Saturday, April 25, 2009

culture making: workplace mission and Kingdom stories

I’m a culture maker from Andy Crouch on Vimeo. (hat tip Bob Carlton)

I like how this affirms workplaces.
I love the variety of ages.
I like how some of these link their work with mission.
I don’t like how the last clip celebrates violent play.

I read this video within a framework of God as creator and redeemer of the world. But that’s me and I wonder what explicit narratives do drive people’s “culture making.” I wonder what uniquely the Christian gospel has to offer to culture making. I worry, based on a recent workplace experience (does forgiveness have legs), that Christianity today is actually not shaping culture.

I can see this being used at a church camp or through a block course, to create discussion on
– in what ways am I culture making
– what Bible stories shape my culture making
– what are the obstacles and dangers of my culture making
– what partnerships do I need to sustain and enhance my culture making
Finishing with the group making their own video, which becomes their “mission statement”

Posted by steve at 11:56 AM


  1. Hi Steve,

    Great clip and great questions.

    I’ll be using this in another way – to show the most recent phase of church and culture thinking at the end of a discussion on the history of church and its relation to surrounding cultures.

    And as a pacifist with a 5 year old boy I too am not happy with the violent play but it will raise the same issue as has happened in history. How do we deal with the Crusades etc.


    Comment by David Morgan — April 26, 2009 @ 11:08 am

  2. Thanks David. When you do use it, I’d love to see what theological frameworks you use. As it this, this clips says nothing explicit about who is God and who are humans. The liberal, social justice movement at start of 20th century would applaud this. So is this “old social gospel” or something else?


    Comment by steve — April 26, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

  3. When I read your comment about the last clip being violent play, I thought it was going to show a rugby match… I would say that last clip was typical boy’s imaginative play, in which they showed great respect for each other, making sure their drama did not hurt others. So I would say not about celebrating violent play, but celebrating learning to be friends, and thereby being culture makers. I often wonder about what is unique about Christianity in this respect, as I would say my Christianity shapes my work ethic and my morals and my motivation for work to create a more just world, but many others who would bring similar worth ethic, morals and motivation to their workplace are not Christians.

    Comment by Jan — April 27, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

  4. Touche Jan. As a blogger from Canterbury (Crusaders), I am helpless to respond. 🙂


    Comment by steve — April 29, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  5. Crikey, if that’s violent play, then I must have been an extremely violent child. Those kids are pretty mild really. In this PC world, boys still need to have plenty of rough-house play.
    I like the idea of culture-making, but where is Christ in it all?

    Comment by Mike Crowl — May 1, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

  6. interesting points, mike,

    1 – regarding violent play – where does one draw the line – nothing wrong with fake plastic swords? what about plastic guns? fantasy video games?

    2- regarding culture-makingn, does it need a cross? a few “jesus” words? Can Christians who doctor and lawywer and create, be Christian without needing to make Christ obvious?

    these are good questions and they are exactly why i placed the video up there. thanks for engaging with me


    Comment by steve — May 1, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

  7. Yes, I understand what you’re saying about whether Christians who are doctors, lawyers, creative (my category) need to ‘speak Christ’ all the time – or any of the time. N T Wright in Surprised by Hope looks at this very question. But on the other hand, if the doctors, lawyers, creatives NEVER speak Christ, how is anyone to know what they believe, or hear what they have to say? I know we’re not all evangelists in the sense of that being our primary calling, but I think we’re all called to speak Christ, and I personally often find it a ‘good excuse’ not to do much speaking by saying that my ‘calling’ is to be creative. (When I say ‘good excuse’, of course, I really mean ‘convenient excuse’…)

    The violent play issue is another matter altogether. I watched Billy Graham (the NZ Boxer and motivational speaker) on tv last night: he finds that teaching boxing to kids who are struggling is a great discipline and a great way of getting rid of aggression and anger. But boxing is ‘violent’ – isn’t it?

    Comment by Mike Crowl — May 4, 2009 @ 10:22 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.