Can we deconstruct too much?
This is, by far, the is the greatest fear that people have when deconstructing. They wonder whether they will have anything left if they keep asking questions and keep taking down the walls and structures that they have built up over time in their belief system.
In general, people interchange words like faith, Christianity, and beliefs and end up confusing themselves on exactly what they are evaluating or removing. In this discussion, I wanted to clarify some of those words and how they relate to deconstruction.
But first, understand this:
You can’t destroy or deconstruct something that is eternal. If it is real, and/or truth, it can only grow stronger with your honest consideration.
Christ: For the sake of argument, let’s consider Christ as eternal and something that can’t be diminished. Your faith or allegiance or respect for the eternal Christ should grow stronger with questioning and consideration. As some are prone to imply, maybe we need to take the varnish off the image we had and “restore” a truthful understanding
Religion/Christianity: this is the part that man created and developed over time. Our practices are not sacred, we are simply addicted to them. This is not the part of the equation we need to be doggedly dedicated to.
Faith: this gets equated with religion. My beliefs will change over time, and certainly in deconstruction. I’m allowed to believe what I want and refine those beliefs when I discover truth but when I turn it into a creed and make it static, then it just morphs into a religion/system to control others.
Church: the organizational structures we have developed over time are mostly not relevant for the 21st century. The internet has rendered them all but obsolete. Most are plagued with toxicity and produce trauma. They are breeding grounds for political unrest and there are better ways to heal, thrive and grow and we don’t need professional clergy. If, by church you mean loving your neighbor, then, “yes.” Otherwise, why don’t we just evolve as people and if we discover we still need religion, we can resurrect it properly then.
In my experience, the people that go all the way with deconstruction, usually end up with something more pure and lasting. The things that are real survive, the things that were man-made and superficial fall away. They find healing and peace and no longer need institutions or belief systems or superficial creedal alliances to the past. They are living present and authentic lives, because they had gone inward instead of looking upward and been able to throw off the baggage involved man-made systems.
I wish you well on your journey,
Karl Forehand is a former pastor, podcaster, and award-winning author. His books include Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart and The Tea Shop. He is the creator of The Desert Sanctuary podcast. He is married to his wife Laura of 32 years and has one dog named Winston. His three children are grown and are beginning to multiply!
Photo by Jørgen Larsen: