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Sorry (Not Sorry) for the Mess

May 10, 2023

By Derek Handley

Midweek Musings is a weekly Covenant blog with a variety of authors and a variety of topics.

Do you have this whole life thing figured out?

Yeah, me too.

What about your beliefs? Morals? Theology? Doctrine?

I don't know about you, but sometimes I find it much easier to express what I don't believe in rather than what I do believe in.

Perhaps this is because of the recent (ish) deconstructing of my faith (is 10 years recent?).

Stop me if I'm preaching to the choir, but (faith) deconstruction - in a nutshell - is unpacking one's faith system or reconsidering what you believe.

There are a number things that can follow. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Unlearning: the attempt of getting rid of ideals that have kept your faith from growing - harmful theology usually.

  • REconstruction: once all of the pieces of your faith are lying on the floor in front of you, it's time to reconsider which parts to keep, to throw out (again, the harmful theology), or to ADD. Kind of like the Marie Kondo approach to faith... except the adding part.

  • Leaving Faith

These can all be so necessary for one's journey. While I've never completely left the Faith, I know many that have. Most of them have returned.

Each person's faith journey is unique, as unique as we were made. I can say with the utmost confidence that deconstruction has been indispensable for my faith journey.

For me, it started with Rob Bell (Love Wins or Velvet Elvis), then Brother Emmanuel of Taize (Love, Imperfectly Known), then Richard Rohr (Universal Christ).

Here was my (and I'm sure I'm not alone) hold-up before I ventured into the unknown:

The refusal to consider some of the radical ideas presented by any of these theologians/authors - the 'no hell' thing being the big one.

(By the way, for those that don't have children that can listen to the song on repeat for 4 years straight - that gif is a Frozen reference to the song "Into the Unknown.")

It is not until the opening of the mind that one can begin the process of deconstruction (in my humble opinion).

So, where are you in this journey?

a) have not started the process

b) am in the middle of the process

c) have completed the process

d) have completed the process and begun reconstructing process

e) have no intention of starting the process

f) a and e

(and I realize that some people may very well not need to deconstruct)

I think I'd pick d, but I can't be sure.

What I can be sure of is this: I can't just let the pieces lie there on the floor forever. I've thrown some of the pieces out, but now I must be mindful about which ones to pick up and what new pieces to add.

Good luck out there.

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