Wednesdays’ words of Wisdom: A letter to North American Churches – Makoto Fujimura

As a new weekly feature I want to share what others are saying about Art and Faith. For this inaugural post i wanted to share some powerful excerpts from a letter written by artist Makoto Fujimura, one of the most prominent artists and Christians of our day. Read the full letter here on his website.

To the church:

An artist knows that what you can see and observe is only the beginning of our journey to discover the world. But you wanted proof, instead of mystery; justification instead of beauty. Therefore you pushed artists to the margins of worship, while the secular world you helped to create championed us, and gave us, ironically, a priestly role.

Instead of having quality artists at the core of your worship, we were forced to operate as extras … Meanwhile, in the institutions called museums, concert halls and academia, we are asked to be gods. You gave away artistic expression to the secular culture. And yet do you not know that Our Father in Heaven owns all of the earth?

Rather than giving devotion, they had to become a celebrity merchant, selling their goods; instead of giving of themselves to the Giver of gifts, they have become purveyors of a commodity. Artists have insight into the invisible qualities of the Reality; but you have forced them to serve only the visible, utilitarian and the pragmatic.

God has always, from the beginning, been an artist. He has spoken through the prophets and poets. The Bible begins with Creation, and ends with a New Creation. Everywhere in between God has chosen broken vessels, his creative creatures to create in love.

To artists who are Christians:

Create for our Father, improvise with the Spirit. Create through the Medium who binds all things together, and then you will begin to hear sounds of “the world that ought to be.” Surely, there will be birth pangs right up to that time. There will be more “Ground Zeros” created by destructive minds, twisting creative impulses into diabolical powers. Undo what they have done. Stand upon those ashes all around us, and open your hearts: look up, to Create in Love.

You must become as one; the Body of Christ. Love one another. Love is creative: Love is generative. Be diligent in the work of bringing unity in diversity of the Body. Art provides a wonderful example of diverse voices, instruments and colors to be brought together for the magnificence of the whole. You are God’s Masterpieces, a tapestry of diversity, created in Christ Jesus to birth more Masterpieces.

To artists of a distant country:

Finally, let me address the artists of the far country (Luke 15:13); you are starving though you have much. The corrupt world has given you celebrity, and the ephemeral treasures of the earth. Return to your first love. Come home. Creativity is a gift; art is a gift. Do not make it to be other than that, or you will be crushed by your own gifts: and do not try to numb the pain you feel down inside of you with anything other than drinking in the Holy Spirit.

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