Andy Crouch: Creating Culture

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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 hard 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?

The simple truth is that in the mainstream of culture, cultivation and creativity are the postures that confer legitimacy for the other gestures. People who consider themselves stewards of culture, guardians of what is best in a neighborhood, an institution, or a field of cultural practice gain the respect of their peers. Even more so, those who go beyond being mere custodians to creating new cultural goods are the ones who have the world's attention. Indeed, those who have cultivated and created are precisely the ones who have the legitimacy to condemn—whose denunciations, rare and carefully chosen, carry outsize weight. Cultivators and creators are the ones who are invited to critique and whose critiques are often the most telling and fruitful.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture

2 Comments
Posted September 26, 2008 at 5:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

I’m going to recommend this as a resource for Trinity Cathedral as we work through defining our post-realignment role. Every parish should take Crouch’s admonitions to heart. Bring on the holy gardeners!

Catholic and Reformed

September 26, 7:19 pm | [comment link]
2. Larry Morse wrote:

I admit I could not get through all of this the writing is so muzzy and vague. This is Peggy Noonan and great length. The cultivators and creators…. who are they? And what possible reason suggest that they alone have the power and authority to offer valid criticism?
Many a bad man has spoken well: See Oscar Wilde. Many a good man hasa turned into a parody of being a cultivator: See Jimmy Carter. What’s a creator? Is the man who dreamed up the cell phone a cultivator and creator? Why then is his success such a dreadful curse to so many (me, included) and the joy and toy of so many? And the man who has cloned pet animals. A cultivator and creator? And the inevitable man who uses cell manipulation to create a brighter, bigger, stronger child? He certainly is a cultivator and creator? And the doctor who discovered a safe way to abort a child? The author here is simply putting bromides in a long string. We learn that he is in favor of cultural motherhood and apple pie. T And then what? This is pretentious and simple minded. Larry

September 28, 3:48 pm | [comment link]
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