Seminary Dropout 130: Makoto Fujimura, Author of Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering

Discussing Shusaku Endo's novel Silence and it's impact on his Christianity

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*Published Originally at MissioAlliance.org

mfMakoto Fujimura is an internationally renowned artist, writer and speaker who serves as the director of Fuller Theological Seminary’s Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts. He is also the founder of the International Arts Movement and served as a presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003 to 2009. His books include Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art and Culture and Culture Care. Recognized worldwide as a cultural shaper, Fujimura’s work has been exhibited at galleries including Dillon Gallery in New York, Sato Museum in Tokyo, The Contemporary Museum of Tokyo, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts Museum, Bentley Gallery in Arizona, Taikoo Place in Hong Kong and Vienna’s Belvedere Museum. In 2011 the Fujimura Institute was established and launched the Qu4rtets, a collaboration between Fujimura, painter Bruce Herman, Duke theologian/pianist Jeremy Begbie and Yale composer Christopher Theofanidis, based on T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. A popular speaker, Fujimura has lectured at numerous conferences, universities and museums, including the Aspen Institute, Yale and Princeton Universities, Sato Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum. Among many awards and recognitions, Bucknell University honored him with the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2012, and the American Academy of Religion named him as its 2014 Religion and the Arts award recipient. He has received honorary doctorates from Belhaven University, Biola University, Cairn University and Roanoke College.
Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering

Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence, first published in 1966, endures as one of the greatest works of twentieth-century Japanese literature. Its narrative of the persecution of Christians in seventeenth-century Japan raises uncomfortable questions about God and the ambiguity of faith in the midst of suffering and hostility. Endo’s Silence took internationally renowned visual artist Makoto Fujimura on a pilgrimage of grappling with the nature of art, the significance of pain and his own cultural heritage. His artistic faith journey overlaps with Endo’s as he uncovers deep layers of meaning in Japanese history and literature, expressed in art both past and present. He finds connections to how faith is lived in contemporary contexts of trauma and glimpses of how the gospel is conveyed in Christ-hidden cultures. In this world of pain and suffering, God often seems silent. Fujimura’s reflections show that light is yet present in darkness, and that silence speaks with hidden beauty and truth. -From the Publisher


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Seminary Dropout 129: Christine Caine on Shame, Immigration, and Freedom

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*Originally Posted at MissioAlliance.org

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Christine Caine is a recognized teacher, preacher, author, and activist. As a founder of The A21 Campaign, Christine leads one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world dedicated to rescuing victims of human trafficking in  twelve countries. Additionally, through her personal ministry, Christine shares messages of hope, encouragement, and freedom in churches across the globe and frequently addresses leaders of some of the world’s largest organizations. Christine and her husband, Nick, spend their time in both Sydney, Australia, and the United States, and they adore their daughters Catie and Sophie.

 Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny

Shame can take on many forms. It hides in the shadows of the most successful, confident and high-achieving woman who struggles with balancing her work and children, as well as in the heart of the broken, abused and downtrodden woman who has been told that she will never amount to anything. Shame hides in plain sight and can hold us back in ways we do not realize. But Christine Caine wants readers to know something: we can all be free.

“I know. I’ve been there,” writes Christine. “I was schooled in shame. It has been my constant companion from my very earliest memories. I see shame everywhere I look in the world, including in the church. It creeps from heart to heart, growing in shadowy places, feeding on itself so that those struggling with it are too shamed to seek help from shame itself.”

In Unashamed, Christine reveals the often-hidden consequences of shame—in her own life and the lives of so many Christian women—and invites you to join her in moving from a shame-filled to a shame-free life.

In her passionate and candid style, Christine leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself how to believe that God is bigger than your mistakes, your inadequacies, your past, and your limitations. He is not only more powerful than anything you’ve done but also stronger than anything ever done to you. You can deal with your yesterday today, so that you can move on to what God has in store for you tomorrow—a powerful purpose and destiny he wants you to fulfill.

