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Deconstructing Deconstruction

Encounter: Find a quiet place where you can spend 5-15 minutes meditating on scripture and reading through this reflection. Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Colossians 2:1-10 and Acts 19:8-12. Underline in words or phrases that follow similar theme around the subject of sharing God's Word and a demonstration of God's power.

Encounter: Find a quiet place where you can spend 5-15 minutes meditating on scripture and reading through this reflection. Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Colossians 2:1-10 and Acts 19:8-12. Underline words or phrases that follow a similar theme around the subject of belief in God's Word and a demonstration of God's power.

Playing games at the Hallam Home with friends and family is one of our favorite pastimes. Everything from cards, board games and corn hole to Sequence, chess and a most recent addition, Jenga. Building a tower out of wooden blocks hearkens back to my days of Lego building but without the tightly fitted design that clicks pieces safely together thus guaranteeing a secure foundation. Jenga is completely different. There is nothing holding them together except the force of balance. The key to winning Jenga is to remove your block without the tower falling while at the same time making it more unstable for your opponent's next move. If you notice the left side of the tower is leaning, then take from the right side. To say the least, it’s precarious as there are fewer pieces in the foundation.

So it was interesting at staff meeting this week, as we were brainstorming creative ways to add some visuals to our series on deconstruction, Ashley shared, “What about Jenga?” All I could think was, that is just perfect!

Deconstruction is the term used to describe a crisis of Christian faith that leads to either a reevaluation of Christianity or sometimes a total abandonment of their faith. People “deconstructing” their faith is a hot topic in our culture and has only increased in popularity in our post pandemic world. You will find articles, podcasts and books written on the subject and you will also find polarized perspectives. Some see it as a healthy journey that sheds traditions and distortions from what God intended likening it to Martin Luther in the days of the reformation while others view it as the enemy of God’s inerrant Word and will only meet the discussion with a strong defense. As I heard one person say to me this week, “It’s like they’re taking away all we have ever known.”

Deconstructing can look like removing blocks from a Jenga tower. Pull enough of them out of the foundation and it won’t take long before the whole thing falls. Or what if some of the blocks need to be removed for the tower to be stronger? Could it be that there are “blocks” in our faith that need removed and actually can make our experience of Life with God more genuine, honest and closer to what Jesus intended.

Brain Zahnd, author of When Everything’s on Fire - Faith Forged from the Ashes, writes,

Is it possible to hold on to Christian faith in an age of unbelief? The answer is yes! Certainly, contemporary Nietzsches are announcing the impossibility of Christian faith, but there are also trustworthy guides who can say with Fyodor Dostoevsky, “I believe in Christ and confess him not like some child; my hosanna has passed through an enormous furnace of doubt.”

So what do we do with all of our questions and honest doubts? We have witnessed pastors and leaders leaving the faith with many making the headlines. Most people do not feel safe processing their own questions in community, afraid they might not be met with understanding or be shown the door. What can we do when everything is on fire?

The resources we have included in our EPIC Pathways, along with one-on-one coaching, Life Groups and Sunday worship and iServe opportunities are all designed to be places of reconstruction where your faith goes through the “furnace of doubt” and comes out more sure of the foundation that holds you.

Instead of deconstruction being an invitation to endless cynicism of our Christian faith, we can create a community where people feel safe asking questions, sharing their doubts and finding a stronger faith forged from the ashes. Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns (1 Peter 1:7).

With you in the reconstruction,

Pastor Tammy

Reflect: Begin to journal about the doubts you carry and write down the questions about God and life that are coming up for you.

Encourage: Find a trusted person to share these doubts and questions with. Reach out and make your EPIC coaching session to find encouragement in the “fires” of real life.

Gather: Each one in your small group shares a question or doubt about God and your faith life and asks for support and prayer. Keep a journal to be able to look back over time and see how places of deconstruction turn to reconstruction.

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