Ken Carter has a great summary of what Andy talked about during his time at Duke last week, to know more about the points he makes check out Ken’s post. To tell the truth I almost skipped this lecture. I didn’t know who Andy Crouch was and although his biography was longer in the brochure than NT Wright and Rob Bell, I walked into Page Auditorium with limited expectations.
I was greeted with a grand piano on stage and my interest peeked. Would Crouch pull Wright and Bell on stage and do number from the Rockettes? What he did was go into the African American Spiritual, Over My Head (which I still cannot get out of my head). He then took us on a journey through our present cultural and where God is in it. He stated that we can reclaim our culture because it is all God’s creation. He discussed the importance of form and the image of the cross. (once again head over to Ken’s blog for more details)
One thing I want to talk a little more about is the echos of a sermon by Rob Bell. In that sermon Bell suggests that were we start the Bible is important. Crouch suggested we need to add the first two chapters of Genesis and the last two chapters of Revelation back into our Bibles. What both of them were saying is that God created the world, looked at it and said, “it is good.” If we start our Bibles with Gen. 3 then we humans and the culture we make is not good at all. Yet if we can see the good in our culture we can then point to God in our midst.
I had heard Bell’s sermon before this talk but Crouch pushed me to think about it again. We do look at the world as evil many of the times, or at least much of Evangelical Christendom does. When I think of those who start their Bibles at Gen. 3 and end it with the lake of fire in Rev. 20 I think of fire and brimstone preaching. I think “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” But does our culture need more hate language? Do we need to tell a rotting apple it is rotten? Or would our energy as Image Bearers be better used nurturing that culture back into what God created it to be.
When God gave dominion over the world to the humans he didn’t mean control. It was meant for us to cultivate the world into its original intent. Crouch went on to say that when we try to control culture we end up doing two things, 1) condemning it and 2) chasing it. Either way we are pushing it away and not seeing the divine picture in front of us. Crouch defines culture as anything humans make. When Adam and Eve took a bite of that forbidden fruit they made culture when they made the first fashion line. We have to learn to look at our culture and see God working in it, not condemn it and chase it. We have to be image bearers who are use to failing. As Crouch said, “suffering and failure are normative in creating culture. The most influential culture creating failed before it succeeded.” In order to do this culture creating we have to be able to see that God created something good and in the end God will bring it back to its original state.