In my last post, I mentioned that I am in the midst of deconstruction.
I wanted to be sure my readers understand what I mean by that.
To deconstruct something is to take it apart. That does not mean to destroy it.
Destruction might mean burning a building to the ground or sending a wrecking ball right at it. You might build something new on top of the ashes and dust, sure, but you will need new materials to do so. You will start from scratch.
Deconstruction, on the other hand, means to take something apart piece by piece.
That is what I am doing.
It was a slow process, at first. I thought maybe I could just remodel the kitchen of my faith, if you know what I mean. Maybe I just needed a new roof and some fresh paint. It was only when those changes failed to satisfy my soul that I settled down to work.
First of all, deconstruction can be pretty scary even though it doesn’t involve burning my faith to the ground. Luckily for me, I am able to do this work in a safe place. That isn’t true for everyone and that is why I am writing these blog posts. There are people out there doing this alone.
There are pastor’s spouses out there doing this alone.
Because churches don’t take well to their pastor’s wife picking apart her faith. It feels too much like she is picking apart THEIR faith.
Too many churches still think a pastor must “keep his wife in line,” or some such nonsense. As if my husband can control what happens in my spirit. As if he can control what God does with me.
Luckily, my husband has faith enough for the both of us right now. He can shelter me under his roof while I rip mine apart to find the leaks. And our church is a church that loves. Our church believes in community and justice and compassion, and those are walls that protect me while I figure things out.
The part of deconstruction that has scared me most is the worry that I will take down the last brick and be stuck. What if I don’t know how to put things back together? What if I can never decide which bricks to keep and which to throw out? What if I rebuild and make it worse than it was before?
What if I am too tired to rebuild and find myself in the vast field of atheism?
Yesterday, a friend and fellow sojourner, suggested I listen to the Richard Rohr episode of the Deconstructionists podcast, and I did.
As Fr. Richard explained the three boxes, I realized I am living in the second box. The second box is death, and that is scary as hell. I’m not gonna lie about it. I’m not a person comfortable with death.
But the very basis of Christianity (and the very basis of all creation) is dying and resurrecting. Jesus is the obvious example, but there is also seasons and plants and the water cycle. It is everywhere.
It is incarnation.
So why should my faith be any different?
I am in the second box. But there is a third box.
I am in the tomb, wrapped in cloth, asleep in the darkness of the second day. But there is a third day.
The tomb will be empty.
For me, hearing that was like drinking the living water Jesus offers to the woman at the well. I sat in my car, crying, texting my husband, so grateful to see a future in my future.
With my podcast congregations and my physical faith community and the friends I have alongside me, I am not alone in this. There are blueprints to follow.
Deconstruction is not complete, but I can continue the process with the assurance that reconstruction is on the horizon.
All hope is not lost.