It is at moments like this that we naturally reflect on the short time we have here on earth remembering that we will all leave a legacy—whether good or bad. In living, we also proclaim a theology and lifestyle which grows out of that belief system. Our hope and goal as children of God is that in proclaiming a gospel that we get the gospel right and echo what is found in the pages of Scripture.
Thomas Kinkade was no exception. He projected a theology in all he did and what he believed impacted how he painted. Kinkade said "Paintings are the tools that can inspire the heart to greater faith," and "My paintings are messengers of God's love. Nature is simply the language which I speak." However, controversy was no stranger to the self-proclaimed “Painter of Light.” His artistic style, his business dealings and his personal life were and still are matters of disagreement and debate among his supporters and detractors.
I have provided several links below to get us all thinking about how a Christian should conduct himself in this world. In addition to this, here are 3 questions that I’m asking myself as I reflect on the life and legacy of Thomas Kinkade:
1. Kinkade openly stated that through his work, he wanted to give people what they wanted and “to make people happy.” Is it better to give people what they want or what they need? (See 2 Timothy 4:1-4)
2. Kinkade in describing his paintings said that they are “halfway between a memory and a daydream. I try to produce a re-creation of the past without the hard edges.” At his website, Kinkade is quoted as saying, “If people look at my work and are reminded of the way things once were or perhaps the way they could be, then I've done my job." Does the Church have unmet expectations when it comes to the Kingdom of God because of being misinformed about the very nature of that kingdom? Is the Church attempting to create a godless world free of pain and struggle rather than embracing the world in which she lives—one in which Jesus Christ reigns as Lord and King and who takes the bad and works it all for His disciples good and His glory? (See Romans 8:18-30)
3. There are accusations of improper, even illegal business dealings, public drunkenness and a marriage that had hit rock bottom (at the time of his death, he and his wife had reportedly been separated for approximately 18 months). Kinkade in commenting on his sin stated, "[The] Book of Ecclesiastes says enjoy yourself, have a glass of wine, for this is God's will for you," and "It's never consistent with God's will that we behave in a sinful way; however, God also loves us and accepts us and understands that at times we have our failings." What kind of lives are God’s children to live regardless of whether we are in the spotlight or not? Shouldn’t our theology “trickle down” to and transform the everyday activities of life so that we can truly act as the light of the world? (See Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:15; Titus 2:10b; 1 Peter 2:11-12)
Links for further reading: