youth is awareness. The essence of adulthood is responsibility.” Culture
Making, written by Andy Crouch, is a book that awakens every reader,
especially the Christian, to the realization that many people are living like
children in adult bodies. Adults are more likely to be considered “culturally
aware,” “culture consumers,” or even “culture critics,” than being classified
as “culture makers.” We become childish by condemning, critiquing, copying and consuming culture. When we take part in these postures, we are shutting
ourselves off from what God desires of us. He desires that we cultivate and create. We take ownership and responsibility by acting, instead of by observing and complaining. The main purpose of this book is to prove to every Christian that he
has been given a calling from God to create and cultivate our world. Rather
this happens in the mainstream world or just a home with our families. We are
image bearers of God and with that there is great responsibility.
a baby emerges from its mother’s womb, his family and environment shape him.
Throughout history we find famous art pieces, many different kinds of tools,
and even if one would begin to trace the development of language they would be
tracing culture as well. Andy is so insightful in this book, as he didn’t leave
anything out in his argument about the cultural responsibility of Christians.
He takes us back to Scripture to teach us the importance of bearing God’s
image. In Genesis 1, it is noted that God is both creator and ruler of the
entire universe. Creators are those who make something new, and rulers are
those who maintain order and separation. Just as God is both ruler and creator,
so is everyone that has been made in his image a creator. It might be strange
for an American to envision something like this, because this culture has made
innovation more important than conservation. We, as Christians, have been given
a unique capacity to reshape what exists into something genuinely new. And then
after reshaping, we must care for and rule over what God has created. We rule
we are taking ownership of what we create. This idea of not just becoming
creators, but rulers, takes the call of responsibility to another level.
Andy defines culture in his book as “part of the world
that every human being has to make of it.” It is a solid definition because it
cancels out the idea of culture just being what humans make of the world, and it
also shows how humans interpret the world around them. Culture comes from
humans acts of cultivation and creativity. We cannot make culture, but we can
make omelets, tell stories, and build hospitals. This is known as the product
of cultivation and creation. Andy shows that in order for anything to travel
from being just a cultural product to being cultured,
it must have a public: a group of people that have been affected by the
product. It was wise of him to explain this, because it kills the fallacy many
have when it comes to creating culture.
culture is being created, sometimes the pressure or focus is placed on the
creator, rather than on the product. It is not the creator that is going to
change culture at all; the creator has no power on culture. Only the product
itself can have a powerful effect on culture, to the point that things change
and begin to be reshaped because of it. In the second section of Culture Making, we take a journey back
to the Bible, where culture making first begins. Andy doesn’t catch anyone off
guard by starting in Genesis. However, he makes some very important, if not
persuasive, claims that would leave many Christians asking the question: what
have they been doing all these years?
Upon observing Genesis 1, Andy makes the claim that human
creativity images God’s creativity when it emerges from a lively, loving
community of persons and when it participates in unlocking the full potential
of what has gone before and creating possibilities for what will come later.
When human creativity is defective and falls short of God’s intention, as with
environmental pollution that lays waste to the ecosystem or exploitative use of
resources like clear cut logging, it neither honors what has come before nor
creates fruitful space for the creatures who will come after. So from the
beginning of creation, culture has required cultivation. Andy makes a very
strong point regarding culture making and they it esteems from Genesis about
humans consuming culture. The serpent visits Eve in the garden to breech the
trust between humankind and God. He asks Eve a basic critical question, “Did
God really say?” And we see Adam and Eve becoming critics of God and seeking
wisdom within themselves. And thus, the fall of mankind. I think this is a
remarkable, if not revolutionary, way to look at art and culture within the garden.
unravels a cultural mandate that goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.
We have not been created by the all-powerful God of the universe just to exist in culture; being lazy, consuming
every product created, watching the world being distorted and torn apart, and
criticizing as if we are so much better than those so-called creators. Everyone that has been made in the image of
God, and is actually aware of the tremendous image they bear, have the
responsibility to cultivate and create. So take up your tools and use your God-given
talents to paint a new world, to open the eyes of the blind, and to redeem what
has been lost or distorted by those who do not bear God’s image.