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Featured Book for September 2022

Art + Faith: A Theology of Making

by Makoto Fujimura

Conceived over thirty 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.

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Community Questions

Art + Faith Community Discussion Questions

Week 1

  1. What is a “maker”?
  2. Do you believe you are an artist?
  3. On page 1 Makoto tells us that the journey of an artist begins at conception. When did you begin to see yourself as an artist, if indeed you do?

Week 2

  1. What is your definition of an artist?
  2. Makoto tells us on page 9 that even before the Fall God’s design in Eden was to sing creation into being and invites God’s creatures to sing, to co-create with creation. Describe a time when you feel like you are co-creating with God.
  3. When speaking of art as a survival mechanism, Makoto says (p.34), “Art literally sees us through beauty in the hardest, darkest hours.” Describe a time when art helped you to survive a dark, difficult time in your life.

Week 3

  1. Page 46 offers a description of how the process of Kintsugi can be likened to the way Christ’s wounds are still visible after the resurrection and how his brokenness is an essential part of the Newness God is creating. What scars do you have that you may be tempted to hide away in shame?
  2. Makoto tells us on page 104 that our wounds matter to God. Describe time when you felt most like your wounds mattered to God.
  3. Regarding Kintsugi, Makoto says trauma mended becomes something new. Describe a time when God turned a trauma in your life until it was something new.

Week 4

  1. Look at a Kintsugi bowl online. What about it speaks to you?
  2. Makoto describes his art as “a devotional act, a memorial in response to this woman’s act” referring to the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet. What does this story reveal about your role as an artist?
  3. On page 134 Makoto writes “The art of writing depends on our willingness to die to ourselves and trust in God. Art, poetry, and music all depend on waiting.” How is waiting essential to your creative work?