If you’ve ever found yourself in a place where you don’t know what you believe anymore, and you don’t feel welcome or at home in any church, and you don’t have any friends or family members who understand what you’re going through, then you already know that Deconstruction isn’t so easy. In fact, you know how incredibly isolated, disoriented and helpless it makes you feel.
Some people who don’t know what this feels like might hear your story and think, “Just find a good church. It’s not that hard, is it?”
But, you know it’s harder than anyone can ever imagine.
You’ve tried visiting every church in a 50-mile radius and found more of the same: Sermons about hell, wrath and judgment; Songs about wretches, worms and undeserved love; Flags in the sanctuary; Politics in the pulpit; etc.
How hard is it to just “find a good church?” Pretty damn near impossible.
Now, sure, there may be a few good ones out there and I’m all in favor of starting more of them as soon as possible. We desperately need more churches out there that distance themselves from the Monster God who sacrifices Himself to Himself to appease His own wrath and save us from Himself, and more churches that embrace Universal Reconciliation, and more congregations that genuinely and openly welcome our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters with open arms, and more communities of faith that hold loosely to dogma and tightly to the God of Love who lives within us all.
Yes. More of that, please.
But, for many of us – dare I say, “most of us” – this reality is not yet what we experience. We’ve got a town full of Churches that have either kicked us out, asked us to leave, told us to stop rocking the boat, made us feel unwelcome, taught doctrines we find offensive and un-Christlike, and not much of anything at all that makes us feel safe to be who we are and believe what we believe, or doubt what we doubt.
I know that feeling. You probably know it, too.
For now, Christianity in America is a vast wasteland of dogma where pastors don’t listen to the people in the pews, don’t care what questions you have about your faith, and don’t have any patience for those who don’t accept their “tried-and-true” answers to your deepest doubts.
Over the last few years, I’ve heard from hundreds of people who know exactly what this feels like. They’ve found themselves all alone with no one in their zip code who understands how they feel, and no real connections to anyone who shares their struggle.
Like my friend Joanne recently said: “Over the course of my 51 years I’ve attended everything from Episcopal to charismatic churches & none of them feel very safe to me today. I had to come out of church in order to heal. I’m finding many who feel this way. We don’t all have a “good church” available to us.”
Sure, there are dozens of groups of Facebook devoted to Deconstruction, and that does provide some shelter in the storm for people who need help. I admin a few of those myself.
But, what if you need more than that? What if you have no place to go on Sunday morning, no community of people who know your face and remember your name, no practical guidance for how to navigate this Deconstruction journey, and no clue where all of this is leading?
This is what I was asking myself about two years ago. I had devoted so much of my time and energy to helping people Deconstruct their faith; writing blogs, books, hosting podcasts, leading private FB groups, and answering hundreds of private messages from people desperate for help every single month, and yet what I realized was that there was virtually NOTHING out there specifically focused on helping people move OUT of Deconstruction and INTO something that looked like Reconstruction.
That’s why I decided to start this thing called Square 1, an online course and thriving community devoted to exactly this: Helping people navigate the uncertain Deconstruction journey, find healing and hope along the way, connect with other people who completely understand what this whole thing feels like, and provide practical resources and tools to help people heal from their trauma, make sense of their faith, forgive those who hurt them, rewire their brains, find practical grace for themselves and others, discover new daily faith practices that actually feed their soul and help them reconnect with the Divine, and develop a clear pathway and plan to experience a thriving Reconstruction of their faith [whatever that looks like for them].
Please Understand: I do not tell people how to Deconstruct and I do not dictate what their Reconstruction process should look like. Instead, I lay out a buffet of various options for them to try out and hopefully discover what works – and what doesn’t work – so they can take the path forward that makes the most sense and feels authentic to their individual faith story.
One of the most beautiful things I’ve learned over the last 2 years facilitating these Square 1 groups is just how vital the community connections are to the healing and growth process. In some ways, these online conversations are more essential to the shift into Reconstruction than anything else. I mean, sure the weekly lectures are helpful, and the weekly homework provides new insights for people, but nothing has been more beautiful than seeing how people surround one another to help, heal and restore one another in these groups. It’s really something profound to experience it as it’s happening, and to be honest, I’m a bit addicted to seeing it happen over and over again.
So, if you’d like to join us for one of these 12-week journeys through Deconstruction and into Reconstruction, I’d love to meet you there. Our next session begins very soon – Monday, November 8, 2021 – and we have around 10 seats left open.
If you’d like to find a supportive online community of people who understand what you’ve been going through in your Deconstruction journey, I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised and completely welcome in Square 1.
While we still have seats available, I’m offering the course at 75% off for a limited time.
I hope you’ll meet me at Square 1 in a few weeks. I’d love to see you there.
Keith Giles is the author of the best-selling 7-part “Jesus Un” series of books. His latest [and final] book in that series “Jesus Unarmed: How The Prince Of Peace Disarms Our Violence” releases Nov. 9, 2021 and will be available on Kindle and in Print. He and his wife, Wendy, currently live in El Paso, TX.