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Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for our Common Life
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Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for our Common Life

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  468 ratings  ·  90 reviews
“This is a book for artists, but artists come in many forms. Anyone with a calling to create—from visual artists, musicians, writers, and actors, to entrepreneurs, pastors, and business professionals—will resonate with its message. This book is for anyone who feels the cultural divide, especially those with a desire or an artistic gift to reach across boundaries with under ...more
Kindle Edition, 160 pages
Published April 5th 2015 by International Arts Movement and the Fujimura Institute (first published 2014)
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Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
Actually “3.75”. There are a lot of excellent ideas packed into this short book, but there is a lot of (ahem) “applesauce” - i.e., concepts that are long on exhortation but that come up short on the actual means of accomplishing them. Note: Fujimura writes from a Christian perspective, but he doesn’t “throw Jesus in your face”. If anything, I think he tends to tippy-toe around faith concepts in an effort to cast his message as to the potential transformative and redemptive qualities in a way tha ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summary: A call for a different kind of engagement with culture, one of care, of becoming generative, rather than engaging in war or battle, to foster beauty in our common life.

To read this book was a moving experience for me, one about which I wrote ("Culture Care Instead of Culture War") while reading the book. I found a voice that resonated deeply with my longing for alternatives to the banal, rancorous and ugly expressions of culture around us. Fujimura invites us to care for our culture rat
Ben Palpant
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I respect Makoto Fujimura very much and his efforts to reclaim a properly hopeful view of culture has deeply influenced me as both teacher and writer. I find the culture war narrative so common amongst Christians to be very unhelpful when it comes to actually building a culture. We find ourselves condemning cultural artifacts (as we should) but ill-equipped to understand the purpose behind the artifacts and Ill-equipped to displace them with anything better.

I take issue with him on several theo
Robert D. Cornwall
In a world often driven by utilitarian or consumerist visions, culture is often understood as a commodity to be bought and sold. Unless it sells it's not productive, or it's understood to be an elitist pastime. As I write this review of Makato Fujimura's book "Culture Care," the new President's initial budget calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. These cost the tax payer very little, but they are often generative to the cr ...more
Maria Copeland
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rarely have I written so much in a book, but Makoto Fujimura's words demand emphasis.

An acclaimed artist himself, Fujimura presents a solution to our dissatisfaction with today's culture: nourishing culture's soul by raising up those who by their Christ-given creativity introduce both beauty and healing. If I were to compare it to other books I've read, I would say this is the modern and artistic version of Tolkien's vision for writing; both belong on the sub-creator's shelf. He develops this f
Neil R. Coulter
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every Christian; every artist
Shelves: non-fiction, vocation
Culture Care is a fantastic manifesto of the place of arts and artists within society. Fujimura outlines his hopes for how the arts can bring about a more reasoned, thoughtful public square, a society that mirrors the idea of an "estuary"--thriving on diversity and balance, respectful of one another even in the midst of differences. Artists have always been the people who swim upstream and bring pure, fresh water back to the rest of society that is choking on polluted water, but Fujimura worries ...more
D.S. Chapman
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is generative. That’s what Makoto Fujimura is promoting in Culture Care so it is fitting that his book sparks those questions localized to me - my life and my place. How can I live my life to cultivate the soil around me? How can we live with hope of the gospel’s renewing power and the strength of our shepherd to guide us to go in and out safely - not in fear of “culture” but looking for its renewal. These questions individually weren’t new to me, but he took me from what I know and be ...more
Amy Neftzger
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most artists feel as if they're living on the fringe of culture. Christian artists especially feel this disconnect between the church and their work. Fujimura explores the reasons for this disconnect and begins to outline a plan to overcome it. As an artist, himself, the author offers insight into the value that artists provide to communities. One of the things I particularly like about the book is the discussion concerning how we define value. The author stresses that an economic perspective is ...more
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I grew up with a brand of Christianity which saw culture as a threat. We engaged in culture wars to combat secular humanism and political correct pluralism. We were suspicious of cultural decay—immorality, socialism, science, heavy metal, the new-age, permissive poitical policies, guys with baggy pants and other pernicious attacks on our Christian worldview. Artists, for their part, were engaged in a culture war of their own— iconoclasts deconstructing institutions, tearing down conventions, des ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a few books on art and culture care. This is the one I've been looking for. I'm sure different aspects will strike me on successive readings, but for now, these are the questions that landed: 1) "What if artists became known for their generosity rather than only their self-expression?" 2) "What if we committed to speaking fresh creativity and vision into culture rather than denouncing and boycotting other cultural products?" 3) "What if we saw art as gift, not just as commodity?"
Michael Eckhardt
Really exceptional, great depth of insight from a unique perspective (that of a Christian who is also a working artist and a teacher/thinker).

