Deconstructing our faith is a necessary part of growing in maturity and refining our faith in Christ. To truly embrace Christ, we need to first eliminate all the toxic baggage and man-made hierarchy built on fear and control that has twisted and distorted our ability to see and experience God properly.
But there is one thing even worse than the controlling fear-based Christianity we’re deconstructing out of – Toxic Reconstruction.
Yes, it’s a real thing.
Toxic Reconstruction is when you’ve recognized something about your Christian faith was wrong and you’ve Deconstructed out of it, only to create yet another toxic version of your new-found revelation that is twice as twisted and screwy as what you left behind.
For example, let’s say you have deconstructed your view of Eternal Suffering. You once believed it was the truth. You used to preach it and teach it yourself and probably even spent time warning your unbelieving friends that they were going to burn in hell forever if they didn’t repent and repeat that prayer of salvation printed in the back of the Four Spiritual Laws tract you kept in your wallet.
But now you’ve realized that this view is not only NOT the Gospel, but that it’s never used to evangelize anyone in the New Testament and the language is actually borrowed from apocalyptic hyperbole used by Jeremiah and Isaiah in the Old Testament to talk about literal armies surrounding Edom and Babylon and Jerusalem to lay siege to the city and take survivors into captivity as slaves. In other words, these verses are never used to talk about what happens to people after they die. They are verses using hyperbole and metaphor to describe a literal, real-world destruction that is soon to come for those who are listening.
So…now you’ve rejected that view of Eternal Suffering. Great! But now you are twice as aggressive at blasting anyone who dares to believe that view. You create arguments with other Christians so you can show them how dumb they are for believing that stuff, and how smart you are for discovering that it’s wrong.
That’s toxic Reconstruction.
Essentially, we end up trading one form of dogmatism for another form. We continue to behave as if Christianity really is all about having the right information about God and proving to other how right you are and how wrong they are.
But, that’s NOT what the Gospel is about. Is it?
No, it’s not.
The Gospel is not about Information. It’s about Transformation.
And if the Gospel is really about Transformation then that means what matters most is our connection with God through Christ. What counts is how we love others. What matters is whether we are really abiding in Christ and allowing Christ to abide in us. This allows us to start developing and demonstrating the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness and Self-Control.
If we’re focused on drawing nearer to God, becoming more loving and giving and forgiving, etc., then we’re much too busy to waste our time arguing about Hell, or the Rapture, or Politics.
So, my encouragement to you is to avoid Deconstructing your way out of toxic Christianity and into toxic Reconstruction.
Reconstruction should be about getting free from toxic Christianity, setting ourselves apart from the Right/Wrong modality of faith and embracing the life and freedom available to us through a direct and clean connection with God without all the ego, fear and control we left behind us.
The key is to leave it behind us.
The secret is to let go of those hold habits and replace those with new practices of faith that bring us life and enable us to walk in total freedom.
Whatever you do, please don’t replace one form of toxic religion with another form. The point of questioning and rejecting the status quo is to truly experience something brand new.
Until you totally let go of those old ways of thinking, you’ll never fully experience true freedom and life apart from dead religion.
Starting over requires a clean slate.
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 are returning to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure.