Deconstruction can never be: “this far you may come, but no farther”… (As the book of Job describes an authoritative God drawing boundary lines for the ocean.)

It’s pretty much antithetical to deconstruction to start with your conclusion and then be closed to testing it out.

Coming to the table with a hypothesis but only subjecting it to tests that will prove it true is called Christian apologetics, not deconstruction. And the practice of apologetics is not as effective as apologists think it is.

Speaking about deconstruction without understanding it is the swan song of an evangelical culture desperately trying to stay relevant while enforcing irrelevant boundaries they feel are essential.

Whether it’s adhering to ancient creedal statements or “not losing your faith entirely”, the idea of deconstruction is being misunderstood altogether.

So let’s start with a working definition of deconstruction since people have varying ideas of what deconstruction is, and how to go about it.

I’ll define deconstruction as a willingness to honestly explore everything in your past or present faith paradigm looking ONLY for love and truth no matter where that may take you and what you will have to undo or remove in the process.

Or to quote my friend Calista Uriarte : “it is the continual process of holding each of your beliefs up to honest scrutiny and deciding if they are something you need to adjust, toss or continue considering based on the information you have at that time.”

With this in mind, deconstructing isn’t simply creating a more orthodox faith where you take out the impurities and are “good to go just as long as you don’t go too far.”

Perhaps they are mistaking deconstruction with growth that does not rock the boat. However you cannot deconstruct while saying there are certain forbidden conclusions. That isn’t a place where you can honestly examine your beliefs.

It’s like saying you want to learn how to dive into a pool without getting completely wet.

That’s not how deconstruction works.

Evangelicals are terrified to go there, to completely let go. They want to know they will still end up with the right answers because they find safety in those boundaries.

Faith is a non-negotiable because they have been taught hell is real and hell is hot. You pay the highest price imaginable if you don’t come to the right answer, and deconstructing that part of your beliefs is hard work.

𝘙𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘻𝘪𝘯𝘦 spelled out this desire to hold on in their article title “How to Deconstruct Your Faith Without Losing It.”

The article was filled with the type of people who are respected Christian priests or those who came around and have found their way back home from “𝘖𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘚𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘴” to now learning about God and writing about prayer (Richard Rohr and Sarah Bessey).

Instead of a “deconstruct-to-your-heart’s-content” it was more of a “here-is-a-healthy-way-to-do-it” kind of post. In the article they refer to deconstruction as a “phase.”

“People get stuck in a phaseof deconstruction, partly out of a fear of being hurt again.”

The goal to 𝘙𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘵 seems to be in constructing a new worldview.

But what if deconstruction doesn’t require “reconstruction” to have value? What if the journey 𝙞𝙨 the destination? What if it’s not a phase?

I’m wondering how many readers pushed back against this article because a major tone shift is going on. In their most recent article they acknowledge deconstruction to be a lot more substantial than a phase!

In their newest article titled “The Age of Deconstruction and Future of the Church,” they boldly state:

“I believe deconstruction is from God.

“I believe deconstruction is the revival evangelicals have been praying for for centuries.

“Deconstruction is God’s way of returning our hearts to the main point: Love.

“Love of God, love toward ourselves and love for each other. Even love for our enemies.”

They almost recognize the harm of misunderstanding deconstruction entirely when they address 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘰𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘭 𝘊𝘰𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯’𝘴 response to the movement:

“𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘰𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘭 𝘊𝘰𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘰𝘯 recognized that deconstruction is more potent than many believed it would be, and decided it was time to respond by putting out a book entitled Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing in the Church.

“In an article released by 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘰𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘭 𝘊𝘰𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘰𝘯 regarding the book, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘰𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘭 𝘊𝘰𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘰𝘯 expressed some measure of acceptance regarding deconstruction. However, it eventually became apparent to me that they are writing a book about something they have little understanding or experience.

“The main takeaways I was able to decipher from the article is that deconstruction is only beneficial if done within the context of church affiliation.

“Simply put, ‘deconstruct all you want, but don’t leave your church.’

“The problem with 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘰𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘭 𝘊𝘰𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘰𝘯’𝘴 advice to ‘deconstruct within the Church’ is that most people you will find in church are uncomfortable with deconstruction. Most view deconstruction as something to be corrected or argued away, rather than listening, accepting and embracing those wrestling with deeply challenging questions about their faith.

“I will tell you that the more church leaders and Christians attempt to correct deconstructors rather than embrace them in their questions and doubts, the faster their church attendance numbers will dwindle.”

So does 𝘙𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘵 really embrace deconstruction, or is the conclusion about holding onto specific beliefs still being laid out for the readers?“It is still painful for me every time deconstruction leads people out of their faith completely. 𝐈 𝐝𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐆𝐨𝐝’𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬. But really, who could blame them?”

𝘙𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘵 expresses how harmful it is to draw boundaries around deconstruction but 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 concludes by telling us what they think God’s intentions are for this process. They are defining it. 😬 Which shows just how deeply ingrained this concept is within the most progressive sounding evangelicals.

So close but so far, 𝘙𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘵.