Lecture Title: “Culture Making and Glowing Rectangles: Sustaining Real Creativity in a Virtual World”
When: Thursday, September 5
Time: 7 PM – 8:30 PM
Place: The College Church Commons
Andy Crouch’s Bio
Andy Crouch is partner for theology and culture at Praxis, an organization that works as a creative engine for redemptive entrepreneurship, and a frequent speaker at ministry events. Andy has served as an editor for several magazines including Christianty Today. He served the John Templeton Foundation as senior strategist for communication. He has also served as campus minister for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University. Andy currently serves on the boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
A classically trained musician and Cornell grad, Andy received an M.Div. summa cum laude from Boston University School of Theology. He is the author of several books: The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place (2017), Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing (2016), Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power (2013) and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling.(2008). His books have received numerous accolades and his writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and several editions of Best Christian Writing and Best Spiritual Writing—and, most importantly, received a shout-out in Lecrae’s 2014 single “Non-Fiction.” Andy lives with his family in Pennsylvania.
I asked for two reviews from our principal, Kolby Atchison, who recently read Culture Making, and Dr. Patrick Egan, the Dean of the Upper School, who references The Tech-Wise Family in our Webinar on “Navigating Technology with Your Preteen: Tips for Parents.”
Review of Andy Crouch’s Culture Making: An Education for Culture Makers
by Kolby Atchison, Principal
Culture is inescapable. While it may not be the air we breath, it is close to it. This is because culture is really just an abstract term for the outcome of lots of little decisions we make on a daily basis: what we choose to eat for breakfast in the morning, how we greet our friends and family members, the type of furniture we choose to fill our living rooms with, the building structures we implement for construction, and the sorts of media we consume for entertainment. Culture, in short, is what we make of the world.
But how exactly is culture made and, perhaps more importantly, how is it transformed? This is precisely the question Andy Crouch seeks to answer in his book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. Crouch argues that it is simply not enough for Christians to condemn culture as some did in the first half of the twentieth century. Nor is it sufficient to critique, copy, or consume culture, which were models for cultural interaction in the latter half of the century. The solution, according to Crouch, is to create culture and through this dynamic and engaging process it inevitably will be transformed.
Creating culture, after all, is a fulfillment of the creation mandate. In Genesis 1, God gives Adam and Eve clear instructions to subdue the earth, that is, to bring it to order, as divine image bearers. He grants them dominion over every created thing so that they might cultivate the good creation to uphold life and beauty. This was the original calling for humankind and it is this calling of which culture is the fulfillment. Truth, goodness, and beauty—the triad of transcendentals in the classical tradition—are the culmination of creation when culture is created.
How can Christians recover this creative calling that scripture envisions? It won’t surprise you to hear that I am going to suggest education. An inspiring, life-giving education that prepares students to think critically, hone complex skills, and serve others, all for the glory of God. This sort of education focuses on the formation of character, not just the transmission of information. It puts before students specimens of truth, goodness, and beauty unmediated and undefiled, so that the students can encounter the world for themselves. Through this process, grounded in a Christian worldview, students will emerge with creative abilities of their own, equipped to then go out into the world and create cultures of redemption and restoration.
This may look different for each student. For some, it could mean going to law school with the hope of fighting injustices in society or becoming a film director to communicate an inspiring idea through visual media. For others, it could mean becoming an engineer in order to design the next skyscraper in Chicago. For still others, creating culture could mean going on the mission field, building schools and bringing the gospel to families in need of the message of salvation.
Whatever the case may be, crucial formative years for future culture makers occur during PK-12 education. Each day, millions of children go to school. It is our responsibility as Christians to make sure the children in our charge are being adequately prepared to fulfill their unique calling. This calling is not merely to get a particular job. It is to be a certain person—an agent of creation and renewal, redeemed by God, to cultivate his creation and make cultures that will honor him and bring glory to his name.
Review of The Tech-Wise Family: Principles for Family Culture
by Dr. Patrick Egan
It is very difficult to figure out how much screen time to allow in our homes. Family life simply looks very different today because of the ever-present reality of smartphones, streaming video, and online gaming. Thankfully Andy Crouch has provided a thoughtful book to help us think clearly through how to balance family life and technology.
Crouch spells out the many pitfalls families face as they incorporate technology into the home. He then provides a number of principles to help parents think through their core commitments so that they can shepherd their families effectively in an age of digital inundation. His ten tech-wise commitments offer wisdom without dictating how you will use the internet or how much time you will choose for your children. Instead he defers to the culture and values that you intentionally wish to set up.
For instance, the principle that you should “use screens for a purpose” and to “use them together” frames screen use positively and coaches children in proper use of technology, rather than merely limiting the amount of time they use technology. The goal of the structures we put in place is to help our children to be fully present as human beings so that they can live full and happy lives with technology existing in harmony with their highest values.
The book is full of anecdotes from the Crouch home so that the principles can be seen at work in real life. Not every family will make the same choices the Crouches do, but it is instructive to see how wisdom can be applied in the home. This book is of such practical value, that I recommend it to all parents I interact with regarding raising children today.
For more on the topic of technology with children, register for our Webinar this Wednesday by clicking the link below. I, Jason, will be interviewing Patrick on tips for parents on how to navigate technology use with preteens.