Consolation – and Other Big Words

Good Morning World!

Some of you may know that I work as an electrician. The other day our work group received a complaint that we had left a whole pile of screws on the ground in the vicinity of a project we had completed. Had I been in charge of this job I don’t think this would have happened. Not because I am a neat freak but because one thing I have learned in thirty years of electricianing is that we always get blamed for leaving a mess behind. My words of wisdom to apprentices always includes this phrase in some form or another: “When you are finished, pick up all the rubbish, particularly the cable ties….it doesn’t matter if it was the plumbers who used them, we will get blamed for it.” So that is what I intend to do with this blog. I have a couple of cable tie ends in my mind that should be cleaned up before we move on.

Cable tie end number one:  Cognitive dissonance. 

Wikipedia defines cognitive dissonance like this: “In modern psychology, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel “disequilibrium”: frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc. 

I have often made reference to this feeling without realizing it had a name. It has been a tool I have sometimes used in reading scripture – this verse makes me feel uncomfortable – I need to think about this for awhile. Some of these verses have ended up being my favourites.  But largely this feeling of “uncomfortable” has been a reason I don’t particularly enjoy reading the Bible. I am confident most of us would identify with this feeling – the Bible places us in a feeling of  “cognitive dissonance” so we don’t actually like to read it….on its own. That is where the role of religion/Pastors comes in, they make us feel better about the horrible stuff we feel about the Bible. Which leads us to cable tie end number two: Consolation

Consolation is something I could write volumes on so I am going to have to physically restrain myself otherwise I will lose half my readership. I think to succinctly summarise volumes, I would say that being a Christian is not about finding truth, it is about making ourselves feel better. An example:

“God created us Male and Female” the truth is that some people just don’t fit either one of these boxes. To make ourselves feel better we need to place these people outside of God’s created order – they are results of the fall. Rather than face the reality, rather than consoling the person Jesus places in front of us by affirming them: – “You are wondefully made” – we make ourselves feel better and label them as distorted.

When I started blogging I had no idea where I was going, part of me wanted to give positive messages of consolation using my photographs as inspiration. I ended up responding to my outrage at a hurtful, propoganda style book written against Gay people. Right from the start, and I think I wrote it down somewhere, I had this thought in the back of my head. ” The marginalization of LGBTIQ people is the expression of a deeper issue” . There is something not right, “A good tree does not bear bad fruit”.  So here I stand, quite a few kilometres down the road, having passed an intersection….. a small dusty track. What do I do now?

I chose the featured image for this post because for me it has the feeling of  “something is not quite right” – the feeling that I was talking about. The bench in the photo is in the wrong position – it distresses me. If I lived in Melbourne I would head back to the Southbank and reframe with the bench a third of the way into the picture. Perhaps I will be able to do that one day. As far as our feelings of  “cognitive dissonance” are concerned – we ARE able to take a U-turn and follow the road back to the small track I was talking about and “re-frame”.  The small track I am talking about is not an attractive one but that is where my blog will be heading for a while….the track of the cross.

The reason we are making poor decisions is because we are on the highway….not on the track.



5 Responses to “Consolation – and Other Big Words”
  1. I love the metaphor of the highway and track!

  2. Karin says:

    I guess the question to ask is what you will do once you have figured out what is wrong? Will you yell it from the trees? Will you post it on the LCA Tabletalk? And once you have done so, then what? Do you think the pastors and members of the LCA will say to you “Gosh, we never knew it was cognitive dissonance! Now that we know we see the light! Thank you Tapman!” ?

    • Tapman says:

      No illusions of anyone listening. For me it is an exciting road of discovery and I am looking forward to following the road and see where it leads.

  3. Karin says:

    That is the way to go. I hope you will share the journey with us

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