As Christians, we are called to be set apart from the world. That can seem like an almost impossible task when you consider the culture of today’s society. Culture is everywhere, and it isn’t always a positive experience. But we are not called to critique, copy, or even change culture. So what do Christians do? In his book Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling, Andy Crouch explores the idea that in order to have a culture change, we must make our own culture.
Warped View of Culture
Secular culture can oftentimes be seen as negative by Christians, showcasing the most outrageous ideas of a society without regard to morals or any standard of conduct. But this is usually due to the misunderstanding of the role culture plays in a society. Yes, there are significant issues with secular culture, but the more we understand what culture is and why it exists, the better we are at finding a way to create our own culture that mimics values that align with our beliefs.
Culture can simply be the way individuals go about their everyday lives, from the simple things like eating habits, clothing, job choices, etc. to more complex factors such as government laws and community mandates. Culture encompasses so much that it is hard to limit it to just one idea or influence. Without culture, our lives would be very different, and much more basic. Culture is the interpretation of the world around us and how we create artifacts and traditions that get passed on to others.
Shaping the Culture Around Us
When we look at the Bible, it is evident that scripture supports the creating of culture. There was a very distinct culture that Jesus created as He ministered to others while He walked this earth. Jesus called believers to the church, its ministries, and the culture it represents, laying the foundation for generations to come. They could have stolen ideas from others of their time, but that would not have accomplished the purpose God intended.
We are to partner with God as we strive to cultivate culture around us, mirroring His own making and transforming of culture. We are unable to change the world by ourselves, but we can create and support a culture that can start a ripple effect around us. In turn, that effect grows and can impact on a larger scale, even spanning generations.
The Act of Culture Making
Andy Crouch gives believers sufficient tools in his book to help them cultivate culture as God designed. He defines culture in a way that individuals can understand and fully grasp, giving them the knowledge to start on a culture cultivating journey. The days we have waged war against culture should be pushed to the past, so we can start focusing on the changes we can make today. We are not called to fight the culture we are up against, and getting out of that mindset can help believers make the right choices regarding how they view and consume culture. It’s much too easy to be just a consumer of culture in this world, but our purpose is far greater. Make something more of the world around you. After all, we have the One Who made the world on our side. Is there any culture better than that?