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Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture
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Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  346 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A collection of essays, thoughts, and prayers from award-winning artist Makoto Fujimura, Refractions brings people of all backgrounds together in conversation and meditation on culture, art, and humanity.

Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by NavPress
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Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, culture
A quote from Makoto Fujimura:
"Beauty often resides in the peripheries of our lives."

This was a meditative book written by an artist whose studio was just blocks away from the twin towers that were toppled during the 9/11 attack. The trauma of that event could have discouraged any sensitive soul from persevering in the work, but the hideous destruction served in this case to solidify and fan the flames of the higher call to create.

Makoto Fujimura is unabashedly Christian in his view of culture,
Alexis Johnson
Fujimura's books have changed my life, and were it not for his calm comprehension and reflection, I would have totally lost my mind this year. His understanding of art and the global cultural need is unprecedented--at least from my perspective. I am very grateful for his work and I hope some day I can tell him that in person.
Becky Pliego
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very good. I knew, from other articles he has written elsewhere, that I was not going to agree with everything he had to say, but I am grateful for the things he has to say that are biblical and relevant.

Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-read-again
Profound, thoughtful words that need to be heard by all Christians in our divided, violent, screaming culture. So many gems that I know I'll need to re-read this one, and I know I'll find fresh insight.
Amy Neftzger
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a nice read for artists or anyone interested in the arts or how creativity can impact culture. The book is a series of short nonfiction pieces on different topics. Depending upon your stage in life, this book may have a more (or less) powerful impact on you, and each chapter may have a different level of impact because each is unique. The author makes some wonderful points and brings perspective to some of life's most painful moments and how art can be a part of the healing process.
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
A personal memoir (written as blog posts and later compiled) in which he reflects on an artist's calling in our current culture/world. Inspiring, reaffirming, helpful, and thought-provoking. Would recommend for "broken, brutally honest, creative ... canaries in the cultural mines" -- one of many ways he referred to "artists" in this book. :)
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Makoto Fujimura is one of the very few Christian artists alive today who seem able to live out their faith without sacrificing the honesty of their work. 'Refractions' is a beautiful, rambling collection of essays on topics as diverse -- yet somehow related -- as 9/11, Japanese aesthetics, and Finding Neverland.
J.D. Wills
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I haven't actually finished this book yet, but it's already five stars...By the time I finish it, I'm probably going to want to give it six stars. Every page in here is profoundly challenging, faithfully uplifting, and consistently inspiring.
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
What a thoughtful book. I'm currently reading a chapter of Romans and a chapter of this book each morning. As Paul lays out justification by faith, it's a nice contrast to read Mako's reflective book on art and faith and the revelation of God that is all around us if we take time to notice.
Jul 28, 2012 added it
I've been using this book as part of my morning time with God. I love Fujimura's thoughts on God and the creative life. His outlook is refreshing and offers expansive ways of considering life with God.
Molly Miltenberger
Jun 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: creativity
I love his blog posts... I think this was a little too scattered.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, non-fiction
A lovely collection of short essays (reworked from blog posts) and art. Lots of food for thought on art, culture, parenting, living in the city and faith. (8/10)
Sharon Baker-johnson
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
The reader's first impression of this book will certainly come from its presentation. The publisher (NavPress) spared no thought in creating a beautiful over sized quality paperback with color reproductions of the author's and other artist's work. I was drawn first to thumb through the book, taking glimpses or tastes of the book before ever sitting down to read it.

Fujimura is an American artist using Japanese-style painting, honored in Japan and the US. In 1992 he was the youngest artist to have
Mark Oppenlander
This book is a collection of essays from visual artist Makoto Fujimura. They were originally published as a series of blog posts and in various print and on-line publications. As a Japanese-American, a Christian, an artist and a survivor of the 9/11 attacks (his family lived a few blocks from Ground Zero), Fujimura's topics include art, faith, culture, violent conflict in our world and more.

I enjoyed this book. Fujimura has a gentle and humble writing style that takes a meandering path through h
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The church needs to be involved in the arts and even advocate for those outside of faith, precisely because God has poured his grace in all of creation, and every artist, consciously or not, taps into the 'groaning' of the Spirit."

This beautiful book is a collection of profound and thought-provoking essays about art and faith. Author Makoto Fujimura is an incredible artist and his perspective on the mingling of art and faith is especially compelling. Throughout the book, he discusses the use o
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So, so much to digest from these essays. One one hand, the mind & outlook of an artist is on display through life's mile markers, including death, catastrophe, and the arrival of children into adulthood.

On the other hand, the concepts behind various presentations & creators are called into question. Toward the artists, the passages are judgment free, yet there are multiple calls to action steered toward the reader.

