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October 2022 Culture Care Newsletter

  • Posted: October 25, 2022

The beginning of culture and the beginning of humanity are one and the same because culture is what we were made to do. There is no withdrawing from culture. Culture is inescapable. And that’s a good thing.” — Andy Crouch

A Note From International Arts Movement

I recently had the good fortune of spending an evening with Andy Crouch, whose writing and work I have admired for a long time. One of the things about Andy that impresses me most is he is someone who puts into practice many (if not most) of the things he talks about. Of course, I could be wrong about this since my proximity to him is very low and I am merely watching from afar. But even from afar, I get the sense that he is someone who cares about genuine authenticity for the sake of knowledge and wisdom, not just for the sake of words on a page. 

What do I mean by that? In the age of the internet, it has become too easy to write about the way that we should be. The internet allows us to cultivate aspirational versions of ourselves, whether through social media platforms like Instagram or 1,000 word articles on websites. It’s too easy to write about something (or photograph it) and turn around and do something else. This idea is not revolutionary. For years, social psychologists have been spouting the dangers of social media and they have the data to prove it. But my idea is not limited to instagram and snapchat and twitter. What I am interested in more specifically is how we become people of practice.

What would look like if we spent time really molding and shaping our lives around the principles and virtues and ideas that we read about (the ones that seems aspirational), rather than just writing about how we wish we could put them into practice. For me, this is an uncomfortable idea. It implies that I am saying no to more things than I am saying yes to, in the name of committing to a few, rather than many. It means cultivating discipline, rather than flitting from one thing to the next. 

Most of all, though, I think it would mean radical change in our culture. Culture change (and culture care) don’t come about merely through virtuous thoughts and well-intentioned words. Culture change is bread through years of hard won practice, of doing something over and over and over again, often without seeing results. Trees are not planted overnight. They do not spring up the next morning. They require gentle tending, sometimes over years, some over decades, and sometimes over centuries. Someone must commit to watering and nurturing and practicing cultivation. What would our world look like if tended to our communities and our neighborhoods, the little plots of land that we are given, with intention and practice, not just thoughts and prayers? 

A Note From Makoto Fujimura, Founder of IAM Culture Care

Haejiin and I have been on a bit of a speaking tour of late. After Haejin gave a keynote at CAFO (Christians Alliance for Orphans) conference of over 2000 people and at Christian Legal Aid of DC, she also presented at our church All Saints Princeton Adult Education class (10 people). We will be speaking with the Bucknell Fellows to premiere New Creation” film , and then I will have my conversation with Rector Phillip A. Jackson of Trinity Wall Street Church, the largest Episcopal church in America. No matter what the size of the audience, we both sense the impact and the importance of Beauty+Justice Kiintsugi message today in our culture in desperate need of such mediating and advocacy.

We have now both Twitter and Instagram @IAMCultureCare postings. On both sites, you will find daily (almost) postings of Culture Care statements and images. Please follow and join us there. Here are some recent samplings:

Culture Care affirms abundance built into the universe, and creates despite scarcity assumptions all around us. This is what artists and poets had to learn to do, as they have been creating against the impossible’ set up by conventionality all their lives.” @iamfujimura

Culture Care is to bring golden healing balm into the heart of fractured, hardened lands of culture decimated by Culture Wars.” @iamfujimura @AcademyKintsugi

Culture Care affirms abundance built into the universe, and creates despite scarcity assumptions all around us. This is what artists and poets had to learn to do, as they have been creating against the impossible’ set up by conventionality all their lives.” @iamfujimura

Culture Care seeds the soil of culture with good seeds of beauty and truth, instead of poisoning the soil with toxins in demonizing outsiders.” @iamfujimura @AcademyKintsugi

Culture Care is to be a steward of cultural estuary- creating the most abundant and diverse, but delicate, area of culture for the oyster beds of new creation to buffer the storms of life” @iamfujimura #culturecare #estuary

Culture Care is to manifest fruit of love as the most enduring art of all.” @iamfujimura looking at @vangoghartist

Culture Care is to remind each other that every moment can be a Genesis moment. No matter what happened yesterday or a month before, we can start new to create.” @iamfujimura

Culture Care is generosity. Artists can lead in this path of attentiveness and care, to reveal darkness hidden and depict light of hope at the same time.” @iamfujimura

Culture Care is to plant bulbs of beauty and love deep into the soil of culture decimated by many years of wars” @iamfujimura

Look forward to a generative fall. Let us know how your Culture Care journey is going!

- Mako Fujimura

Web Links

  • In this new collection of essays, Christian women of color share reflections on injustice and resilience.
  • If you are in the Princeton area, mark you calendars for November 3rd for an opening reception at Princeton Seminary for Mako’s new exhibit.
  • Bonnie Kristian, author of the new book Untrustworthy, writes about how to cultivate epistemic virtue. 
  • Some thinkers are so revolutionary that they continuously remain outside of traditional thought.
  • The story of an Irish Buddhist who stood up to the British empire and incited unexpected change.
  • Tish Harrison Warren writes about why the music of Rich Mullins endures.