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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

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  638 ratings  ·  117 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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Average rating 4.27  · 
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Cindy Rollins
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
As a person who speaks frequently about remembrance I was entranced my Makoto Fujimura's concept of generative care. I suppose this is Wendell Berry for Art. In some ways this book was full of hope and in other ways it felt almost naively impossible. The older I get the less likely I am to throw around words like truth, goodness, and beauty, but this book put all of that into a new perspective for me. I will share my highlights.

"Generative thinking often starts out with a failure, like my failu
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
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cannot recommend this enough. Rock-solid encouragement for artists, and a message of hope to anyone interested in creative catalyzing for the good of culture. Beautiful, inspiring, brilliant, true. Written with love, and backed by Makoto's own sacrificial living out of the kinds of values and actions he recommends to readers. Asks about a million great questions. Provides dozens of powerful images and metaphors for a hopeful vision of generative work in the world. Thankful once again for the art ...more
Annie Monson
Stop me from underlining this entire book — if culture is a river, this book is a flood of inspiration for us to be its custodians, those who restore our river to health that life may flourish around it.
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
Kelly Walter
Jun 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This excellent book is a foundational resource for Christians, offering invaluable wisdom. Read it.
The artist Makoto Fujimura's vision of society as earth/soil which needs to be carefully considered and tended as a gardener considers what she wants to grow and the needs of those plants, and continuously works toward replenishment, is inspiring and hopeful. The book was a bit dry, but the purpose behind it is vital especially today. I love Fujimura's work in the Japanese art of kintsugi. ...more
Daniel 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
F.C. Shultz
Wow. Did not expect so much goodness to be packed in such a small book. I want to live in Mako's world. Will definitely be revisiting this often, and planning to implement these ideas into my everyday life. ...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
Brennan Humphreys
Probably about 2.5, a Goodreads "alright."

While I probably agree with 90% of Mako's thoughts on the interplay of Christianity, artistry, and cultural malaise, I thought the book rather blandly broad. It's not that Mako is unfocused. He focalizes around the generative and generational aspects of culture, emphasizing the need for a posture toward cultural plurality that is generous rather than anxious, creative rather than destructive. His examples are nice, too: he present vignettes of van Gogh &
Feb 24, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This books is basically a rejection of the "culture wars" in the US. Instead of the culture wars, Fujimura offers what he calls "culture care" as an alternative. He talks a lot about the importance of being a "border stalker"; i.e. someone does not stand at the center of his/her camp but someone who understands and walks in and out of different worlds. This book is mostly written to artists and creators. He even includes practical advice on how resist giving into the commodification of art but s ...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?" ...more
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Peter Dray
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A quite beautiful book, offering a Christian vision for the arts. Fujimura portrays artists as "border stalkers" - Aragorns for the church and for our society, prophetically offering "soul" to communities lacking it. I'm personally not an artist but find I have new commitment to supporting, championing and listening to the artists I know as best I can. ...more
Peter Waefler
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can highly recommend this book! Not an easy or fast read as it provokes to think deeper and meditate on what's written. Yet profound and inspiring it leads into the world of beauty & creativity exploring their purposes in our personal lives as well as for humanity itself. ...more
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.
Jeffery Guichelaar
Apr 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Stunning, challenge, and beautiful, like all of Fujimura's work in literature and the visual arts.
A must read for thinking about the place of beauty and arts in culture
May 12, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Living on farmland that has been owned by over four generations of the same family has given me a new appreciate for generational care in any given profession, so I was very intrigued by Fujimura's premise that Christian artists should be creating spaces and work that are generative. Unfortunately, Makoto's ideas lacked practical application and I wished he had delved more into a theology of art and artists works based on scripture (I think he was intentionally trying to make his work accessible ...more
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
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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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