Greetings upon you all as we celebrate our Risen Lord. My Winter Quarter stay at Brehm|Fujimura studio left me with much hope, as I have had the most productive time in the studio here at Fuller Seminary. Much of what I hoped to accomplish as an artist was accomplished, painting one 7’x11’ painting and starting another 7’x22’ work, as well as completing many smaller works, even though I spent the first month preparing the studio. I have a better understanding of the inner workings of the seminary, even getting to co-teach a class with a scholar I have followed for years - Dr. William Dyrness, who coined the term “Visual Theology” at Brehm Center. I am filled with gratitude for the staff of Brehm Center as we celebrate this Easter, starting with Joe Gallagher, Todd Johnson, Ed Willmington, and Nate Risdon, and including Lindsey Wright and Caitlyn Ference-Saunders in the office, as well as many of the faculty and staff at Fuller.
After spending over three months here, I am convinced that the Brehm program is, and can continue to develop into, a more robust integration program of theological/biblical formation, spiritual formation and cultural formation. I am grateful for this opportunity to lead this unique discussion among artists and creative catalysts to innovate, and create a team of practitioners and theologians that would resource the generations to come. I am also convinced now that we can begin to lead in the conversation of the "theology of making," that encompasses the grand narrative of Creation to the New Creation in the Bible. This perspective that flows out of our experience of God through the arts, can be woven into a coherent vision for all of us to become “artists of the Kingdom,” ushered in by the resurrection power of Jesus. This window of opportunity is a rare one; it is an opportunity to take advantage of the foundation of theological principles built over the years at Brehm by the essential works of scholars like Dr. Rob Johnston (Reel Spirituality) and Dr. William Dyrness (Visual Faith), which can then re-shape seminary education toward creating a movement of makers to care for our culture at large.
What we seeded in this winter quarter will take months of follow up to take root; I will continue to split my time between Princeton and Pasadena to work with the faculty, students and staff, and I look forward to having further conversations with you in the near future.
Please join us on April 11th as we welcome our current California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia, also the former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts whom I’ve had the privilege to work with as a National Council on the Arts Member. I am grateful to be united with him in Pasadena to discuss “Culture Care and Poetry.” The lecture will start at 7pm at Travis Auditorium. It is a free event to the public. May this Easter season remind us of the power and a greater awareness of the New Creation to come!
- Mako Fujimura