I’m seeing a Japanese theme here, aren’t you? Enjoy these Asian-rooted books with me this autumn!
The Four Holy Gospels, illustrated by Makoto Fujimura ~ The first time I heard of Makoto Fujimura was on a late Moody radio program. ‘A Christian abstract artist? That just can’t be!’ I thought. I’m not sure how, but somewhere along the way I picked up the thinking that modern art was completely anti-God, anti-Christian and anything that didn’t at least try to look realistic had its basis in evil worldviews. Thank goodness God’s mellowed me out since then, and I guess the process is ongoing! For those who may be struggling with this idea that abstract can be glorifying to God, I recommend Francis Schaeffer’s short work, “Art and the Bible.” In any case, I became curious enough to look up this deeply spiritual Asian-American online to see what his art looked like. I was astounded. I don’t pretend to understand high art. I need those trained in it to help me understand it. But I appreciated the beauty and emotion he infused with traditional Japanese painting techniques to create beautiful washes of color with veins of metallic running through them. I heard that he was commissioned to illustrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, rather like the medieval illumination of old. I’ve always wanted to see it, and I finally got the chance. I wish there was more explanation accompanying his paintings and why he chose what he did (as a lot of it goes over my head), but I loved looking at it nonetheless. My favorite piece was the full-page illustration, Prodigal God. I would like to own my own copy someday.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo ~ Spring cleaning… in the fall? I know, that doesn’t seem to make much sense, does it? But I’ve always felt more like the fall was a second New Year’s for me, a time to hit restart and a chance to attempt more order. And as alluded to in a recent post, I’ve been feel overwhelmed and stressed out for a long time and my systems aren’t working. So I need a change. I found this book at a garage sale and knew that it was a popular, best-selling book. I’d first heard of the KonMari method of organizing on a youtube video where a woman went through her wardrobe cleaning and sorting according to what she had read in the book. And then I just started of hearing it everywhere. Last year I redded [yes, that is a word even though spellcheck says it’s not] my book collection to purge what I didn’t have room for anymore. I was pleased with the results, but I really needed to read through this cover to cover. So, I am currently about halfway through and am enjoying this little book. So much of what the author recommends seems backward to what I was thinking, but once she explains herself it begins to make sense and I am willing to try. I have already gone through my own clothes closet and am now to attack books again (I acquire new all the time) and papers. I want to begin to put her principles into my daily living, not just a once a year mad purge. I know she comes to the table with a very Eastern spiritualistic worldview. Some readers may feel weird about Kondo’s assigning personalities to things and talking to them, thanking them for their service. But at the same time, I identify with that because of my struggles with OCD. So even though I personally don’t believe my Mom’s 34-year old blender that she got as a wedding present and that is now out of commission has a spirit, it is easier to place it in the dumpster after I’ve given it a dignified “thank you for your service” speech.