September 2020 Culture Care Newsletter

  • Posted: September 28, 2020

Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A Note From International Arts Movement

We are living in the age of optimization, where we are encouraged to hustle and bustle, work smarter rather than harder (but also work pretty hard), and live each day to the fullest. More than ever before, we also have a peek into one another’s lives. Although social media makes it possible for us to keep up with our long-lost friends and far and away scattered family members, it also makes it possible for us to know how much that stranger on the internet spent on their home remodel or their newest exercise regime. That information can be helpful in one sense: on one hand, I start to walk more. On the other hand, I start to hate my apartment and You win some, you lose some,” is what they say. 

I’m not advocating for the elimination of social media and the unique connection points it provides, but I think we can all agree that it has more of a hold on us than we actually think. (For proof, watch The Social Dilemma, which is not alarmist at all, but does do a good job presenting the facts.) My social media habits say more about me than the people I follow. I do think that we have an innate need to know how we’re stacking up against other people and a sneaking suspicion that they all know something we don’t. They are doing something differently than we are and it must be better. Their squares are neater than ours. 

There’s no secret to success here (although you should all put your phones down when you’re done reading this) other than to say that I actually think the one thing social media doesn’t tell us is that we are all doing okay. And that’s fine. It’s fine to just be okay. I had a professor in college tell me that there was no way to give one hundred percent all the time. I never understood what he meant until this season. I can’t do it all. I am human. I am broken. The sooner I admit that, the better off we all are. Sometimes, the simplest acts make the most difference. In this case, I think that me admitting my distinct and obvious lack of perfection makes the perfect entry point for my neighbor or the stranger in the Trader Joe’s line to have a window into my life and the ways that I am holding on to beauty and truth despite the brokenness that runs rampant in our world. 

- Molly

A Note From Makoto Fujimura, Founder of IAM Culture Care

Dear IAMers,

Thank you for your journey with me for the past several years. Many of you were participants in our wedding captured via Zoom and I will be posting the entire service on my YouTube channel soon. Haejin, my dear bride, and I are grateful for your part in making our new journey possible.

Wedding points to a New Creation, embodying and prefiguring the New. In my next book Art & Faith: A Theology of Making (Yale Press, Jan 5th, 2021) I speak of Christians being wedding planners, and I also spoke about this on my most recent post on YouTube as well. A wedding involves all of the arts, from fashion, poetry, dance, food, design, music and drama. For us, it was significant to have this wedding surrounded by my own Ordinary Times liturgical paintings at All Saints Church in Princeton. Despite the fact that we could only have ten people present, there were over 300 in attendance via remote means and my daughter Lydia emceed from her home in California. We were surrounded by art, best organist (Kevin O’Malia of All Saints), beloved family (including my mother who is buried there), bringing the best of the arts and technology to this private, social-distancing event as a distinctive offering for our time.

To have a major celebration in such a time as this requires creativity of a remarkable team. Haejin’s team of Shim & Associates, a law firm that advocates for many in need of justice, and her non profit Embers International bringing mercy into the heart of conflicts, my Fujimura Fellows and artistic collaborators, and, of course my own children, made this complex celebration possible, and beautiful.

We made the entire wedding a fundraiser and have raised over $70k for IAMCultureCare and Embers. The funding will benefit many in India to literally feed thousands, but also to send rescued children to go to fashion schools and develop as artists. Yes, that is the work of culture care — to bring beauty and mercy to the broken fissures and pour gold into them. We will be traveling with Master Nakamura of Kintsugi Academy (please follow us on Instagram for updates) to India next year to do Kintsugi with rescued children. I hope many of you will join us (at least remotely).

Yours for Culture Care,

Mako

Web Links

  • A review of Marilynne Robinson’s new novel, Jack.
  • Pre-order Mako’s new book, Theology of Making, today!
  • Listen to the latest episode of the Culture Care podcast featuring artist September Penn.
  • Mako talks about the importance of beauty during a time like this on Russel Moore’s podcast Signposts. 
  • A new PBS documentary about Mark Rothko.
  • Listen to Mako speak with Cherie Harder at the Trinity Forum about the art and faith.
  • Take a tour of a beautiful tiny home.
  • Singer/songwriter Melanie Penn has a new album out!

Header Image: Transfiguration of Christ Icon, Sinai 12th century