Reading Culture Making is a watershed moment for anyone who has ever pondered that amorphous thing called ‘culture’. How many times have you heard the statement: ‘We need to change the culture’? Whether at work or at church, there is growing pressure in contemporary society to engage this topic in a relevant and fruitful way.
But actually, what ís culture? “Culture is what we make of the world,” is Andy Crouch’s insightful answer. Culture is much more than a worldview: It is how humanity makes sense of the world, by making something of the world. Meaning and making go together. This landmark book calls Christians in every sphere of life – whether we are making chairs or building roads, pouring coffee or writing laws – to be culture makers through our work. By providing both an intellectual framework and practical handles on how to have a more meaningful influence, it opens up new horizons of what is possible.
Culture making requires cultural maturity and cultural fluency. It is not useful to condemn culture. Nor is it sufficient merely to critique, copy or consume culture. Crouch points out that “true cultural understanding requires participation”. He unpacks the complexities of how culture functions and navigates the dynamics of bringing about cultural change, while guarding against naive assumptions about “changing the world”. He probes the inherent risks involved in creating cultural products and also provides astute analysis of ‘cultural power’ and those who wield it.
Ultimately, Culture Making recalls our original cultural mandate to create and cultivate in a way that brings glory to God. As we work, may we experience His transforming grace in our lives – as parents and chefs, accountants and entrepreneurs – and may we make something of our world.
Review by Lise-Marie Keyser