Updated: Jan 31, 2021
When your faith hits a wall, will you embrace what is in front of you or will you pour diesel on it and let it burn? In one way you can face what's there, seek to understand what's going on, and use this as a time of reflection. You can also strategically go through the layers of what you have been taught, keeping what you should and throwing away other things. This includes breaking yourself down so there is nothing left and build as you see fit, or you can run from it all together, it's your choice.
Deconstructing of people’s faith has been happening more and more lately. I am not sure if an algorithm caught my conversation with friends and filtered stories into my timeline. In any case, many well-known pastors who are leading large congregations of believing Christians consisting of young men and women, have come to an impasse in life, due to looking for something deeper with more meaning. The pastors have made it public that they are either walking away all together or deconstructing their faith. Many are faced with the question, why do you believe what you believe and have come to a fork in the road. They are left with a decision and knowing that whatever they choose will change the course of their life.
Many of us have had a similar journey, perhaps not calling it deconstructing your faith or just deconstructing. I was faced with some similar questions throughout my life that caused me to look into the mirror and ask myself, are you regurgitating someone else's thoughts and opinions? It is extremely easy for us to speak what we have heard from other people, especially if they are parents or leaders that we trust. I have been in this place in many times throughout my past. From my teenage years when I was discovering the dynamics of relationships with co-workers and classmates. Along with many other times as I grew as a Chef. I had to breakdown recipes to make it my own. Not simply do what others had done. However, breaking down your faith journey or walk with the Lord, is similar but very different. It can shake someone to the point that they leave and never return.
My deconstruction of my Christian walk began because I became unconformable with the Protestant church's post reformation theology. To some that sounds like a large and unnecessary term. Let me explain myself. I was raised in the Catholic Church, which included spending my formable years as an altar boy, I always feel the need to say that my experience was great and had no issues with my Priest. I did however come to an impasse when I was 14 and did not reconstruct correctly, but rather walked away completely. It wasn't until years later, when I had an encounter with God, and after that I picked up where I left off. God became real to me again only this time in a Baptist/Pentecostal Church or what some would call a
Church. I picked up where I left off and even though I was 29 years old, I felt like I was 14 again. Young in my understanding and hungry to learn, I was around many people who were Christians their whole lives, never questioning anything and just serving the Lord and which always struck me as odd. Had these people never questioned anything and just followed what they had been taught? Whatever the case, I fully embraced my new life in Christ. This was what I was meant for, I knew it. I had always believed in God but never felt surrendered, I will explain more what surrendered is in another post. As I continued in my new faith walk, I began to see more clearly that a large majority of the Protestant Church had a gap in their beliefs. From the formation of The Bible to the Protestant revolt or reformation, depending on your perspective, seems to be missing years of information and history. Discovering this was something that deeply alarmed me. I know that during those years some very bad things crept into the Church, but that doesn't mean it was all bad. N.T Wright says that we read scriptures with 19th century eyes and 16th century questions. Meaning that we need to put ourselves in the place of the 16th century Christian to understand why people thought the way they did. This applied right into my reflection of my Christian journey. I say all of that to explain that post reformation theology does not use the church as a whole for understanding and only uses dispensations of time.
After getting this realization, I began my deeper journey into what has become my life. This journey included, discovering men and women throughout history who had deep encounters with God. The reasoning was not because they had the right theology, especially by modern terms, but they had a profound love for God and lived their lives discovering who He is.
I was deconstructing what it means to be a born-again believer. Like in John chapter 3, when Jesus and Nicodemus are having an amazing conversation. And during that conversation, Jesus shakes him to his core, more than likely bringing Nicodemus to an impasse in life. Because the words he is hearing are profound and vastly different than what he was taught in his upbringing.
For the next few years, I did not break down my whole Christian belief system. But I did break down my history with God. I looked for areas that needed some rebuilding or maybe some reassurance. As I inspected each stone in my foundation, I was reminded that our backgrounds do not define who we are. We are defined by how we face adversity, and how when faced with great tasks or asked to really share what something means to you, you speak from a place of knowing and not sharing knowledge. Knowledge is not a bad thing, but when you share from a place of discovery and vulnerability, you reveal who you really are. This could be a mouthpiece for someone else or a voice of strength, truth and love.
When someone deconstructs their faith, it is an extremely sensitive time for them. The walls of their fortified city of beliefs is being shaken, and some if not all the wall comes down. For some they run, and for others they embrace this moment and use it wisely to see more clearly and to rebuild very carefully. This is done knowing that each stone they place in their foundation is deeply important. They need time to go through the rubble and find the stones that need to remain and fit them where they belong. The discovery that they are in can be very inspiring to those who see or hear their stories.
Whatever your approach, as long as you reconstruct and don't leave behind a great opportunity of awakening, stay the course because leaving a heaping pile of burnt ruin is never good.