Forbes.com // Religion Today (Eric Gorski)
There are no crosses in Makoto Fujimura's paintings. No images of Jesus gazing into the distance, or serene scenes of churches in a snow-cloaked wood.
Fujimura's abstract works speak to his evangelical Christian faith. But to find it takes some digging.
After the 2001 terrorist strikes on the World Trade Center, three blocks from Fujimura's home, his work explored the power of fire to both destroy and purify, themes drawn from the Christian Gospels and Dante's "The Divine Comedy."
"I am a Christian," says Fujimura, 46, who founded the nonprofit International Arts Movement to help bridge the gap between the religious and art communities. "I am also an artist and creative, and what I do is driven by my faith experience.
"But I am also a human being living in the 21st century, struggling with a lot of brokenness - my own, as well as the world's. I don't want to use the term 'Christian' to shield me away from the suffering or evil that I see, or to escape in some nice ghetto where everyone thinks the same."
By making a name for himself in the secular art world, Fujimura has become a role model for creatively wired evangelicals. They believe that their churches have forsaken the visual arts for too long - and that a renaissance has begun.
On the grass-roots and institutional level, evidence is mounting to support that view: Art galleries are opening in churches; prominent seminaries are investing in new centers exploring theology and the arts; and, graduates from evangelical film schools are making Hollywood movies.