Join the journey. Lay ahold of the power of Jesus Christ today and step into the future—his future for you—a beautiful, full, life-giving future, where you can even become a shame-lifter to others. Live unashamed! –From the Publisher


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Seminary Dropout 128: Soong-Chan Rah, on Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times

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*Published originally at MissioAlliance.orgscr

Soong-Chan Rah is the Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity and Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church, as well as coauthor of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith and contributing author for Growing Healthy Asian American Churches. In addition to serving as founding senior pastor of the multiethnic, urban ministry-focused Cambridge Community Fellowship Church (CCFC), Rah has been a part of four different church-planting efforts and served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Boston. He is a founding member of the Boston Fellowship of Asian-American Ministers. An experienced cross cultural preacher and conference speaker, Rah has addressed thousands around the country at gathering like the 2003 Urbana Student Missions Conference, 2006 Congress on Urban Ministry, 2007 Urban Youth Workers Institute Conference, 2008 CCDA National Conference, 2010 Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) National Preaching Conference and the 2011 Disciples of Christ General Assembly. He and his wife Sue have two children and live in Chicago.

When Soong-Chan Rah planted an urban church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, his first full sermon series was a six-week exposition of the book of Lamentations. Preaching on an obscure, depressing Old Testament book was probably not the most seeker-sensitive way to launch a church. But it shaped their community with a radically countercultural perspective. The American church avoids lament. But lament is a missing, essential component of Christian faith. Lament recognizes struggles and suffering, that the world is not as it ought to be. Lament challenges the status quo and cries out for justice against existing injustices. Soong-Chan Rah’s prophetic exposition of the book of Lamentations provides a biblical and theological lens for examining the church’s relationship with a suffering world. It critiques our success-centered triumphalism and calls us to repent of our hubris. And it opens up new ways to encounter the other. Hear the prophet’s lament as the necessary corrective for Christianity’s future. A Resonate exposition of the book of Lamentations. –From the Publisher


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Seminary Dropout 127: Rethinking Hell with Chris Date & Graham Ware

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*Originally posted at MissioAlliance.org

Graham and Chris

Graham Ware is currently Pastor of Centre Street Baptist Church in St. Thomas, Ontario. He holds a BA in History, minoring in Biblical Studies from Atlantic Baptist University (now Crandall University) and an M.Div. from McMaster Divinity College. His blog and sermon podcast can be found on the church’s website and he can be found on Twitter (@deo_favente1). His other passions include football (actual football, not the American version) supporting Chelsea FC, as well as reading, coffee, craft beer, and being a husband and dad to three daughters.

Chris Date is the host of the Theopologetics podcast and co-editor ofRethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism (Cascade, 2014) and A Consuming Passion (Pickwick, 2015). A software engineer by trade, he believes theology and apologetics are for every average Joe in the pews, and not just for pastors, philosophers, PhD’s and the erudite in ivory towers. Formerly a traditionalist, he became convinced of the biblical view of final punishment over the course of a process which began when he interviewed Edward Fudge, and he has since defended the view in several debates and on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio program on Premier Christian Radio UK. Chris is also a steward of the Rethinking Hell project.

 

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Rethinking Hell explores a perspective on Hell called ‘Evangelical Conditionalism,’ which refers to Conditional Immortality/Annihilationism in forms compatible with Evangelicalism.

 


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More Than “If you were to die tonight, do you know if you would go to Heaven or Hell?”


