There are many people outside of the faith deconstruction community who want to better understand the process of deconstruction. In this 3-part series I share parables that I hope will shed light on this important journey of faith.
Part 1: Deconstruction is like . . . finding a message in a bottle.
Many years ago you were young and full of a childlike faith. You did not yet know how to read Scripture or recite doctrine, yet you believed in God. One day you took a walk on the beach and found an empty, corked bottle. You wrote a quick message to God with the simplest of words and innocence of youth. You replaced the cork and threw the bottle into the waves, watching it drift farther and farther away.
Years passed. Slowly the innocence and simplicity of your youth passed too. Days became filled with rules, laws, and expectations. Priorities of adulthood replaced the playfulness of your childhood. Life got in the way of spontaneous trips to the beach. School, career, marriage, children, and ministry were all good things in life that soon filled your calendar.
Inevitably, rules, laws, and others’ expectations influenced your faith. It seemed important to you that you learned more, memorized more, and participated in more church activities. And so you set out to do all of those things. What you filled your life with was not inherently bad. But your knowledge, your responsibilities, and your accomplishments became your focus and defined your self-worth and identity.
Over time, it became more difficult to keep up the pace and juggle the priorities of your life. One day, you needed a break from it all. You felt the call of the ocean and left for a relaxing weekend at the beach. As you walked down the shoreline, you recalled the simplicity of your childhood. And at that moment of longing, a bottle washed ashore and landed at your feet.
Could it be? You quickly opened the bottle and unwound the stationary inside. Yes! It was the simple, innocent statement of your faith and love for God. And in that moment, everything changed. The Holy Spirit opened your eyes. You were empowered to see with clarity that as your life grew in complexity, so did your religious practice. You expressed gratitude to God for calling you back to your simple, childlike, yet profound faith. You felt freed from complexity and felt closer to the Spirit than you ever had. In your heart, you also knew it was time to examine each part of your spiritual practice. And that is when your deconstruction journey began.