What's So Bad About Thomas Kinkade?

08/25/2011 Comments (224)

It’s my duty, every so often, to make fun of Thomas Kinkade, the self-styled “Painter of Light.” 


One reader of a past post commented,  “I like to think of Kinkade as ‘Painter of outdoor mood lighting emanating from no intelligible source and obeying no discernible laws of physics or common sense.’”

A Kinkade fan responded: “I’m biting my tongue right now, thinking of Christian iconography…”

He thought he had made a telling point—and actually he had, by reminding us to talk about light.  Here’s some of that Christian iconography:


And another:


Is there “no intelligible source” of light in these pictures?  Of course not.  The source is quite explicitly God Himself.

The first...READ MORE

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Making Children Pray

08/23/2011 Comments (43)

In the “Making Poor People Pray” post, several readers wondered whether parents risk making their children feel resentful and humiliated by making them join in family prayers.

Assuming that the parents aren’t pitted against each other, and assuming the family is reasonably emotionally healthy (neither “God told me to whup you black and blue to teach you his love” nor “God wants you to be happy, so here’s a co-ed sleepover for your sweet 16”), then most children will not perceive that they are being “forced” to pray, even when it is mandatory: As one reader said, “praying was just something my family did. It was expected, but didn’t feel more forced than anything else we ‘just did.’”


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Making Poor People Pray

08/19/2011 Comments (122)

Many years ago, despite hard work, thrift, and a small family, we were poor.  As in no-heat-no-car-no-food poor.  And so I started travelling to a church which hosted weekly grocery nights, when needy people could browse over tables of expired dry goods, wilted produce, and drippy ice cream at cut-rate prices.  I remember the thrill of putting a true luxury, a box of crackers, into my bag, and feverishly calculating how many meals I could squeeze out of a single chicken breast.

That part of it was great.  But the part I didn’t like was in the beginning:  Before they opened the auditorium, they made us pray.

I hated that part.

Let me explain.  I pray.  I did pray at the time, I will...READ MORE

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Catholic Etiquette: The Finer Points

08/18/2011 Comments (55)

Even though I have been a Catholic for most of my life, I was raised by wolves

converts. My parents brought a deeper understanding of theology to our everyday life than I’ve seen in the homes of many cradle Catholics. But the details and niceties of Catholic etiquette? A little shaky. Combine this handicap with a genetic inability to Catch Onto Stuff, and all I have in common with my fellow Catholics is a love for the Eucharist and a habit of waking up early on Sundays.

I don’t have the classic convert’s discomfort with the sign of peace—at that point in the liturgy, I’m usually either safely on the floor, trying to pry some small person out from where he should not be; or else I’m so...READ MORE

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Marriage Isn't for Perfect People

08/16/2011 Comments (34)

Speaking of marriage and expectations, this 2008 post from The Art of Manliness (I don’t have anything against these folks, honest! They just keep popping up) gives some pretty decent advice about how to tell if you’ve found the right woman to marry. I agree wholeheartedly with two of the signs of a good choice: “there’s nothing major you want to change about her” and “She’s your best friend.” You have no business marrying someone you hope to alter dramatically, and you ought to prefer spending time with her above all others.

But I’d like to challenge the other three criteria: “She gets along well with your family and friends” and “The thought of marrying her doesn’t scare you in the...READ MORE

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Dear Greenypantses: This Is Why No One Likes You

08/12/2011 Comments (79)

Afraid the world is getting smarter?  Set your fears to rest with this story from my increasingly schizophrenic home state of New Hampshire, where we just can’t decide if we’re all about rugged individualism, progressive environmentalism, or just good old fashioned booze chugging:

Hybrids Trump Handicapped At Liquor Store

In order to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, Nashua’s new 20,000-square foot liquor store, which is owned and operated by the state, was “built with solar panels, geo-thermal heating and cooling systems, local building materials and recycled products.”

The problem?  It was also designed with reserved parking spaces right in front of...READ MORE

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Voluntary Permanence

08/11/2011 Comments (39)

In Tuesday’s post about tattoos, a reader said,

n my little corner of the world, it’s a somewhat popular practice among Christians to have a wedding ring tattoo stamped on the ring finger when they get married. I’m not sure how to analyze that. It’s wonderful that they’re saying, “I’m in this for life.” But didn’t that used to be what the vows were for?

I’ve thought the same thing, although I understand that cultural connotations may vary (and that some people understandably opt for tattoos if they work with dangerous, ring-snagging machinery).  The thing about metal wedding rings is that you can take them off — but you choose not to.  Something is lost when we make it impossible to take...READ MORE

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An Indelible Mark On . . . the Lower Back

08/09/2011 Comments (82)

I’m grateful to my husband for many things, but the incident that left an indelible mark on my psyche is the time that he giggled at the heraldic lion I was considering as a tattoo design fifteen years ago.  I had chosen a spot which was REALLY UNUSUAL for a tattoo, and which, I reasoned, would only get distorted if I got REALLY FAT.

The spot?  My lower back, of course.  That’s me:  always ahead of the curve.  (I was also grungy when grungy wasn’t cool.)  These days, of course, everyone and his mother, and his grandmother, and his grandmother’s Zumba instructor, and the Zumba instructor’s domestic partner’s great great granddaughter’s babysitter has a tattoo on the lower back.  And my own...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.