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Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling [Hardcover]

By Andy Crouch (Author)
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Item description for Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch...

Encourages Christians to contribute to the making of culture, providing examples from church history and contemporary society to demonstrate how culture is created and shaped.

Publishers Description
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 Christians to be culture makers. For too long, Christians have had an insufficient view of culture and have waged misguided "culture wars." But we must reclaim the cultural mandate to be the creative cultivators that God designed us to be. Culture is what we make of the world, both in creating cultural artifacts as well as in making sense of the world around us. By making chairs and omelets, languages and laws, we participate in the good work of culture making. Crouch unpacks the complexities of how culture works and gives us tools for cultivating and creating culture. He navigates the dynamics of cultural change and probes the role and efficacy of our various cultural gestures and postures. Keen biblical exposition demonstrates that creating culture is central to the whole scriptural narrative, the ministry of Jesus and the call to the church. He guards against naive assumptions about "changing the world," but points us to hopeful examples from church history and contemporary society of how culture is made and shaped. Ultimately, our culture making is done in partnership with God's own making and transforming of culture. A model of his premise, this landmark book is sure to be a rallying cry for a new generation of culturally creative Christians. Discover your calling and join the culture makers.

From Publishers Weekly
Crouch, editorial director of the Christian Vision Project at Christianity Today International and a member of the editorial board for Books & Culture, gives readers a sweeping new theology of culture. Crouch blends academic research on the nature of culture with extensive theological study and years of experience as a cultural critic; his conclusions will be fresh and challenging for Christian readers. For Crouch, culture is a good and intentional part of God's creation. It encompasses not simply the arts but everything we dofrom making meals to balancing work with life. Traditional Christian responses to culturecondemnation, critique and copyingare not enough to change it (although all at times are valid); instead, culture must be both cultivated (the good must be preserved) and created. Crouch argues that it is impossible for any of us to change the world, but that each of us can create culture within our own sphere of influence, and while that may feel small, God specializes in using small and seemingly unimportant things. Those who have struggled with the sacred-secular dichotomy will find this book life-giving; every Christian interested in changing culture should read it. (Aug.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Awards and Recognitions
Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • Christianity Today Book Award - 2009 Winner - Christianity & Culture category

Citations And Professional Reviews
Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly Best Books - 11/03/2008 page 32
  • Publishers Weekly - 05/26/2008 page 58
  • CBA Retailers - 08/01/2008 page 43
  • Christian Retailing - 08/11/2008 page 21
  • Books & Culture - 09/01/2008 page 10

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Intervarsity Press
Pages   284
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.34" Width: 6.37" Height: 1.05"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2008
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830833943  
ISBN13  9780830833948  

Availability  0 units.

More About Andy Crouch

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Andy Crouch is executive editor of "Christianity Today" and the author of "Playing God" and "Culture Making," which was named one of the best books of 2008 by "Publishers Weekly," "Relevant," "Outreach," and "Leadership"--as well as receiving a shout-out in Lecrae's 2014 single ONon-Fiction.O His writing has appeared in "Time" and the "Wall Street Journal," and he serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He lives with his family in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

Andy Crouch has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Emergent Ys (Paperback)
  2. Gospel Coalition (Faith and Work)

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General

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Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Culture Making-Hardcover?

The Neo-Calvinist Vision  Apr 1, 2010
A few years ago I was sitting on an Indonesian beach, needing to be deeply refreshed spiritually. Over the next few hours I would read a book that would change my entire theological perspective. The book showed why Christians should not be afraid to engage with every aspect of culture, whether it be politics, science, philosophy, art or whatever else. It showed how our previous methods of engagement were incorrect and actually antithetical to the gospel (both mainline Liberalism and the Religious Right). The book made me start asking questions that I never would have asked before, such as, "Is there a distinctly Christian architecture?" or "Is there a distinctly Christian way to be a waiter?" The book that I read was Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview by Al Wolters. This book became my entrance into neo-Calvinistic thinking.

