Thursday, April 9, 2009

Expressing your faith through art in an ever changin culture...

refractions a journey of faith, art, and culture by Makoto Fujimura

I only have one word for this book – MARVELOUS! When I contacted NavPress to request a book to review, I was immediately drawn to this one because of the subject. We are church planters and one of the way we encourage people to worship God is to use paper with crayons or pastels. You should see the art coming out of the services. It simply and truly amazing! I believe that art can be an expression of our faith. Consequently, when I saw that this book would link arts, culture and faith together, I was highly interested.

I was very happy to receive the book in mid-March and immediately I started reading it. I had the feeling that I was reading the personal journal of Makoto Fujimura and that I was travelling with him and his thoughts on culture, art and humanity. I was truly touched by his experience of 9/11 and by what his faith made him realize following this dreadful day. It is a collection of what he wrote following the crash in New York City. That he lives within walking distance of Ground Zero is simply extraordinaire. I think personally I would have move away from the area. But when you think about it, any disaster can happen anywhere really. Through Makoto, I saw and heard people of different nationalities and backgrounds coming together and use art to express their emotions and sentiments about life-death-humanity.

I think art is very useful for anyone who wants to express how they feel without using words. Art can be painting, drawing, dancing and so on. Makoto Fujimura confirmed the importance of art in a culture that is ever changing. As Christians, we need to dig into it and create to understand a part of God that sometimes we might forget about – after all He was the Creator. And as being part of His creation, we are likely to be drawn to expressing ourselves with art. Like Makoto says so easily “Art expresses who we are.” I agree with him. When I draw I try to ponder on what I want to express before I go on. I’m not a major artist but I like experimenting and maybe someday I will take courses to become better at it. For now, I use art to express my faith at church and I really enjoy it.

If we look at history, we will realize that art has always being part of our lives. We learn a lot from the Romans, Greeks or any other civilization by examining and admiring their pieces of art. Who knows what the future generations will learn from us just by looking at the art produced during the 20th and 21st centuries. If we can pass a message of faith through it I think it would be wonderful…

Art is around us no matter what. We need to decide whether we will use it to destroy or to save lives like Makoto suggest. As Christians we need to be bold enough to express our faith in this culture by using the means of art – in various ways and using various tools. We need to make wise choices and maybe influences the movie companies or TV shows producers to have better quality products to watch when we go to the theater or watch television. It’s all about choices really – we have a choice to trust God or to reject Him. We have a choice to impact our culture or not.

I really enjoyed reading Refractions and I recommend it to anyone who would love to use art and faith to impact the culture around us. Take a step of faith and discover a new way of expressing your love for the Creator!

Refractions a hourney of faith, art, and culture is available at for 17$ Cdn and at for 17.55$ Cdn when you are a irewards member. Oh! And if you want to see more about the book, visit this link with a video.

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