Skip to main content

Andy Crouch on race, power, and culture making

March 13th, 2017 | 3 min read

By Matthew Loftus

Just wanted to quickly highlight some recent podcasts featuring Andy Crouch. I have long enjoyed Andy’s writing and his work with Christianity Today (here’s my review of his most recent book, Strong and Weak), but I found these podcasts full of great insights. He’s particularly incisive on questions of race, which he hasn’t written about a lot in the past but it’s clear that he has some important experience and worthwhile things to say:

Pass The Mic: (I love and highly recommend this podcast because Jemar Tisby and Tyler Burns are both very thoughtful men who always have great conversations)

I am concerned when one part of the body says to the other, “I have no need of you”, especially those with power or privilege who say to those who have less of those things: we don’t need any connection, or feel what they feel, or know what they know or learn what they’ve learned about the reality of God.

The Calling: (I always enjoy the guests that Richard Clark brings on The Calling; they are always interesting and a lot of times I’ve never heard of them before!)

I thought, ‘How do I maximally commit myself to participation in God’s love?’ Most of the people I’m going to love will forget me very quickly. Almost everything I do will be forgotten. So I realized there’s only one way I could invest my life that would have the most endurance, and that would be if I ever had the chance to have children. My life is most shaped by the ones who most embodied love.

The New Activist: (This podcast features both the on-the-ground insights of people who are working for justice all over the world along with broader questions of what justice is, which is why I enjoy it so much)

I see power as fundamentally a good thing, as a gift from God to His image bearers as reflecting the image of God. God is powerful and God’s power is made known primarily in creation. This is the point of the Bible beginning with a creation story is as saying “true power is the power that can bring something into being.” It’s been important to me to stress this because when we think about power, we think about coercion and violence […] these forms of power are so immediately visceral and visible. […] Creation, the power to bring something into being, that’s a much more hidden, subtle thing even though I would say that creation is more powerful than coercion.

Cultivated Part 1 & Part 2 (These interviews with different leaders and thinkers are nicely edited, which packs a lot of insights into their running time). I think this quote is quite relevant to Benedict Option discussions:

I think it’s just axiomatic […] it’s not going away that culture changes when you add cultural artifacts that eventually become institutionalized, they become deep patterns of life. That’s not changing because we have less access to certain kinds of cultural power or plausibility. Now, what may happen (or is happening or have happened) is that we may have less power to create. It may be that if you hold to a certain orthodox view of human beings and human bodies that no one is ever gonna greenlight your film […] it’s hard to assess the delta here but clearly there is some. […] That doesn’t mean that you can’t create culture. There are so many scales and spheres where you can still create–  all beneficial culture making is local. We get so obsessed with the visible, mediated forms of culture and we say “We’re losing access, we’re losing credibility”. Those are very powerful, and it’s not good that those are so homogeneous in what they present as a vision of what human beings ought to be. There’s so much room for culture making, most of all in places of vulnerability. Public schools are becoming difficult places to be Christians. But public schools in underserved neighborhoods all over the country would open their doors wide for Christians to come and serve.

Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at