What is Decontruction?
Before we get too far into this series, I feel the need to answer a key question.
What is deconstruction and what is it not. For me anyways.
Let’s start with what it isn’t.
It isn’t me losing my faith.
It isn’t me walking away from my relationship with Christ.
It isn’t me being rebellious or disrespectful. (OK, maybe a little rebellious…)
It isn’t me throwing mud on the church or trying to attack anyone in it.
What it IS is still evolving in my heart.
It is me stepping into a deeper part of my faith and asking the hard questions.
It is me deepening and strengthening my relationship with Christ. Practicing seeing him in all things, not just in the religiously constructed environments I have previously engaged with.
It is me trying to desperately find freedom from lies and shame and the carnal works and performance-based mindsets I have found myself pulled into. (read about this in 1st Peter)
It is my attempt to help others find true freedom and acceptance in Christ.
It is me desperately and imperfectly trying introduce people who have been hurt, marginalized and abandoned by the flawed people in church to a Christ who loves them unconditionally and completely.
It is important that you know that I don’t have all the answers and I don’t know the full process.
I don’t know where this will all take me, but my goal is to grow in love and grace-reflecting Jesus to a hurting and dying world- and help others do the same.
I first heard the word deconstruction from either Rachel Held Evans or Sarah Bessey. I am not totally sure which, but both have been hugely influential in my unlearning over the past few years.
As I said in my last post, I am not 100% sure where this all started but I do know that a little more than a year ago I read a book that really changed the way I looked at scripture. (The first of many)
Inspired by Rachel Held Evans.
I had always been taught that scripture is the “infallible word of God”. And it wasn’t up for discussion.
It was literal and authoritative. You don’t question it.
Over twenty years of studying scripture in varying ways had left me with many questions. Things that I just couldn’t reconcile against the character of Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. Things that didn’t make sense.
Anytime I asked hard questions of those farther along in their faith than I, I was given some kind of answer along the lines of “God’s ways are higher than ours” and “we just can’t and won’t understand all things.”
Those answers satisfied me for a long time and I even used them in my mentor-ship and leading of others.
However, there came a time when those pat answers just were not enough anymore.
In reading Inspired, I realized that God has always partnered with humans to do his work. Including the writing of scripture. Including the choosing of which literary works would be included in the cannon of scripture as we know it.
I began to see that even though the words on the page were God inspired, they were still reflective of a culture and the personality of the human on the end of the quill. Even though God was using people to get a message across, that message is still being communicated through multiple literary devices, experiences and biases.
There were so many things in scripture that have lost relevance because of culture and ultimately because of Jesus.
Things like slavery, and ideas on government. The rules around menstruation. Laws on food and dead animals.
When I asked questions about why Paul had said that women couldn’t preach in church or teach or hold authority over men, I was told that his words were written to a certain crowd/culture in a certain country that had very unique circumstances and that it wasn’t mean to be for all churches for all time.
OK, that was a good answer.
But then it began to leak over into other new testament words that didn’t line up with what my heart seemed to be experiencing in Christ through the Holy Spirit.
What about marriages? Was the man really in charge or was it a partnership?
What about homosexuality?
Weren’t these all cultural and social constructs? Surely, they didn’t apply to all of the church for all time?
The Christ I was experiencing and engaging with daily seemed to be showing me his heart of love and acceptance for all people. Regardless of their history, choices, nationality, or sexual preferences.
Jesus even loves assholes.
And so began my deconstruction. The breaking down of ideas and belief systems regarding how we have constructed our current North American church culture and leadership structures.
I needed to make sure that my “religion” wasn’t being exclusive.
I needed to open my eyes to see how what I believed, what I was learning and what I was teaching others should be benefiting all people.
Not just those in the pews but particularly those who were missing from them.