Today, as I sat down to type this I realized I didn't know how to spell the color gray/grey. Do you want to know what the foremost dictionary of our contemporary times had to tell me?
''Both spellings are correct and common,'' advises the new Webster's Dictionary of English Usage. ''In American English, the preference is for gray, but grey is also widely used. The British have a very definite preference for grey.''
I had to laugh at that because as you will continue to read this the inherent irony of that reality couldn't be more relevant or timely.
You see, I spend a lot of time petitioning for others to acknowledge and operate peaceably within the grey/gray areas of Christian theology and moral practice. With all of our ethical uncertainties and best guesses (founded as they may be) at God's intention for how we should live our lives, it seems more philosophically and biblically responsible to reject dogma and allow our hills to die on both in the religious sector and public square be reserved for the major tenets of our belief.
Now this begs the question of what in fact are the "major tenets" of the faith, but two thousand years of tradition seems to be relatively clear that heresy is only born when creedal statements are rejected.
So I live this life inviting people to lean into a spiritual life of ambiguity, epistemic humility and nuance; yet in all its romance I have decided that it's about time I account for the fact that this approach to the Christian life is in fact difficult; it involves a kind of consternation and thoughtfulness that I am not sure is mentally feasible for the vast majority of sentient beings. What I mean by that is it hurts to value knowledge and the pursuit of truth and to have to resign oneself to a form of agnosticism (not in its popular sense but general). I hate that I believe the Scriptures are unclear about so much (everything from dealing with the Problem of Evil to whether or not we should all be vegetarians).
I absolutely loath that so many of my responses to the meaningful discourse on Theism, and its associated issues, sound something to the effect of "Well, I don't know... but this is what I do know (insert 15 minutes caveat on the top three most compelling responses in Christian scholarship to previously asked question and end with reference to the limitations of human understanding in comprehending spiritual things.)"
But what I don't hate is that the mysterious and the fantastic (after a standard hissy fit and or temper tantrum) lead my heart and mind to worship God's unsearchability and infinity. What I don't hate is that living a life that reflects a deep, warm and rich relationship with the Maker doesn't require absolute certainty about how we should live our lives. What I don't hate is that the Spirit of God is big enough to work in us, through us, despite us and in the midst of all our messy processes.
So whether you believe one is to spell "grey/gray" with an "e" or "a" or if it is okay or not okay for a Christian to be in a relationship that is gay... may we all rest assured that this is all a part of learning what it minds to love the Lord with all of our minds, heart and strength.
And if nothing else I take heart in the fact that I just managed to make a rhyme out of a philosophical posit on theology whilst discussing sexuality and English usage all at the same time. If that's not holy, I don't know what is.
Follow Amelia Markham on Twitter: www.twitter.com/amelia_markham