The Week in Books 2009, No. 11

Makoto Fujimura’s Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture is a thoughtful and powerful collection of essays exploring the possibility of creating redemptive art in a conflicted and distracted culture. The well written essays challenge the reader to consider art’s impact on society, a Christian’s place in the art world, and a Christian response to good art.

I was interested to read about Fujimura’s creative process, and intrigued by his art and his reflections on its meaning and purpose. I was fascinated by the materials and methods Fujimura uses to explore ideas like the City of God, grace, and redemption, and appreciated how much his discussion added to my enjoyment of the art prints placed throughout the volume.

Fujimura writes beautifully and expressively and his book was a joy to read. I highly recommend this book to anyone with even the slightest interest in art and culture. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite passages from Refractions:

Beauty often resides in the peripheries of our lives. We walk past such humble miracles, such as the babe in the manger in a little village of Bethlehem, all the time. In the frantic pace of life, we need to slow down and simply observe natural forces around us and create out of that experience. What makes us truly human may not be how fast we are able to accomplish a task but what we experience fully, carefully, and quietly in the process.

Note: For purposes of full disclosure, NavPress sent me a copy of this book to review. I’m thrilled to have my own copy, because I felt compelled to underline, as I only do in books I intend to revisit. You can read more about Refractions at the NavPress website.

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