“Power at the expense of the gospel is not a power the church should ever seek.” — Dr. Gerald Sittser
A Note From International Arts Movement
I am happy to have made it to the end of July. Despite the sweltering heat that many of us are experiencing across the globe, I am glad to be out of a season of heaviness. In particular, my church suffered a number of deeply unsettling losses, lives taken at their prime, by violence, brought upon by other people and sickness. Their stories are not mine to share, but, suffice to say, there was a sense of profound, communal loss felt by our entire community. I was struck by the power of communal grief. Much like the punishing heat of these past few weeks, it envelopes you in its power, whether you want to be a part of it or not.
Amidst the sadness, there is also great comfort. To grieve with those who grieve, to weep with those who weep, even to rejoice with those who rejoice… it makes it all a bit more palatable at times, to know that we are not alone in our sorrow and our joy. To know that there are other beating hearts beside us, below us, and above us who hear our cries and come alongside us with open arms.
Even more comforting to me than the grief of other human beings is the reminder that I serve a God who suffered immense grief and suffering. Yesterday, a friend of mine shared the story of John Stott, with whom many of you may be familiar. On one of his many visits to different parts of the world, he would come across the statue of Buddha, which he would respectfully observe. He noticed the Buddha’s cold demeanor: arms crossed, eyes closed, nary a tear to be found, despite the sufferings of the world around him. In those moments (as the story goes), John would close his own eyes and turn in his imagination to the cross: the image of Jesus, hands and feet nailed, gut wrenching sobs, a dry mouth, tear-stained cheeks. As Stott notes, he found the latter infinitely more comforting.
So as we go about these long, muggy days, heat pressing at our backs, let it be a reminder of the unending, all-consuming power of community, even on our worst days. And let it be a reminder that we are not alone in this world.
A Note From Makoto Fujimura, Founder of IAM Culture Care
Dear IAMCultureCare Movement
I am happy to announce that we have several IAMCultureCare board members! They are John and Michelle Olsta, Julia Hendrickson and Jasmine White. Julia and Jasmine are an artist and a performer, and have been part of Fujimura Fellows program, and Olstas bring entrepreneurial and business expertise, so we are excited about the future of this board to serve our movement. We will be posting some of the initiatives coming out of our board meetings in the future here.
A few other newsy news:
I will be having a significant exhibit at Berry College in Georgia next spring. More details to come, but Berry is where Stranger Things, Sweet Home Alabama, and other films have been made, so it will be an exciting opportunity to share my art and Haejin and my message on Beauty and Justice with students.
We congratulate Kalie Yuen (Chemical Engineer), Andrew Roseberry (Chemical Engineer), Qian Qian Mei (Animal Behavior, with Art minor) and Cache Harris (Psychology) for their graduation from Bucknell University as Fujimura Fellows!
Haejin and I recently met with Christopher Rothko, the son of Mark Rothko, to discuss my writing for the republication of Mark Rothko’s writing “Artist’s Reality” from Yale University Press.
Speaking of republishing, my first book “Refractions: A journey of Art, Faith and Culture” will be republished with some new essays, so I am going over the manuscript now.
Windrider Production crew were over to Princeton to film me painting in the studio, and to interview Haejin and me as a follow up to “New Creation” film being created, and other films that we are considering releasing. See the photo below!
We are in Oxford, UK this week for me to speak to the Choral Institute lead by Dr. James Jordan of Westminster Choir.
We are collecting your Culture Care generative stories! Email Carly to share them with us!
Toward the New,
“Art+Faith: A Theology of Making” (Yale Press) is in its eighth printing in a little over a year since its release! Grateful for your journey with me toward the New
- What does local community consensus look like in a world full of increasingly disparate people?
- Writer Alissa Wilkinson provides a reminder of the benefits associated with reading during the lasting effects of the pandemic. (You can also order Alyssa’s new book, Salty, wherever fine books are sold!)
- We cannot live the “good life” alone.
- In conversation with the Collegium Institute, Mako considers his upbringing and journey towards faith and art. How can silence and suffering intersect with faith and beauty?
- Philosophy professor Agnes Callard helps us see the power that literature and art have in helping us see evil.
- Tish Harrison Warren reminds readers of the importance of bookstores and the cultural notion of pluralistic reading.
- Hear Mako read an excerpt from T.S. Eliot’s the “Four Quartets” and share how it helped him during a time of uncertainty.