Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Monday, April 1, 2019

Makoto Fujimura's Golden Sea

Makoto Fujimura's Golden Sea

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(there are many)

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Makoto Fujimura

Early Life

Makoto Fujimura (born 1960) is a 21st-century artist. He graduated with a B.A. from Bucknell University, then studied in a traditional Japanese painting doctorate program for several years at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music with several notable artists such as Takashi Murakami and Hiroshi Senju. His bicultural arts education led his style towards a fusion between fine art and abstract expressionism, together with the traditional Japanese art of Nihonga and Kacho-ga (bird-and-flower painting tradition).

Fujimura was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1960. [1]Both of his parents were of Japanese descendent and after Fujimura was born, they returned to Japan, where Fujimura spent most of his childhood. When he was 13 years old, his family decided to come back to the United States.[2]


Fujimura graduated cum laude from Bucknell University in 1983 with a double major in Animal Behavior and Art with a minor in Creative Writing.[3] Fujimara went on to study traditional Japanese painting at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He received his M.F.A. in 1989. He was invited back to the Tokyo National Univeristy of Fine Arts and Music to continue his education. There he received his Doctorate in Nihonga, an ancient Japanese painting style. He was the first non-Japanese citizen to participate in the Japanese Painting Doctorate Program, which dates back to 15th century. [4]



Fujimura’s paintings are a combination of the traditional Japanese painting style known as Nihonga and Abstract Expressionism. Throughout the 1990s Fujimura exhibited his paintings in both Japan and the U.S. In 1992, at the age of 32 Fujimura became the youngest artist ever to have a piece acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo.[5]


In 2011 the Fujimura Institute was established and launched the Qu4rtets, a collaboration between Fujimura, painter Bruce Herman, Duke theologian/pianist Jeremy Begbie, and Yale composer Christopher Theofanidis, based on T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. The exhibition travelled to Baylor University, Duke University, and Yale University, Hong Kong University, Cambridge University, Gordon College, Roanoke College and other institutions around the globe. Qu4rtets became the first contemporary art exhibited at the historic King's Chapel in Cambridge, UK, for the Easter of 2015, and was exhibited in Hiroshima for the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings in November 2015.

He is represented by Artrue International and exhibits regularly in Waterfall Mansion Gallery in New York City and other galleries internationally. His works are in permanent collection at the National Modern Museum of Art in Tokyo, Yokohama Museum of Art, Tokyo University of the Arts Museum, the Saint Louis Museum, the Cincinnati Museum, and the CNN building in Hong Kong, and other museums globally. Tikotin Museum in Israel will host a solo exhibit in 2018 curated by James Elaine.

His work includes “The Splendor of the Medium”, "Water Flames," and "Charis," and "Golden Sea," a collection of paintings using stone-ground minerals including gold, platinum, azurite, malachite and cinnabar. He has collaborated with percussionist/composer Susie Ibarra on multiple occasions, and his live painting was recorded by Plywood Pictures in "Live in New York: Susie Ibarra + Makoto Fujimura." (2009)

In November 2009, Fujimura's works were coupled with works of Georges Rouault at Dillon Gallery. Fujimura created several new works in homage to the 20th century master, the catalyst of the "Sacred Arts Movement" in Paris that influenced Picasso, Matisse and other modernist artists. Fujimura wrote an essay for the show that was included in a short book that was produced to accompany the show called "Soliloquies" (Square Halo Books, 2009).

Crossway Publishing commissioned Fujimura in 2009 for The Four Holy Gospels project to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the publishing of the King James Bible. It was the first time that a single artist has been commissioned to illuminate the four Gospels in nearly five hundred years. The Gospels were on exhibition at the Museum Of Biblical Art in Manhattan in 2011, and are on display in Takashimaya, Nihonbashi, Tokyo, until December, 2011. The Four Holy Gospels consist of five major frontispieces, 89 chapter heading letters and over 140 pages of hand illumined pages, all done in traditional Nihonga. The Four Holy Gospels original art will be featured in "Four Holy Gospels Chapel" at the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C..

Published Writings

He is also an author of several books including "River Grace" (Poiema Press, 2008), and "Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art and Culture" (NavPress, 2009), and Culture Care (Fujimura Institute, 2014). IN 2016, Fujimura released "Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering" (IVPress), an autobiographical journey into Shusaku Endo's "Silence".

