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ReflectiononCrouchCultureMaking

2013MatthewHundley

Reflection on Culture Making, Andy Crouch Matthew Hundley Christians talk a lot about culture. We bemoan the culture around us. We seek to protect our children from cultural influences. Some brave souls seek to engage culture. Others feel that Christians should define culture. That Christians should be culture makers. But what does that mean? What is culture anyway? Andy Crouch in his book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling defines culture as: what human beings make of the word (what we are made to do as it stems from Gods created blessing). He looks to culture as that thing which gives us meaningit is our story, our place, our language, our stuff (food, shelter, clothing), and our art. And yet culture is not what we make of the world; culture stems from Gods blessing and His desires for our lives (as His image bearers) in this world (which He created). Culture is complex. It is always unfolding and yet those things which make the greatest impact upon cultures tend to ripple change over vast swaths of time. We speak of cultivating, creating, contributing to and advancing culture; and yet, large scale change does not take hold in short sprints, but rather over the marathons of time. Change comes about, Crouch tells us, when something new steps in to displace that which currently exists in culture in very tangible ways. He speaks of four postures which do not impact change upon culture: condemning, critiquing, copying and consuming. He turns then to two postures which do speak to cultural change: creation (of something new or unexpected) and cultivation (or bringing about the right conditions for change to thrive and survive). He speaks of the Christian faith and its ability to deal with developed, stable and usually satisfying cultural systems. He provides an overview of how the American church has shifted in

ReflectiononCrouchCultureMaking

2013MatthewHundley

its approach to culture over the past 100 years. From the early 1900s as Darwinism and Biblical Criticism bore their teeth, the churchs reaction was twofold: you had fundamentalism (a movement initially pushed to the sidelines); and, accommodation (the posture that the mainline churches decide to adopt). Some fifty years later as the mainline denominations fall into the shadows, fundamentalism again rears its head and we see the religious right emerge. In response to this cultural shift in the Christian sphere there was the emergence of neo-evangelicals influenced by the writings of Carl FH Henry (creator of Christianity Today) and Francis Schaeffer (who brings the concept of worldview center stage). Then in the late 60s and early 70s you had the Jesus Movement which borrowed from mainstream culture setting the stage for CCM. And now you have church posturing which Crouch calls consuming culture where the church looks just like everyone else. We are reminded that scripture calls us to postures of creating (doing that which has not been donethe role of the artist) and cultivating (nourishing and tendinglike a gardener). We derive our identity not from what we consume, but what we create. Crouch warns against becoming obsessed with being world changers. True culture making and paradigm changing comes over long periods of time. That does not mean that we cannot impact change in the long term. He directs us to look locally. In fact he asks us to direct our attention to the 3 people closest to us (think Jesus closes confidants; think Abraham, Issac and Jacob). From these 3 we look to impact the next ring of influence, usually 12 people (a small group, the co-workers in our department), and from there120 (a small congregation). Influence will then spiral outward through these peoples spheres of influence. Change is a game for the long haul. Culture making is something that is rooted in our creator and the blessings hes bestowed on us; and how we utilize these blessings to impact His story.