On Faith and Deconstruction

There’s been a lot of conversation about Christians or former Christians or exvangelicals and “deconstruction” in terms of their faith. I’m sympathetic to this idea because I, like so many others, grew up in a stream of evangelicalism that sometimes obscured what is central to the faith. 

In early adulthood, I went through a process of spiritual sorting. It took years to figure out what was mere Christianity, what was ancillary, and what was peripheral. It was a journey that was painful and frightening at times.

But what I’ve shared with other Christians about this is that deconstruction (while not a useless idea) isn’t the best way to think about faith, even in terms our journey or experience.

And that’s because Christianity isn’t about deconstruction. 

Christianity is about discovery. 

For Christians, orthodoxy (small “o”) isn’t hard. And it isn’t hard because you don’t have to decide what it is. Orthodoxy is something. Christianity is not about rejecting or deciding or deconstructing. It’s about discovering, about finding and affirming.

None of this is to deny the spiritual nature of the faith. Christianity is inherently spiritual. And the spiritual life is undoubtedly a journey or pilgrimage. But even as we sojourn, we aren’t seeking to establish something new. We are seeking to discover something ancient. 

Ours is a rich tradition, once for all delivered and faithfully passed down through the generations. So our restlessness shouldn’t make us turn inward. Because orthodoxy, like truth, isn’t something we determine for ourselves. And that is the point. Christianity isn’t (mostly) about rejection, but revelation. Discovery not deconstruction. Accepting not deciding.

That’s what I think it means to obey Jesus’ call: “Follow me.”