Strong and Weak

Embracing a Life of Love, Risk & True Flourishing

Two common temptations lure us away from abundant living—withdrawing into safety or grasping for power. True flourishing travels down an unexpected path: being both strong and weak. We see this unlikely mixture in the best leaders—people who use their authority for the benefit of others, while also showing extraordinary willingness to face and embrace suffering. We see it in Jesus, who wielded tremendous power yet also exposed himself to hunger, ridicule, torture and death. Rather than being opposites, strength and weakness are actually meant to be combined in every human life and community. Only when they come together do we find the flourishing for which we were made.

This book is going to have a profound impact on our world. It's built on a clear, deep, life-changing insight that opens up vast possibilities for human flourishing. Classic, elegant and utterly illuminating.

— John Ortberg, senior pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, author of Soul Keeping

An intellectually insightful, socially relevant and prophetically passionate book that shows us how to multiply our power to create a world where people from every tribe and nation can flourish and reach their full God-given potential. I love it!

— Brenda Salter McNeil, Seattle Pacific University, author of Roadmap to Reconciliation

One of the most anticipated books among thoughtful and widely aware Christian readers. It certainly will be one of our Best Books of 2016.

— Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Books

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The Holy City, by definition, is already a cultural artifact, the work of a master Architect and Artist. The citizens themselves are the redeemed people of the Lamb, drawn from “every tribe, language, people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). But God’s handiwork, artifacts and people alike, are not all that is found in the city. Also in the city are “the glory and the honor of the nations”—brought into the city by none other than “the kings of the earth.”

Culture Making, p. 166

To laugh, to really laugh out loud, is to be vulnerable, taken beyond ourselves, overcome by surprise and gratitude. And to really laugh may be the last, best kind of authority—the capacity to see the meaning of the whole story and discover that our final act, our only enduring responsibility, in that story is simply celebration, delight and worship.

Strong and Weak, p. 183

We are not meant to be eternal cruise-ship passengers. We are meant for more than leisure. This is true for our own sakes, but it is also true because we are still responsible for a world gone wrong.

Strong and Weak, p. 81

The Messiah wrapped in a servant’s grimy towel is not giving up power. He is restoring it to its original purpose, cleansed of its distortions—the power to love a lovely and loveless world to the uttermost. None of his power is reserved for carefully guarding privilege or meticulously accounting for status; every bit of it is poured into this one end.

Playing God, p. 166

What we truly admire in human beings is not authority alone or vulnerability alone—we seek both together.

Strong and Weak, p. 47

Playing God

Redeeming the Gift of Power

Power corrupts—as we’ve seen time and time again. People too often abuse their power and play god in the lives of others. Shady politicians, corrupt executives and ego-filled media stars have made us suspicious of those who wield influence and authority. They too often breed injustice by participating in what the Bible calls idolatry. Yet power is also the means by which we bring life, create possibilities, offer hope and make human flourishing possible. This is “playing god” as it is meant to be. If we are to do God’s work—fight injustice, bring peace, create beauty and allow the image of God to thrive in those around us—how are we to do these things if not by power?

Perhaps no question with such urgent life-and-death consequences is more poorly understood among Christians in our era than the stewardship of power; but gloriously, in Playing God, Andy Crouch provides the clarity we need in this once-in-a-generation work of sweeping theological and sociological depth. It is fresh, rigorous, profoundly helpful and a delight to read.

—Gary A. Haugen, President and CEO, International Justice Mission

Once again, Andy Crouch cuts to the heart of the matter by challenging us to take seriously the One whose image we bear. Playing God is a clear and compelling call for Christians to steward the kind of power that enables flourishing.

— Gabe Lyons, coauthor of UnChristian

Andy Crouch presents an essential treatise on one of the most important yet undiscussed topics for the promotion of justice in American Christianity--the issue of power. The work of God's justice in the world requires an understanding of the dynamics of power. Crouch shines the light of Scripture on what could be a divisive topic. Playing God should spark this long overdue conversation.

—Soong-Chan Rah, author of The Next Evangelicalism

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Culture Making

Recovering Our Creative Calling

It is not enough to condemn culture. Nor is it sufficient merely to critique culture or to copy culture. Most of the time, we just consume culture. But the only way to change culture is to create culture. For too long, Christians have had an insufficient view of culture and have waged misguided “culture wars.” But we must reclaim the cultural mandate to be the creative cultivators that God designed us to be. Culture is what we make of the world, both in creating cultural artifacts as well as in making sense of the world around us. By making chairs and omelets, languages and laws, we participate in the good work of culture making.

