On Culture Care & The Unsettling of America
"Beauty is a gift that we discover, receive, and steward" (Fujimura, 26).
"Beauty is found both in nature and in / culture. It is something that is given to us, and it is also something we human beings can add to -- something we can cultivate. God asks us to continue as he began" (Fujimura, 52-53).
"In anything we make, we bring our creative energies, but we are always acting in stewardship of something that we have been given. At our best we work with our raw materials, honoring their properties and respecting their limits, not working against the grain or twisting them out of context. In short, we need to love both nature and culture to exercise a proper stewardship" (Fujimura, 53).
"Effective stewardship leads to generative work and a generative culture. We turn wheat into bread -- and bread into community. We turn grapes into wine -- and wine into occasions for joyful camaraderie, conviviality, conversation, and creativity. We turn minerals into paints -- and paints into works that lift the heart or stir the spirit. We turn ideas and experiences into imaginative worlds for sheer enjoyment and to expand the scope of our empathy" (Ibid).
"A healthy culture is a communal order of memory, insight, value, work, conviviality, reverence, aspiration. It reveals the human necessities and the human limits. It clarifies our inescapable bonds to the earth and to each other. It assures that the necessary restraints are observed, that the necessary work is done, and that it is done well" (Berry, 47).
"A healthy community is one that is secure, anchored in tradition and faith, but also allowing for a dynamic movement outward, sending forth artists and missionaries, caregivers and entrepreneurs" (Fujimura, 92).
"Our sense of beauty and our creativity are central to what it means to be made in the image of a creative God. The satisfaction in beauty we feel is connected deeply with our reflection of God's character to create and value gratuity. It is part of our human nature. This is why our soul hungers for beauty. / Because it is gratuitous, beauty points beyond itself, beyond survival to satisfaction.... Beauty also connects us to the why of living. It points to discoveries waiting to be made about the creation. It points toward questions of right relationships, of ultimate meaning, and even of eternity. It points backward and outward and forward to our ultimate Source and Sustainer" (Fujimura, 51-52).
"It is impossible to contemplate the life of the soil for very / long without seeing it as analogous to the life of the spirit. No les than the faithful of religion is the good farmer mindful of the persistence of life through death, the passage of energy through changing forms. ... It is the nature of the soil to highly complex and ariable, to conform very inexactly to human conditions and rules. ... Because the soil is alive, various, intricate, and because its processes yield more readily to imitation than to analysis, more readily to care than to coercion, agriculture ca never be an exact science. There is an inescapable kinship between farming and art, for farming depends as much on character, devotion, imagination, and the sense of structure, as on knowledge. It is a practical art. But it is also a practical religion, a practice of religion, a rite" (Berry, 90-92). And then Wendell waxes eloquent about the etymology of the word agriculture and its root connection to worship.
"Beauty can show us what could be, and can make us rightly dissatisfied with the way things are. In the face of the undeniable and often unbearable human suffering all around us, we must still affirm beauty and work to make our culture reflect it. This is why a culture care approach will encourage truth telling about alienation, suffering, and oppression alongside truth telling about justice, hope, and restoration" (Fujimura, 56).
"Artists who come to embrace the role of mearcstapa and find support and training to walk it out can become leaders who make possible the reunification of divided kingdoms; they can be reconcilers of division and fragmentation. They can release great generativity and flourishing" (Fujimura, 60).