Makoto Fujimura – Toward Culture Care

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Makoto Fujimura is not only an amazing artist,  he has a heart and passion to support those working in the arts, and to help all of us see through a different lens … that the arts and beauty are needed to feed our souls, just as food and water are necessary for our bodies. His art and his writing have always resonated with me and I’m greatly looking forward to his upcoming book on Culture Care.  He recently posted a speech given upon being awarded the 2014 Religion and the Arts Award. Below is an excerpt:

I pray that some day, in the near future, our children and our grandchildren will see an age when faith and life, art and scholarship, the rational and the intuitive will be so integrated that there will no longer be a need for this award …

Perhaps a new type of award will be needed then if that prayer for our children and grandchildren is to be answered – one to celebrate integration, wholeness, healing, beauty and love. Perhaps the artist will no longer then be considered a marginal entity but a critical center of our pursuit of knowledge, of our journey toward abundance and creativity. Perhaps then there will be a new aroma in the air: an aroma of Mary of Bethany, who in response to Jesus’ tears in John 11 and 12 brought her most precious belonging, her most gratuitous, expensive nard.

I pray that artists will no longer have to be on the defensive as was Mary in that aroma-filled room while disciples grumbled that her perfume could have been sold to feed the poor. “What a waste,” they said. What a waste. Is our art wasteful, too?

Art is gratuitous. Art is extravagant. But so is our God. God does not need us; yet he created us out of his gratuitous love …

I highly encourage you to read the speech in its entirety here.

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Praying by Grace

The truth of the matter is, we all come to prayer with a tangled mass of motives–altruistic and selfish, merciful and hateful, loving and bitter. Frankly, this side of eternity we will never unravel the good from the bad, the pure from the impure. But what I have come to see is that God is big enough to receive us with all our mixture. We do not have to be bright, or pure, or filled with faith, or anything. That is what grace means, and not only are we saved by grace, we live by it as well. And we pray by it.

~ Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home

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I Want to Assume God is Present

On the Q Ideas site, Justin McRoberts responded to the question of What Can Artists Teach the Church? with a post titled The Art of Listening. He uses the story of Phillip crossing paths with the Ethiopian Eunuch, and summarizes the Spirit’s instructions to Phillip as “go and listen.”

It’s an excellent post that I recommend reading in its entirety as it reflects upon how artists are uniquely able to offer their churches help developing the practiced posture of listening because, for an artist, “before anything is made, before materials are chosen, even before inspiration can take hold, listening must come first.”

The quote below, from his CMYK project, I am including in its entirety because it touches on the heart of what I want this blog, and my life, to reflect. I want to assume God is present …

“I want to assume God is present rather than wonder if He is or feel like I need to insert Him into a situation. As I practice a posture of listening, I am learning to see God in more and various places and then help friends who live in those places to see him there. I want to see like that instead of mostly [seeing] God in one, small place (on a Sunday morning around 10:00 am, for instance) and [suggesting] that any who want Him should meet me (and God) there.”

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25 Years of Image

Who and what inspires you to engage in art and faith? Image Journal is one of those avenues for me and they’re celebrating their 25th Anniversary. Check out this video and their special website to see what others are saying, and to share your own story.

And if you haven’t discovered Image yet, don’t wait any longer. Find out more here.

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