Cosmic colors

High-risk faith
Though liturgical colors for vestments, altars and pulpits are traditional, their color spectrum is not tamper-proof. It is time to take a fresh look at the choices. Challenges come from three directions: Tom Ridge, director of Homeland Security, provides a scale with five scary color possibilities; Thomas Miller of Razorfish, a Web site designer, casts out pastels and speaks up for vivids; John Hopkins University scientists Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry have discovered that the universe is beige.

My liturgical reference books list green, blue, red, white, black and purple as Christian colors. The color experts mentioned above do not bother with purple. Beyond that, how do the old-time Christian schemes stand up? Green, for Ridge, is “low risk,” and we like that. For Razorfish it has a “calming effect, can connote youthfulness and growth.” In church, green appears after Pentecost in a long season called “ordinary time.” Low risk? OK. It fits.


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