As I continue to explore the need to move from Deconstruction of our religious faith into Reconstruction, I’m starting to recognize the need to replace our old habits with new spiritual practices.
For example, we may walk away from Church-as-we-know-it as we Deconstruct our religious beliefs. Sometimes it’s because we’re asked to leave due to our heretical views, or because we just can’t stand sitting through another sermon about how a loving God would burn people in an eternal lake of fire, or just because we no longer share much in common with those Christians around us who aren’t in the same place we are theologically.
Whatever the reason, our Deconstruction may lead us to leave the traditional model of Church we grew up with, or have become dependent upon. What now?
Well, in the same way that an alcoholic needs to replace the activity of drinking with something more positive, a former church-going Christian needs to replace that act of church attendance with something new that brings life and joy rather than reinforcing fear and control.
So, here’s a short list of things I recommend trying for those who find themselves outside the Church and yet still yearning for connection with the Divine.
First of all, we need to learn to create new patterns of spirituality to replace our old patterns of religion. That may take some time. Our brains just want to go back to attending another meeting on a Sunday morning because for many years we have reinforced that activity. Now we need to try something new.
What we need most is to shift from having meetings “about” God and move into experiencing meetings “with” God.
In other words, we need something more experiential and less religious. What’s most necessary is for us to redevelop our sense of wonder, awe and mystery when it comes to God. Rather than return to mindset fixated on “knowing” it’s important to shift over to a mindset of “wonder” and learn to take comfort in not knowing all the answers. [Because, let’s face it – we don’t].
Some activities that can help us redevelop our sense of wonder and place us in a new mindset for experiencing the Divine are:
All of these practices have the potential for drawing us back into a posture of receiving and experiencing God on an entirely new level. Some of these will be more effective for some than for others. We all need to find our sweet spot and take time to develop our discipline in practicing these experiences that have the potential to lead us into a deeper awareness of God.
As we begin to create new spiritual practices, our awareness of God and our connection with Christ will become more and more natural for us. Eventually, our experience will be an automatic shift from the mundane to the metaphysical with very little effort.
For example, my wife Wendy and I have been taking time regularly to sit in silence together and experience the presence of Jesus. [I call it our “Jesus Time”]. These sessions can last for an hour or more, and each time we both begin to sense the presence of Christ immediately. We wait on him. We listen to him. Sometimes we fell compelled to speak directly to Jesus. Other times we simply sit and experience the entire time in total silence, just basking in his presence together.
Wendy often feels a connection with God when she’s gardening, or waking by the river. I feel a connection with God when I journal, or meditate, or even drive alone in the car and talk with God. We’ve both experienced God’s presence when serving others or watching films together.
For those who want help learning to develop new spiritual practices that lead to deeper connections with Christ, I’m putting together a 90 day transformational program called “Square 1” that starts Sept. 30.
Either way, for those of us moving from Deconstruction to Reconstruction, it’s vital to develop new spiritual practices that lead us to life, joy and freedom.
Don’t you agree?
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.