Anyone who has spent any time working through the the role of the arts in the Church (or even in culture as a whole), or like me, has always struggled to see a workable way for it to all fit together, this is a must-read.

I hope that it ends up being a life-changing book for me. It's already been a perspective-altering one.
Beth McDaniel
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and the challenge he presents to artists and “culture catalysts” (non artists). We have a responsibility to nurture and foster our culture for the impact it has the world now and for the generations after us. I highly recommend this book to my creative and artists friends (although we all have potential to be creators of something)
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a fascinating book, it’s the kind of book that stretches my thinking and I feel I have still a lot more to learn from the author. So glad that I own another book of his!
Laurel Hicks
Much to contemplate here.
Christie Purifoy
5 stars for wise and thoughtful content I will revisit again and again.
Amanda Patchin
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just wonderful. Highly recommended.
Megan K. Brown
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I find myself in frequent lament over Christian culture’s fear of the arts. This book does much to educate and build a bridge between artists and the church. The church would have to be very brave to take the steps recommended here. But if it did, we would see a vast improvement as Christians would begin to make Christ the noun of their lives, rather than the adjective (ex. Christian art, Christian literature, Christian movies, Christian plumbers). Wishing every pastor and church member would re ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
January 2017
I haven't been able to finish this book. While I love pulling quotes from Fujimura and reading a few paragraphs at a time, I find the complexity of his written thought process difficult to follow. I hate to use the word "obtuse" but it has been almost obtuse to me. For example, one of his key words "generational" could be more clearly stated as "life-giving." Maybe this winter, I shall tackle it again. The topic is that important.

February 2018 I finish reading and parse out a blog po
Kyle Rapinchuk
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Culture Care, Fujimura sets forth a vision for a different kind of cultural engagement for Christians. Instead of winning a culture war, Fujimura suggests that we are agents of culture care, stewards of the culture, and those who make contributions to the culture. Fujimura, an accomplished artist and director of the Brehm Center at Fuller Theological Seminary, particularly focuses on culture care from an artistic perspective, though he has excellent insight and application for non-artists as ...more
I enjoyed reading this little book by Makoto Fujimura. As an artist, the book's ideas drew me in immediately. Though short, there are many solid ideas and thoughts presented that were original to my own thought process and many built on ideas that had already developed into my foundation. The highlight for me is definitely Fujimura's identification of the artist as mearcstapas or "border-stalkers. As I looked up the word on my own and saw it also referred to monsters and literally, swamp walkers ...more
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all artists, artisans, makers, creators, and those who want to feed their soul
Culture Care is the most important book I have ever read about my specific profession. Culture Care encourages artists to nurture and heal their culture through generative actions. It was a talk by Makoto Fujimura in 1999 that lead me to pursue a career as an artist. Reading of his 15 year journey inspires me to continue again. This time wiser in that I can articulate why the job of an artist is important. I spent years wrestling with why being an artist was okay when it wasn't useful. I was abl ...more
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: culture
Good little manifesto for artists in our culture today. The main theme is that art is much more valuable than how our consumeristic, utilitarian culture has come to view it; that we need art more than ever, to have joy and a sense of purpose in our culture. Especially important is Mako's proposal that much modern art is done in rebellion and self-indulgence, when art's true purpose is to edify, heal, unite, and ultimately point people to the source of joy. Points are compelling, but a few stoppe ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
This book was the part of a Kickstarter campaign that my family supported. Overall, I think the work is inspiring to think of ways of acting generatively and coordinating with artists in ecclesial and other functions. None of it is radical or revolutionary and, as a working artist, Fujimura drifts a little in the reactionary direction with his later section on business care.

