‘Deconstruction’ has been a bit of a hot topic in the Christian world.
Those who are experiencing it tend to find it a scary, but vital development. Those who aren’t, tend to see it as a threat that needs to be averted.
While I have a wealth of knowledge that I could present from observations and first-hand experiences, I instead want to shift from my normal demeanor on this issue (Which admittedly hasn’t been seen much on this blog. More on that later.) and present a simple biblical fact, present a simple question, and share my simple faith which will introduce a shift in the direction of this blog.
Jesus Deconstructed His Faith.
Deconstruction is a spectrum. Sure, it can be taken too far. However, I find outright condemnation of it baffling. Deconstruction of human religion is exactly the kind of thing that Jesus did.
One day the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the Law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus. They had noticed that some of his disciples ate their food with their hands ‘defiled,’ by which they meant unwashed. (For the Pharisees, and indeed all strict Jews, will not eat without first scrupulously washing their hands, holding in this to the traditions of their ancestors. When they come from market, they will not eat without first sprinkling themselves; and there are many other customs which they have inherited and hold to, such as the ceremonial washing of cups, and jugs, and copper pans).
So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Jesus this question – “How is it that your disciples do not follow the traditions of our ancestors, but eat their food with defiled hands?”
His answer was, “It was well said by Isaiah when he prophesied about you hypocrites in the words – ‘This is a people who honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far removed from me; but vainly do they worship me, For they teach but human precepts.’ You neglect God’s commandments and hold to human traditions.” (OEB)
The Pharisees of Jesus’s day were essentially comparable to a denomination of today.
The Pharisees were holding onto man-made traditions and elevating them above what God truly wanted from them.
The Gospels record numerous times when Jesus is unwilling to follow the Pharisee’s commandments (particularly those involving cleanliness and the Sabbath) in lieu of helping those in need.
Jesus deconstructed his faith. He neglected the commandments of man, and fulfilled the commandments of God. In the end, the various sects of institutionalized religion killed him for unseating their power over the people.
The Question to Ask.
Institutionalized religion existed then and is still prevalent today.
The question then, is, 'If Jesus was critical of traditions of men mixing with the commandments of God in his day, what things are we holding onto today that are merely traditions of man?'
I Deconstructed My Faith.
That question is one I’ve been asking for a while now.
Over the past few years, I’ve been going through the process of deconstructing my faith.
It’s been an interesting time.
I’ve taken a good, hard look at all that American Christianity has handed me, and have decided what to keep and what discard.
Spoiler Alert: There wasn’t much worth keeping.
I feel I have come to the end of my deconstruction. There isn’t anything left to tear down and let go of.
And yet, my faith feels like it's never been stronger.
What I Believe.
I’m not going to get into all the nitty-gritty of what theological positions I do and don’t hold right now. (That will be for later articles) If there’s some specific things you’re wondering if I believe, you’re safe to assume the answer is probably, “no with an asterisk.”
I will simply give this brief description of my post-deconstructed faith:
I hold tightly to God being Love and the things Jesus said and did. For everything else, my hands are wide open.
While that belief statement (if you could call it that) is very short and simple, it brings with it too many implications that can’t be described cleanly in a single post.
So, just as I have begun to rebuild my faith, so too will this blog be reinvigorated.
I’ve had a bit of a hiatus from posting here. It’s been kinda hard to be public with something that's been such a process.
I’ve made a few posts during my deconstruction, but after a while, it all felt far too drastic of a change to thrust on those who were comfortable with my previous work.
I have been writing various things this whole time, but I never felt a real release to publish them.
Now that my deconstruction has come to an end, I am able to move with confidence in a new direction.
This blog is going to have a bit of a rebranding.
In fact, you can already see some of it in the simplified theme of the homepage.
This rebanding will be one of those things where everything and nothing changes at the same time.
Instead of this being a place for writing about anything and everything (with a focus on faith based commentary), this blog will be reserved for what I can most succinctly call, “actionable minimalist faith”.
It will probably still feel like a random smattering of posts (with a focus on faith based commentary), but at its core I will have a deeper sense of direction towards living a simple life in tune with Christ.
With this redirection, comes the question of what is to be done about the content that is already here and doesn’t fit.
Well, in the time that felt I couldn’t publish things here, I created a secret blog where I challenged myself to write and post something every single day for as long as I could keep it up.
I kept up with it for over 100 days, and wrote some pretty good stuff. It was mostly garbage filler, but there were some gems mixed in.
So, what I am going to do, is move those secret gems over to here and move what doesn’t fit here over to there.
That secret blog will become unsecretified and be my ‘personal’ blog. It will house all my random articles as well as be a hub for all the projects I work on. (Spoiler: There’s a fun music related project I've been playing around with.)
This site will become more of a ‘professional’ blog, intended to reach a wider audience than just people who are interested in me.
So, yeah! Thanks for reading. More information on the rebranding is to come!
It’s going to take a while to get everything sorted, but once it’s done, I have a large enough backlog that you should be able to see some consistent content here for once!
Coincidentally, the day after I finished the first draft of this article, I listened to a podcast that gave a great explanation and defense of deconstruction.
As I haven’t gone into that here, I wanted to pass on this resource for those interested.