The Way We See Things

2 comments Written on March 4th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Mary Peterson serves at Highland Covenant Church in Bellevue, Washington and was recently elected as the President of Advocates for Covenant Clergy Women.


The internet phenomenon regarding the color of a dress last week had me thinking about how we perceive things to be true because that’s the way we see them. We look around at the world, make judgements and proclaim what we know. Case closed. Or is it?  On Sunday, I read an article called What Is Blue and How Do We See Color? which describes the way we learn to see colors. According to the article, ancient cultures had no word for the color “blue.”  So for thousands of years, people talked about the heavens, the sun and the stars, but never about the blue sky. There were no words to describe “blue.”  Imagine not being able to describe or notice blue eyes, bluebonnet flowers, blue oceans, blue post-it notes, or even sapphires. The author, Kevin Loria, says this

“It’s about the way that humans see the world, and how until we have a way to describe something, even something so fundamental as a color, we may not even notice that it’s there.”

Think about that: “Until we have a way to describe something,… we may not even notice that it’s there.” There’s a lot of people out there who have yet to notice God. Maybe they don’t have words to describe who God is. Maybe, like the people in the ancient world, they have yet to discover God, because words fail us.  A huge part of my role as a pastor is to teach people the language of faith- the words we use to describe God. We teach the kids that God is love. We talk about how Abram and Sarai set off to far away places and discovered that God was there, too. We tell the stories of the Exodus, the desert, the exile, the prophets. At Advent, we wait for the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel. When people saw the amazing things Jesus did and heard the wonderful things he spoke, they wanted to know who he was- his name. Each week, we remind the kids that Jesus is the light of the world and that we no longer live in darkness.

All of these stories help us to describe God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the people of God. These stories teach us the way God moves and how God interacts with us. When we have words to describe God, we can notice the incredible ways at which God is active in our lives and this world. Without being able to describe God, it would be much more difficult to see God-just like the ancient people couldn’t describe the blue sky.

I think this also has implications for women in ministry. Over that last few years, I have had the privilege to hear from many women how God has called them to ministry. One theme that emerges is that for women who have never seen a woman serve communion, or heard a woman preach, it is often difficult for them to imagine what God is calling them to do. For me, I had clear pictures of what a pastor looked like-a male-and I couldn’t reconcile the picture in my head with God’s calling for me. The monochromatic picture in my mind changed when I heard women preach, when I heard them speak about God’s call, when I saw their gifts being fully utilized for God’s Kingdom. It was a bit like when Dorothy wakes up in Oz. Everything went from being black and white to full on technicolor. Of course our churches need to hear from men, but they also need to hear from women-all our women. The Covenant is fortunate to have an amazing array of gifted and called women. Sisters from all over the world and every imaginable, beautiful shade of color. We have different generations that collaborate to bring years of collective wisdom. We are so blessed as a denomination to have such a great variety of voices guiding us deeper in our walk with God.

If you haven’t heard a woman’s voice lately, find some sermons online, read Helen Cepero’s new book, join a theological discussion at (click here). Expand your vocabulary and learn some fresh ways to describe God.

How many thousands of people have walked this earth without realizing that the sky is blue? How many people do we pass on the street who don’t realize that God created them and loves them? How many people in our churches have made their mind up about the way a pastor looks or sounds? How many people are still hearing a gospel on a black and white television instead of HD?

In the comments section, please share some of the resources you use that help you to hear from our women clergy.

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2 comments “The Way We See Things”

I appreciate your simple and vibrant analogy. Fully embracing women as God-called and God-gifted adds dimension and definition to the lives of those who are missing out on all that our limitless God does and is able to do. 

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Hey Everyone!  Check out Helen Cepero’s book “Christ-Shaped Character: Choosing Love, Faith and Hope.”
Thanks for reading!

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