After a full day of presentation and conversation, I spied Books & Culture in the mail pile. Before the house became too active for reflection, I tucked the new issue under my arm and ducked out of the kitchen to find a quiet spot for a first glance. To my joy, I found Andy Crouch’s new book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling received not only a full page back cover advertisement by InterVarsity Press, but also a glowing review by Gideon Strauss, Making It New: Andy Crouch proposes a different way for Christians to engage culture. Here’s an excerpt :
Andy Crouch’s very fine Culture Making will be joining the short list of books that I read again and again, and fervently recommend to others, for insights into how we are to live as Christians. …
Culture Making is rich in provocations — for example, in its re-telling over several chapters of the overarching story found in the Christian Bible and the implications drawn from this re-telling, or in its critique of H. Richard Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture, or in its definition of cultural power as “the ability to successfully propose a new cultural good.” . . .
We are repeatedly tempted to use whatever cultural power we possess to move ourselves ever closer to further sources of power, to secure our own comfort and control over the world around us. The discipline of service takes us in the opposite direction, beyond comfort and control, and alongside relatively powerless people. Using the biblical examples of the Exodus and the Resurrection, Crouch argues that the discipline of service does not primarily entail using our power on behalf of the powerless but rather calls us to use our power alongside those who are less powerful, placing us in a relationship of partnership rather than in a relationship of asymmetrical charity.
If you’re not already convinced to dig into Culture Making with a small group of friends this fall (note: click here for study guide information), then take a moment to read Strauss’ full review, listen to Crouch’s 2008 Graduate Faculty Ministry National Staff Meeting presentations (scroll down to the GRADUATE AND FACULTY MINISTRY section), and/or download the first several chapters.
Bonus: Did you know that as part of the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN), you’re eligible for discounts on Books & Culture and InterVarsity Press? For more information contact ESN’s Associate Director by clicking here. For Following Christ 08, Culture Making was offered as a prize in the relationship to a bigger prize which inspired applicants to consider “What would Jesus do?” in their field. What would Jesus do in your field?
Update: 1/2/2013. 1:22 pm.
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!