Andy Crouch does not shy away from admitting early on that he is greatly indebted the neo-Calvinist vision of reality. He clearly has read Wolters (which he suggests both at the beginning and end of this book). But Crouch excels in that he is able to take the neo-Calvinist vision and make it more relevant and real to the typical reader. The language of Abraham Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism is not easy to follow, even though we are only 100 years removed. Most typical readers will not persist unless they have a specific interest in Kuyper. Other books such as those by Walsh, Middleton and even the book mentioned by Wolters above remain at the theoretical stage. Books by other neo-Calvinists such as Roy Clouser are too difficult for most readers, much less the common man on the street wanting to know how the gospel can truly change his life.

Crouch shows us just how the gospel and the vision of the biblical narrative (from a garden to a city) can shape the way we live our lives. It shows us how we can engage our cultural spheres. As Crouch shows, none of us can change the world, but we can see discern from culture (all spheres of culture) how and where God is changing the world and follow His moving. Crouch also argues that we should be practical in our culture making efforts. Where is the fruit? Where is God providing increase? Should we focus more attention on those things, while continuing to sow our seed on all types of soil? Crouch deals with these questions in a helpful manner.

In the end, this is one of those books that makes you want to go out and do something. You want to go out, enjoy life and discern where God is at work and where you can join in God's creativity to further move our culture toward the vision of the heavenly city at the end of Scripture. In conclusion, I highly recommend this book. Along with James K.A. Smith's book, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Cultural Liturgies), it will be one of the best books I read this year.
A Captivating and Paradigm Shifting Book  Nov 12, 2009
Andy Crouch has presented a true masterwork in Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. Culture Making uses the idea of culture as a meta-narrative or meta-thesis to understanding God's Story and our calling and purpose in life. Culture is traced from the garden through God's Story and toward the hoped for New Jersusalem, the city where culture reaches its climax. Crouch interprets the whole Bible through the lens of culture, presenting a brilliantly constructed thesis that we are created to create within a larger culture.

Crouch, unlike most contemporary Christian theologians and leaders, approaches culture from a welcoming and not oppositional perspective, seeing cultures as a God given institutions that allow humans to live fully within God's ever-written Story. Culture should be embraced because only through culture and creativity does God's Story weave itself into our own lives and we leave our own fingerprints on society. Crouch presents an optimistic Christ-centered vision for the possibilities of culture:

"Christ and Culture does not do justice to culture at its best, which is to say culture in the hands of Christ: the sheer delight and joy that comes when Jesus takes the most basic stuff of the world, breaks it, blesses it and offers it back to us, made whole and made new....Only when culture gives us that kind of joy will it be fully transformed---and when it is transformed that way, in fulfillment of the whole sweep of the story from beginning to end, it will indeed be Christ who deserves the glory, honor and praise." (183)

Most Christian theologians and leaders are champions of not culture but worldview. Worldview is a response and not a catalyst---it is by definition diagnostic and detached from culture. It is static and passive. It critiques culture. It sees culture as something static and under a microscope. Andy Crouch argues that Christians must move beyond worldview critique because culture makers see culture as dynamic, something that needs to be cultivated, made, and changed. He writes,

"The danger of reducing culture to worldview is that we may miss the most distinctive thing about culture, which is that cultural goods have a life of their own. They reshape the world in unpredictable ways. The interstate highway system was certainly based on a worldview (assumptions about the way the world is and ought to be), and it did have many of the effects that its proponents predicted. But it also had other effects that were equally if not more significant, effects that were unpredicted and unpredictable. The interstate highway system was not just the result of worldview, it was the source of a new way of viewing the world." (63-64)

As participants in culture we are to always be diagnosing culture: ask how artifacts make sense of the world and add to (or take away from) our lives, then go and add more to our's and others' lives. Crouch calls us to be creative and to do instead of critique. More importantly, Christians are called into creativity that is not the stereotypical "artist locked in the studio only to resurface eight months later with a piece of art" type of creativity but instead takes a Trinitarian approach to culture and creativity as a work of community: "Christian culture making grows through networks, but it is not a matter of networking. It is a matter of community---a relatively small group of people whose common life is ordered by love" (248).

