The Maker's Space video Session #2- "Culture Care" and Pen and Ink



Supplies needed:  Paper and Pen, any pen will do.

                             "Culture Care" by Makoto Fujimura


Welcome to The Maker’s Space!  Any space can become His space where we slow down and meet with Him.  We will use art to slow ourselves and  our minds down so that we can hear Him.  Our God loves to be WITH us and is continually talking to us.  We have to practice listening skills and focusing skills so that we can hear Him and have a conversation with Him.  Art helps us converse when we don’t know what to say, and He shows us things in our art that He wants to say to us. Art also teaches us new skills and brain research has shown us that being a bit uncomfortable when we are learning new things, helps push our brain from system 1, which is basically mindless tasks that don’t require learning, to system 2 which is where the learning takes place.  So, it is good to push ourselves to learn new things.

We are also going to think about some new concepts to help us grow using the book Culture Care by Makoto Fujimura. He challenges us to figure out how can we bridge our divided cultures with beauty that each of us could bring?  Why does there have to be winners and losers?  Why can’t we work toward the goal of all of us flourishing, so we can live in a place where we thrive, not just survive?

Today we are going to learn a new art medium, pen and ink.  It is a beautiful medium and can be employed in different ways.  Here are some examples of pen and ink drawing… I encourage you to try to draw a scene or a face with it this week.  It is another freeing exercise of not worrying about mistakes.  You can then do a watercolor wash on it in some places if you want to add interest…….but we are going to use pen ink for design and doodling. Some places it is called Zentangle or Zen doodling.  Did you know that it is an art form? Examples: See video

Using ink is also an exercise that artists use to get them out of the perfectionism trap.  This trap can keep you from even starting to try something new, because your inner critic voice says, “Don’t even try, it will turn out terrible.  Our exercise today will help with the mistake trap and erasing mistake trap because there are no mistakes, only opportunities for another design.

We may have some new people joining us to day, and that is great!  Last time we did an exercise with collage, so if you haven’t done the first session on collage, go back and do that.  And, if you haven’t sent in your pictures of your collages yet. please send them in so I can see your art.  It so encourages me that you are hearing things about yourself, so send in your art and let me know that this is helpful to practice your listening skills.  Last time, we also reflected on the question:  If you could do anything, what is your favorite thing to do?  I hope you took some time to think about that.  It can give you hints about your passion and purpose.

Also last time, we discussed generative thinking vs. degenerative thinking.  Thinking in a life giving way when we consider how our thinking effects generations, and even our direction in life by having a genesis moment.Last week was an introduction to Culture Care and generative thinking. Did you stop yourself at times and when you might automatically go into a degenerative thinking pattern, did you wonder how can I begin to think generatively or life-giving so that all involved can flourish?  Don’t worry, this way of thinking takes practice and it takes work to break habits.  But what if everyone thought before they spoke and only spoke words that were life-giving or those that would help the other person flourish?  Did you have any genesis moments, where you are blocked from something you want to have happen and you stopped and thought of another way or or another path or something all together different?  Did you have any generational thoughts either of your parents, grandparents or grandchildren and how they would be influenced by your decision? Did your art speak more to you this past week?  What did you learn?

This time, here is the question:  If you had all the time and money in the world, and could be guaranteed you would become an expert, what area of study or course of study would you undertake?

I hope this exercise gives you the chance to dream a bit.  In our rushed lives, we don’t have time to daydream much any more.  Those daydreams are a way that we use our imaginations and begin to use our creativity to be who we were created to be.  What if God gave us our imaginations to connect with Him?  What if everyone sought Him to know who they were created to be and actually became who we were intended to be?  How would that change our culture and society?

Today, we are going to jump right into art as we talk about some of the concepts that Makoto Fujimura was trying to communicate in his book.  But we need God to participate with us to help us understand what He wants us to know.  We will start by slowing our racing minds down by our breathing in order to notice the thoughts that are in our minds.  Notice, we don’t empty our minds as some Eastern religions do, we try to focus on God and let Him speak.  Yes, you will have distracting thoughts from focusing on Him because the enemy knows that this is your power source and the connection that can bring you an abundant life. It takes practice to keep bringing your mind back to God but it is your most powerful weapon against the powers that continue to try and defeat us.  Sometimes it helps to write those distractions down in a little corner box and leave them there for now.  Every time you notice a distracting thought, write it down here.

