Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Crouch Conclusion: Culture-Making in Community

Crouch concludes his book by adding three qualifiers to his contention that where we experience the most amount of grace and fruitfulness is the process through which we discern calling, i.e. our vocation. His three qualifiers are: 1) even in places of fruitfulness, our work will require spiritual disciplines and much work that is tedious; 2) that grace in fruitfulness is not an exemption from failure, rather it is what sustains hope in the midst of it and 3) in identifying with the Cross, even in our fruitfulness, we expect to confront much brokenness, pain and forsakenness.

And then he leaves us with these beautiful words:

Frederick Buechner writes that your calling is found “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” In all those places, at the intersection of grace and cross, these friends of mine, who are just names to you but who are the greatest treasures in the world to me, cultivate and create. And of course this is just one snapshot of the many places to which each of us is called, since Elizabeth (who raises three children who sometimes tax her to the very limit, creating a culture of forgiveness, play and prayer) is also a writer, Megan (who serves orphans in Africa) is also an artist, Karl (who works as an executive in a technology firm and wrestles with ways corporate life can constrain one’s hopes, dreams and fears) is also a lay leader in his church, Catherine (Andy’s wife who is a teacher in a culturally and socioeconomically diverse school) is also a musician and mom, and I (Andy, who says he tells stories that no one would otherwise hear from the margins of our world) am also a dad. There is not space enough to tell all the ways we have become partners in one another’s culture making, friends and comrades, suffering and rejoicing together- the amazingly resilient and creative communities of friendship and family that can grow and bear fruit over our short human lives.

So do you want to make culture? Find a community, a small group who can lovingly fuel your dreams and puncture your illusions. Find friends and form a family who are willing to see grace at work in one another’s lives, who can discern together which gifts and which crosses each has been called to bear. Find people who have a holy respect for power and a holy willingness to spend their power alongside the powerless. Find some partners in the wild and wonderful world beyond church doors.

And then, together, make something of the world.  Culture Making, p. 263 

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