Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 139: Culture Care by Makoto Fujimara

by | Apr 21, 2024 | 2024 Book Reviews, Makoto Fujimara, Marion's Favorite Books, Marion's Favorites, Marion's Reading Life Blog, Nonfiction, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments

“Culture care emphasizes that God cares for the whole of the creation (as his own artwork) and for history (as God’s own story lived through our fallen reality), and that there is not one hair of our head or one moment of our journey that God does not pay close attention to (Luke 12:7). Culture care takes Jesus himself, who cared for people, his surroundings, and his culture, as a model for us all.”

In the above paragraph, Makoto Fujimara sets up his premise in Culture Care: Reconnecting With Beauty For Our Common Life. He establishes the link between faith, viewed from a Christian lens, and culture, emphasizing their interdependence and shared ability to prosper.

In the last fifty years, American Culture has experienced a significant separation between secular and sacred aspects of life. In terms of politics, there is a clear distinction between the left-wing and the right-wing. Additionally, there is a significant contrast between the majority (white) society and minority (people of color) society. Despite progress, those dividing lines have not completely disappeared over the years. In many instances, those lines continue to stand strong, unwavering.

Fujimara, as an artist, proposes an alternative to those dividing lines and culture wars. Furthermore, in a world where reductionism is hailed as the holy grail of cultural importance, the necessity of art becomes even more apparent. He argues in this paragraph:

Most of us recognize the shortcomings of reductionism at a deep level: we know that we are more than what we produce and that efficiency is not the point of education, religion, art, play, or many other aspects of human culture. Most people are dissatisfied with the reductionist viewpoint, yet not enough of us have or can articulate viable alternatives because reductionism has taken over not only how people define success but also what we value in society. Many in our culture no longer value a bouquet of flowers because beauty contributes neither to the machinery of production nor to an advantage in the latest cultural battle—and because the pressure for continued consumption warps our capacity to appreciate and enjoy.

Makoto hits a home run with that paragraph. Beauty is often disregarded as if it doesn’t contribute to practically or efficiency. Despite this, art has always transcended reductionism, and the God of the Bible possesses a greater understanding of this concept than any human being ever could. It seems that Evangelical Christianity either misses or completely ignores that point. Culture Care aims to find a harmonious balance between its significance within a Christian framework and its role in nurturing a thriving faith.

This is the second book by Makoto Fujimara I’ve read, and I’m equally impressed with it as I was with Art + Faith. At last, I’ve discovered an artist who grappled with these matters and aimed to integrate their art and faith into a holistic framework. Believers and non-believers alike who care about culture should read Culture Care for an alternative viewpoint that transcend today’s divisive culture wars.


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