Spirited Book Club discusses Makoto Fujimura’s Art ‘and Faith: A THEOLOGY OF MAKING’ and creativity’s quintessential role in the spiritual life
The most powerful ideas are simple, as is Makoto Fujimura’s theology. He believes that “unless we are making something, we cannot know the depth of God’s being and God’s grace permeating our lives and God’s Creation.”
The impulse toward Making seems embedded in us from “the beginning.” Such an impulse imbeds our vision in actual earthly materials. So our journey to “know” God requires not just ideas and information, but actual making, to translate our ideas into real objects and physical movements.
Fujimura, a painter who crafts his own paints from precious metals, describes God as the greatest creator, who sang the world into being with a love song. While humans create from our needs, Fujimura says that God creates from love. When we love, we make. When we make, we receive making and we make again, leading to a gift economy. When love motivates the economy, the community comes alive with the fruits of the Spirit. When love is embedded in what we do, we possess love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and self-control.
This book is not about just art. It is about seeing our creativity and making as part of the coming New Creation. It is about our invitation to partner with God in creation. It is hard work to live into this generative love, and it is what we are made for: to paint light into darkness, to sing in co-creation, to take flight in abundance.
Reviews for Art and Faith
“One of the most beautiful aspects of Art and Faith, and I would argue one of the most appealing aspects of Christianity itself, is the insistence that though the world is broken, its brokenness is the basis of its rebirth . . . Fujimura often uses moving personal anecdotes . . . that lure us in with their warmth, humor, and tenderness. And anyone interested in the creative act or worried about our culture’s elevation of consuming over making will find plenty to mull over.”—Scott Beauchamp, Washington Examiner
“This brief, very crisply and lucidly written book makes a brilliantly and distinctly personal contribution to the ongoing discussions around faith and the creative imagination.”—Rowan Williams
“In the presence of the beautiful ‘we act like someone who is all ears and eyes: beauty has something to say to us,’ wrote Nietzsche. Reading this book, I fell silent and became all ears and eyes.”—Miroslav Volf, Yale Divinity School
“[An] elegant treatise . . . Fujimura’s sensitive, evocative theology will appeal to believers interested in the role religion can play in the creation of art.”—Publishers Weekly
FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING for December 2: Chapters 1-5
FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING for December 16: Chapters 6-10
++Book discussion facilitated by Sheri Brown
Makoto Fujimura is an artist whose recent exhibitions in New York and Asia have been featured in the New York Times, the Atlantic, and other leading publications. He is also an award-winning author and the founder of IAMCultureCare and the Fujimura Institute, and co-founder of Kintsugi Academy. He has served on the National Council on the Arts.
Fujimura is a leading contemporary artist whose process driven, refractive “slow art” has been described by David Brooks of New York Times as “a small rebellion against the quickening of time”. Robert Kushner, in the mid 90’s, written on Fujimura’s art in Art in America this way: “The idea of forging a new kind of art, about hope, healing, redemption, refuge, while maintaining visual sophistication and intellectual integrity is a growing movement, one which finds Makoto Fujimura’s work at the vanguard.”