Last week the students in my Writing Close to the Earth online class read George Orwell's classic essay, "Politics and the English Language." In it ... Read More
Welcome to Week 6 of The Rabbit Reads Book Group: Culture Making. We’ve reached the end of the book together! As we consider the final chapters this week, we’ll take a deeper look at discerning our unique call to be culture makers. We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights in the comments.
In the early chapters of Culture Making, Andy Crouch makes a big statement: “the only way to change culture is to make more of it.” And so, for the past six weeks, we’ve been slowly unraveling exactly what that means. But the more we talk about the massive project of shifting our deeply ingrained cultures, the more clearly we see that on our own, changing the world is harder than we think. Perhaps, for all of us, it’s even an impossible task, where the best we can do is trust that God is doing the work and accept his invitation to join the adventure.
In other words, once we release the need to be world-changers, to quit our ordinary lives and do something big and radical for Jesus, we find ourselves free to change culture the only way we can: through little things, great love, and the help of a few friends along the way.
I think we’re all, at some point or another, trying to figure out our calling. We’ve been told that we can change the world if we figure out our unique vocation, the place where (to paraphrase Frederick Buechner) the world’s need and our gladness meet. But what about those of us who are doing work that doesn’t feel all that necessary to the flourishing of the world? Or those who don’t exactly find deep gladness in washing another load of laundry or filing another insurance claim?
Who are your people? Who could you count on to work with you? Who do you know that calls out the beautiful in you?Jen Rose Yokel
If you’re in one of those places, were you hoping this book would give you a little more direction on calling? I’m raising my hand here. I’ve spent the past year or two drifting between total confidence in the goodness of my work and wondering if maybe God has something different for me… if I could just figure out what that is.
In the end, this book still doesn’t answer all the questions about my Big Important Calling, but at least now I have a few hopeful ideas to nudge me in the right direction.
Finding your calling isn’t something you settle once you pick your college major, start a career, get married, and buy a house. It’s an ongoing, lifelong process of discernment, and the good news is you don’t have to go it alone. Here are three areas to consider as you discern your call.
We don’t really like to talk about power, but if we’re honest, we all want at least a little bit. In this world where anyone with a smartphone and an Instagram account can become an influencer, power and platform seem more attainable than ever. And yet at the same time, it feels even harder to grasp. A connected world reveals our blind spots, our privilege, and our lack.
Power, as defined in Culture Making, is “the ability to propose a new cultural good,” with a chance it will actually succeed. As you discern what you can make of the world, take an honest look at the power you already have. Where are you privileged in connections and influence? And who are you sharing your power with? Keep in mind that, while none of us are immune to the temptations of power, all of us can practice stewardship (using it well) and service (sharing it with others) to do beautiful work for the Kingdom.
So you have a little bit of power and influence. We all do (even if it’s only in our families, workplace, church, or friendships.) But still, that’s not everything we need. To make and change culture, you need a community. Crouch proposes that the best collaborative relationships start with three people; surely we all can name at least two friends to join us in God’s work.
Who are your people? Who could you count on to work with you? And if you still aren’t sure what you’re supposed to be working on, who do you know that calls out the beautiful in you and can see your gifts and strengths? When you gather your three around a table, you never know what could happen.
Finally, consider everything you have—your power, your community, your influence—as a gift of grace. It’s tempting to think changing the world happens with the perfect genius idea, determination, or hard work. But just as change begins in tiny groups and power starts small, everything ultimately begins in gratitude and delight.
What has graced your life? What goodness do you have that you didn’t earn? In the end, we can’t grasp for power or force our communities any more than we can change the family or town we were born into. Every place we end up is a grace-touched place. And though you still have to discipline yourself, though you can and will fail, and though you can bet grace will lead you to places of pain, just the grace to wake up every morning is a gift. Maybe that’s enough.
Look for the powerless around you, and consider how you can serve them. Look for problems you can work toward solving. Look for the people who align with your hopeful vision, and invite them into the process of discerning and living out your true calling.
The world needs you (yes, you!) to be a culture maker.
Thanks for joining us in our reading of Culture Making! Though the book club is done, the conversation doesn’t have to be! Our discussion at The Rabbit Room Forum is still open, and you can catch up on all our blog posts right here.
Jen was born and raised in central Florida, but now lives in the strange land of southern New England. Her words have appeared in TS Poetry’s Every Day Poems, CCM Magazine, and other publications, and she recently released her first poetry collection Ruins & Kingdoms. Some of her favorite things include used bookstores, good coffee, messing about in the kitchen, and local adventures with her husband Chris.