Acton University 2014 (6.18.2014): Makoto Fujimura on Visual Theology

makotofujimuraConsider the lilies. Emily Dickinson once said that this was the only commandment she ever obeyed. While Dickinson employs some hyperbole, it is a proper corrective for many who never stop and actually consider the lily. Makoto Fujimura spoke tonight about art for the glory of God. We’re all artisans in some capacity and must seek to steward our gifts for God’s glory. Fujimura spoke with deep reverence about the Japanese craft of Nihonga and how he seeks to honor the cultivation of this gift from his forebearers and further refine the craft to show forth God’s glory.

Back to the lilies. Do we stop and consider the things that God has surrounded us with? While we have the category of natural revelation to explain God’s witness in creation, Jesus explicitly summoned creation as a witness to his special revelatory teaching. Perhaps a new category is needed. Fujimura spoke of “visual theology” and how he seeks to convey theological truths in his art. He reads the Scripture, prays, and creates art that’s intended to convey truth in all its beauty.

Fujimura tells us to encourage the artists around us and to develop the artist within us. I’ve long respected Japanese culture, especially its particular appreciation to detail and the arts. There is no wasted energy; everything has a purpose. There is thoughtful reflection and intentionality in pretty much everything they create. Fujimura has been redeemed by God, and Fujimura, in turn, is redeeming the arts to more explicitly glorify God. Consider the lilies.


© 2014, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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