Comfortable Dissonance in Christ / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / April 9th, 2023/ Easter Sunday
Theme: “Comfortable dissonance in Jesus”
Intr – Welcome to Cognitive Dissonance Sunday!
Now let me do you. You’d probably be now whispering to somebody beside you “Hey, is our Pastor out of sorts? Because today is supposed to be Easter Sunday, right? Or did we look in the wrong calendar?”
No, you are right. Yes, it is Easter Sunday, Happy Easter! But it is also Cognitive Dissonance Sunday.
Before I explain the context, let me start by giving you an example: Cross your arms. Now cross with the other arm on top. Does it feel a little uncomfortable?
Now let’s go a little further in the mental discomfort. Think of:
-An airplane flying with its land gear running on the ground.
-plunging in a Saskatchewan Lake today and the water is extremely hot
-The Riders playing Grey Cup 2023 in Blue Gear
-Eating a savoury vanilla Ice Cream
-Paying $1,000 for something that is a free give away It does sound odd, doesn’t it? When we try to hold or reconcile to ideas or attitudes that are contradictory, something goes bonkers in our brain which is not feeling comfortable anymore – Cognitive dissonance.
According to a researcher, this is the definition of Cognitive dissonance: “our brain can’t hold two conflicting ideas without discomfort.” As I watched this video on the topic, I immediately connected it to this morning. This is the Sunday that takes brain discomfort to extreme height. What you are about to hear will probably cause that. But at the same time, we will see that for us Christians this is a good place to be. Actually, a very comfortable one. For the discomfort caused by these truths brings us to a place where we have not only comfort, but peace and life.
Here’s some cognitive dissonance provoking facts of the Holy Week, especially according to Matthew:
-The rock is removed, and the tomb is empty. It happened without the action of any human being, which would be virtually impossible.
-Jesus comes back to life. A real man who was killed on a cross comes back to life. But then, wasn’t Jesus God? Yes, he was. Did he Die? He did. But God is immortal right? Yes, He is. Oh my…
-By the way, this real Man was at the same time Real God. Try to figure that out. He was 100% human being, like you and me. He cried and laughed, he slept and was active, he hungered and thirsted. He showed indignation and patience. At the same time, He was the eternal God among us, 100% God. King and Servant. Humble and God. Sinless but becoming sin on the Cross. The Cognitive Dissonance discomfort may start to hurt our brain and thoughts at this point…
-An angel appears to the woman and talks with them
-Because this God man came back from life, now you know that you are offered the same ending: you die, you become dust. But then one day your body will come back together to make you who you are tight now, only perfect. Dust going back into our very same, now perfect body? Insane…
-You will die. But life never ends.
-You are in the world, in a family, in a Church. But you don’t belong here. By the way, Churches exist everywhere. But if you remove this idea of resurrection, none of them will stand. If all this cognitive dissonance is not true, so isn’t the entire body of teaching of the whole Christian looks.
Where your cognitive brain says: “it’s impossible”, the Bible says, “It’s true”. How can that be reconciled?
There is only one way: faith. Trust in the heart that Jesus is Lord and that His Word is True. Cognitive dissonance will remain, but we will be able to deal with all the discomfort.
Because it is good that it is so. The discomfort that all this dissonance brings to the brain must remain so. When we are called to faith, what makes the brain uncomfortable makes the heart happy. What is a puzzle to the mind is a perfect picture to the soul. What seems to be irreconcilable to the brain is what makes our heart to be reconciled to God.
Sometimes we try to bridge the cognitive dissonance and that’s when the problems arise. It was attempted along the way. Even by good willed Christians. Like when you try to explain Trinity with the three states of the Water. Or when you try to explain Jesus’ signs with some human, scientific logic. Or even when you try to make everything in the Bible to have a meaning to fit the world’s expectations, even when you need to make some “adjustments”.
This is all consequence of the root cause of dissonance: sin. It separates us from God and His Word. This is why Jesus gave his life, so that sin could be killed, and forgiveness would be poured. We can stop trying to figure out things with our limited brains and we can jump in faith into the arms of the comforting and comfortable arms of our Saviour.
Now, the irony when talking about this topic is that for the World, for the “brain” environment, the Bible teaches lots of cognitive dissonance which only naive people would fall for it. But when you look at this same world, you see it all over the place and people seem to be happy with it. The emperor’s new clothes.
This is why we trust. Because we walk in Christ. If we make all efforts to mitigate the discomfort our brain feels with all of this, our heart will be damaged. We will fall in what that researcher described: "The results I was getting didn't match the effort i was putting toward it". There is no effort. But there is sure comfort. We Christians deal well with dissonance between mind and heart. Christ has bridged that gap and the Holy Spirit has given us the key that brings meaning, sense, and value to the heart and to our life.
This applies to our lives. Use your brain. Yes, use your God given intellectual capacity to your best, as you live your daily life. But never forget to remain steady in your heart on the Word that never fails. Especially in those moments when the dissonance between the World’s concepts and the Biblical teachings surface and cause you discomfort. Christ’s Comforting Love and Peace is worth remaining steadfast in Him. Which means that it won’t be discomfort caused by Cognitive dissonance anymore. It will be a Comfortable dissonance that gives our hearts the assurance of His presence, faithfulness, and care.
Cc – So again: Welcome to Easter Sunday. Welcome to Cognitive Dissonance Sunday! Rather: Welcome to the Comfortable Dissonance in Christ, that resonates in our minds and hearts in a way that only our Lord can make it happen.
“Body Language: The Key to Your Subconscious | Ann Washburn | TEDxIdahoFalls”. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v36Vt9GmH8
 Some examples:
-A man can be a woman and a woman can be a man.
-Nothing is wrong if you are not caught.
-Regular religion or Church is for fans(Fanatics). But that is okay for sports.
-Stars and planets can affect the way you behave in daily life.
-animals have more value than human beings.
-You must trust something, science, that in essence is not designed to be trusted.
-A mistake is a mistake(crime/wrongdoing) if you are my enemy. If you are my friend, it is perfectly acceptable.
-People who want to criminalize freedom of speech as hate speech pursue that goal only because they think they cannot or can never be blamed for any of such.
-Life is precious. But abortion and Medical Assisted death is okay.
-A opinion is not true or false in and of itself. It depends on the person enunciating that opinion.
Photo by Pisit Heng on Unsplash