Grey is OK, Full Color is Even Better... It's Beautiful

I can still remember one of my favorite sermons from my growing years: "God says Grey is OK."
The sermon discussed how there are tensions even places of possible disagreement in the spiritual life, something that many still can struggle with. There are places of clear truth and clear falsehood and there are some things that may lie somewhere in between. This message spoke to me deeply. It was refreshing to hear from the platform that we will have our disagreements and we can still have Christian community. From my somewhat grainy memory, I remember that the message hinged on a distinction between "essential" doctrines and "nonessential" discussions or opinions. And unfortunately, that is where the powerful message and the helpful metaphor can break down a bit. 

It begs questions such as: How do we know what is essential, what is nonessential?
How do I know when I need to separate myself from people that are falling into "sinful" doctrines?
Is there any room for grey in the "essential" zone? If not, what do I do with my questions? Etcetera.
I don't think these questions are unimportant, but the answers cannot be merely indoctrinated from the top down, each person in the community will need space to explore and to hear for themselves. 

Working with the metaphor of God as light, let's talk about prisms for a moment. Prisms refract light such that the full spectrum of color that is contained within can be seen. Different colors can be distinguished. For Christians, the story of Jesus acts as a prism. We see different places of importance and emphasis. I don't think that means there aren't better and more true stories, or that there aren't worse and less true perspectives that we have, yet our differences can also be a great asset. A full rainbow of color is available to us if we will see the deeper illumination and allow the company of others to expand our scope.  

Rather than fighting over the "fundamentals," we can have deep and rich conversation that whole-heartedly searches for truth in love. Rather than building fences, walls and other artifices to keep thoughts and people "in" or "out," we can grow with others in relationship. We can see our own beliefs more clearly. We can allow iron to sharpen iron. We can learn humility as we continue to discover that we don't have all the answers and that others have much to teach us. We can be more focused on how we want to learn and grow in the context of diversity than on creating uniformity. Grey is ok, but full color is even better... It's beautiful. 

Benjamin FaderComment