By the Rev. Peter Casparian
2015 Lenten Meditation, Week 3
A raging debate started to smolder and then really catch fire around our dinner table last Friday evening.
It wasn’t about politics… or money… or relationships… or who was going to do the dishes or take out the garbage.
It all started with a picture of a dress on my daughter’s cell phone. (And I might add that it was a picture of a BLUE AND BLACK DRESS!)
The problem was that on the same cell phone… looking at exactly the same picture… from absolutely the same angle and the same light…. my daughter said she was looking at a WHITE AND GOLD dress!
To say that this same debate “has gone viral” is an understatement!
From The New York Times to NPR… In every country where there is a computer or cell phone… In every place there’s a Twitter and a Tweet… this exact debate is still raging and polarizing friends and family. It is just SO OBVIOUS! How can you POSSIBLY see it that way? I am right; you are wrong. It’s as clear as the dress on the screen.
The Wall Street Journal asked Professor Stefano Soatto, a “science of vision” specialist at UCLA, what he had to say about who was right or wrong. Dr. Soatto seems to believe that in every eyeball ‘There is no clear-cut or dominant response from the red, green, blue receptors in the retina. What happens instead is a complex combination of responses, which is interpreted differently by different individuals.’
Does that mean that human being can actually be seeing exactly the same thing in totally different ways? Perhaps it doesn’t just happen in our eyeballs!
What is often so very apparent to me… not just through my eyes but through experience, my heart-felt emotion, and/or my wise, well-examined opinion… is sometimes just a totally different “color of dress” than what that other person is seeing as we look at exactly the same thing.
So go ahead and Google something like “dress color debate” if you haven’t done so already. What color IS that dress you are seeing? Now pass the phone around and see how wrong other people can be!
What “certainties” might you need to examine this Lenten season?
What well-reasoned opinions may need to be tested again?
What core principle that you have believed in every fiber of your being could possibly be seen by someone else in the complete opposite way from how you are seeing it?
What color would Jesus see if he were looking at the thing that you are so sure of?
Maybe we might all be surprised.