Friday, November 05, 2010

My secret heresy

I'm color blind. I don't think about it much except during this time of year in the Ozarks. Many times I hear, "aren't the colors wonderful this time of year." I know what they mean; they're talking about the reds and oranges and yellows (and variations of the same?) that color the fall foliage. Most of the time I simply say, "yes. It's beautiful." But what I really mean is: "I don't agree with you because I don't see the world like you do."

I dread what usually happens when others find out I'm color blind. It's the endless, "what color is this? . . . and this? . . . and this?" Sometimes they laugh, amused by my answers. Others (the more sensitive types) empathize, or speculate, "I wonder what it would be like to see the world through your eyes." My children once mused, "Maybe Dad is the only one to see colors as they really are, and we're the ones who are confused . . . . Nah!"

I used to make comments about the colors of the world. (For example, when our folks visited us in the U.K. years ago, we took them to Scotland during winter. I made the comment, "Aren't the green hills beautiful?" Later, my family confessed they said to each other [under their breath], "poor guy. He doesn't see that everything's dead and brown."

I can't tell the difference between blue and purple, green and brown, pink and grey, red and brown. I'm told my "rods" are misproportioned--we see color through the triangularization of the RGB color scheme--each rod (Red, Green, and Blue) must be equal length to see color "correctly"). Some of my "rods" are shorter than others. So my color vision is imperfect, slightly eschewed, off color--if you will.

I've recently wondered whether my color "world view" has colored my theological "world view." That is to say, I seem to have the same feelings when I hear others speak rather confidently about the inherent beauty of certain theological ideas. Sometimes I say, "Yes. It is wonderful." But most of the time I feel like saying, "I don't agree because I don't see the world like you do."

I'm rediscovering a simple idea: there are many things about God that I don't want to believe about Him; but I do anyway. Like, I don't want to believe in a God who said, "Kill the Amalekites." But, I do. I don't want to believe in a God who didn't spare His own Son from the horrendous evil of crucifixion. But, I do. I don't want to believe in a God who shows mercy to my enemies. But, I do. I don't want to believe in a God who made imperfect "rods" so as not to see the "natural" beauty of what has been made. But, I do. I don't want to believe in a God who gives sight to some and not others. But, I do.

Perhaps it's because I can't see things "as they really are." But, I do.


JD said...

don't tell cpat you can't see purple!

our pastor has this same issue (not the colorblindness, but the accepting the hard stuff). as much as he doesn't want to accept it, he has to. hard sayings in the bible don't disprove the bible, it just proves our ignorance of God's plan. (rough paraphrase of his position.)

Rich S said...

This is very interesting. I too struggle with not wanting to believe certain aspects of God but realizing that I have to accept all things about him.

Darryl Schafer said...

With no small thanks due to you, I don't see the world the same way most people see it, either. This leads to accusations of blindness being tossed at me. I usually want to reply, "You're probably right -- I'm still learning how to see."

L said...

this is very encouraging to me being at covenant. oftentimes i find myself smiling and nodding to those who believe in certain aspects of election or sovreignty than i do but in my heart thinking "well i think you're wrong because i see things completely different." but at the same time people may give me better more 'colored' insights that i did not see before. sometimes i don't want to believe some things the bible says about God, especially when it seems to go against something else the bible has. i want to have control of reconciling the hard things on my own because i'm afraid of what i may have to let go of.
what a day it will be when we will all stand together seeing the same colors, the real colors, the new creation.