Please consider joining a group of like-hearted folks as we read Makoto Fujimura’s Refractions.  Mako is an internationally acclaimed artist, speaker, and writer, and is the founder of the International Arts Movement.  For more on his life and works, you can visit his website.

Through a series of essays, Mako makes a compelling case for the crucial role of creativity in a culture that is consistently dehumanizing.  He is leading a revolution of reconciliation in the midst of a hostile world.  The thread running throughout the essays in Refractions is one of hope:

“We need to see ways to be not just ‘peacekeepers’ but to be ‘engaged peacekeepers.’ In such a definition, peace (or the Hebrew word shalom) is not simply an absence of war but a thriving of our lives, where God uses our creativity as a vehicle to create the world that ought to be.”  Makoto Fujimura


Regardless of our education, occupation, or prior experience with the arts, we all have much to gain from reading Refractions.  We have an opportunity to help shift the climate of this generation from one of “Culture Wars” to one of “Culture Care.”

“The goal of arts education is not to create artists, although that is a fine by-product: the goal of arts education is to create better doctors, engineers, politicians, teachers, fathers and mothers.”   Dana Gioia, Former Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts

The Schedule:

Week of August 20th: Introduction, Chp 1-3
Week of August 27th: Chp 4-8
Week of September 3rd: Chp 9-12
Week of September 10th: Chp 13-16
Week of September 17th: Chp 17-20
Week of September 24th: Chp 21-23

Refractions is available for purchase in book form, or you can find the individual essays here. For many of us, the fall brings with it increased demands on our schedules. The reading plan allows for flexibility.  Each chapter is only a few pages long and can stand alone. If your week is particularly busy and you’re only able to read one essay, you’ll still be able to join in the discussion.

The Plan:

For those on Facebook, we have formed a private Greener Trees Reads group for all who are interested.  I’ll be posting an invitation, and you just need to request approval to join.  Once you’re a member, you’re welcome to invite and approve your friends.

For those who are in Charlotte, we will offer an opportunity to meet and discuss in person sometime in September or October.

For those of you who just want to read along, consider asking a friend to join you so you can discuss.

I won’t be hijacking the blog for the fall as I did with The Mind of the Maker, but the reading and subsequent churning of ideas will undoubtedly seep through into whatever I share.  The impact of Mako’s vision has permeated much of my everyday life – my view of family and friendships, how we spend our time, the value of the seemingly mundane, and the privilege and responsibility with which we have been entrusted.  I am grateful.


Our reading group just finished a rich conversation about Dorothy Sayers’s book The Mind of the Maker.  Many of her insights are directly applicable to the ideas found in Refractions.  For pieces written in response to The Mind of the Maker, you can read:

Hope Restored
On Limitations and Lemonade Stands, Free Will and Miracle
Redeeming the Fall
An Unfinished Work
And It Was Good

If you liked this post, you might like these:

Valentine's Day Remixed
Join Us