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Seminary Dropout 126: Nijay Gupta on Bridging the Gap Between Seminary and the Church Pew

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Nijay K. Gupta (Ph.D, University of Durham) serves as Assistant Professor of New Testament at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. He is the author of several articles and books including a commentary on Colossians (Smyth & Helwys, 2013). You can learn more about Dr. Gupta at his personal blog www.cruxsolablog.com.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, the reader is introduced to a supreme Christ who created earth and vanquished the power of death. However, this same Christ chose to bear the shame of death on a Roman cross in order to bring restoration and reconciliation to humans and all of creation affected by the chaos caused by sin. The enduring message of Colossians is uniquely challenging and instructive precisely because it testifies to the church’s cruciform life in obedience to this crucified cosmic Lord, Jesus Christ. -From the Publisher


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Seminary Dropout 125: Michelle Higgins on That Sermon at Urbana

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*Originally Published at MissioAlliance.org

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Michelle is the director of Faith for Justice in St. Louis. Late last year Michelle spoke at Urbana 2015, one of the largest student missions conferences in the world, her sermon was talked about online for months after the conference ended. Some found her words controversial and others found their hearts stirred.

How to find Michelle:
faithforjustice.com
Twitter


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Seminary Dropout 124: Amy & Ryan Green, Creators of ‘That Dragon, Cancer’ on the Death of Their Son, Grief, and Hope

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Ryan and Amy Green’s son Joel was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer just after his first birthday. During Joel’s fight with cancer Ryan had an idea, to make a video game about the experience. Ryan made one scene of the video game and began taking it to video game expos to gain interest in a complete version. At this point Joel was still alive so it wasn’t very clear what the end of the game would be. During this time it became apparent that there was significant interest in the game and Ryan and Amy decided to use their savings to fund the creation of an entire game. In the time the game was being made Joel beat the odds for a time but eventually another tumor resurfaced and Joel’s cancer was declared terminal and he eventually did die from the disease. Joel and Amy finished the game which turned out to be a one of a kind memorial and celebration of their beloved son.bread_water

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To read more about the Greens, and ‘That Dragon, Cancer’, to go ThatDragonCancer.com.


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Seminary Dropout 123: AJ Swoboda, on Wandering, Doubt, and Hope

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*Originally posted at MissioAlliance.org

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Dr. A. J. Swoboda is a professor, author, and pastor of Theophilus in urban Portland, Oregon. He teaches theology, biblical studies, and Christian history at George Fox Evangelical and Fuller Seminaries. He is the founder and director of Blessed Earth Northwest, a center that helps think creatively and strategically around creation care issues in the Pacific Northwest.

 The Dusty Ones: Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith

Through every turn of the biblical story, God’s people are a wandering people. When they are rescued from slavery in Egypt, God sends them into the desert, where they wander for a generation. Jesus and his disciples wander from town to town. In fact, some of God’s most important truths are imparted to people with dusty feet as they travel on the road.

With his trademark thoughtful introspection, A. J. Swoboda boldly suggests that wandering is not an absence of faith but a central component of faith. In The Dusty Ones, he leads the restless, the frustrated, and the curious on a spiritual journey to uncover the answers to questions like

– Do I wander because I’m failing or because God has left me?
– Is the desert something I can overcome?
– Why is God sometimes “hidden” in the Bible?
– What do I do when the end seems nowhere in sight?

This compassionate and contemplative book offers hope and peace to Christians and seekers alike as they make their way down the winding road of faith. -From the Publisher


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Seminary Dropout 122: Osheta Moore on Being a MennoNerd from New Orleans to Boston to L.A.

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Osheta Moore is an Anabaptist-y, wife, mom, writer and podcaster in Los Angeles. She’s passionate about racial reconciliation, peacemaking, and community development in the urban core.  At the top of her bucket list is dance in a flash mob—all the better if it’s to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.”

How to find Osheta:
Facebook
Twitter
ShalomInTheCity.com


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Seminary Dropout 121: Shawn Duncan, on Truly Helping those in Poverty, Gentrification, and the Role of the Church

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Dr. Shawn Duncan is the Director of Training and Education for Focused Community Strategies (FCS), a Christian community development organization that has been partnering with distressed urban neighborhoods in Atlanta for the last 40 years. He is also the Co-Founder of EIRO (pronounced “i row”), which serves as a catalyst for local churches eager to participate more fully in the mission of God in their local context.

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Focused Community Strategies
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Contact Shawn at shawn@fcsministries.org

 


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