My friend and fellow writer Jana sent me, via Twitter, a link to artist Makoto Fujimura's recent letter to North American churches. And honestly, as weary as I am of seeing Christianity chastised (even, as in this case, from the inside) there's some important truth in this piece.
In Rome and Assisi and Siena I saw the way art and the Church are made to work together. The subject matters a lot to me...
Here are a couple of tastes of what Fujimura has to say. To the Church:
"Instead of having quality artists at the core of your worship, we were forced to operate as extras; as in "if-we-can-afford-it-good-but-otherwise-please-volunteer", Extras. Meanwhile, in the institutions called museums, concert halls and academia, we are asked to be gods.... Artists still have an instinct for worship, but they must do so now in sterile, minimalist boxes called galleries to the "unknown gods" of our time."To Christian artists:
"There will be more "Ground Zeros" created by destructive minds, twisting creative impulses into diabolical powers. Undo what they have done. Stand upon those ashes all around us, and open your hearts: look up, to Create in Love."
And to "the artists of the far country (Luke 15:13)":
"[Y]ou are starving though you have much. The corrupt world has given you celebrity, and the ephemeral treasures of the earth. Return to your first love. Come home. Creativity is a gift; art is a gift. Do not make it to be other than that, or you will be crushed by your own gifts..."Read the whole thing here: Makoto Fujimura, A Letter to North American Churches