You wanted proof, instead of mystery . . .

I saw Mako Fujimura post his Letter to Churches of North America back in October, but didn’t read it through at the time. It seems as though I can’t avoid it as its posted again and again by fellow artists around the web.

So I went back to it in full today. Originally I figured it wouldn’t have much new to say to me, and while that was true it was still worth taking the time to read.

You began to believe in the late 18th century that we needed rational categories, to try to protect “faith” from “reason.” Reason began to win the battle in this false dichotomy. As a consequence, you began to suspect the mystery of our being and the miraculous presence of God behind the visible. What you call “Secularism” is your own offspring*, given articulation by the division and fragmentation within the church. As a result of this dichotomy, you began to exile artists whose existence, up to that point, helped to fuse the invisible reality with concrete reality. An artist knows that what you can see and observe is only the beginning of our journey to discover the world. But you wanted proof, instead of mystery . . .

You should read it all the way through as well via this link.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

2 Responses to You wanted proof, instead of mystery . . .

  1. sojournwanderer says:

    I’m glad you posted this. Some parts I enjoyed more than others. This was the part that makes me want to cry BS, though: “here are also some of you, in the far country, who have also ascetically removed pleasures for the sake of “pure expression.” Do not think that just because you have forfeited the whole world, that you have gained your souls.” To me, that just reflects a narrowness in the writer’s understanding of art. (And, to each their own path.) But whatever. Still glad to have read it.

    • pcNielsen says:

      Huh, I don’t even remember that sentence. Sounds like it was after the break that started “Artists?” I didn’t read quite as closely after that, so I was largely in the same spot as you, relating to some parts better than others — and that may have been why I didn’t read it in the first place, back in October. But it’s good for us to stretch ourselves by pushing through things that we don’t always agree with as well.

      And so by disagreeing with it (I don’t think I have an opinion on it at the moment), are you saying that there is something to asceticism as an artist?

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