Before being called into the ministry I was on my way to college to become a graphic designer. That summer before enrolling, God did some strange and wonderful things in my life, and I decided to go to school to become a pastor instead.
Now, 17 years later, I still design things from time to time, and anytime I get the chance to meddle in the design at Forefront, it's a lot of fun.
You learn a lot about color the more you design things. One thing you learn early on is how to get the colors that you want by combining them with other colors.
We all know the primary colors- yellow, blue, and red. All other colors on the color spectrum are a combination of these three colors. You know what's strange, though? Guess what color you get if you combine all the possible colors that can be made from these three colors and their many variants?
The reason all the colors combined make black is because each color on the spectrum is merging with all the other colors simultaneously.
That makes one think of the color black a little differently, then.
The color black gets a bad rap. We think of it firstly as "darkness."
- We wear it to funerals.
- We use it to hide things.
- Even if we think of the vastness of space with its billions of bright stars, there's more blackness than there is brightness.
In the true sense, nothing could be more beautiful than black, because it is a merging of every color there is.
How can this inform our thoughts about faith?
"Belief," after all is a wide spectrum of "colors." Every denomination, every system of religious thought, every person (or group of persons) holding to a certain view of which color is "most beautiful" form something that might look beautiful to some, and detestable to others. But the metaphor goes further. There are rare occurrences where views merge.
The current trend in the Christian tradition today is to merge into conglomerates called, "interdenominational," "transdenominational," or "non-denominational" churches. These are all the result of different "colors" choosing to merge to form a completely new color.
This is looked down on by some. Perhaps the original color becomes more muted, softer, maybe even less appealing than it was on its own. Yet what we learn from color is that the more it merges, it's really becoming more complete.
The next time you are outside at night, look up at the sky. You'll see some tiny spots of light surrounded by vast, empty areas of darkness. What you are seeing in the darkness is not the absence of something good, but the dominant presence of goodness.
This merging, though at face value looks undesirable, maybe even a little scary, is actually a thing of immense beauty, reminding us that when colors merge, we are getting a little closer to the most profound truth about life and faith- that "black is beautiful."
How can this inform our actions as people of faith?
- How can this inform who we eat our lunches with?
- How can this inform our worship (who we worship with, and how we worship with them?)
- How can this inform our theology? What we believe and why?
- How can we be better listeners to another's view on the "color spectrum" instead dogmatic practitioners of our own views?
Perhaps the unity, beauty, and correctness we are always longing for as people of faith is found in blending instead of thinking, "my color is best."
Though your color, all alone on its own may seem bright, it could actually be the darkest thing in the universe.
A BIG P.S.!!!!!
Forefront is preparing a series of events that we're calling "Faith, Culture, and Questions" (FCQ). We recognize that there are questions about faith that go way beyond our heads. That's why we're excited to introduce the first speaker in our Faith, Culture, and Questions Series, "Science" Mike McHargue who will be addressing the topics of Sex, Violence, and Drugs through the lenses of science and faith.