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January 31, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

Quick Overview of “Cultural Making” by Andy Crouch

Quotes and Summary of the First Third of “Cultural Making” by Andy Crouch

1) Culture is everywhere
2) We co-create culture (so the potential for cultural change is almost everywhere)
3) What structures shape culture? [this line is mostly developed interms of architechture & public space/art]
4) Not all cultural change is good (Beowulf vs. college essay)
5) Deep thoughts on the time horizons of cultural change (fashion vs. government change of the Founding fathers)
6) “To define culture as what human beings make of the world is to make clear that culture is much more than a “worldview.””
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
7) One of the best expositions of the importance of worldview, Brian J.
Walsh and J. Richard Middleton’s The Transforming Vision, defines worldview this way:
World views are perceptual frameworks. They are ways of seeing. . . . Our world view determines our values. It helps us interpret the world around us. It sorts out what is important from what is not, what is of highest value from what is least. A world view, then, provides a model of the world which guides its adherents in the world.

A worldview, Middleton and Walsh say, comprises a culture’s answer
to four crucial questions: Who are we? Where are we? What’s wrong? What’s the remedy?
8} “And they will subtly tend to produce philosophers rather than plumbers, abstract thinkers instead of artists and artisans. They can create a cultural niche in which “worldview thinkers” are privileged while other kinds of culture makers are shunted aside.
But culture is not changed simply by thinking.” Andy Crouch, Culture Making
9) “It should not be too surprising that consumption is an ineffective way to bring cultural change, because consumption is completely dependent on the existence of cultural goods to consume in the first place. The only way to motivate a large enough bloc of consumers to act in a way that really shapes the horizons of possibility and impossibility, in Hollywood or any other massive cultural enterprise, is to create an alternative.” Andy Crouch, Culture Making
10) Da Vinci Code boycott vs. alternative viewing
11) Da Vinci Code boycott vs. Act Up to grow a culture of Christian media makers which help create “feature films like The Passion of the Christ or Walden Media’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, both of which easily beat The Da Vinci Code at the domestic box”
12) Culture is cumulative.
13) “The more each of us knows about our cultural domain, the more likely we are to create something new and worthwhile.”
14) “We cannot make culture without culture. And this means that creation begins with cultivation—taking care of the good things that culture has already handed on to us.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
15) “Nearly every cultural domain has its own disciplines, and it is intriguing that the domains we often consider the most “creative”—art and music, for example—require some of the most demanding disciplines: day after day of practice in the fundamentals of an instrument or exercises in developing the eye and the hand.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
16) The risks of placing too much emphasis on “modern” over humans and relationship
17) “The story of mainline Protestants’ engagement with culture is largely unidirectional—greater and greater accommodation paradoxically accompanied by smaller and smaller influence.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
18} Secular vs. sacred divide = gray or rather full of nuance (???)
19) “The first editor of Christianity Today, Carl F. H. Henry, wrote a landmark book titled The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, questioning the disengagement of many fundamentalist church leaders from social issues like the labor movement and the ethics of war.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
20) “The dominant posture among self-described evangelicals today toward culture is neither condemnation nor critique, nor even CCM’s imitation, but simply consumption.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
21) “Indeed, the appeal of the various postures of condemning, critiquing, copying and consuming—the reason that all of them are still very much with us—is that each of these responses to culture is, at certain times and with specific cultural goods, a necessary gesture.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
22) “Because while there is much to be condemned in human culture, the posture of condemnation leaves us closed off from the beauty and possibility as well as the grace and mercy in many forms of culture. It also makes us into hypocrites, since we are hardly free of culture ourselves.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
23) “In fast-changing cultural domains those whose posture is
imitation will find themselves constantly slightly behind the times, so that church worship music tends to be dominated by styles that disappeared from the scene several years before.’
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
24) “And in this way, when all we do is copy culture for our own Christian ends, cultural copying fails to love or serve our neighbors.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
25) “The greatest danger of copying culture, as a posture, is that it may well become all too successful. We end up creating an entire subcultural world within which Christians comfortably move and have their being without ever encountering the broader cultural world they are imitating. We breed a generation that prefers facsimile to reality, simplicity to complexity (for cultural copying, almost by definition, ends up sanding off the rough and surprising edges of any cultural good it appropriates), and familiarity to novelty. Not only is this a generation incapable of genuine creative participation in the ongoing drama of human culture making, it is dangerously detached from a God who is anything but predictable and safe.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
26) Narnia movies as example or model.
27) “Consumer culture teaches us to pay exquisite attention to our own preferences and desires.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
28] “But consumption, as a posture, is capitulation: letting the culture set the terms, assuming that the culture knows best and that even our deepest longings (for beauty, truth, love) and fears (of loneliness, loss, death) have some solution that fits comfortably within our culture’s horizons, if only we can afford to purchase it.”
Andy Crouch, Culture Making
29) The least explored, but potentially most strategic two options according to Crouch:
“And then, after contemplation, the artist and the gardener both adopt a
posture of purposeful work. They bring their creativity and effort to their
calling. The gardener tends what has gone before, making the most of
what is beautiful and weeding out what is distracting or useless. The artist can be more daring: she starts with a blank canvas or a solid piece of stone and gradually brings something out of it that was never there before. They are acting in the image of One who spoke a world into being and stooped down to form creatures from the dust. They are creaturely creators, tending and shaping the world that original Creator made.
Andy Crouch, Culture Making

Which insights from “Culture Making” make the most sense? Which insights from “Culture Making” make the least since? Do you have any favorite quotes from “Culture Making”?

This summary only encapsulates the first 1/3 of “Culture Making” by Andy Crouch…Its really quite a good read.

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