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It is my great honor and joy to introduce Makoto Fujimura, an internationally acclaimed artist, speaker, writer, and founder of the International Arts Movement, to the Story Warren family. Mako is sacrificially generous with both his time and tremendous gifting. When I asked him if he’d be willing to write a brief introductory note to you, he responded within minutes.
Dear Story Warren Community,
As I write this in my office in NYC, at the International Arts Movement space, my son C.J. and his girlfriend Tina are preparing to present “Vacant Lots: An Exploration of Fear, the Unknown, and Detroit” theatre piece that they have developed this summer. They are moving to Detroit to start a theatre company there, appropriately called Sparrow Theatre Company.
It was but twelve years ago that I feared for CJ’s life, escaping from P.S. 234 in downtown Tribeca, two to three blocks from where the Towers stood. I walked about there today, reflecting on that day, as I plan not to be in TriBeCa next week on 9/11.
In many ways, what CJ has decided to create and to co create today, is the culmination of his journey from that fateful day till now, wrestling with how to live toward restoration from destruction. As a parent, the journey has been a slow, day to day, journey often filled with doubts and failures, often wrestlings with my own faith and my art. Imagination, therefore, is linked to grace, residing even in the midst of ashes of Ground Zero, nurtured in the every day within our children. May your journey find grace in the midst of your own “vacant lots” or “Ground Zero” realities, and may your children create out of them something beautiful.
Most folks become familiar with Mako through the world of art. My story is different. A few years ago during the Easter season, I stumbled upon an essay entitled The Beautiful Tears. I was stopped. The words were provocative, beautiful, and life giving. My curiosity was piqued. I followed the trail of virtual breadcrumbs to Mako’s site.
Within months, I had ordered and devoured his book, Refractions. I read it a second time with a group. We were stirred in unique and substantial ways. Significant conversations about life, faith, creativity and hope were the outcome, and my family is different as a result. A copy of the Four Holy Gospels, illuminated by Mako in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version Bible, is among my most treasured possessions.
Mako’s art and writings have become an important voice of hope in the midst of darkness, both internationally, and within the four walls of my home. We live in a culture which largely values performance, results, and the bottom line. How do we reconcile the realities of our culture with the ideals (and promises) of the Kingdom? Mako gives us the great gift, not of answers, but of important questions:
What does it look like to live out of faith, not fear?
How can we create a family culture of creativity, imagination, and hope that will spill out into the world?
How can we become creators of culture rather than solely consumers of culture?
What does it mean to be generative and generous with our stories, gifting, and resources?
The dialogue is important. I’m delighted to invite you to join the conversation.
How will it work?
For the next four Wednesdays, we’ll post a link to one of Mako’s (online) essays. Take a few minutes to read and consider. We’ll pose a few questions as fodder for conversation. You’re invited to do the same. The hope is that folks would reflect on the ideas presented and engage in discussion.
What if I miss a week?
No problem. Each essay stands on its own. Although you’ll glean more from the conversation if you can read along all four weeks, join us when you can.
Is there a way to follow the conversation without checking the blog every Wednesday?
Sure. Just fill out the boxes here (ignore the pink error – it will go away when you fill out the information). Every Saturday, you’ll receive an email from us that contains links to the prior week’s posts.
The following video is an excellent introduction to what you can expect. Please take a few minutes to watch (and get a pencil and paper to scribble down quotes that are meaningful to you). Invite a friend to do the same. Be generative. Spread hope.
If you prefer to read rather than listen, you can find the essay here.
Please speak up and share your thoughts. Others will benefit from what you have to offer.
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