I’ve decided to do this post on a topic that hits home with me. I want to start this off by saying that if you are going through or have gone through a deconstruction of your beliefs or faith, you’re not alone. If you have no idea what this term is, you’ve probably never experienced it. I would like to also add that the process of deconstruction is painful, confusing, depressing in some cases, and can leave you not believing in a God at all. Lastly, I would like to conclude this introduction by saying that it is never my intention to offend or to hurt anyone. If you wish to continue reading, please use discretion on what you can mentally, spiritually, and emotionally handle.
Deconstruction is a very interesting process. To best explain it, I’m going to tell you my own personal story of faith, deconstruction, doubt, and reconstruction.
I have deep roots in the evangelical church. I decided to follow the teachings of Jesus when I was thirteen. I was passionate about sharing the Pentecostal spirituality that I followed. I wanted to bring revival to the world. I believed that God had appointed me to be a prophet and that I was to start spiritual movements within every place that I was. I wore out the name of God in people’s lives and turned a lot of people away. I was passionate and believed that those people had a weak faith. That all changed when I went to college. My first year I realized that the prophetic calling was real, though I didn’t understand what a prophet really was. I spent my time boasting and thinking that I had something to bring to the table. That cockiness and “holier than thou” attitude changed when I realized that pride was preventing me from experience what God wanted to do in my life. My second year, I was struggling with getting rid of my pride, and found my passions begin to redirect. I valued studying over boasting. It all started with one book. I read a book called “Kingdom Ethics”. There was a specific chapter that changed me. In that chapter, it talked about the churches relationship with Adolf Hitler. As I was reading the chapter, I realized that the chapter sounded a lot like the way the Church supports Donald Trump. At the time, I was a Republican. I had a lot of questions and ideas, but I claimed to be conservative and a Republican because I was told to. In that moment, I realized that. I then took a political test that said that my political ideas aligned with Bernie Sanders. I was shocked because I made so much fun of people who liked him. I began to study what Bernie stood for and realized how much that sounded like Jesus. I went to my dean at the time and told him that I think Jesus’ message is about the poor and the outcasts.
A few weeks later we got into a conversation about postmodernism. I had no idea what the term meant, but I was super interested. My dean gave me a book that took my ideas even further. He gave me the book “A New Kind of Christian” by Brian McLauren. It was a book that completely opened my ideas and perspectives. It’s what started me on my road to deconstruction.
After completing that book, I found that I was undergoing extreme confusion, view-shifts, and a new radical way of thinking. I can’t explain in full detail how I felt, but I can say that it was very dark. I became anxious, depressed, and felt alone. Rob Bell puts this process into perspective in his new book “What is the Bible”. Rob says, “This is often incredibly exciting and liberating, but it can also have a traumatic dimension to it, like the carpet is being yanked out from under you. Like the stable ground you’ve been walking on for so long is now trembling. And yet you can’t go back. Once you’ve tasted, you can’t untaste. Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee.” There’s another bit of literature that describes how this process made me feel. David Bazan has a song called hard to be that deconstructs the idea of creation. In this song he says “I swung my tassel to the left side of my cap knowing after graduation there would be no going back. And no congratulations from my faithful family. Some of whom are already fasting to intercede for me.” This process is so difficult and so painful.
I became confused and lost and reached out to several different people. There was a point where I contemplated leaving my church because on the other side of deconstruction, my views appeared to be very different than theirs. I went from a Conservative Evangelical Pentecostal to that of a Progressive Charismatic Mainline Christian. My world was torn apart, so I reached out to a few key people. I met with my mentors. All of them understood that my views have become different and that I am in a different place that I was before and support me in my ideas and decisions. I also reached out to two different institutions. One was the Liturgists. Another was Circular Congregational Church (UCC) in Charleston, South Carolina. Both had amazing things to say.
When I reached out to Circular, I told them about my pain that I was facing and how I felt so alone. I told them that a lot of their ideas I was onboard with. I wasn’t sure if they really were this dream church that I had in mind but I was very transparent. I was immediately notified that the Pastor was on a sabbatical, but the man who was filling in for him told me that he would meet with me. It was an awesome meeting. Upon meeting him, I knew he was gay. I was okay with that. I shook his hand and we sat for two and a half hours talking about theology, philosophy, and science. He told me about his partner and the hardships that they have faced as a gay couple and how loving and accepting that Circular has been for them. He was such an amazing person and I could tell that he knew God and the love of Christ radiated off of him. He affirmed me and told me the my deconstruction was healthy and that where I am is extremely healthy. I left that meeting very refreshed and full of hope.
When I reached out to the Liturgists, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if Michael Gungor was going to email me, or maybe Science Mike would guide me through this process. Instead, Corey Pigg, their project manager contacted me. He sent me something that helped me. It says this:
“If you are currently in spiritual/faith/religious/belief system “Deconstruction” please know that…
1) Inherited faith, or belief systems that we naively receive as children, generally end up crumbling or failing.
2) This is a painful process that often leaves us scared, even depressed.
3) You are not alone. The vast majority, if not all, of even the sagest of saints describe having gone through this stage of faith.
4) The belief system you are losing wasn’t yours in the first place.
5) It wasn’t wasted. It had a purpose. It carved out a capacity in your soul, holding the space until you were ready to develop your own faith.
6) Deconstruction is like quick sand – fighting it makes it worse. Relax. Let go. Once deconstruction starts it will NOT stop until it is complete.
7) The brokenness it leaves you with is a beautiful and fertile emptiness that prepares you for New Construction – your own faith or belief system; one you will be able to trust.”
I don’t think that my reconstruction is finished, but I have let go of my pain just as Corey suggested. I no longer fight it. I embrace it. I no longer try to run and hide from this process. I have reached a point of contentment. I am okay with who I am and I don’t worry about what others may think of me. I am me, not anyone else. God will reveal to me who God is in the way that I need to understand.
I hope that these ideas and my story helps every single one of you. I’m unsure if my post is vague or if it seems inconstant. My goal with this is to let every single one of you know that you aren’t alone. There are others like you that struggle and go through the growing pains of deconstruction. No matter if you have or have not gone through this, you are always welcomed and accepted by me and I always will be completely inclusive to every person that comes to this page. I do this for you. You are the heart of why I spend time researching and pouring my life into this blog. Thank you so much for visiting and reading this. I hope that this helps each person who is on this journey of faith and spirituality.
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Schooloflifechannel. “PHILOSOPHY: Jacques Derrida.” YouTube. YouTube, 02 Sept. 2016. Web. 23 July 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0tnHr2dqTs>.
BELL, ROB. WHAT IS THE BIBLE?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters and Stories Can Transform The… Way You Think and Feel about Everything. S.l.: WILLIAM COLLINS, 2018. Print.