Weighing in on Deconstruction

Weighing in on Deconstruction December 13, 2021

Like I’ve said in the last two articles, it seems everyone is weighing in on deconstruction these days. Whether it’s Sean McDowell, Alisa Childers, Matt Chandler, or your run of the mill Christian on Twitter, everyone’s got an opinion. The crazy thing is that for the most part none of these folks have any firsthand knowledge of what they are talking about. Crazier yet is that none seem interested in talking to those of us who do.

They are like birds with their heads in the sand.

And look, we shouldn’t expect everyone to have firsthand knowledge about literally everything they talk about. It’s helpful, of course, but not necessarily a requirement. But you’d think that if these Evangelicals truly wanted to understand deconstruction, they’d actually talk to us about it. The fact that they generally don’t says a lot about their character.

But I’m not here to discuss their character per se. Honestly, I don’t care about these characters, nor their character. I don’t know any of them personally, and based on their YouTube channels and blogs, I don’t want to. I am, however, interested in clarifying some things for those who may be swayed by their nonsense.

First off, deconstruction does not necessarily mean deconversion. There are many folks I know personally who have deconstructed their theology but not their entire faith. Hell, I cohost a podcast with two of them (the other one HAS de-converted). I know that the anti-deconstruction creators out there like to tell their followers that deconstruction is the same thing as deconversion, but it’s not. It sometimes ends up that way, but one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other.

Secondly, no one – I mean no one! – is deconstructing so they can justify their sin. They aren’t thinking to themselves, “I watched porn today, so I better question God.” That’s nonsense, and probably deserves no further explanation.

Third, deconstruction is not necessarily a choice. Instead, what tends to happen is that questions come around that we don’t have good answers for. Sure, we have answers, but they typically don’t satisfy. I know that the Evangelical apologists think they should, but for many of us – those who are more rational, logical, and philosophical – they simply don’t. Then, as these questions fester, they lead to more questions, and we are almost forced to rethink our entire paradigm.

Fourth, for those who DO choose to deconstruct, it is not for the reasons they are accused of. While Josh Butler of The Gospel Coalition suggests that people deconstruct in order to gain “street cred,” he is simply showing his ignorance. Instead, it’s because the Evangelical church has traded in the message of Jesus for the message of Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, Franklin Graham, Lauren Boebert, and the rest of the hucksters and grifters who have come along, riding the coattails of White, GOP Jesus. Love, inclusion, and nonviolence have been traded in for nationalism, xenophobia, racism, and bigotry and people are sick and tired of it.

And lastly, I can’t help but think that if the God of these folks who demonize deconstruction was secure enough, then they wouldn’t have to ignorantly speak out against this “movement.” Put this way: Why are they acting so scared? Is it because they stand to lose the most? I think there is some of that. Their platforms rely on followers and the more who deconstruct, the less who are going to want to listen to those who really don’t know anything about it.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts in the comments. If you’re deconstructing, did I miss anything? I’m sure I did (this is only a brief article, not a thesis).

Cheers! May you continue to have your questions and your doubts. God knows I do.

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About Matthew Distefano
Matthew J. Distefano is an author, blogger, podcaster, and social worker. He lives in Northern California with his wife and daughter You can read more about the author here.
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