Thursday, March 5, 2009

Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

Christians are frequently cultural chameleons. We change out colours when it suits us. We are satiated by the very culture we publicly criticize. We practice selective abstention from aspects of culture that are deemed inappropriate to our specific milieu. We relish other aspects of the same culture. This might be regarded as hypocrisy, certainly insincerity.

I know how easy it is to engage in this duplicity because I have been a preacher for over forty years. Invariably we preachers must direct our muzzles at facets of the secular culture and empty our magazines. We are justified in censuring the cultural activities and values that the Bible condemns. What I have found is that I and my colleagues did not, do not, respond with affirmation of laudable features in our culture. And further, while I should know better, I have not made an acceptably earnest attempt to supplement my culture. I am an artist and a writer, or let’s say I can do both and I enjoy both activities. Culture is what all of its participants make it. Instead of warring against the culture in which we live, might it not be a better use of God’s gifts within us to reclaim the culture? The Christian community is integral to this identity. Author Andy Crouch has written an emotive book that calls Christians to be culture makers, thus the title, “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.” – quoted from Crouch’s website

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