Crouch in his address to us and in his excellent book “Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling” outlines four approaches that Christians have traditionally taken to culture and one that he suggests is the proper posture. His assertion is that we have been condemners, critiquers, consumers, and copiers of cultures. Condemners of culture will decry all things ‘of the world’ and tend to avoid many forms of media and entertainment. Critiquers prefer to engage in the world around them in a critical and analytical way. Consumers are those that uncritically devour those things that condemners would have decried. And finally, copiers are those that take typically secular forms of media and entertainment and given them a scriptural twist to conform them to their beliefs, like Contemporary Christian Music.
I’m sure upon reading these four approaches, we could all easily both identify with and dismiss aspects of each. Crouch goes one step further to outline what he feels is a more appropriate and Christian approach to culture; he calls it cultivating and creating. He likens this posture to that of the artist and gardener. The Cultivator and Creator of culture “are acting in the image of the One who spoke a world into being and stooped down to form creatures from the dust. They are creaturely creators, tending and shaping the world that original Creator made.”
It is well documented in educational circles that we strive to bring our students into high order thinking situations. In Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains, evaluating (making judgments and discerning) and synthesis (creating new wholes from various parts) are listed as the highest order of thinking skills. Knowledge (recall of facts), however, is listed as the lowest order of thinking. It strikes me that this is similar to what Crouch is saying; we need to be teaching our students to become cultivators and creators, synthesizers and evaluators of all parts of God’s creation - culture as Crouch would call it. Afterall, if we are hoping to raise up responsive disciples for Christ in this world, what we’re really calling our children to become are Creators and Cultivators of God’s creation as image-bearer’s for Him.