Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life
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InterVarsity Press / 2017 / Paperback

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Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life

InterVarsity Press / 2017 / Paperback

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Product Description

Many bemoan the decay of culture. But we all have a responsibility to care for culture, to nurture it in ways that help people thrive. In Culture Care artist Makoto Fujimura issues a call to cultural stewardship, in which we become generative and feed our culture's soul with beauty, creativity, and generosity. We serve others as cultural custodians of the future. Includes a study guide for individual reflection or group discussion.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 160
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830845038
ISBN-13: 9780830845033

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Author Bio

Makoto Fujimura is an internationally renowned artist, writer, and speaker who serves as the director of Fuller Theological Seminary's Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts. He is also the founder of the International Arts Movement and served as a presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003 to 2009. His books include and . Recognized worldwide as a cultural shaper, Fujimura's work has been exhibited at galleries including Dillon Gallery in New York, Sato Museum in Tokyo, The Contemporary Museum of Tokyo, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts Museum, Bentley Gallery in Arizona, Taikoo Place in Hong Kong and Vienna's Belvedere Museum. In 2011 the Fujimura Institute was established and launched the Qu4rtets, a collaboration between Fujimura, painter Bruce Herman, Duke theologian/pianist Jeremy Begbie and Yale composer Christopher Theofanidis, based on T. S. Eliot's . A popular speaker, Fujimura has lectured at numerous conferences, universities and museums, including the Aspen Institute, Yale and Princeton Universities, Sato Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum. Among many awards and recognitions, Bucknell University honored him with the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2012, and the American Academy of Religion named him as its 2014 Religion and the Arts award recipient. He has received honorary doctorates from Belhaven University, Biola University, Cairn University and Roanoke College. Mark Labberton is president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He previously served as Lloyd John Ogilvie chair for preaching and director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute for Preaching. Labberton came to Fuller after sixteen years as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, California. He has served as chair of John Stott Ministries (now Langham Partnership) and co-chair of the John Stott Ministries Global Initiative Fund. Today he continues to contribute to the mission of the global church as a senior fellow of International Justice Mission. He is the author of and .

Editorial Reviews

"Culture care is the imaginative effluence of being a faithful follower of Jesus in any time or place. It's hope borne into places where hope that is truly hope must be realistic, slow, disruptive, and limited. Mako's encompassing, inspiring, humble, bold vision is life-giving, because it is what life is meant to be. Culture care is needed everywhere."

—from the foreword by Mark Labberton, president, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Mako Fujimura's words, art, and life all convey an understanding that the common ground of theology and art is our image-bearing humanness—and that an engagement with both our Creator and our creativity are colors that equally belong on the canvas of our culture. His life-giving and rehumanizing summons to culture care fuels the redemptive yearning within each one of us for the world that ought to be."

—Matt Heard, author of Life with a Capital L

"Makoto Fujimura's Culture Care is invaluable for a global business leader dealing with multiple cultures and challenging business and cultural decisions every day. I found it to be not only an inspirational reminder to seek beauty in all things, but a practical help in servant leadership."

—Carl Chien, MD and head of global investment banking, North Asia, JPMorgan

"The valuable lessons and insights in Culture Care are essential to reformation, renewal, hope, and subsequently the restoration of our culture and communities to wholeness. Mako captures what really matters in life: glorifying God in all aspects of our lives and our communities."

—Mike Brenan, state president, BB&T, trustee, The Trinity Forum

"When I first opened up Culture Care one night in Taipei and began reading, I knew that it was an important and essential work for today's artists. As I read, the book kept opening up like a flower of revelation. It helped define for me what I have been doing for a long time: culture care. I never had a word for it before. It has also helped me see myself differently as an artist. Culture Care gives the artist dignity and purpose, something that the church and society never gave me. The church never acknowledged art as a worthy vocation with a godly purpose, and society never fully recognized me either. So that's where I've always lived and worked—on the outside. But we are not alone and we are right where we belong!"

—James Elaine, artist and curator

"Mako offers helpful insights not only for artists, but for all partners in culture care. His acknowledgment of the importance of addressing brokenness, creating safe spaces for sharing journeys, and truth telling reflects an appreciation of the relational and transformational power of engaging in culture care. While the reader could be overwhelmed by the pervasiveness of the challenges, Mako inspires us toward meaningful action. A wonderful contribution!"

—Alexis Abernethy, professor of psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary

"With much compassion and courage, Makoto compels us to take our calling seriously to care for and cultivate the cultural soil in which we reside. He encourages us to view culture care as a biblical alternative against the prevalent culture of anxiety and scarcity. This is a posture every follower of Jesus should nurture to embody the gospel."

—Mark Raja, designer, cofounder of Integrated Arts Movement, Bangalore

"For Makoto Fujimura, caring deeply for souls is a way of life. Through his magnificent paintings, profound essays, and wider leadership with organizations like the National Council on the Arts and the Brehm Center at Fuller Seminary, Fujimura quietly and consistently nurtures artists and the people who love them, both inside and outside the church. In this life-giving book, he cultivates practices that help us honor God by caring for the soul of our culture."

—Philip Ryken, president, Wheaton College

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  1. Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Filling Up the Longing for Beauty
    April 12, 2017
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Our first summer living on this country hill, the budget was tight and luxuries were few. I had planted a garden that seemed huge to me at the time, and a friend, intending to surprise me, weeded the entire plot as a generous gift from the heart. How could she have known that those random shoots between the green beans would have become marigolds or that the tomato plants had been interspersed with a potential forest of sunflowers? Reading Culture Care by Makoto Fujimura explained for me the long ago disappointment and the deep sense of loss that clouded my gratitude to that well-meaning friend: those flower seeds had been planted just for joy. To me, they had represented hope and beauty in a world that ran almost exclusively toward practicality.

    Our common lives become far too common when we fail to carve out a space for beauty. Makoto argues effectively that when we starve our souls in pursuit of our living, we lose sight of our own nature as creative beings, made in the image of a Creator God who calls us to lives of fruitfulness and beauty. Working from insights gained in his calling as an artist, the author invites his readers into the generative life, which is fruitful, originat[es] new life, [and] . . . draws on creativity to bring into being something fresh and life giving. Throughout the book, he lays out numerous principles that define the generative approach to life on this planet:

    First, a genesis moment grabs the attention and renews a conviction, challenging us to make decisions in keeping with creativity and growth. Just as failure and disappointment entered the narrative arc of the biblical Genesis, it may also play a key role in our own personal genesis moments.

    Generosity is the fuel that drives generative thinking. A mindset of scarcity squelches creativity and leads to small, cramped living.

    The knowledge that all believers are stewards of culture leads us to create a welcoming climate for creativity and to care for the contributions of others so that future generations can thrive.

    Art is a gift not a commodity. In his work with the International Arts Movement, Fujimura works to contribute to this type of reimagining, inviting others into the new paradigm that culture is not a territory to win, but a garden to tend to, an ecosystem to steward.

    There is value to work that is done in secret for the pleasure and development of the artist even if no one else ever sees or appreciates it.

    Artists fulfill the crucial role of border-stalkers, living on the edges of various groups sometimes in the space between and carrying news back to the tribe. Like bees who pollinate far and wide, those who assume cultural leadership ensure flourishing. Christ, of course, was the ultimate Border-Stalker, creating in love, sidling up against all the borders with a light that would not be extinguished. When we narrow our categories (and our eyes) at artists who are Christian but who refuse to reduce Christ to a mere adjective, we diminish the mystery of Christ in our attempts to keep the Spirit inside our boundaries and away from the margins where border-stalkers are most needed.

    As a mum who has spent that past decade or more schlepping children to piano lessons, play practices, and band rehearsals, I nearly stood on my chair as I read Makotos thoughts on the deeply necessary role that art education plays in the development of people who are fully human.

    Dana Gioia has rightly said that we do not provide arts education to create more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society. We provide arts education so that we can have better teachers, doctors, engineers, mothers, and fathers. Arts are not a luxury but a path to educate the whole individual toward thriving. They are needed simply because a civilization cannot be a civilization without the arts.

    Culture Care employs multiple metaphors to convey the connection between generative practice in everyday life and the enhancement and preservation of culture. Is a cultural greenhouse what we should strive for, or is that too sheltered? Would a garden concept with wise planning and limited scope be more likely to foster work that is both sustainable and generative? An estuary with its diverse and abundant ecosystems conjures images of some artists functioning as the oysters, rooted and filtering their surroundings, improving the environment for all; others are are more like salmon, following a pattern of life-giving migration and, perhaps, leaving the estuary for good at some point.

    Makoto veers from principles to practicality by sharing his own story of inviting his supporters to invest in his career rather than merely purchasing his art. He does not use his considerable skills with a brush to paint an unrealistically positive view of the calling to serve ones gift, but, instead, introduces a gritty path to success that he calls rehumanized capitalism. In order to start a movement or survive as an artist, three types of capital are necessary:

    Creative capital The artist with talent and skill

    Social capital An influencer such as a church leader or community organizer

    Material capital An individual with means or access to supportive business contacts

    Wouldnt it be lovely if, once again, the church could become an environment in which partnerships such as this could thrive? Tim Keller, former pastor from New York City, laments the tragedy that the church is no longer where the masses come to know the Creator of beauty. If it is our desire to make caring for souls a way of life, Makoto Fujimura offers an outline for life-giving practices that will enable us to honor God and embody the gospel while, at the same time, cultivating the creativity that is at the heart of what it means to be fully human.


    This book was provided by IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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