Weekly Blog - Paul Lancaster - Grey Matters
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Posted on: 21st August 2023

I wonder what first comes to mind when you see the word grey. It more often than not has negative connotations, e.g. weather conditions- it’s another grey day (we’ve certainly had our fair share this last July). Perhaps it’s in noticing the increase of grey hairs as we get older and all that’s associated with the aging process. On the other hand, grey seems to be popular when used in décor as its neutrality allows for different splashes of colour in additional features. When it comes to issues in our lives that we easily fall out over it’s often because we see things in black and white rather than grey.

In Romans 14 Christians were judging one another over special diets (vegetarianism) and special days (holy days). Whilst these may not be burning issues today, there are often other subjects that cause us to judge others that are not necessarily clear cut and could be described as ‘grey areas’. Here are a few: music styles, liturgy or free style services, Bible versions, what constitutes church, hermeneutics and doctrine, tithing, politics, media choices, alcohol, tattoos or not, and many more.

We often see things differently depending on what stage we are in our growth in faith. At the start of our faith journey, many things are black and white because we are strongly influenced by what we are taught in a particular context. As we continue to grow we begin to take on personal responsibility for our beliefs and feelings and begin to modify previously held positions. Sometimes we experience a crisis that shakes up our strongly held views and theology. In reaching a more mature stage, and as we no doubt see more grey hairs appearing, we may realise that so much more is ‘grey’ and therefore we become more accepting, inclusive, and welcoming. This does not mean a wrong type of compromising, but it does mean that we will become less judgemental. Yes, there will be views that we hold strongly but judging others who think differently often brings unnecessary divisiveness.

Paul states “Welcome one another enthusiastically” (proslambano) Romans 14v1, including those who may be considered weaker in their faith without passing judgement. Resist condemning one another (Romans 14v3). We all need to be open to change and allow others to challenge our strongly held positions. In realising ‘grey matters’ need not be a negative thing, we may then begin to see multifaceted splashes of colour, as peace, love, and unity emerge more clearly.

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Romans 14v 19)

Paul Lancaster, Hope for the Nations

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