Certainly a volume that demands repeated visits!
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-favs, essays
A powerful collection of essays wrestling with what it means to be an artist in today's culture and the redemptive power of art as a way to steward culture in a fallen world. Highly recommended for any artist searching for a deeper understanding - and theology - of creative work.
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a series of essays written by artist Makoto Fujimura that he wrote in wake of the September 11 attacks. The essays look at life, art, trying to navigate a world that is no longer safe and culture.
Maria Hrickova
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Robert Durough, Jr.
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Robert by: Makoto Fujimura
If you don’t know Makoto Fujimura, you should. Until recently, I didn’t even know of his existence; however, that all changed when a fellow scholar, art enthusiast, and friend, Jeremy McGinniss, invited me to join him and his students to a joint art lecture/presentation of “Qu4rtets” by painters Makoto Fujimura and Bruce Herman. It was a small, intimate setting, rather informal, and quite open to dialogue—not just Q&A. I felt an immediate connection to Fujimura as he spoke of culture and the ...more
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have this goal of reading all my books. I picked up this one because it looked short, but it ended up taking me a long time to read. It is a collection of short essays. I would read one and then I would have to prayer and reflect for a long time on what I just read. Eventually I find myself reading as slowly as I could just so I could soak it all in. The book centered on the Gospel, the arts, or individual and collective trauma, and the intersection of each. Great thoughts. I'm going to pass t ...more
Derek Emerson
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Makoto Fujimura is one of those rare animals — a Christian and an artist thriving in the secular world while holding firm to his faith. Born in Boston and trained in the United States, he received his MFA from Tokyo National University as a scholar in Nihonga, a Japanese-style of painting. His excellent work there earned him a chance to be the first non-Japanese citizen to take part in their lineage program. While studying, he became a committed Christian, which changed his direction in life and ...more
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Makoto Fujimura was appointed by President Bush in 2003 to the National Council on The Arts. He is a visual artist who works with light, prism and minerals to create refractions of art. After reading refractions, I am fully convinced of Fujimura’s ability as an artist and am certain of his dedication to art.

This book was a remarkable look into a creative mind that longs to capture the attention of the world through art, and yet bring glory to God.

Every chapter (or essay) reads like a devotion. I
May 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art, christian
I wanted to like this book—I really did. The book’s subtitle indicates a promising combination of faith, art, and culture. Though this series of blog postings indeed focuses on the intersection of all three, it simply bored me. The writing exudes grace and the visual artwork intrigues, but felt largely bland. I was expecting the author to be sort of like Henri Nouwen (if he had been a Japanese-American visual artist), or this work to be a more contemporary version of Madeline L’Engle’s Walking o ...more
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Makoto Fujimura has been an inspiration to me for years. In everything he writes, he manages to weave his love of culture, his love of community and his love of God into one piece. He excells in that very thing in his art too.

This book is a compilation of his thoughts on a vast range of subjects. In one entry, he is standing in line to vote in his children's former school at ground zero when he hears the man in front of him spell his name: L I B E S K I N D E. Fujimura realizes he is standing be
Lillibet Moore
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art, faith, non-fiction
"The culture at large is neither 'Christian' nor 'secular' but fantastically pluralistic, defying conventional categorizations. In each culture we will no doubt find evidences of trauma, like the ashes of Ground Zero....We can choose to disengage from such intractable reality, as our hearts struggle to find rest in such exile ground as Hiroshima, Auschwitz, Darfur, Afghanistan, and so n. Or we can accept hte splintered condition of culture as a kaleidoscope of common struggles, a reality that on ...more
Dean Huber
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the most difficult books I have ever read. Not that it was bad, but his ideas and viewpoint are so deep and personal and often abstract I had a very difficult time understanding it. I often had to read chapters 2 and 3 times to even begin to understand what he was saying. Warning: he references many historical works of art and literature, so your art history and literature knowledge should be pretty thorough before you begin. There were parts I did understand and each time it felt like a ...more
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As Christians, we are called to be stewards of our culture just as much as we are called to be stewards of our environment says Fujimura. We are called to champion beautiful art and beauty in all forms--as it is a reflection of our Creator. We must value truth and beauty in an age of postmodern cynicism and ugliness. Evil is real, but our culture needs reminding that good, beauty, and truth are all real, too.
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book for me has been a nice read compared to the theory I have to read in art school. Almost all the art theory in college is not Christian and this has given me hope to be a Christian artist in 2012.
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing

Beautiful written and slow

HOW I NEED something in my life to be slow and beautiful.

I was so reflective and peaceful while I meditated on the stories.

At times repetitive (my only beef) A delight for the soul.
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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