Are Christians to be countercultural? Or protect ourselves from 'the culture'? Or be 'in' culture but not 'of' it? In this bracing, super-smart book, Andy Crouch changes the terms of the conversation, calling Christians to make culture. I am hard-pressed to think of something that twenty-first-century American Christians need to read more.

—Lauren F. Winner, Duke Divinity School

"Then Andy Crouch wrote a book called Culture Making / And I knew I had to make a slight change"

—Lecrae, "Non-Fiction"

I’m loving your book. Parts of it are making me jump out of my skin. Molting, I think it’s called.

—Alf, composer and musician living in New York City

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Articles

Time Magazine

Apple Watch: To Wear It Like a Man—or a God?
According to Apple, this is technology that ‘embraces individuality and inspires desire.’ What could possibly go wrong?

Technology keeps getting more and more personal. First “personal computers,” which sat on your desk, gave way to laptops, which sat in a rather more intimate position. Now laptops are giving way to tablets and phones, which nestle in your hand and slip into your pocket. And early next year, the Apple Watch will wrap around quite a few wrists, which it will tap gently to signal that a friend is calling or a message has arrived. You could say the Apple Watch will be the ultimate personal computer, but more to the point, it is one of the first intimate computers. It promises to be with you every moment of the day (though it will part with you at night for recharging—such sweet sorrow), aware of your every motion, responsive to your touch. It will be close enough, Apple promises, to feel your heartbeat—and share that heartbeat, in a feature that is either sweet or slightly creepy, with a friend. I think Sting sang about this kind of intimate watchfulness a generation ago: “Every move you make, every breath you take, I’ll be watching you.” Oh, that song was not so much sweet as slightly creepy? Well, it won’t feel that way with the Apple Watch—unlike Sting’s hovering would-be lover, it is watching you in order to serve you. After all, in the reverent tones of Sir Jony Ive, narrating the watch’s introductory video, this is technology that “embraces individuality and inspires desire.” What could possibly go wrong?

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Biography

Andy Crouch

In his 2016 book Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing, Andy Crouch continues the compelling exploration of faith and culture found in his previous books Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling.

Andy is executive editor of Christianity Today. He serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He is also a senior fellow of the International Justice Mission’s IJM Institute. His work and writing have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and several editions of Best Christian Writing and Best Spiritual Writing—and, most importantly, received a shout-out in Lecrae's 2014 single "Non-Fiction."

Andy was executive producer for the documentary film series Where Faith and Culture Meet and Round Trip, as well as the three-year project This Is Our City. From 1998 to 2003, he was the editor-in-chief of re:generation quarterly, a magazine for an emerging generation of culturally creative Christians. For ten years he was a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University. He studied classics at Cornell University and received an M.Div. summa cum laude from Boston University School of Theology. A classically trained musician who draws on pop, folk, rock, jazz, and gospel, he has led musical worship for congregations of 5 to 20,000. He lives with his family in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

For information on booking Andy to speak, please see this page.

Contact and Media Info

Contacting Andy

Unfortunately Andy is not able to respond to inquiries relating to academic writing assignments.

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Travel and Speaking


ERLC National Conference

Nashville, Tennessee

25–26 August 2016

Northwest Bible Church

Dallas, Texas

31 August–1 September 2016

Reality SF

San Francisco, California

19 September 2016

Christian Schools Canada

Banff, Alberta

21–23 September 2016

More Travel...

5 Talent Academy

Dulles, Virginia

4 October 2016

Surrey Christian School

Surrey, British Columbia

5 October 2016

inspirED

Lynden, Washington

6–7 October 2016

Upper | House

Madison, Wisconsin

2–4 November 2016

re:purpose

Washington, DC

20 November 2016

Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 December 2016

Moorings Presbyterian Church

Naples, Florida

29 January 2017

New Canaan Society

Washington, DC

3–5 March 2017

Q

Nashville, Tennessee

26–28 April 2017

Calvary Chapel of Delaware County

Chadds Ford, PA

28 June 2017