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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Makoto Fujimura on the core of existence

My friend Mako is a great leader in the arts and the church, and I often find that he has a wisdom that strikes to the heart of things. Here's a clip from his address at Biola:

Art and love are fundamentally the same act, operating on the same sphere of our lives. You see, art is not a frivolous, peripheral activity, but it has to do with the deepest core of existence; it is to love yourself, and your neighbors.  Art defines what makes us human; and fully human, we will be making things.

We either create toward that love or away from that love; if we sit Idle to this reality, we abdicate our responsibility to steward culture: to say that we do not create, while consuming culture all the time, is to let the commercial forces determine our identity as a nation. 

So instead of consuming, go and create.  Be an entrepreneur, a nurse, a teacher, a missionary, an engineer, a politician, a scientist or a chef.  Are you called to the arts?  Do not forget to learn to ask yourself "what do you want to make today?"  I find that artists are guilty of not asking this question today.  Art has become a kind of game you play in an elitist circle, divorced from everyday concerns.  Artists are more concerned with "being in the right circles" to be recognized, rather focusing on creating art that only they can do. By the way, if anyone, institution, ideology or an art school crit tells you that you cannot use the word "creative," transgress.  But if you must transgress to make a point, do transgress in love.


  1. Wonderful,and absolutely true. Thanks,Marly.

  2. You know, I just read a book that struck me as deeply, terribly "away from that love." Well written, well made. But far away.

    Mako is very special.

  3. Oh yes, absolutely the truth! So well said that I'm going to save this and share.

  4. It was even better when I listened to his speech all the way through. And made me quietly so grateful that, almost 40 years after my own graduation, I made the choices I have made in my life. A lot of what I want to do now is help younger people make that choice. It's so much harder now, and takes even greater courage.

  5. I have a transcript, and I imagine it will appear on line soon... probably on his blog.

    Yes, it is good to look back and see that one survived growing up and eventually made right choices!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.