Deconstructing The Robin’s Nest

Deconstructing The Robin’s Nest April 15, 2024

Birds build nests. But only recently did I see a pair of mockingbirds in the process of deconstructing a robin’s nest. I saw it happen gradually just outside my front window in the dogwood tree. I was interested for one reason only. The nest stayed empty and unused for the previous three years. Instead of merely reusing the nest, the pair took it apart twig by twig and stem by stem to build their own in a nearby bush. Perhaps, the old one is full of mites and dangerous to chicks? I cannot say.

The nest at the beginning of deconstruction

Deconstructing For Purpose

When we begin deconstructing our belief system, we begin without any real goal in mind. We are warned that once we start our souls are in danger. Yet, we are also told that a mature belief is one we have made our own. We begin deconstructing inherited beliefs. The purposes given can be to know what is true or grow spiritually or any other number of purposes. Our deconstruction is takes our empty hollowed-out notions of what is right and wrong to replace them with what is loving and healthy.

Jesus argued new wine could not be put into old wineskins. Following Jesus meant leaving behind the norms for a new way.


When did my own deconstruction begin? Likely, it was when I realized the faith was being domesticated for consumerist reasons. A Christian musical group sells their recordings at a Youth rally. A sixth-grade child explains to one of the adult volunteers that her mother gave her money but does not know if she would want her to spend it that way? The volunteer who the child has been assured is trustworthy because it is church and the music is “worship” replies, “I am sure your mother would rather you spend it on this rather than other kinds of music.”

It is tempting to avoid reconstructing our faith because deconstructing it takes a large portion of our lives. The work must be done in order to avoid despair and nihilism. Evangelical leaders traded belief for satisfying consumers many years ago. Consumer/disciples choose big box churches not to serve but be served. A reconstructed faith must avoid that pitfall.

Deconstructing “My Jesus”

A pastor recently told the story that she was preaching from the sermon on the mount. A man in her church claimed, “My Jesus would never say such nonsense.” C. S. Lewis cautioned against this sense of owning God as one owns a pair of boots or teddy bear. The My Jesus approach many evangelicals and progressive Christians take is simply spiritual consumerism. Letting go of My Jesus is letting go of one’s wrong sense of self. When we stop seeing ourselves as one of Jesus closest disciples in the gospel stories, we start seeing the gospel is not a form of self-esteem or therapeutic indulgence. Rather, it is something radically different than what we have allowed ourselves to believe.

Listening Again to Jesus

What has been the best part of your faith? Is it community? Could it be one’s sense of purpose? Whatever is best about your faith consider why you think it is the best. Christianity has been through many changes (even the attempts to restore primitive Christianity is modernist project). It will continue to do so. Some of us are angry about what happened and what we lost. I am one of those people.

Earlier I said the mockingbirds built their nest in a nearby bush. I know this because they keep flying in and out of it. But I have yet to see it. Reconstructing our faith is looking for something we have yet to see. Perhaps, reconstruction is a pilgrimage of seeking the new city? I hope it is.

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