Deconstructing Theology. Is it Okay to Ask God Questions?

Deconstructing Theology. Is it Okay to Ask God Questions? July 7, 2024

Is it okay to ask God Questions
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“When Christianity entered into the world, people were not Christians and the difficulty was to become a Christian. Nowadays the difficulty in becoming a Christian is that one must cease to become a Christian.” Soren Kierkegaard


In today’s Lectionary at church, the scripture was Mark 3. We focused on the section of the text in which Jesus was referred to as “Out of his mind” by his family. The scribes referred to him as possessed with Satan! Why had they done so? Because Jesus was breaking with tradition. He healed a man (and many other people) on the Sabbath. It was not permitted to do much of anything on the Sabbath during that time. When the religious leaders looked at him with incredulity he said, ““Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” In posing that question he challenged the narrative of the time. He confounded them so much that they remained silent after his question.

Jesus challenged tradition by referring to himself as the son of God

I love musicals, love them. Particularly the ones from the 50’s-70’s. Fiddler on the Roof is one of my personal favorites. The story features a poor Jewish family living in Russia. The father, Tevye is a poor milk man with 5 daughters. As the movie opens, Tevye sings about the village of Anetevka and their traditions. Traditions such as how to sleep, how to eat, how to work, how to wear clothes. They covered their heads to show their constant devotion to God. Women had their place, the Father’s had to provide and have the final word at home. A bride is picked for the sons. The tradition continues on via the children. When Tevye tries to recall where these traditions came from he said, “I don’t know, but its a tradition!” As the song closes for the absolute banger of a violin solo, Tevye says, “Without our traditions our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof!”

It's okay to ask God Questions
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Tradition ruled in the church

In Jesus’ time the church was built on a heaping helping of traditions. The status quo was the status quo. No questions asked. This led to much more reliance on man rather than God. Jesus came and tore down a lot of preconceived notions about religion and a true relationship with God. He let them know he was indeed the son of God. In doing so, he was accused of being out of his mind by his own family. As he was told that his mother and siblings were waiting for him he uttered the words: “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.  He looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus challenged the shaky Fiddler on the Roof of their traditions. 

How often do we deconstruct our religious beliefs?

In discussing the Lectionary scripture, the conversation turned to how our journeys of faith have been molded over the years. In the South, a lot of people grew up in some sort of church tradition. My family was a staunch died in the wool Southern Baptist Church. Women were not preachers, just Sunday School teachers. Women were not Ministers of Music or Deacons. That was relegated to the purview of the men. Which led to a tradition of sorts. However, how often did Jesus tell women to go and proclaim the good news that they heard? The Woman at the Well immediately comes to mind. Women were at the cross, the tomb and they were the first to be told to “Go and tell others.” Much like Fiddler on the Roof, there were some established traditions that were taught to me as a child. It was time to deconstruct and ask God some prayerful questions. There are other areas of tradition that can be addressed, women in Ministry was the first issue that came to my mind. I understand that some may find this view controversial, and that is okay. We are all walking in our faith in different ways.

Praying hand to the light.
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Is it really okay to ask God Questions?

There are 3 pretty special friends in my life, we grew up together attending the same Baptist church in a small town in Georgia. In our adulthood, it has been quite interesting to see how we have deconstructed our theology and religious beliefs. One of my friends stopped going to church until recently, he attends the church of our youth with his parents.  Another is quite ardent in the faith. She has written some pretty amazing blogs about her beliefs. My final friend recently came back to the faith after a long time of searching. The three of us see the world so very differently yet we can coexist and cultivate our friendships. Do you know how we each found our place? By asking and seeking God in our faith. In addition, we chose to question what we had been taught as gospel. The way things had always been. We asked with a sincere heart to have a better understanding of God and to be better people. In Hebrews the scripture tells us to draw near to God with a sincere heart. Jesus himself told us to ask: Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” Matthew 7:7-8

Sometimes traditions are like a shaky Fiddler on the Roof

Personally, I am a sucker for many traditions. Liturgy. Love. Christmas, family meals, holidays. They are wonderful. I spent much of my life a traditional wife and mother. Being a mother has been my very rewarding task. Not all traditions are bad. But in deconstructing beliefs it must lead to regular evaluation of one’s self and spirit. I am a classically trained pianist. In the many years of both playing and listening to other’s play, one theme has constantly emerged. Each player’s interpretation is vastly different that the other. The music speaks to their mind and their musicality differently. Their personality shines through in their playing. One such piece is Claude Debussy’s Claire de Lune.  In this beautiful piece, the notes sing a song to you that is breathtakingly beautiful. I view music interpretation much like God’s view of us. He speaks to us in a way that brings us closer to him and we play our life music to others. The interpretation may be more artistic or more technically literal. But the heart and desire are there to understand and continue to practice this piece that we call life. Often when you learn to play a piece of music there is much practice involved. Each time you practice, you take a listen and look to your interpretation and progress is made. Each time I hear someone playing Debussy’s piece, I am in awe in their interpretation, it is no less beautiful than my own. It is just different. That is amazing and awe inspiring.

Find those traditions that are shaky like a Fiddler on the roof, ask questions, have an open spirit and mind and God will speak to you where you are. Dig deep, ask questions, pray and see what resonates with your soul. I leave you all with the words of Angela Harrington: “Deconstruction is likely the spark for reformation that will eventually bring massive healing to the church.”


A Church with a vaulted ceiling
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