By Lauren Fink
No one begs for dissonance.
When an argument begins with a good friend, you can feel it swell. You both sweat and claw at containing over-emotion, resisting cheap shots, clinging to clear rhetoric, listening, caring, celebrating points of alignment, sympathizing, relenting, questioning, and petitioning.
As the debate reaches fever pitch, do you dare anticipate the beauty of resolve on the other side?
Resolve. Even the sound and look of the word is comforting. Does resolve only seem beautiful because it followed a fight? Or is the resolve actually more beautiful than the so-called harmony of avoiding the discord in the first place? Is the strife itself also beautiful?
Dr. Paul Gorki, George Mason professor, says yes, it’s a worthy, “golden” thing. He describes cognitive dissonance as healthy “untidiness” and “the critical crossroads of learning” where people grapple with truths, refusing to hide behind the intellectual armor that “deflects new information to protect the safety of existing assumptions.”
So, as it turns out, this professor does want dissonance. And so do we, don’t you think? Hasn’t it seemed that St. Luke Lutheran Church has begged to be jarred for over a year? Isn’t launching three individual churches after years of multi-site begging for friction?
And yet, it’s also golden.
On Saturday, the Vision Team got a taste of such blessed wrangling. We dug deep, prayed hard, and wrestled with ideas of the church’s health and future. For several hours, a dissonant melody played around our U-shaped table. Then we broke off into separate groups to meet in separate rooms, ready to come back with different answers.
We returned solemnly with poster boards, which were tacked up in a row on the wall. Twelve brainstormed statements lay parallel in four rows. And we all gazed. Some uttered, “Wow.” Different groups had written the same Bible verses, the same phrases, and the same keywords. Our melody had resolved, and we weren’t even expecting it. Our prayers—your prayers—for clarity and unity, are being answered.
One keyword is relationships, and the setting is as much our neighborhoods and stores as our church building. We’re seeing a community—us and those around us—who long for belonging, value, unity, and don’t know how to find it and don’t know how to nurture it. Our calling transcends church attendance. It transcends church programs. And it’s earnest, warm, and intentional in a very St. Luke way.
Join us in the untidiness of throwing our prayers, our gifts, our locale, and our needs into the air, and asking God to draw them down in harmony and show us something we don’t yet fully see. It’s uncomfortable. And it’s golden.
Engage with Vision Team members and share your thoughts with them. Stay tuned for more Vision Team blog posts and dates for future wet cement sessions.