CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT is Now Available for Purchase

It’s not every day you get to announce the official release of a book you contributed to.

As many of you know, I’ve had the privilege of working with Drs. Joshua Chatraw and Karen Swallow Prior on an anthology about Christian engagement with cultural beliefs. Dr. Prior asked me to contribute an essay a year and a half ago, and it has been a tremendous pleasure and privilege to be involved in this project.

The book, Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues, releases today. It explores nine controversial topics—sexuality, gender roles, human life & reproductive technology, immigration & race, creation & creature care, politics, work, the arts, and warfare & capital punishment—from a variety of angles. Contributors to the book include Makoto Fujimura, Rod Dreher, Rosaria Butterfield, Andy Crouch, Joe Carter, and Katelyn Beaty.

There is a wide range of beliefs represented in this book, not because all positions are equally valid, but because there needs to be a gracious and loving context in which to engage many of the positions currently being debated in the public square. As Drs. Chatraw and Prior explain:

Through the years, we have both slowly grown in wisdom and understanding through our engagement with a variety of people who have different perspectives. Through interactions with students on our campus, both in and out of the classroom, we realized how valuable a book like this one could be, introducing a variety of subjects from people representing different backgrounds and vocations. The question that spurred on the project was: could we encourage the maturation process for others by bringing together various voices of professing Christians addressing a range of cultural issues in a single book in a way that would allow readers to engage critically and biblically with different perspectives? With almost fifty different essays this has turned out to be a unique guide to understanding and engaging some of the most pressing cultural issues of our day.

It is likely no surprise that I was asked to contribute to the section on the arts. They had compiled a handful of folks to talk about the positive side of the arts—an emphasis much needed in the Christian community. However, to provide a bit of balance, I was brought on to write something more…cautionary. The title of my essay is “When Art Becomes Sinful,” and I hope it challenges and convicts many who choose to read it.

The essays in Cultural Engagement are far from esoteric; they are not designed merely for academics (although many smart people contributed to this book), but also for laypeople without a lot of letters next to their names (like myself). This collection of essays is an excellent reference tool—one which I have enjoyed working and wrestling through myself.
Here are a few endorsements of the book:

“Christians talk a lot about cultural engagement, but our dismal record in recent decades suggests that our engagement strategies need a lot of work. In this provocative and timely book, Joshua Chatraw and Karen Swallow Prior have convened a wide-ranging cast of authors to debate the most pressing issues facing the church today.”

-          Thomas S. Kidd, James Vardaman Distinguished Professor of History, Baylor University

“In this day and age, when rhetoric and worldviews are so divisive, and intelligence with grace and integrity is in short supply, Prior and Chatraw manage to bring together authors who nuance ancient biblical ideas with a wisdom that speaks to the ethical issues of our modern age.”

-          Allen Yeh, associate professor of intercultural studies and missiology, Biola University

“Josh Chatraw and Karen Swallow Prior, along with a host of friends, model for all of us what it means to think Christianly about the intersection of the gospel and culture, doing so with courage and conviction while encouraging careful listening, Christlike kindness, and civility.”

-          David S. Dockery, president, Trinity International University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“This book reminds us that even within the subset known as the American church there are various competing and impactful perspectives that call for deep understanding and not simple caricatures.”

-          Christina H. Edmondson, dean for intercultural student development, Calvin College

You can preview and purchase a copy of Cultural Engagement by clicking here.