Here at Oakwood Church, we are in a series considering the deconstruct that Jesus introduced to issues of faith, and the life-giving reconstruct He proposed. Across our nation today, there is a surging deconstruct movement. According to Wikipedia, “faith deconstruction, also known as deconstructing faith, evangelical deconstruction, the deconstruction movement, or simply deconstruction is a phenomenon within American evangelicalism in which Christians rethink their faith and jettison previously held beliefs, sometimes to the point of no longer identifying as Christians. It is closely related to the exvangelical movement.”
The Wikipedia article goes on to quote Tyler Huckabee, who wrote in Relevant magazine, deconstruction is “a process of re-examining the faith you grew up with.” Alisa Childers would take that one step further and say, “and often rejecting the beliefs you grew up with.” Definitions and parameters around deconstruction are broad and varied.
How do we as followers of Jesus engage this deconstruction movement?
- Don’t fear it. Someone told me years ago that “truth always triumphs.” Truth will stand through the testing of deconstruction. The truth is things have gotten muddied with the traditions of men and misplaced interpretations of the Word of God. We have gone off course of the Gospel Truth. Refining always leaves things clearer!
- Listen and learn. I know I am guilty of “listening with my answer running”. I must stop and listen to what those who are questioning what I have considered to be core values of faith have to say. As a follower of Jesus, I want to be a person who is safe, non-judgmental, and attentive to people whom God loves when they share the deepest struggles of the heart. Remember, Jesus responded most frequently to the questions people were asking with a question. It values the person when you are willing to probe deeper to understand.
- Let love lead. Have you ever heard the expression that you can be absolutely right but totally wrong? People don’t always need to know what you think, nor do they need to hear all of our astute reasons for why they are in gross error. They need to know they are loved by you… and by God. Someone once said that people don’t care about what you say until they know you care about them. Remember, Jesus said that it would be our love that would be the clearest witness to the world that we are His disciples (John 13:35).
Don’t be afraid to engage in the dialogue with a humble heart to listen, learn, love, and grow.