Tuesday, July 30, 2019

On Deconstruction

The idea of the deconstruction of faith has been buzzing around the interwebs for quite some time but it came to the forefront recently when homeschool world hero turned pastor turned seminary student Josh Harris announced not only that he and his wife are separating but that he no longer considers himself a Christian. Weeping and gnashing of teeth and all sorts of name calling and finger pointing have ensued.

While nobody but God knows exactly where Josh Harris is and where he will end up regarding his faith, many people I know, myself included, have or are in the process of deconstructing their faith.

I want to say this for the record, lest some get up in arms: deconstruction is not the same as destruction.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines deconstruction as the act of breaking something down into its separate parts in order to understand its meaning, especially when this is different from how it was previously understood."

For many of us, that is precisely what we have been doing.

I've likened it before to the process of cleaning out my purse. When it gets so heavy and overloaded and I can't reach in to grab my keys without jamming my fingers into a pile of exploded ink goo or a melted Hershey Kiss, I have to dump everything out, determine just what I need, and put back only the essentials.

Or think of it like this:

A house on our street has a super steep and quite dangerous set of stairs to the basement, making the prospect of carrying a basket of laundry, much less a wiggly toddler, down the stairs rather terrifying. The new owners are fixing this and in order to do so they have to tear out the existing stairs. Demolition is loud and messy and has resulted in a big-ass pile of debris but it is absolutely necessary before they can build the new, safer set of stairs.

Some of us are just now starting the demo process. Some of us are busy slinging crowbars and sledgehammers. Some of us are watching as the storms of life do the demo for us. Some of us are sitting, dazed, on a pile of debris, too exhausted to move. And some of us are getting a vision for what our faith can and should look like and are starting the building process.

This process isn't pretty and can take time. We can lose hope and feel like heretics. But I believe that we all have a responsibility to ourselves and before God to examine who we are and what we believe and why we believe what we do. God isn't threatened by this. He gives us the freedom to work these things out. We shouldn't feel threatened either.