In my opinion, this is one of the best books I have read in a very long time and one of the most transformative. It has caused a huge paradigm shift in how I think and approach the world, something that reminds me of how I was transformed when N.T. Wright opened up the beauty of God's Story for the "now" to me. Crouch gives us the license to move beyond our opposite to culture and our bastardized forms of Christian copycat-isms and to be real, authentic culture makers in the beauty of Christian community.
An important topic for Christians to consider and understand.  Oct 25, 2009
Culture Making, Andy Crouch.

4 stars. The book has good content but poor organization. It is a decent book, but was clearly written hastily as Crouch noticeably spends proportionately too much of the readers' attention span on what is peripheral instead of what is central. Section two might be the most interesting, but it has the least to do with the thesis and is better treated by the book The Drama of Scripture.

Culture Making is about the relationship between Christianity, Christians, and culture. He says that Christians are good at bashing culture and hating the world; but they aren't good at proposing new ideas or creating tangible reforms. Even when Christians are against the world, they need to be for it. This book is designed to give Christians three things: A new vocabulary for talking about culture, a new way to read and understand the stories of scripture, and a new set of questions about are calling and what we are here in the world to do. In a long round-about-way, he does accomplish that task.

I enjoyed reading Crouch's book because I think that it offers correction to typical evangelical understanding of culture as something that is "out there" and avoidable. He instead describes a better way of understanding what culture is, and shows that the bible actually has a holistic view for culture in the world. He also humbles typical ambitions of wanting to change the world overnight. He reminds us that no easy change is lasting change, and that change comes when new goods and modes of life are created and shared. Critiquing what is bad and bashing the left has become commonplace culture for many people in evangelical circles. While that can be an enjoyable pastime, it does nothing to change the circumstances and distracts us from the more important work of creating the culture that we want to live in.

A downside of Culture Making is that the author uses a large amount of narrative illustration in his book, which has the effect of blurring the outline and structure of his argument. He reinforces the points he is trying to make with a long narrative story telling of different events and the bible. Thus, without careful attention it is easy to get lost in the sea of text and forget what you are reading. You must stay focused on his main points and try to remember what he is arguing; else you will find yourself puzzled about the fact that he actually spent an entire page talking about omelets or chili.

If you can stay on task and have a good attention span, you will get some good things out of this book. Unfortunately, Crouch didn't make that task any too easy for the reader. If the topic interests you, it is worth reading as an introductory text: Especially so for his insights on the topic of a biblical meta-narrative. However, on all points, I think that there are other books that could trump the quality of Culture Making on individual points; such as The Drama of Scripture to explain his meta-narrative approach to the bible. For his attempt to synthesize it into one book, I give him the benefit of the doubt.

Still reading a good book  Jun 22, 2009
As of this date I am still reading this, but have enjoyed what I have read thus far. The author is making me realize that culture is not just a synonym for ethnic identity. The things that we do create culture because we are made in the image of a creative God.
Brilliant and accessible  Mar 21, 2009
Once in a great while, a book comes along that every thoughtful Christian ought to read. This is one of those books. In a breezy, fresh, winsome style, Andy Crouch brings brilliant insight and practical application to bear on one of the great questions facing the church in the 21st Century: how do we make or remake or restore or renew our culture to bring it into greater conformity with the kingdom of God?
Bringing a fresh and realistic perspective to idealistic believers who want to "change the world," Crouch gives some really useful guidance into two big areas of concern: how the culture actually changes, and what role a normal person (who is not, say, Princess Diana) can have in changing it. His analysis is sharp and hopeful at the same time. I have a feeling I am going to be giving away many copies of this book in the next few years. Bravo, Andy!

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