We will take a minute to slow your racing minds down by breathing, and then keeping your eyes closed I will read another Jesus Calling to help you focus on Him speaking to you.

Breath Prayer

Breathe out doubt; breathe in assurance

Breathe out worry; breathe in peace of mind

Breathe out hatred; breathe in love

Breathe out war; breathe in peace

Breathe out turmoil; breathe in harmony

Breathe out insecurity; breathe in God’s presence

Breathe out emptiness; breathe in fulfillment

Breathe out selfishness; breathe in generosity

Breathe out darkness; breathe in God’s everlasting light.

I CAN SMOOTH OUT all the tangled-up places, including those in your mind and heart. So come to Me just as you are, with all your knotty problems and loose ends. Many of your difficulties are complicated by other people’s perplexities. It can be hard to sort out how much of the mess is yours and how much is theirs. Be willing to take responsibility for your own mistakes and sin without feeling responsible for the sinful failures of others. I am here to help you untangle your complex problems and find the best way to go forward.

Christianity is all about transformation—a lifelong process. Some of the knots from your past are hard to untie, especially when they involve people who continue to hurt you. Beware of getting stuck in introspection or obsessing about how to fix things. Instead, keep turning toward Me, seeking My Face and My will. Wait with Me, trusting in My timing for unscrambling things and making your way clear. Be willing to live with unresolved problems, but don’t let them be your focus. My Presence in the present is your portion—and your boundless blessing.

I want you to live this day abundantly, seeing all there is to see, doing all there is to do. Don’t be distracted by future concerns. Leave them to Me! Each day of life is a glorious gift, but so few people know how to live within the confines of today. Much of their energy for abundant living spills over the timeline into tomorrow’s worries or past regrets. Their remaining energy is sufficient only for limping through the day, not for living it to the full. I am training you to keep your focus on My Presence in the present. This is how to receive abundant Life, which flows freely from My throne of grace.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.


Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

—1 CHRONICLES 16:10–11

I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Open your eyes.

Today we are going to doodle or zentangle. I thought the devo was good as it spoke of untangling the knots in our life.   One time I was teaching this and a friend of mine said, I have been doing this all the time while I am on the phone and had no idea it is an art form!  But yes it is, and as you probably know it has become a way of slowing down and relieving anxiety and stress.

We are going to talk and draw about chapters 3,4,5 & 6. 

 Draw a  river down the middle of your paper with your pen. It can look like anything.  I’m not going to show you mine, because I want yours to be from your imagination.

We live in communities and all of our interactions with our physical and cultural environments directly affect our bodies, minds and eventually souls.  Souls need food as well.  Later we will talk about how beauty feeds the soul, but now we are going to draw a map of how the soul can be starved.

Makoto talks about this river representing the Hudson River as black back in the day of early industrialization.  It was seen as good pollution as evidence of industry thriving. Many now think that industrialization was the beginning of the end of artists functioning as beauty agents in our culture.

“But today we are doing the same thing with the river of culture.  Think of the arts and other cultural enterprises as rivers that water the soil of culture.  We are painting this cultural river black-full of byproducts -and there are still cultural mapmakers who claim that this is a good thing.  The pollution makes it difficult to for us to breathe, difficult for artists to create, difficult for any of us to see beauty through the murk.

It is widely recognized that our culture today is not life-giving.  There is little room at the margins to make artistic endeavors sustainable.  The wider ecosystem of art and culture has been decimated leaving only homogeneous pockets of survivors, those fit enough to survive in a poisoned environment.  In culture as in nature, a lack of diversity is a first sign of a distressed ecosystem.” Makoto

Draw two streams into the river that are polluting the culture and keeping it from thriving.  

Reductionism-we only value what we produce to consume.  We know at a deep level that we are more than what we produce,  and that efficiency is not the point of education, religion, art, a play, but we can’t articulate viable alternatives because that is how our society has come to define success or what we value.

Fragmentation,—-a society of experts, creates silos of specialization and not aware of context and what others are doing to contribute to the whole. No one else can participate unless you are an expert.  Cancer research was always like this until recently.  There was little research sharing of ideas, discoveries or collaborating for treatments. New ways of thinking collaboratively have happened in MMR and they have  been one of the fastest groups to bring new treatments online. That is why the question I asked you to think about…was one of expertise. Today, we tend to only listen to so-called experts in their field.

