Review: Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling
Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this. This book opened my eyes on the nature of culture. The culture of world. The culture of church. The culture of science fiction. And knowing that you must know culture in order to change it.

I was struck most by his four postures Christians use to respond to culture outside of the church: condemning, critiquing, consuming and copying, and found myself applying it on numerous occasions. For instance, Jon and I went to the mall were we went to a restaurant called Kato’s Cajun, which was based on the same restaurant as Sarku Japan, except all the Asian dishes had “Cajun” names. Jon went up to get a sample, and when he came back, he said, “The Cajun chicken tastes just like the Bourbon chicken.”

I then start grouching that sticking a ethnic name in front of a dish doesn’t magically make it so, but then I started thinking about it. Here I was, condemning the fact that mall food courts are slapping ethnic labels together and calling them fusions just to get people to eat their food. I’m critiquing that they think their customers are clueless enough not to know Asian cuisine from Cajun. But I’m consuming the food anyway because labels aside, it’s delicious and is (hopefully) better than eating McDonalds. And let’s face it, when I cook Asian dishes at home, I put my own spin on it, thus copying the culture of fusion cuisine.

I like how Crouch also intertwines how God uses culture in the Bible into how culture is so relevant today, and how we can work with culture instead of hiding from it. We’re not guaranteed to make any differences. But the mere fact that I’m writing a review (there are instances in the book that is delightfully meta) and putting it up for people to read does show that I can add my own voice to culture and thus, while not change the world, at least to touch it through my readers. Four omelets out of five.

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