Overall, though, I am glad to have read it.
Daniel Wells
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The big idea of Culture Care is one I will take with my into my vocation as a pastor. Culture is a garden to be cultivated, not a battle field to be warred over.

And the way we cultivate this garden is through the ordinary moments of generation when beauty and imagination take root.

The emphases on beauty, the generational, and the critique of the pragmatic and merely useful sparks much application for churches, schools, and businesses.

Natasha Wittman
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Insightful, inspiring an motivating as an artist and as a Christian. I could scarcely put the book down!
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-audio-books
Makoto writes beautifully and presents a beguiling vision for culture and the arts, whilst properly criticising the commercialism of art and life. The gratuitous beauty and goodness of creation and our role in co-creation are restored to their rightful place via his biblical vista. Focusing on organic metaphors, Makoto makes room for a florishing of fertility and does well to plant seeds for ripening.
Yet, it's all a bit too idealistic unfortunately, especially in trying to redeem our 'common lif
This is a short little book written by Makoto Fujimura, an artist and the founder of the International Arts Institute. This book is written primarily for artists, but the topics in the book apply more broadly toward anyone who is interested in moving beyond the culture wars that so plague our modern society and churches.

The ideas presented in this book are interesting and worth chewing on. In particular is his emphasis on the necessity of the arts for a culture to thrive and the need for diversi
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The New Yorker writer Helen Rosner tweeted back in December: “Most nonfiction could stand to be condensed into one taut magazine feature.” I believe this is the truest thing ever tweeted.⁣

“Culture Care” by Makoto Fujimura, to get the negative out of the way, was a pamphlet, turned into a short book (140 pages), that could have probably made its point in half that. I do not read much nonfiction because I find this to regularly be the case. I’m often enthralled for 50 pages and then ready to be d
Parts uber frustrating bc of the vagueness/generalizations.. some unaswered questions including how are we to define the beauty we are to nurture (and recenter/celebrate) through faithnjustice-conscious art without risking censorship/ideology saturation. (In a multicultural/multifaith/multidenominatioanl world - esppeciallyyy when thebreligious (christian)community is now so politically and linguistically (can i say that?) Divided)

But for the most part, thoughtprovoking and soulsoothing hearing
Susan Barber
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
"I am not a Christian artist. I am a Christian, yes, and an artist. I dare not treat the powerful presence of Christ in my life as an adjective. i want Christ to be my whole being. Vincent van Gogh was not a Christ artist either, but in Christ he painted the heaven declaring the glory of God. Emily Dickinson was not a Christian poet, and yet through her honest wrestling, given wings in words, her works - like Vincent's, like Harper Lee's, like Mahalia Jacksons' - speak to all the world as integr ...more
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Makoto Fujimura, recently appointed Director of Fuller's Brehm Center, is an artist, writer, and speaker who is recognized worldwide as a cultural shaper. A Presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003-2009, Fujimura served as an international advocate for the arts, speaking with decision makers and advising governmental policies on the arts. In 2014, the American Academy o ...more

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“Where does this openness to the “other” come from in artists? Some may grow out of empathy earned because artists are themselves often exiled from a normative tribal identity. There is also training to extend that empathy. In art, we constantly train ourselves to inhabit or portray the “other.” Artists learn to be adaptable and blend into an environment while not belonging to it, which also requires learning to speak new tribal languages.” 6 likes
“Mearcstapa is not a comfortable role. Life on the borders of a group— and in the space between groups—is prone to dangers literal and figurative, with people both at “home” and among the “other” likely to misunderstand or mistrust the motivations, piety, and loyalty of the border-stalker. But mearcstapa can be a role of cultural leadership in a new mode, serving functions including empathy, memory, warning, guidance, mediation, and reconciliation. Those who journey to the borders of their group and beyond will encounter new vistas and knowledge that can enrich the group.” 4 likes
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