Today, Artists cannot be visionary gifts to society, they must have market success and be caught up in the cultural wars.  They are islands not integrated into society. Their isolation contributes to artists producing art for shock value to draw attention.  Draw circles of artists on the outskirts of culture. Skilled artisans  like woodworkers, stained glass artisans, shoe makers, added beauty in everyday life but with industrialization, those are hard to find. Here is another example of lost beauty vs. utility.  How many of  you have noticed or seen sewer caps that were once created to not only be useful but beautiful?

Now we have a culture that is fragmented and isolated from one another with our own tribes in our own cultural islands.  Draw more islands in different shapes.  Few people are willing to build bridges so we de- fault into survival mode and scarcity leading to competitiveness instead of generativity.

“Artists become bottom-dwellers adapting to the celebrity-model of art” popular culture driven not driven from within the artist as a means of telling culture what’s to come. From exodus times in the Bible,  artists were on the fringes of the camp, observing and interpreting events, but they were an important part of the culture to know where they were going. This would come out in their art, poems, songs, drama.

So what is the alternative to the starvation of culture?  Constructive cultural work begins with sharing ideas, ideals, visions for future generations and to care for the whole culture not just certain tribes.

We need to build bridges…start building bridges between artists, tribal islands, over the river that is supposed to feed and nourish the culture.  Also, start filling in patterns between islands and bridges using some of the ideas provided or make up your own.

Examples of patterns:

This is the beginning of soul care:

“We often think of our great artists, musicians, and writers—those who have demonstrated the ability to express beauty—as great souls. Most or all of them faced, and many overcame, great disorder.  We all need to do the work of healing finding safe spaces in which to incubate new expressions of creativity.”-Makoto-[Like you are doing here]  We all need to find ways to listen and learn from the “others” in our lives, those that are not like us, or at least not in our tribe.  It may involve imaginative exercises to extend empathy and combat narcissism.  It may mean reading old books to explore different ideas of humans living in different cultures from today to practice listening to different ideas.  This helps to broaden our temporal bandwidth.

 “Reading about other cultures helps you develop personal density[knowing who you are] which helps you resist the winds of social media or public opinion.  The less personal density that you have, the more you are blown about by the temporal winds of “likes”, and firehose of information.  Listening to others new, strange ideas are then tossed aside because we are so overwhelmed with too much information. Social media is fast paced and unprocessed, overloading you with information that does not contribute to resilience.  Consider getting news once a week instead of constantly.  This gives you more time to read, explore new ideas and process instead of being bombarded constantly. “  Breaking Bread with the Dead by Alan Jacobs.

This practice of choosing patterns helps to slow yourself down to be more in the present.  A practice to help your mind have a posture of slack yet attentive so that when God speaks, you notice and hear Him.

Take these sheets, not to overwhelm you with the millions of patterns, many people do get overwhelmed, but as an idea jumping off place.  And then let your pen be guided by God and let it flow.  Fill in the spaces, leave spaces, and then when you feel at peace, you may start with color.  Experiment with markers and/ or with watercolor in specific places or as washes over whole sections.

Now I will give you your time to create.  Play instrumental music. Take your time. Spend time with God.

Let’s show our art.

This map of culture starvation, can become a piece and a place of beauty with some attention and creativity to solve problems or patterns.  After you have filled in your designs, you can add some more beauty with color if you choose.  Take some markers if you want and strategically add some color.  We will go more into Beauty as food for the soul next time, but for now think about this as you continue to doodle;

Beauty as Food for Soul.

“A Christian’s understanding of beauty begins with the recognition that God does not need us, or the creation.  Beauty is a gratuitous gift of the creator God; it finds its source and its purpose in God’s character. God, out of his gratuitous love, created a world he did not need because he is an ARTIST.

“Even if we agree that beauty is not necessity for survival, it is still necessary for our flourishing.  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.

Beauty is a gift that we discover, receive, and steward.  This is a claim that 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.”Makoto  We have the ability and responsibility to create more beauty.”  {in whatever piece of the culture we find our selves] Beauty can attract others and can be a bridge to draw different cultures together. We can be agents of change and we are all artists because we were created in God’s image, the ultimate artist.  We can bring beauty in imaginative and creative ways into places that were degenerating and make them generative.  Think of different examples you have seen lately, of old dying towns being revitalized, abandoned lots into gardens, art on boarded up buildings…etc, etc. Send me your piece of beauty…




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