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Volume 14, Issue 6: Sharpening Iron

From Us:

There's a children's story similar to it. But not exactly. Once there was a family of porta-potties with a batch of kids. One of the kids was really ugly, and, after a period of ridicule, he surprised everyone by growing up and becoming the Washington Monument.

This issue was slated as the fifth of the year. It was bumped by Christmas, and finds itself straggling off the presses last of all the issues of 2002. It is number six. Hopefully it will find you full of nog, refreshed by Bowl games, and just generally loafing around in the tide pools left behind by Christmas.
So pick yourself up, change your clothes, have the wife slap your face, and remember; we're not just a flashy cover, we're an alternative lifestyle.
Take a read.


From You:

Dear Editor,
Why the scorn for Thomas Kinkade? Your logic seems to be :
Evangelicals like only stupid things.
Evangelicals like Thomas Kinkade.
Therefore, Thomas Kinkade is stupid.

You share the contempt of the art community. Theirs is attributable to envy at Kinkade's success. But what's your problem? That he paints no evil? That's why his work is refreshing! Gazing at his pictures we experience relief, for a time, from immersion in this evil world. He speaks to our longing for home: "In my Father's house are many mansions. . ." Any one of Kinkade's cottages suits that image beautifully.
It's a shame that your pride mars your otherwise valuable message. Ridicule is probably a valid tool when used with the care of a surgeon's knife. But you carelessly wield it like a sledge-hammer. Indeed, I have no expectation of receiving a straight answer in reply. These comments will no doubt be dismissed with yet more scoffing. An easy out. But "surely you are the men, and wisdom will die with you."

Angela Emmans
Cool, CA

Douglas Jones replies: The resentment of evil you defend in Kinkade is one of the most crippling idols of our time, a combination of perfectionism and resentment right out of Enlightenment hell. Dare we really call that refreshing? "`Peace, peace!' When there is no peace." You can find more on sentimentalism at:

Dear Editor,
On the "Things to make you choke" page, Douglas Jones tells about the disgusting merger of the Thomas Kinkade and Marilyn Manson art companies.

One of the women at church was so upset by your article that she contacted the Kinkade website via email. They replied that the two companies have not merged. She was much relieved by that answer. I suspect that they only told her half the truth. What was your source of this article? Do you know any more details that may help us clarify once and for all whether or not Kinkade has betrayed "us."

Karen Toman
Brodhead, KY

Editor's reply: We are super, super close with Tim Kinkade. So close that he asked us to call him the Gnome in private. We read about the Manson thing in his diary.

Dear Editor,
My whole family enjoys receiving C/A, and we really appreciate the Presbyterian and Reformed teachings found in the magazine. Thank you for your thought provoking articles, and hilarious commentary on current happenings within the Church. We really got a kick out of the Thomas Kinkade/Marilyn Manson joke.

Blakely J. Meyer

Jefferson City, MO

Dear Editor,
We recently received your issue on the virtuosities of wood. I'll keep an eye out for the thumb dude, don't worry. In fact, I think I last saw him stuck firmly between pages 30 and 31, ranting and reviewing with the rest of the yahoos in the "Cave of Adullam." What I was doing there is irrelevant. What most pertinently matters in this letter to you is a certain article I came across near the bottom of the page, titled, rather inconspicuously I must say, "But We Already Knew How To Do This." In my opinion, the whole story told here should have stayed rather more than inconspicuous.

Knowing you about half as well as I'd like, I have the confidence to say that I should by now know you well enough to know that such a subject for an article was not originated by some demented Belgian. I feel safe enough to assume that it originated from a place a tad closer to home, perhaps in a place that some of you actually call home; perhaps in some dozing chair with the hem tattered by young canine teeth and where the peculiar scent of chocolate stains mixed with smoked pipe coffee (and there would be such a thing if I know anything about eccentrics) melded into the mind of a half-unwakeful person late at night where they were trying desperately to think of something to fill that small, three-square-inch space in want of filling on page 30 of Issue Number 4, Volume 14. . . . It seems to me that if we wish to maintain a certain reputation we have earned for couthliness of speech and faith-appropriate writing, we hardly need to be making the messed-up world out to be quite as messed-up as it seems. They're quite good at doing that themselves. It just so happens that the greater population of us prefers not to educate ourselves in the higher techniques of stupidity.
. . . . If I choose to eat dirt, I'll feed myself when and where I please, thank you very much. When I read C/A, I do not expect to find dirt readily at my disposal, no matter how many dirty thumbs have lodged themselves between the pages. I read C/A for different reasons. It seems to me that I must either change my reasons or you must change your writings. Which do you prefer?
If anything, I think it best for you not to publish such articles. . . . It's all in less than good fun, and if that's how you want it to be, by all means carry on. You'll just cease to carry my approval with you.

Pekin, IN

Editor's reply: In these crazy times, the work of a satirist can be very difficult. It is easy to assume that we make up such stories, but alas, we did not. True story, a truly crazy Belgian, and we truly think that modern art has found its metier. If it is any consolation, on a serious note, we object to such corruption in art as much as you do. That's why we attack it.

Dear Editor,
I love you guys! And no, I'm not angling for your beer. I read your recent issue about wood. Man, is that subtle. So subtle, in fact, that I just don't get it. Well, maybe I get some of it. The piece about 2x6 framing wood was nifty.

Chuck Shanks
Dublin, OH

Dear Editor,
I asked my husband how much I should send you and he asked if ten or fifteen dollars was enough. I told him that, according to your letter, that was precisely average for a semiannual contribution.

"Well, let's be a little below average," he said.
So here's ten dollars. Actually, he's being quite generous, because he reads virtually none of your magazine and thinks you're weird. Our teenage son and I love it, though.
Thanks for your good influence on our son! He really is weird, but you're helping him be weird in a godly way. . .

Pamela Bronson
Upper Darby, PA

Dear Editor,
Regarding C/A , 14/5, Joel Hathaway's letter to the editor and Douglas Wilson's response. If C/A were to employ its measure of sarcastic tone in approximately the same proportion to its measure of total tone as does the Bible, the justified torrent of letters would slow to a trickle—letters which range in nature from firm admonishment to abject begging you folks to turn from excess ungodly sarcasm to an overwhelming tone that gives grace to those who hear.

More broadly, the godly-sorrow-inducing impression left by your magazine is that Christlikeness is measured by both intellect and ability to verbally skewer any and all who dare to question your style.
Regarding both braininess and said ability to skewer there's little doubt that your writers and editors perch atop the pinnacle of the journalism of American Christendom. But, spiritual things being spiritually appraised, and fixing one's eyes on Jesus, it is inconceivable that sarcasm, superior intellect, and skewering supremacy will elicit "well done, good and faithful servant."
Do you believe that spiritually discerning brethren reading most of what your magazine contains would conclude that it is written by folks who carry with them constant conviction of the Biblically declared presence of Christ Jesus, a conscious consistent belief that Immanuel, God with us, is right there with them in the C/A writer's den or editorial office? Not only with them, but in them (Col. 1:27)? I cannot. In terms of both content and tone, Christ Jesus the Lord of glory does not write as you all sometimes do.

Chuck Hazen
Sequim, WA

Editor's reply: I would refer again to The Serrated Edge, due out soon. But in the meantime, don't make too much out of the number of critical letters we print. We do this to let (most of) our critics have their say, and to avoid self-promotion through printing only bunchs of letters that say we are wonderful. That would be un-Christlike.

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