Hopefully, you’ve not decided, “She’s lost her mind and this whole deconstruction conversation is blasphemous to God.”
I don’t think any of us will argue that the world is not the same as it was three, five, ten, or much less twenty years ago.
When I was a child, you went to church. You went where your family went to church, you adopted their theology, and that was that. You grew up, got married to someone of “same faith” and procreated to start the entire process again. If you were a rebel, you married someone “different” than you . . . . and that didn’t bode well.
My freshman year fall break I went to back to my Sunday School class excited to reconnect with old friends and teachers. During the greeting the question, “Where are you going to church?” surfaced.
I was excited actually to HAVE an answer. I was absolutely “going to church.” I’d visited the Baptist church on campus once, only to realize the students all went to a Baptist church down the road. Not having a car made that not an option for me. So, I was elated the next weekend when a new friend invited me to “her” church.
A United Methodist Church.
Was it ok to try a different type of church?
I assumed going somewhere rather than nowhere was the best option.
As I proudly explained all that to my Sunday School class, it was not received warmly.
“Is there not a Baptist church you can go to?’
I went through the whole explanation . . . none of the college students went there. It was boring as crap. A new friend invited me to her church. And hers was great! Very formal and they said some things I didn’t understand (The Apostle’s Creed) BUT – they talked about God and God’s grace and love. It was a new understanding of God and I could not wait to learn more.
“You need to go to the Baptist Church. You cannot betray your faith. We look forward to hearing how the Baptist Church is when you come back home for Thanksgiving break.
I never went back to my hometown church again.
In my very white, small-town southern high school (and college), my exposure to a world broader than my limited experience was a non-entity.
Globalization, immigration, and international travel provide a dizzying array of opportunities for people in our world to encounter and befriend people of different cultures, lifestyles, and religious backgrounds. And, just like the printing press during the Reformation, the creation of the Internet and social media opened the doors to many voices, perspectives, and experiences.
Which, ultimately, has turned the religious dogmatic world upside down.
In The Benefit of the Doubt, theologian Gregory Boyd writes,
“It’s much easier to remain certain of your beliefs when you are not in personal contact with people who believe differently. But when you encounter people with different beliefs, and when those people’s sincerity and devotion possibly put yours to shame, things become quite a bit more difficult.”
But it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Beliefs and faith can be a beautiful thing. One of peace, joy, hope and love.
Not condemnation and scrutinization.
So maybe it is ok to deconstruct one’s faith. Even St. Francis of Assisi did.
“The Christian of the future will be a mystic, one who has experienced God for real, or he/she will not exist at all.” -Fr. Karl Rahner
Grace and Peace,