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Finding A Safe Space

Finding A Safe Space November 2, 2021

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As we’ve seen before, the process of questioning your Christian faith can be painful, disorienting and extremely lonely. While some people want to suggest that the solution is just to find a local Church to join, for many of us, Church is the problem, not the solution.

If the Church you’ve called home has now become a toxic place for you, leaving is your only option. Finding another Church in your zip code that isn’t preaching Eternal Torment, Penal Substitution, the Inerrancy of Scripture or how much God hates the LGBTQ+ community, isn’t as easy as it may sound. Especially if you’ve already tried it and come up empty.

So, the irony is that, while there may be hundreds of thousands of people in our nation who are all Deconstructing their faith, the reality is that most of them are totally alone, with no one to talk to, connect with or find common ground with.

Sure, there are a few hundred Facebook groups out there devoted to the Deconstruction movement. I host a few of those myself. But, if I’m honest, the vast majority of those groups online seem primarily focused on venting out the rage everyone feels at the Evangelical Churches that twisted their faith into knots and polluted their view of Christ with an “Us vs Them” mentality that divides people into “Lost” and “Saved”; “Forgiven” and “Condemned.”

That rage is quite natural and understandable. The first phase of Deconstruction often includes this season of outrage, anger, and detox from Church-as-we’ve-known-it and a Gospel of separation and sin-management. I’ve been through that phase myself and I’ve walked many, many other people through such a season as this on numerous occasions.

But, here’s the deal: You can’t stay in that stage of anger and eternal outrage very long without absorbing some of the poison into your system. Over time, that endless loop of outrage becomes your new personality. All you can see is how screwed up the Church is; all you can talk about is how wrong everyone else is. Your ability to move on from that darkness is crippled by your anger. Your opportunity to live in the daylight and celebrate the freedom that’s available outside of that toxic religious system is out of reach as long as you remain focused on the bad.

At some point, you need to find a way to let go of that and turn around to live – and thrive – in the post-Evangelical reality that your Deconstruction makes available to you…if you can flip that switch and find your way to freedom beyond all that anger.

About two years ago I started to realize that almost everything I was doing was somehow Deconstruction-related, but almost nothing was focused on Reconstruction. And as I looked around I realized that pretty much no one else was helping people move away from Deconstruction and into that Reconstruction phase that we all need so much.

Part of the problem, as I saw it, was that Reconstruction has often been defined as “returning to your Evangelical theology,” which is something no one who has actually gone through Deconstruction could really ever do. Because once you’ve seen something you cannot “unsee” it. Once you know something, you cannot “unknow” it.

So, if Reconstruction is NOT about reaffirming everything you’ve questioned and doubted along the way, then what IS it about? How should we define it or understand it?

Well, to me, everyone’s Reconstruction process is a little different. No two people will have the same path, or arrive in the same place. Some people who have let go of their religious baggage may find that Reconstruction for them looks like meditation, mindfulness, service to others and maybe a little yoga. Others might find that their Reconstruction looks like holding on to Jesus and relaxing their grip on everything else. Still others may decide that, for them, Reconstruction looks like walks in nature, painting, dancing, and exploring spirituality outside of any religious framework whatsoever. And that’s just a sampling. Because Reconstruction is merely whatever one discovers “works” for them when it comes to authentic spirituality, connection with the Divine, loving others, and learning to trust their own inner ability to know the Truth that is already within them.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I started this Square 1 community/course about 2 years ago to help people find their way through the process and connect with others who are on the same journey. But, a few days ago, in one of our Square 3 Zoom conversations [for those who have completed the Square 1 and Square 2 courses], someone pointed this out to me:

“There are probably hundreds of thousands – maybe even millions – of people who are Deconstructing their faith right now. Out of those people, most of them would never decide to sign up for a 90-day online course, even if it were free.”

I had to admit, he was right. Not everyone going through this process is up to spending 90 days in an online course, or willing to commit to a weekly Zoom call every weekend.

So, how can we help those people? How can we reach them, and provide some comfort to them? How can we offer free resources, point them in the right direction, and support them as they walk through their own process of faith, doubt and whatever comes after?

Well, honestly, we all had our own ideas about what that might look like. One friend in the group, Keck, wants to start an online church for people who are Deconstructing as a way to provide some sense of community and a place to ask questions. I love that idea!

For me, I started to wonder about creating a safe space where we could gather those people who find themselves wandering out there all alone; to give them something to hang on to, offer some insights to guide their way, answer some of their questions if I can, and point them towards the few resources out there that might really help them experience the kind of healing they so desperately long for.

So, the plan is to invite everyone who finds themselves needing/wanting a safe space like this to a one-hour video webinar on Friday, Dec. 3rd at 6 p.m. MT/8 p.m. ET called SAFE SPACE.

If you’d like to join us, it’s absolutely FREE and you’ll even receive a free PDF download of the book I helped to edit on this topic called “Before You Lose Your Mind” [an intentional reaction to the Gospel Coalition’s horrific “Before You Lose Your Faith” book a few months ago].

My hope is that this is the beginning of something really healing, and wonderful for those people out there who are still searching for hope, still wrestling with questions, still unable to find community, and still searching for that “what’s next?” step on their journey from faith to doubt and [hopefully], back again.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

If this sounds like something you’d love to attend, please register to join us for A Safe Space HERE>

**

Keith Giles is the author of the 7-part best-selling “Jesus Un” book series from Quoir Publishing. His latest -and final book – in this series, Jesus Unarmed: How The Prince Of Peace Disarms Our Violence releases Nov. 9, 2021. Keith is also the host of Second Cup with Keith [a new solo podcast releasing Nov. 15 on the Ethos Radio App, and on Spotify, Apple and Google podcast platforms]; and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast [along with co-hosts Matthew Distefano, Dr. Katy Valentine, and Derek Day], and the new Imaginary Lines YouTube Channel with poet Darrell Epp. He and his wife, Wendy, currently live in El Paso, TX and work with Peace Catalyst International.

 

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