In preparing today’s reading from “Reaching Forward” to be sent out by email, I was reminded that on that page I had quoted Thomas Kinkade. Kinkade has been known for his paintings, but he has also written some great books, from which I have profited immensely. In today’s reading, I quote him as saying, “The human soul hungers for beauty — to experience beauty, and to create beauty — just as powerfully as our bodies hunger for food. Our souls wither when they are beauty-deprived.” I believe that to be true, and I believe Kinkade said it very well.
The problem is that Kinkade has, apparently, departed from his earlier principles and convictions. At least he seems to have been living inconsistently with those convictions, if the news reports are true. As I prepared today’s reading, I had to ask myself, “Do I still quote Kinkade, now that he has dishonored the truths that he used to be known for?”
Well, if I removed the quotation from Kinkade because, as one person said, “he has turned out to be a hypocrite,” I would also have to remove any quotations from Solomon, who became a wicked man and departed from his earlier way of life much more dramatically than Thomas Kinkade.
As a hopeful person, I cherish the thought that Solomon may have returned to God before he died, and likewise, I have chosen not to give up on Thomas Kinkade just because his foot has slipped. I hope that he will repent of whatever wrongdoings he has gotten himself involved in.
But here is what I have decided: the truth is still the truth, even if someone has quit living it. And if someone spoke a truth in a particularly apt way, then those words still stand, even if the messenger has fallen. The beauty and power of the truth do not depend on the personal faithfulness — or the eternal salvation — of the messenger.
And come to think of it, I am mighty glad it’s that way. Aren’t you?