October 16, 2008
Out of Context: Andy Crouch
Reflections on Culture Making.
The Fall 2008 issue of Leadership contains a new feature: The Golden Canon book award. One of our finalists was Andy Crouch's Culture Making: Recovering our creative calling (IVP), the much-praised contribution to the ongoing conversation about the relationship between Christianity and culture. Here's a taste of Andy's prose, a tidbit to spark conversation.
The postures of the artist and the gardener have a lot in common. Both begin with contemplation, paying close attention to what is already there. The gardener looks carefully at the landscape; the existing plants, both flowers and weeds; the way the sun fall on the land. The artist regards her subject, her canvas, her paints with care to discern what she can make with them.
And then, after contemplation, the artist and the gardener both adopt a posture of purposeful work. They bring creativity and effort to their calling...They are creaturely creators, tending and shaping the world that original Creator made.
I wonder what we Christians are known for in the world outside our churches. Are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture? I'm afraid so. Why aren't we known as cultivators--people who tend and nourish what is best in human culture, who do the harsh and painstaking work to preserve the best of what people before us have done? Why aren't we known as creators--people who dare to think and do something that has never been thought or done before, something that makes the world more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful?