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.





Capsule Wardrobes as a Spiritual Discipline


There are some great arguments about what a spiritual discipline truly is. Some people are locked into a ‘water only’ fasting regime, discounting anyone else’s attempts to gain proximity to Jesus through other types of biblical fasting. Let’s understand that all are created equal but with different ways of relating to God. It is sad to discount because in a rapidly changing culture, we should open the doors to what ever sacrifice someone is willing to make in order to create peace in their heart and cultivate a relaxed and healthy spirit.

This brings us to the popularity of minimalism. Sure, it is a fad. It is also no secret that I want to trade my large house for a tiny house and give everything (cats included) to someone else to deal with. I don’t like seeing things on the kitchen cupboards, I get frustrated in clutter and mess. Basically owning things does not spark joy. I love throwing things in the garbage or selling them to some sucker who wants my collection of antique cat clocks. But I wasn’t always like that. I had a shopping problem. I love shoes, coats, jeans, shirts or what ever else you can buy. Even if it had no purpose, just in case I may wear it once, I wanted it. This drove my consumer debt up and caused tension in all sorts of areas. That is not a sign of a soul at rest. I made the decision a few years back to only wear two colours of t shirts: Black and White. I also started wearing one type and one style of jean in various colours . (I buy Nudie Skinny Lin or Grimm Tims 31×30’s if you are feeling generous)

Here is why.

When I would get ready to leave the house I would panic. I would panic getting ready for work.  I especially hated my clothes first thing in the morning and couldn’t handle the simple stress of deciding what to wear. I have even made myself late for work because I couldn’t handle the stress of getting dressed or not having perfectly combed hair. For what ever reason, picking out clothes became a big decision every day. Today, I know that my options exist inside of what I can layer on top of a t shirt and jeans, and life has become much easier. Chances are really high that if you have seen me speak somewhere, at a back yard fire, picking up groceries or go to the pub (of course just for wings) I was wearing jeans, t shirt and a jean jacket (because I can’t afford a cool biker jacket). It is my uniform. The uniform mentality has saved me a lot of stress. I know that stress does not come from God or any place rational. So if I can make the easy move of eliminating tension created by culture, I win. I now find my heart at ease.  I don’t want my heart to be tied up accumulating things, I want my heart to be tied up becoming a better dad, husband, friend, son, brother, student and pastor.

Here are some practical techniques I use to become more spiritual through my wardrobe. Yes, I am trying to sell this as spirituality.

  1. It is easy to try a capsule wardrobe. Pick out 32 items. I do pants, shirts, sweaters and shoes. I skip counting underwear (because I am not always up on the laundry) and outerwear. (because I live in the SK, I need different coat temperatures. But I do limit the styles to one per temperature setting) Once I limited that stuff I put the stuff I didn’t plan on wearing in a suitcase and hauled it downstairs. Now set the 3 month timer and see how you do with your 32 favourite things.
  2. The quality over quantity technique  is actually cheaper in the long run. Try it for a year and run the numbers. One day you will realize you don’t even go to the discount store anymore. You don’t go because you don’t need new clothes. What you have is good enough and you actually like what you have. You will save money and keep yourself out of debt. It might look like you are spending more up front but that will change when your clothing budget curves. Multiple pairs of $30 jeans vs one pair of better jeans is a better move, but you have to stop buying the $30 jeans at the same time.

You can continuously replace worn out jeans or buy better quality and not waste your money and material. The culture that we have created around throw away clothing isn’t good for us or the plant.

What if we could eliminate the things that cause us stress in order to find more pockets of peace inside our days? I am finding peace every day because of these little simplicity tricks like capsule wardrobes.

3. I buy one brand of jeans because I like the way they fit and don’t wear out on me. If you buy raw denim you can extend their life with some clever no-wash techniques. I have a pair that has never been washed and they still look amazing after two years. That is where brands like Nudie or Neuw come in. I have two pairs that are over two years old and I am wearing one pair that is about five years old. You will find yourself repairing better denim and not just throwing it out.

I do this with t shirts too. Buy a cheap plain t shirt, then get some staple items that you can layer overtop. MeUndies makes a great t shirt that lasts a long time. For layering items go to a great local mens shop that can give you options and direct you in the right direction. I generally just go to  BoysOnThird site to find what I want. Most of what I own has come from their shop. The guys there are honest about what will look good on you and what won’t. I still haven’t found one that I am happy with in Saskatoon so I keep going back to Medicine Hat. I appreciate their honesty. It is worth the drive. Good jeans + t shirt + button down = fancy enough for everything but a wedding.

Remember, Michael Scott even had his fun jeans!

OR to be perfectly honest, sometimes I am lazy and go to Michael’s during their coupon days and buy ten black t shirts for $20. A plain t shirt is a plain t shirt.

4. I like simple so keep it really simple. Pick one style and stick to that. I buy the same looking t shirts. (other than band shirts, retired punks still need these at 40) If I open my drawer and look down, there is a row of black and a row of white. 90% of these shirts are plain. I fought the feelings to be trendy and buy cool for over a year. Now I just don’t care. The simple look made my life better. I can’t even recognize most ‘cool’ brands now and I am happy about it! I do look like I am wearing the same thing I did yesterday, and the day before that but I am ok with it. At least I don’t show up at Wal Mart in my pyjamas in the middle of the day.

Matthew 6:25-34 The Message (MSG)

25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

You don’t need to give everything away to find peace today, but I am sure you can find something to give up that is going to give you peace and create more proximity with Jesus. Search that out and find peace for yourself. Maybe it’s your wardrobe maybe it’s your kitchen cupboard or your vintage clown painting collects that need to get altered.

It isn’t hard to make everything in your life spiritual, because it probably already is. Just accept that even your clothing decisions and shopping habits speak to greed and unrest. Conquer that, find some peace, then move on and find more pockets of peace.


Feel free to share this with friends and help me get my numbers up in the writing world.






Someone Else & Somewhere New

Day dreaming is pretty fascinating. We often think of a future that could be amazing or a past that could have been better. We relive moments that inspired us or bring us back to a memory that we would love to preserve forever. I am sure you are thinking of one now! It is much more difficult to live in the moment we are in now and then be present enough make the most of it. We all have break throughs of brilliance where we achieve, but for many of us we do not stay there long.

I recently heard a radio article about a performance artist who spent years taking on the persona of an upper class business woman. She would go to the right restaurants, meet the right people and dress in the appropriate clothing. She could fool her pretend world by just assuming the role in front of her and mimicking her unsuspecting mentors. She would later take on the role of a tattoo artist. She would even go as far as tattooing people herself, one person interviewed claimed to have gotten a tattoo in childish script that read “rock and roll”.

Of course for the artist she was living her art. She was conquering her moment and taking on the day. For myself I can get caught in between a day dream of what life could be and trying to be someone else. We are told what a healthy Christian life looks like, one who contributes to society and fits a perfect mould. We take most advice as gospel, assuming that we need to be coached on how to be ourselves. I was told about a preacher who claimed that skateboards and tattoos would hold you back from God. I hope no one with tattoos or a skateboard realize that they need Jesus in their lives, because they will be out of luck.

The point is this, day dreaming is cool if it pushes you further in life than you have ever gone before. But make sure that you are being yourself going forward. Be who God created you to be. Your interests, obsessions, likes, dislikes and ideas are part of who you are. They make you unique and awesome. Consider your past, it has formed you into who you are so that you can be a better person tomorrow. I have spent many years trying to write my past off as a useless ball of teenage angst. The problem is, years after leaving my punk rock world… I still love the stuff. I still like wearing doc Martens, black t shirts, drumming as loud and fast as possible and now teaching my kids the classics of my world. Embrace the past, future and present and when they meet you will find that you have more great conversations with people that all need to find hope in Jesus and friendship in you. People that you would not meet if you did not have a past.


A New Journey (H1) November 17th


We often use blog space to give our two cents on religion or politics. It is a great space to talk about our strengths and all the victories in life. I am going to share something different for a while. I am going to share a weakness with you.

Today marked a brand new day for everyone as we woke up, but for me it marked a new journey. Today with the swallowing of 3 tiny pills, I started a journey that I have ignored the relevance of for many years.

Flashback to the mid 80’s. A time when blood transfusions were not screened as they are now. A time when blood was sold from the American prison system into our very own blood supply. A time when ignorance was acceptable, and those who spoke out were ignored as fanatics. During this time I received one of those blood transfusions that left a lasting mark on my bodies ability to handle life. I was left with chronic Hep C, a disease that would begin attacking my liver from that day on. If you think that your liver is not important… you are wrong. It regulates many functions of normal life!

For many years I did not realize that I had Hep C. It wasn’t until many years after infection that my family received a letter explaining the large scale mistake that occurred. All of the symptoms began making sense the older I got. Always feeling tired, sometimes confused, grumpy, sometimes discontent and perpetually nauseous. There are many stories between today and 1988, but those will come another day.

Many months ago I learned that the cure was available. Then I found out that it would be available to me. Then yesterday a box showed up… a box full of pills with a huge promise attached to them. The promise of freedom from the disease. These tiny pills mark a massive journey for me. A journey to begin a life with one less thing to worry about. A journey where I am less concerned about leaving earth early and getting a chance to always be there for my kids.

So why am I blogging about this?  That is simple. This is a big deal to me.This is my blog.  Going through this might be difficult. It does come with side effects. But this journey is happening now for what ever reason God has ordained it, and I get to walk through it. If that is something interesting to you and you would like to pray during this journey or have coffee and chat about something similar you are going through, cool. Follow my blog and join the discourse. Even leave a comment and let me know you are following along. Over the next long while I will be posting about this often!

Practical steps to increasing our faith

Faith is a huge word. We often let it revolve around things that are huge, like “do I have the faith to pray for someone and see them healed?” or “faith to move mountains”… I once heard faith described as a muscle that we need to exercise. I really liked that explanation, it was something I could imagine in my own life. But sometimes we get to valleys in our lives where our faith level is low and that muscle is feeling week. When something is weak… we exercise it. 


1. Celebrate the last thing you can remember God doing in your life. The more we talk about the stuff God has done, the more excited we can get about it. Even if it’s something small, tell someone about it! Chances are your friends need their faith built up too. 

2. Make a list of everything that could even potentially be God! It is a good exercise to keep a journal of all the things God does for us, even if it could be random chance… remember that “all good and perfect gifts comes from the father of lights.” James 1:17 So lets give God the credit no matter what! Cause he does deserve it. 

3. Celebrate the victories of others. Watching God being active in the lives of the people around us helps the entire kingdom. It is easy to talk about ourselves, but to build our own faith we need to stretch into the lives of others and get jacked about their victories too. Maybe you could help someone see where God is already active in their life. 

4. Reach for something bigger. Pray for the big things that seem out of reach. This season we have watched some of our youth take the power of God more seriously than ever. It was like over night a switch went on and BAM. Wussy prayers are replaced with prayer that is producing multiple healings, prayer that is producing friends starting to walk with Jesus… go for the big stuff that can only be God. He is really good at what he does, He has been doing it for a really long time. 

So basically when in doubt, return to the last thing you can get pumped about and know that there is a whole lot more on the way. If faith is truly like a muscle, we need to grow slowly and with intent. Intention and purpose is always the key! Do what you do knowing that God is for real.