I Didn’t Want to Deconstruct

I Didn’t Want to Deconstruct October 31, 2023

I Didn’t Want to Deconstruct

I Didn't Want to Deconstruct
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As some of you may know, my beliefs and affiliations have changed greatly over the past seven or eight years. I am sure that some assume that this was what I wanted and that I was chasing some dream or some kind of secret desire that I had. But nothing could be further from the truth. When I was a conservative evangelical Republican, I was perfectly happy being those things. I was making lots of money, I had a reasonable amount of power as a pastor, and I thought that I was right.

The religious system that I was a part of taught me to not trust my intuition. So, most of the time, I set out to prove what I already believed and defended the systems that I was a part of until one day, I decided that God could handle my questions, and I started asking them.

When I started to investigate the things like how I felt about hell and demons and the queer community, it wasn’t hard to find good solid information that refuted some of my former beliefs. And then, once I had all the information, I started making informed decisions about how I felt. Unfortunately, that started to put me at odds with my religious and political systems.

As I continued down this path, a Benedictine sister named Judith suggested the thought that “none of us is right,” So I began to pay attention and notice what my side of the argument was doing. I noticed how they acted, whether they had integrity, and how often they had to explain things away because their position didn’t make any sense or didn’t seem loving like the God I thought I loved.

The clearest revelation of this is when I wrote my book, Apparent Faith, and investigated the idea of God as a father and how that related to me as a father. Shouldn’t God be better than me? Should he have a worse temper and treat his children worse than I treat mine? Could I torture my children forever? When I made this logical and obvious comparison, it began to chip away at the beliefs I had inherited from others. I started to agree with Sister Judith that none of us is right.

Contrary to what people might think, I didn’t set out to prove a new belief system or one that represents the other side politically or religiously. I simply kept questioning and looking for the truth.

What I’m left with is a very bare-bones spirituality that satisfies my integrity. I don’t have to explain my beliefs or justify my actions, and I have learned that being and becoming are better than doing. I don’t fit in a nice box anymore, mostly because I stay open to what the universe and my integrity reveal.

I have a lot less loyalty to religious or political groups. My loyalty is to myself and my integrity. I can’t condone abusive behavior just because someone needs to win an election or because their conference or church function needs to succeed. I don’t think it’s right to act outside of love, and I don’t support anyone who is abusive and elevates themselves over other people.

I’m glad that I no longer make excuses for myself and other people. It’s a great place to live when I am being where I am (present) and who I am (authentic). When you ask me what I think of something or what someone did, I don’t have to access a creed, belief system, or political platform. I tell you the truth, and it’s usually based on loving my neighbor.

Integrity has been important to me for a long time, but I regret that for too many years, I made exceptions and supported the group instead of trusting myself. We don’t need a large group of people or the right people on our side to make decisions. We must ask good questions and do the hard work that integrity demands.

Be where you are, be who you are,

Be at peace!

Karl Forehand

Disappointment in the Desert

My Paranormal Investigation

Karl Forehand is a former pastor, podcaster, and award-winning author. His books include Out into the Desert, Leaning Forward,  Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart, The Tea Shop and Being: A Journey Toward Presence and Authenticity.  He is the creator of The Desert Sanctuary podcast and community.  He is married to his wife Laura of 35 years and has one dog named Winston.  His three children are grown and are beginning to multiply!

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