Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, By Andy Crouch alt

Culture Making

Recovering Our Creative Calling

Expanded Edition

by Andy Crouch
Afterword by Tish Harrison Warren

Culture Making
  • Length: 320 pages
  • Published: September 12, 2023
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0577
  • ISBN: 9781514005774

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Christianity Today Book Award winner
Publishers Weekly's best books

The only way to change culture is to create culture.

Most of the time, we just consume or copy culture. But that is not enough. We must also do more than condemn or critique it. The only way to change it is to create it.

For too long, Christians have had an insufficient view of culture and have waged misguided "culture wars." But Andy Crouch says we must reclaim the cultural mandate to be the creative cultivators God designed us to be. Culture is what we make of the world, both in making cultural artifacts as well as in making sense of the world around us.

In this expanded edition of his award-winning book Crouch unpacks the complexities of how culture works, the dynamics of cultural change, and tools for cultivating culture. Keen biblical exposition demonstrates that creating culture is central to the whole scriptural narrative, the ministry of Jesus, and the call to the church. With a conversation between Crouch and Tish Harrison Warren as the new afterword, this expanded edition addresses the current landscape and forges a way for the future of culture making. Enter into it with guided questions for reflection and discussion for a deeper experience.

"Culture Making is one of the few books taking the discussion about Christianity and culture to a new level. It is a rare mix of the theoretical and the practical, its definitions are nuanced but not abstract, and it strikes all kinds of fine balances. I highly recommend it."

Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church and author of The Reason for God

"Good books are either brilliant or helpful, but the best books are both—and Andy Crouch has attained that rare combination of virtues in Culture Making. As a Christian, as a parent, and as an organizational leader, I would like to make a difference in the world. Crouch not only helps me understand where that yearning comes from, but how to pursue it with passion, commitment, power and spiritual health. Culture Making is a joyful gift of intelligence and practical provocation for thoughtful Christians."

Gary Haugen, president of International Justice Mission and author of Good News About Injustice and Just Courage

"Andy Crouch's book is thoughtful, stimulating and challenging."

Steve Turner, writer, poet and author of Conversations with Eric Clapton, U2: Rattle and Hum

"In this marvelous book Andy Crouch makes the case for cultural discipleship by giving us an exciting overview of the drama of creation, fallenness and renewal. And along the way he offers much wisdom about the very real cultural realities that we face as twenty-first-century Christians."

Richard J. Mouw, president emeritus and senior professor of faith and public life at Fuller Seminary

"This is not a good book, because it provokes and prods, incites and inspires. It takes you on an uncomfortable journey, defying the status quo and questioning accepted perspectives. It offers a fresh voice with trenchant thinking, forcing you to blow the dust off the mantel of your own settled proclivities. It resonates deeply within you, even on those points you may question. It addresses the heart of the challenge of our day. No, this is not a good book. It is a great one."

James Emery White, founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church and author of Meet Generation Z

"Grappling with 'the culture' has become an obsession for contemporary Christians, but a misunderstanding of what cultures are and how they behave results in a great deal of frustration. Andy Crouch's Culture Making draws on both his broad experience and originality of insight to offer a bracing and clear-eyed view of the way forward."

Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of The Jesus Prayer and Illumined Heart

"In Culture Making, Andy Crouch has given us a vision for creativity that is not reserved for the practitioners of high art, but that reveals the dignity of the most ordinary sorts of cultural creation. It is a transformative vision that inspires to action and—in the face of the almost inevitable failures—perseverance. In the end, cultural creativity is not a gift we own, exercise and grow anxious over, but one that we receive and nurture—and through which we come to know grace."

David Neff, former editor in chief of Christianity Today

"In this graceful, articulate volume Crouch challenges Christian common wisdom about creation and challenges as well our traditional understandings about the Revelation to John and how it articulates with the rest of Holy Writ. As refreshing as it is smart, Culture Making is a significant addition to contemporary Christian thought."

Phyllis Tickle, compiler of The Divine Hours and former religion editor at Publishers Weekly

"As an artist and an advocate for artists, I am grateful for this book. Andy Crouch's edifying analysis of culture and the church and his timely call for us to be culture makers make this work invaluable in today's faith journey. This is a groundbreaking guidebook for all who are concerned about cultural issues and the church."

Makoto Fujimura, artist and founder of International Arts Movement

"Andy Crouch's Culture Making models what it argues: that a kingdom imagination that takes our richly enculturated lives seriously shows grace to be real, immanent and compelling. Surely this vocation must be central to God's call!"

Mark Labberton, Clifford L. Penner Presidential Chair Emeritus and professor emeritus of preaching at Fuller Seminary

"American evangelicals in the last hundred years have found it easy to condemn culture, critique culture, copy culture and consume culture. It has been much harder for them to actively and imaginatively create culture. Andy Crouch is out to change that. I confess I doubt whether they can rise to the challenge. But I am persuaded by Crouch's case that the Christian calling requires it. Here is a voice worth taking very seriously."

Christian Smith, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame

"Are Christians to be countercultural? Or protect ourselves from 'the culture'? Or be 'in' culture but not 'of' it? In this bracing, super-smart book, Andy Crouch changes the terms of the conversation, calling Christians to make culture. I am hard-pressed to think of something that twenty-first-century American Christians need to read more."

Lauren F. Winner, associate professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School and author of Girl Meets God

"Very readable and thought-provoking."

Byron Snapp, Calvary Herald, August 29, 2009

"This book will clarify your thinking, inspire your production, and affirm your parenting."

David Balzer, Mennonite Brethren Herald, August 2009

"Simply the best book that I've read recently. Not only is it brilliant, it's accessible. I cannot gush about this book enough. It really is that good."

Margaret Feinberg, Christian Retailing, July 6, 2009

"Theologically rich and practically helpful, Culture Making is a significant contribution to the discussion of Christ and culture and a useful guide for those who want to make something of the world God has created."

Outreach, March/April 2009

"Thoughtful and engaging. . . . Crouch's book does signal a hopeful development, which is that the evangelical pursuit of culture warfare was and is a dead end."

D. G. Hart, First Principles (, March 23, 2009

"Crouch writes as one who cares what Christians do with their time in light of God's Kingdom coming."

On Mission Today, January 14, 2009

"Culture Making is a fresh and relevant take on how Christians should relate to the wider culture. This book will serve to make us more effective interpreters of and contributors to the cultural landscape."

Eric O. Jacobsen, PRISM, January 2009

"As an academic and a culture critic, I am not given to gushing over new publications. But Culture Making brought me pretty close to doing just such a non-scholarly thing! With so much coming out these days on religion and culture, one becomes a bit jaded about the possibility of something really fresh emerging. Well, this book is fresh, compelling, and engagingly written. More important, it goes deeply into its subject."

William Edgar, Themelios (, vol. 33, no. 3

"Crouch's voice is intriguing and fresh—offering an alternative that escapes the many 'Jesus-stamped' merchandise items as an evangelical tool and implementing a fresh vision for creativity and engaging cultural lifestyles."

Worship Leader, November/December 2008

"Good introduction to how Christians need to do more than fatalistically talk about the dangers of the world."

Marvin Olasky, WORLD Magazine, November 15/22, 2008

"Culture Making is an enjoyable and fascinating book that helps demystify the idea of culture."

John Dunham, YouthWorker Journal, November/December 2008

"This is a must-read book for those who are tired of talking and ready for action. The author sets the scene and tells the story of culture, then rapidly sweeps the reader into this story, finishing with a heart-stopping, imagination-grabbing challenge to go and make something of the world."

Alissa W., Book Bargains and Previews (, September 2008

"If people tell me that something is a must-read, I tend to be a bit skeptical. That said, I was pleasantly blown away by Crouch's book. I loved the approach of talking about 'postures' and 'gestures' toward culture. One last thing to praise was the chaste humility of the book. All to say, Culture Making probably is one of those rare must-read books that comes along every so often. A book of rare learning, helpful and accessible synthesis, and godly humility, it might actually change the evangelical culture on how to make and engage culture. If so, all I can say is thanks be to God."

Sean Michael Lucas,, September 18, 2008

"With all the books on the market about the intersection of faith and culture, you have to wonder why we need another one. The answer is simple: it's unlikely that any other book out there accomplishes what Culture Making does, and certainly not in the way that Andy Crouch does. Substantial content, beautifully expressed. Highly recommended."

Marcia Ford,, September 2008

"Andy Crouch, long a culture influence through film, writing, music and service, points Christians to a new, deeper understanding of their calling in culture. Readers will be profoundly impacted by this book written by one of today's top voices on the subject."

Ann Byle, Grand Rapids Press, August 16, 2008

"Those who have struggled with the sacred-secular dichotomy will find this book life-giving; every Christian interested in changing culture should read it."

Publishers Weekly starred review, May 26, 2008

"Crouch works through the Bible's narrative arc to show the hand of God in the development of culture and makes the case that Christians must be producers, not just critics, of culture in order to create societal good."

Relevant, July/August 2008

"A masterpiece!"

Byron Borger, owner, Hearts Minds Bookstore, from the 2015 Jubilee program guide

Read an Excerpt


Preface to the Paperback Edition

Part One: Culture
1. The Horizons of the Possible
2. Cultural Worlds
3. Teardowns, Technology and Change
4. Cultivation and Creation
5. Gestures and Postures

Part Two: Gospel
6. The Garden and the City
Interlude: The Primordial Story
7. The Least of the Nations
8. Jesus as Culture Maker
9. From Pentecost . . .
10. . . . To Revelation
11. The Glorious Impossible

Part Three: Calling
12. Why We Can't Change the World
13. The Traces of God
14. Power
15. Community
16. Grace

Postscript: Artist in His Studio
Afterword: A Conversation Between Andy Crouch and Tish Harrison Warren
Questions for Reflection and Discussion by Al Hsu and Nate Barksdale
Notes and Further Reading


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Andy Crouch

Andy Crouch (MDiv, Boston University School of Theology) is partner for theology and culture at Praxis, an organization that works as a creative engine for redemptive entrepreneurship, and he is the author of The Tech-Wise FamilyStrong and WeakPlaying God, and Culture Making. Andy serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. For more than ten years he was an editor and producer at Christianity Today, including serving as executive editor from 2012 to 2016. He lives with his family in Pennsylvania.