What do you do with CULTURE?

I’m not talking about what we smear into a petri dish and grow in a laboratory, I’m talking about what we make of the world — that is, how we understand it and what we created from it. Once that understanding and that making has happened, what do we DO with CULTURE?

Last weekend I participated in the Synergy 2011 conference here in Orlando and heard Andy Crouch deliver a keynote and then went to his workshop/seminar. While I have his book (Culture Making) which addresses these ideas in its first few chapters, I’m going to resist the urge to turn this into a report from the book. This is just what remains in my brain a week after hearing him speak for less than an hour. (He was good, so I remember a lot.)

Andy Crouch suggests that there are 6 categories of response to culture and I think he’s onto something way beyond categories and boxes. Way. But it’s a place to start the conversation. I agree with him that each of us responds/reacts to culture in all of these ways and that no one of them is the “right” way or the “wrong” way carte blanche.

  • CONDEMN–When we do battle against culture as if it is an evil to be vanquished.
  • CRITIQUE–When we judge the value of culture as good or bad.
  • COPY–When we mimic culture as if it’s better than what we could come up with ourselves.
  • CONSUME–When we simply ingest culture without filters.
  • CULTIVATE–When we take what is good in culture and keep it good.
  • CREATE–When we create culture.

I found these of particular interest as we considered how the “christian” culture responds to the majority or pop culture in America.

Crouch pushed us to consider that we are created by God to cultivate and create. That’s pretty clear from Genesis 1 & 2.  So, why do christians (and I am using the lower case “c” on purpose) spend so much time fighting, judging, copying and consuming?  We wear ourselves out or numb ourselves in those pursuits and don’t have anything left in us for cultivation and creation. If we really want to change the culture, we can only do so through cultivation and creation.

I’m not sure what all this means for me yet in terms of what I do every day, but I have a sense that this is one of those things that will follow me around a lot for the next months. I want it to, actually. I want to keep mulling this over and tossing it around. I want to be a cultivator and creator and want to take action and make choices toward making that my normal posture and not just something I do on occasion.

What do you think about this list?

What does this list make you think about?

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