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Publisher's Summary

From a world-renowned painter, an exploration of creativity's quintessential - and often overlooked - role in the spiritual life

Conceived over 30 years of painting and creating in his studio, this book is Makoto Fujimura's broad and deep exploration of creativity and the spiritual aspects of "making". What he does in the studio is theological work as much as it is aesthetic work. In between pouring precious, pulverized minerals onto handmade paper to create the prismatic, refractive surfaces of his art, he comes into the quiet space in the studio, in a discipline of awareness, waiting, prayer, and praise.

Ranging from the Bible to T. S. Eliot, and from Mark Rothko to Japanese Kintsugi technique, he shows how unless we are making something, we cannot know the depth of God's being and God's grace permeating our lives. This poignant and beautiful book offers the perspective of, in Christian Wiman's words, "an accidental theologian", one who comes to spiritual questions always through the prism of art.

©2020 Makoto Fujimura (P)2021 eChristian

What listeners say about Art and Faith

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  • Overall
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A theological vision for vocation and creativity

I really love Mako Fujimura’s art and his artistic vision. Every time I read one of his books or listen to one of his talks, I dream about buying one of his pieces of art. I am not new to his writing. I have read his book Silence and Beauty twice and his book Culture Care once. I have listened to a huge number of his talks and interviews. If you want an introduction, I think his discussion with Mark Labberton at Fuller Seminary is a good place to start.

Many of the themes of this book are touched on in his other books or in his interviews or talks. I think this is a good place to start if you are new to his work, and then I would encourage you to go back to his book Silence and Beauty as building on some of the themes developed in Art and Faith. The forward by NT Wright is a natural choice. Wright’s theological vision, especially the ideas from Surprised by Hope are deeply worked out in Fujimura’s vision of what it means to create and live in the world.

This quote I think summarizes that thought.

“In my experience, when we surrender all to the greatest Artist, that Artist fills us with the Spirit and makes us even more. creative and aware of the greater reality all about us. By “giving up” our “art,” we are, paradoxically, made into true artists of the Kingdom. This is the paradox Blake was addressing. Unless we become makers in the image of the Maker, we labor in vain. Whether we are plumbers, garbage collectors, taxi drivers, or CEOs, we are called by the Great Artist to co-create. The Artist calls us little-‘a’ artists to co-create, to share in the “heavenly breaking in” to the broken earth.”

I think what I am always struck by with looking at his art or listening to a talk or reading one of his books, is how centrally both grace and slowness are to his vision. In someways, slowness is a type of grace that gets expressed by the type of art that he does. Art that often has dozens of layers, if not more and which uses hand made paints that can takes hours or even years to prepare places the grace of time at the center of the art in a way that much modern art does not do. Fujimura has been influenced by the Kuyperian covenantal theology that takes seriously our obligation to culture and systems of society. It is no surprise that he was an early member of Tim Keller’s church. There are unhealthy distortions of that type of theology that can verge into a type of Christian Nationalism or dominionist theology that was evident in South African Apartheid, but that is not how Fujimura expresses his art or this theology. His Japanese background orients him away from the individualism or dominance and toward obligation and community in very healthy ways.

I listened to this on audiobook. It is well narrated and I thought about it frequently as I was listening and recommended it to many. But I really need to read it again in print so that I can highlight and write more directly about the content. It is only about 150 pages, but it is densely packed (in a very readable way) with stories and illustrations and ideas that I want to interact with more deeply.

2 people found this helpful

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I Will Never Be The Same

Other than the Bible, this is the most life-changing and consequential book I have ever read! And like the Bible, I will be consulting this book again and again! Grateful! Changed! Full and refreshed and loved!

2 people found this helpful

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Absolute fire 🔥🔥

beautiful, inspiring, uplifting.

returned the world and my role in it to a sense of Wonder

1 person found this helpful

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Deep and Thought-Provoking

I have often thought about myself as an artist being made in the image of God, our Creator; but this book made me think more about being like Jesus. Jesus makes all things new and an artist also brings about the new through creation.

I like that this book quoted scripture a lot, but at times I would have to replay parts of the audiobook to follow what the author was trying to say. I almost wished I had the hard copy to reread and highlight the many excellent quotes.

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great into to faith & art for nonartists

for those who wrestle with seeing the value of art or wonder what role it plays in the Christian life, this book is an excellent starting point. it's an easy listen without being too technical, but it is deeply moving in demonstrating how art helps us see the world as Jesus does, chipping away at our pervasive idol of utilitarianism. I can't do the book justice!

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art as a vehicle for faith

inspirational account of one artists journey of faith and creativity. for those in the arts

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Bomb Book

I overall really liked the book. It is so cool to see art and my faith intermingle. At Christian Colleges they have a class called art and faith. Being at CSUF, a secular school, I feel like I got to have a little bit of that pricey Christian education through this book!

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Whether you call yourself a “Creative” or not... this book is for you

This book is beautiful in the way it both reexamines the art and creating we do through the lens of eternity and re-examines the way we looks at our faith through the act of creation.

The narrator was wonderful, the story was engaging, overall, a fantastic listen/read!

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Good read with challenging messages

This worth the time to listen carefully too. Strong biblically based challenge to contemporary Protestant theology.

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Inspirational

I loved the book and the story. I think the performance wasn't 100% but it's understandable. The story, value and lessons really hold it up and make it worthwhile