More than fifty shades of grey

BBC Radio Bristol, 11 February 2015


When Anna and I went to the cinema to see The Imitation Game in the week before Valentine’s Day, I noticed and the timing of an upcoming attraction.

Good morning everyone

Have you noticed that Saturday’s premiere of 50 Shades of Grey falls on Valentine’s Day?

You’ll not be surprised that I haven’t read the book. It’s not just that my inner prude is coming out more as my hair gets greyer. It’s also that as a Quaker, I know there are far more shades of grey than just 50.

If you follow the news headlines it’s very easy to get a black and white picture of the world. That people are either good guys or bad guys. But, really the world is much more subtle and complicated than that. And so are the people who live in it.

Quakers believe that there is that of God in everyone, though it can sometimes be hard to find. We make a distinction between the person and the things he or she does. We aim to ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’.

In my view people are rarely completely bad – or completely good. And even the worst people sometimes do good things. We’re all just human beings. Each of us our own shade of grey.

But what I think sets us apart from the rest of creation is that we know this. What makes us different is that as we grow up we learn that there is a difference between good and evil. All of us have the potential to go either way. Growing up is about learning to pay attention to the moral compass we all have inside which helps us recognise the difference between right and wrong.

Being human is about making choices, opting for the light rather than the darkness. And learning to live with the many shades in between.

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