Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Color of Good and Evil

Remember the days when color consultants popped up like mushrooms throughout the nation to coordinate skin tone for wardrobe and makeup. These Color-Me-Beautiful consultants analyzed clients’ skin as being spring-, summer-, winter-, or fall–toned. Don’t remember? Well I do. I fell for that fad and went for my own analysis (Fall, in case you’re curious).

This morning while reading the Spirituality of Imperfection by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, I was reminded of that Color Me Beautiful analysis when I came across a story adapted from Anthony De Mello’s Song of the Bird.

“A preacher put this question to a class of children. “If all the good people in the word were red and all the bad people were green, what color would you be?
Little Linda Jean thought mightily for a moment. The her face brightened as she replied: “Reverend, I’d be streaky.”

“Streaky.” Isn’t that a wonderful description of being human? Linda Jean knew she was neither all good nor all bad but was a mixture of both good and bad.

Despite the fact that we all play host to a similar combination of good and bad we seem more inclined to view things as "either/or."

For some reason, judging someone (something or some nation) as bad seems the more dangerous. Substitute “evil” for bad and we make seeing “good” almost impossible. We had the perfect example of such blinding to goodness the day President Bush slapped the term “axis of evil” onto Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.

Though we can be incredibly hard on ourselves, we are not quite so tough on the people we’ve already judged as good. When we see evil within them, we make excuses. They are only human we say.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of being streaky.
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