians to engage the culture. And Crouch's analysis is spot on the whole way through, in particular how he defines culture: what we make of the world. It made me think a lot about how I frame culture as a believer, and how I should be navigating the world as a culture maker.

My primary criticism is that the book feels too broad. It may be a necessary cons
Nick Richtsmeier
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Andy Crouch. He is one of the most thorough, relevant and Biblical thinkers of our era and he has much to add to the conversation of what it means to be a person of faith. His thinking is deeply grounded in an intellectually defensible study of Scripture (though I would quibble with him here and there) and it is evident in this work. Crouch is at his best when he's helping us see some of the best thinking on sociology and culture through the lens of a historically-grounded vision of the G ...more
John Gardner
Jun 19, 2011 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
Samuel Kassing
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book. This is by far the best book that I've read on culture. His chapter on why we can't change the world and power we're extremely helpful. Plus the way he talks about creativity and how he grounds it in the doctrine of creation are helpful as well. If you are tired of culture war cliches read this book, it will actually help. But be warned, this book will both sober and encourage you to create.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book authored by Andy Crouch and it's his manifesto. It's the kind of book that you'll come back to over and over again. It's clear by the last section of the book that Andy simply needs to write more books to unpack the direction of the final chapters. And he does. Looks forward to reading many more books by this author who brings such clarity to complex topics.
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
There are a lot of really helpful concepts and ideas in this book that really helped shape how I see culture and the Christian mission. At a few points, it can get a little dry, repetitive, or unnecessary. But overall, this is a great book, and one that actually changed my perspective on things in a concrete way.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A rich and comprehensive look at how Christianity intersects and influences culture - "what we make of the world." Lots of quotes copied in my journal, lots to think about. I'd love to read through it again with a friend so we could talk it out!
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Very insightful and well written almost sociological research dissertation material, however greatly missed the entire point by not having any real actionable takeaways or "call to action"
Joshua Mingo
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent examination of Christian's duty to create.
Jul 28, 2011 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
Aug 07, 2013 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
Robbie Pruitt
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling is a great book for studying how to be cultivators and influencers of culture. God has called us to be creative and to influence culture and we should, indeed, be attuned to this calling. Andy Crouch gets us back to our call in this well-done and extremely helpful book.

Andy Crouch addresses culture making in his book Culture Making, as well as on his web site,, when he says: "It is not enough to condemn culture. Nor is
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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, Tim
More about Andy Crouch...
“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?” 8 likes
“The bigger the change we hope for, the longer we must be willing to invest, work for, and wait for it.” 7 likes
More quotes…