A quick post just to say that three more chapters of Andy Crouch's book Culture Making are now available for free online. In addition to the intro and chs. 1-2 posted earlier, together that's the first third of the book, about a hundred pages. Free!
Also, Andy's full-blown site for Culture Making has been launched. It's all about "celebrating and informing those who cultivate and create." Not only does it now host the archive of all of Andy's past articles, it's also his blog and commentary pointing folks to culturally creative and significant goings-on from all corners. Andy is one of the smartest cultural observers and thinkers in the Christian world today, so this site gives you something of a current newsfeed of the things that Andy's reading and reflecting on.
It's exciting for me as Andy's editor to see Culture Making get launched into the world. The editor's role is something of a midwife or delivery doctor, and we celebrate new books as we do new babies. At IVP's author dinner at ICRS, Andy confessed his struggles in the writing of the book, that for the first year he basically failed to write much of anything. My rejoinder after his comments was that I'm glad he took four years to write the book rather than crash it out in nine months, because the end result is a far better book, with greater maturity of thought and depth of insight.
And I'm pleased to see initial buzz about the book. David Neff, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, just preached (and posted) a sermon that references Andy's book. Helen Lee also just blogged about the book. And those two items are just what popped up in my Facebook newsfeed this morning. A quick Google blog search turns up more items, including this two-part interview with Andy now available online and a bunch of other things I don't have time to look at right now.
Just to make a quick connection to suburban stuff - as I mention in my book, suburbia tends to be a consumer culture. It's a vast overgeneralization, but historically rural areas tended to be primarily agricultural and urban areas tended to be primarily industrial, but suburbia has been primarily commercial. We are consumers, not producers. And I quoted Andy's ideas in my book because he points to the significance of cultural creativity as a way to counteract consumer culture. We do not change culture by consuming it or critiquing it. We change culture by creating more culture. So if suburban Christians want to seek the welfare of their suburbs, one of the best things we can do is to practice cultural creativity and make culture. (It's no surprise to me that the items listed in Jeremiah 29 about seeking the welfare of the city are things like building houses and planting gardens. In other words, being culturally generative and creative.) Suburban churches can create alternate countercultures that show suburbia another way to live.
At any rate, I'm thrilled that folks like Tim Keller are calling Culture Making one of the most-anticipated books of the year. If you've not read it yet, check out the free preview samples and order your copy now. It's a must-read book that Christians will be talking about this year.