Tearing Down The Walls – some thoughts on deconstruction and why we should calm down!


There has been a lot of talk about deconstructing faith in Christian circles over the last few years. So I will be late to the party for sure, but have some thoughts nonetheless. The whole concept has taken on some fairly negative connotations. I would say this comes from people that don’t know what it means to deconstruct your faith and that you can do so in a completely positive way. There is a trend amongst established leaders to create elements of fear around the possibility of asking questions and giving push back. I have heard for years “that’s not what we believe” or “as long as you don’t preach that happy, Jesus makes things better stuff.” Let’s be honest, have you ever tried to argue with a Reformer? It’s fairly exhausting to live in these environments. These environments are the walls we build around our Christianity. They are filled with opinion, fear, shame and what ever else doesn’t belong around our hearts.

In a recent survey I conducted for my thesis project, I learned some of the behaviours of young leaders that have either left a church position or left a denomination for another.
In a combination of Generation Xers and Millennials that took the survey, 2/3 identified that they have gone through some sort of a process of deconstructing their spirituality. Of those who did so, 66% reported that their relationship with Jesus improved while the other 33% mentioned that there was no change in their relationship in either a positive or negative way.

Some confuse deconstructing with “falling away” or “back sliding.” I’m not fully sure what the markers are on those terms, but this is neither of them.

The process of deconstructing is about getting rid of the man made restraints and patterns of religion and finding something more pure and ancient.

It takes times of conscious pursuit of truth or hitting a wall of perceived truth to know that it is time to evaluate what we believe and why. We don’t all have the ability to strip down our spirituality and know that we will find Jesus under all the rubble, but it’s worth trying.

Over the last few years a lot has been said on the topic, and guys like the Bad Christian Podcast have taken up the cause. You may like their language and ideas or not, but these guys hit a wall of religion and had to figure out what was underneath. They did this publicly and it has given some courage to good friends of mine to do the same.

Others like theologian Greg Boyd have discussed in podcast form their thoughts. Greg said that it’s time to deconstruct your faith when “it stops working.” That’s probably the point most of us hit and start to figure it out. He points to making sure that your faith is built on Christ as your foundation. I’m not sure I could agree more. He also mentioned that at least 5 times in his life he has deconstructed.

The more I weigh down my spirituality with church norms, cultural norms – Paul says this, Moses did that, the fundies love their trump and what would Francis Chan say… the more I know I need to come back to Jesus and simply whisper, get me out of this mess! If anyone can throw the dynamite to take down heavy walls, it’s Jesus. I believe in Jesus, his church and his power, I want the authenticity to come from there, not opinions and ideas cooked up for marketing and book sales. I am finding that my friends that have gone through this process are a lot less like Ned Flanders and more like Jesus all the time.

Here’s How
I say, deconstruct, find Jesus and life the life you were created to live. My number one tip on how to pull this off is really simple. Start reading the gospels. Just read the gospels. Don’t read anything else. Find Jesus again, then slowly start adding back Acts and if you’re brave some Paul and OT. But when you really find Jesus in the gospels, you will start to be able to find Him in the rest of scripture too. Care about His teachings, live His teachings, breathe His teachings. It might be the only way to make it to 90 for some of us.

If you thought this was good, interesting, or annoying… please share it with 5 friends. I will issue virtual high fives and gold stars for those that do. Each post for the next while I will be leaking some of the info from my thesis project. There are some stories and stats you do not want to miss.





My lamp, a symphony and love

Todays playlist was Shostakovich symphony number 9 and on my desk is a copy of Mere Christianity. I have had too much coffee and am taking another pass through the book of Philippians. The sky is a bit gloomy which has prompted me to turn on my dusty green lamp. Explaining these irrelevant details is partially my attempt to sound more hipster, partially to set mood and another part because I think it’s funny.

These were my morning thoughts… inspired by all the things listed above and possibly randomness I watched on tv last night.

We walk through life haunted and followed by the concept of fair play, what is right and more importantly what is right for us. The question follows closely behind, why do we often do the wrong thing The thing that we know will lead to pain or confusion or tension. C.S. Lewis talks about the law of nature and how it might be more observation based than hard set rules. So if doing right (even though we know right from wrong) is not always conceivable, and the very laws of human nature are bendable, then how (insert your own frustration word) are we supposed to become more Christlike.  How do we become perfect as God the Father is perfect? (Matt 5:48) Even Paul, THE PAUL said that he can’t pull of the perfection that we aspire to. (Romans 7:15)

If Paul hadn’t figured out that perfect is impossible, and that no body can be perfect than I am sure he would have given up while laying half dead in prison. Instead he kept on preaching and leading people to Christ. Why? He could have never thought that he would soon reach perfection as a felon going for his daily beating in a Roman prison. Instead Paul found the answer in the very thought that illuminated imperfection as perfection.

We cannot be perfect, but we can be perfectly loved as if we were perfect. When we try to make Christianity more spectacular than that we are just imposing our own motives and theological gymnastics on it.

Once we live from love, then we can pour love out on others and that is when we see our lives changing. We see ourselves becoming less selfish, less inward focussed and able to function at a level of humanity that deserves to be called Christian.

An observation from some great people in my life as of late is that the more we accept love and therefore give love to others, the less we find ourselves needing to access the abundant grace that is poured into our lives. A life loved perfectly truly brings out the best in us. A life perfectly loved is like turning on my green dusty lamp and realizing it still gives light no matter how dirty it might be. I love lamp.

Neighbourhood Church Needs You For 10 minutes TODAY

As you are probably aware by now, Amberley and I are leading an incredible team of church planters in planting a new church in Medicine Hat. Right now we are getting excited and gearing up for the first of our worship gatherings. This first gathering is taking place on January 26th at 6:30 at the Esplanade. this will mark the beginning of our once a month gatherings.

This is what we need from you! … Prayer

– prayer for our team for strength and courage (church planting is a huge calling)

– prayer for those who need Jesus in our city. we believe that we need both prayer and action to achieve what we are called to do, and that is simply the great commission. our target is simple… people who are far from God. that could mean never knowing Him or someone who has slipped away

Thanks for your time everyone! If you are looking to get involved we have some positions that could use your help! Time commitments are low (2-6 hours a month).

For more information check out http://www.neighbourhoodchurch.co