  • "Silence and Beauty" Aldersgate Award Winner (IVPress, 2016)
  • "Culture Care" (Fujimura Institute, 2014)
  • "The Aroma of the New" (Books and Culture, 2011)
  • "Fallen Towers and the Art of Tea" (2009)
  • “Refractions: a journey of art, faith and culture” (NavPress, 2009)
  • "Withoutside: Transgressing in Love," Image Journal, "Twentieth Anniversary Issue: Fully Human," Number 60 (2008)
  • "A Letter to a Young Artist," Scribbling in the Sand, Michael Card, InterVarsity Press (2002)
  • "Fallen Towers and the Art of Tea," Image Journal, Number 32 (2001)
  • "An Exception to Gravity - On Life and Art of Jackson Pollock," Regeneration Quarterly, Volume 7, Number 3 (2001)
  • "River Grace," Image Journal, Number 22 (1999)
  • "That Final Dance," It was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God, edited by Ned Bustard, Square Halo Press (2000)

Fujimura acted as a special advisor to the major motion picture by Martin Scorsese based on Endo's "Silence". Fujimura's essays have appeared in Image Journal, American Arts Quarterly, Time and World magazine. His essay "The Fallen Towers and the Art of Tea" was selected for Image Journal's "Bearing the Image: Twenty Years of Image" anthology. He is featured twice in the book "Objects of Grace: Conversations on Creativity and Faith" (Square Halo Books, 2004) and contributed an essay and artwork to "It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God" (Square Halo Books, 2007). In 2010 Fujimura made his on-screen debut with commentary in the award-winning documentary, The Human Experience. His mid-career retrospective catalogue "Golden Sea" (Dillon Gallery Press) was released in 2013 with essays by Daniel Siedell, Roberta Ahmanson, Nicolas Wolterstorff, and others. Golden Sea includes a full documentary of the same title by Plywood Pictures. Fujimura has recently served as an executive producer of a short film "Abstraction: Dianne Collard Story", a finalist at the Heartland Film Festival.


On September 1, 2015, Fujimura was appointed Director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary. In this role, he will be a “vision director” for Fuller’s Brehm Center, leading and teaching from his studio space in order to foster a robust, imaginative experience for students. Fujimura hopes to be a catalyst for innovation in the future of seminary education, integrating the best of the arts into the church, seeing cities as classrooms for that integration, and helping the church to become the leading practitioner of culture care. Fujimura understands "culture care" as giving import to the creation and conservation of beauty as an antidote to cultural brokenness by asserting a need for cultural “generativity” in public life. (See his speech on culture care at the National Press Club.) Fujimura’s book [1] is a support volume to the personal gatherings and international speaking engagements in which he shares that vision with like-minded artists, supporters, and creatives.

Fujimura founded the International Arts Movement in 1991. He has co-hosted several major conferences for the International Arts Movement, and continues to develop the gathering through Culture Care Summit (Feb 8-12th, 2017 at Fuller).

He has lectured at The Aspen Institute, Hong Kong University, Bucknell University, Cairn University, Gordon College, Grove City College, The King's College (New York), Princeton University, Yale University, Baylor University, Belmont University, Duke University, Belhaven University and has been a keynote speaker in various arts, academic and business conferences.


Fujimura is a recipient of 2014 American Academy of Religion's "Religion and Arts Award". Previous recipients of the award include Meredith Monk, Holland Carter, Gary Snyder, Betye & Alison Saar and Bill Viola. He is also a Senior Fellow at The Trinity Forum.

Bucknell University honored him with the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2012.

Fujimura is a recipient of four Doctor of Arts Honorary Degrees, from Belhaven University in 2011, Biola University in 2012, Cairn University in 2014 and Roanoke College in 2015. His commencement address "The Aroma of the New" given at Belhaven University was chosen by NPR as one of the 300 "The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever."

He was appointed by President Bush to the National Council on the Arts in 2003. At the completion of his term in 2009, then Chair Dana Gioia awarded him the Chairman's Medal for his service and contribution to arts advocacy in the United States.


Fujimura is the son of Osamu Fujimura (scientist), one of the pioneers of speech science. Fujimura's journey of faith is recounted in his recent book "Silence and Beauty".

External links

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Rakuyō (落葉, Fallen Leaves) by Hishida ShunsōImportant Cultural Property (1909)
Fruit by Kokei Kobayashi (1910)
Enbu (炎舞, Dance of Flames) by Gyoshū Hayami, Important Cultural Property (1925)
Madaraneko (斑猫, Tabby Cat) by Takeuchi Seihō, Important Cultural Property (1924)
Jo no Mai (序の舞, Noh Dance Prelude) by Uemura Shōen (1936)
Nihonga (日本画, "Japanese-style paintings") are Japanese paintings from about 1900 onwards that have been made in accordance with traditional Japanese artistic conventions, techniques and materials. While based on traditions over a thousand years old, the term was coined in the Meiji period of Imperial Japan, to distinguish such works from Western-style paintings, or Yōga (洋画).


The impetus for reinvigorating traditional painting by developing a more modern Japanese style came largely from many artist/educators, which included; Shiokawa BunrinKōno BaireiTomioka Tessai, and art critics Okakura Tenshin and Ernest Fenollosa who attempted to combat Meiji Japan's infatuation with Western culture by emphasizing to the Japanese the importance and beauty of native Japanese traditional arts. These two men played important roles in developing the curricula at major art schools, and actively encouraged and patronized artists.
Nihonga was not simply a continuation of older painting traditions. In comparison with Yamato-e the range of subjects was broadened. Moreover, stylistic and technical elements from several traditional schools, such as the Kanō-ha, Rinpa and Maruyama Ōkyo were blended together. The distinctions that had existed among schools in the Edo period were minimized.
However, in many cases Nihonga artists also adopted realistic Western painting techniques, such as perspective and shading. Because of this tendency to synthesize, although Nihonga form a distinct category within the Japanese annual Nitten exhibitions, in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to draw a distinct separation in either techniques or materials between Nihonga and Yōga.
The artist Tenmyouya Hisashi has (b. 1966) developed a new art concept in 2001 called "Neo-Nihonga".

Development outside Japan

Nihonga has a following around the world; notable Nihonga artists who are not based in Japan are Hiroshi SenjuAmerican artists such as Makoto Fujimura, Judith Kruger and Miyuki Tanobe [1] and Indian artist Madhu Jain.[2] Taiwanese artist Yiching Chen teaches workshops in Paris.[3] Judith Kruger initiated and taught the course "Nihonga: Then and Now" at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Savannah, Georgia Department of Cultural Affairs.
Contemporary Nihonga has been the mainstay of New York's Dillon Gallery.[4] Key artists from the "golden age of post war Nihonga" from 1985 to 1993 based at Tokyo University of the Arts have produced global artists whose training in Nihonga has served as a foundation. Takashi MurakamiHiroshi Senju, Norihiko Saito, Chen Wenguang, Keizaburo Okamura and Makoto Fujimura are the leading artists exhibiting globally, all coming out of the distinguished Doctorate level curriculum at Tokyo University of the Arts. Most of these artists are represented by Dillon Gallery.


Nihonga are typically executed on washi (Japanese paper) or eginu (silk), using brushes. The paintings can be either monochrome or polychrome. If monochrome, typically sumi (Chinese ink) made from soot mixed with a glue from fishbone or animal hide is used. If polychrome, the pigments are derived from natural ingredients: minerals, shells, corals, and even semi-precious stones like malachiteazurite and cinnabar. The raw materials are powdered into 16 gradations from fine to sandy grain textures. A hide glue solution, called nikawa, is used as a binder for these powdered pigments. In both cases, water is used; hence nihonga is actually a water-based mediumGofun (powdered calcium carbonate that is made from cured oysterclam or scallop shells) is an important material used in nihonga. Different kinds of gofunare utilized as a ground, for under-painting, and as a fine white top color.
Initially, nihonga were produced for hanging scrolls (kakemono), hand scrolls (emakimono), sliding doors (fusuma) or folding screens (byōbu). However, most are now produced on paper stretched onto wood panels, suitable for framing. Nihonga paintings do not need to be put under glass. They are archival for thousands of years.


In monochrome Nihonga, the technique depends on the modulation of ink tones from darker through lighter to obtain a variety of shadings from near white, through grey tones to black and occasionally into greenish tones to represent trees, water, mountains or foliage. In polychrome Nihonga, great emphasis is placed on the presence or absence of outlines; typically outlines are not used for depictions of birds or plants. Occasionally, washes and layering of pigments are used to provide contrasting effects, and even more occasionally, gold or silver leaf may also be incorporated into the painting.

See also