Our first summer living on this country hill, the budget was tight and luxuries were few. I had planted a garden that seemed huge to me at the time, and a friend, intending to surprise me, weeded the entire plot as a generous gift from the heart. How could she have known that those random shoots between the green beans would have become marigolds or that the tomato plants had been interspersed with a potential forest of sunflowers? Reading Culture Care by Makoto Fujimura explained for me the long ago disappointment and the deep sense of loss that clouded my gratitude to that well-meaning friend: those flower seeds had been planted just for joy. To me, they had represented hope and beauty in a world that ran almost exclusively toward practicality.
Our common lives become far too common when we fail to carve out a space for beauty. Makoto argues effectively that when we starve our souls in pursuit of our “living,” we lose sight of our own nature as creative beings, made in the image of a Creator God who calls us to lives of fruitfulness and beauty. Working from insights gained in his calling as an artist, the author invites his readers into the generative life, which is “fruitful, originat[es] new life, [and] . . . draws on creativity to bring into being something fresh and life giving.”
I’m sharing my review of Makoto Fujimura’s influential book over at The Perennial Gen today, and you are invited to click on over and join us there! The Perennial Gen is a space for men and women in the second half of life to cultivate frank conversation about transitions in our faith, culture, church, relationships, vocation, and bodies. Be sure to check out some of the great writing there when you visit.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope,