When a person experiences cognitive dissonance, that is, when they find themselves in a situation where exposure to conflicting ideas and information becomes too stressful or mentally uncomfortable, their natural inclination is to seek security in the safety of consonance.
Humans naturally avoid, discredit, belittle, and delegitimize the ideas or people that cause them to experience dissonance.
Today’s most common reaction to natural dissonance, especially given the avalanche of information overload, is to bury one’s head in the fantasy of suburban bliss. The rise in random acts of public violence is making this much harder, but the white picket fence crowd still manages to hold on to its illusions.
Whether one buries their head in the sand to find peace or seeks out new beliefs or ideas that fit nicely with their own — when you reject dissonance, you seek to place your trust in something comforting: a person or a group of people that looks and sounds like you. You trust those who reflect your values and attitudes—whatever makes you feel safe and secure.
You know exactly what we call that in Scripture. You know what they are and what happens to those who trust in them.
On the other hand, Scripture itself is divine dissonance. God challenges you to go against the grain of human thought by trusting his words, knowing full well you have no control over what comes out of his mouth. He will not say what you want, nor will his words or actions reflect your values or attitudes. He will often say exactly what you do not want to hear as if he knows how to betray and embarrass you personally. Pretty cool for a book written by people who did not know you and were not thinking about you and could not possibly have conceived of the modern world when they wrote it.
Like all of Scripture, Luke liberates you from the fantasy of suburban bliss where Herod’s boot is firmly planted on your neck. He challenges you to unplug yourself from the Matrix and accept life in the wilderness, out of your control, but in the palm of God’s hand.
Or, in verse 30, you could run from God’s beloved Shepherd toward Israel’s beloved king.
Good luck with that.
Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Luke 3:30 (Episode 485)
Are you a regular listener? Please subscribe to our program on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts: subscribe.