The Baptist Standard, the weekly newspaper of almost everything Texan and Baptist, ran a good cover section on popular culture in its most recent interview, including a fairly long interview with me. Ken Camp, the author, was great to talk to.
Though the quote is accurate, I somewhat regret that I come across sounding more negative about culture-shaping in elite locations (Manhattan, Hollywood) than I feel. I’m all for Christians being in those places, and seeking to serve Christ there as with every other sphere and scale of culture. I just don’t think we should strive for “impact” at elite levels . . . the temptations are just too evident and manifold. Rather, as I say right up front in the introduction to Culture Making, it’s all about grace. If grace takes you to Manhattan, go—whether it’s Manhattan, New York, or Manhattan, Kansas. God is at work in both places.
The good folks who edit the religion book reviews at Publishers Weekly have to contend with an endless flood of books, a substantial number of which they review every other issue. It’s fair to say that the reviewers are generally, as Alex Ross writes of Arnold Schoenberg, “easily unimpressed.”
So it’s exciting to get word today that PW is giving Culture Making a starred review in their May 26 issue. They’re also running a great interview with me by Lori Smith (who was great fun to talk with). This is encouraging news!
From the review: “. . . a sweeping new theology of culture. Crouch blends academic research on the nature of culture with extensive theological study and years of experience as a cultural critic; his conclusions will be fresh and challenging for Christian readers. . . . Those who have struggled with the sacred-secular dichotomy will find this book life-giving; every Christian interested in changing culture should read it.”
The release of Culture Making is just over two months away. It will be really fun to have the book out there to start lots of conversations about how we can become cultivators and creators of culture, not just critics and consumers of it.
But you don’t have to wait until this summer to start reading the book and to start those conversations. InterVarsity Press has taken the unusual step of releasing, not just the introduction or the first few pages, but the first 40 pages of the book, online, in PDF form, for free. (Yes, they are awesome—and thanks to John Holland for originally suggesting this.) And in a few weeks we’ll release another three chapters.
You can download the PDF from
Read. Enjoy. But there’s one other thing I’d like to ask you to do. Find at least one way to share this PDF with others. Post about it on Facebook. Blog about it. Forward the link—or the whole PDF file—to your small group, your pastor, your six best friends. (Yes, you can do this completely legally—see the last page for the details on what you can and cannot do with this PDF.)
Then, if you don’t mind, post on the wall at the Culture Making Facebook page to tell the rest of us what you thought and what your friends thought of these opening pages.