A Message for All Ages: “Blue”


In this message, I showed this two minute video: “Blue” by Tech Insider.

The video shows us that a word for the color “Blue” usually develops much later in most languages than do words for “Black,” “White,” “Red,” “Green” or “Yellow.”  So, the question is “Can people without a word for ‘Blue’ in their language actually see the color we know as ‘Blue’?”  The video answers this question by presenting convincing evidence that people have great difficulty in distinguishing Blue from other colors when they have no word for Blue in their language.

This suggests several things – any one of which would be sufficient for a brief “Message for All Ages” – pick the one that suits your situation best…

  1. What are we missing?
    If we do not have a word for something, or if our conception of it does not match the reality of that something, then can we see it (or, if so, are we seeing it correctly)?  Cases that spring to mind: homelessness, hunger, racism, sexism.
    But, the real challenge is the “isms” do we not have a word for yet, and which we are therefore completely unaware of.  A good one to bring up in this context might be the concept of “Ableism.”
  2. Meaning and Understanding Change Over Time
    The most ancient portions of the Bible tend to portray God as very “Black and White.”  But, as the faith developed (and newer portions were written) we see the understanding of God, as presented in the Bible, becoming much more nuanced and complex over time. So, it would seem that while God may be unchanging; our perception of God is always changing, and becoming fuller and more “colorful” over time.  This occurs with each new generation of believers; as well as within our own lives as we become older (and, presumably, wiser).
    By the way – this calls into question the basis of many teachings that rely on a “Fundamentalist” understanding of the Bible.  While it may be true that the Bible is (as Fundamentalism believes) unchanging and inerrant, our understanding of it certainly is not.  Therefore, all faith teachers must remain aware that their understanding of the Bible (and our Faith) is always to some extent incomplete and faulty.
  3. My Understanding Doesn’t Match Yours, and That’s OK
    The African Tribe members could easily distinguish between the differently shaded green squares, even though very few in our congregation could do so.  This suggests that while we may have a broader vocabulary or conceptual framework in many ways, the depth of our understanding on many things may not be as full or complete as their understanding of the same concept is.

Copyright (c) 2016, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved.  I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as proper credit for my authorship is given. (e.g., via a credit that gives my full name and/or provides a link back to this site – or just email me and ask!)

Author: Allen

A would be historian turned IT Professional who responded to the call to the Ministry, and is now focused on social justice and community service. He is a father of two (ages 28 & 7). He and his wife enjoy life near Boston. You can follow Pastor Allen on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PastorAllenV/ or on Twitter @allenvm3.

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