In the past few weeks, I’ve heard a lot of reference to the seminary process at Fuller. I repeatedly have heard people discussing the terms deconstruction and construction, and notably find myself more and more frustrated every time I hear the phrase. I’ve been trying to figure out why. Why do I get annoyed when someone is so afraid of or annoyed by the very notion of deconstruction? What’s the danger in it? What’s the value in it? Why are Christians so afraid of it?
Now I would certainly not say that I am anything close to the authority on the issue, nor do I know every specific intention of a seminary education some days, but because this topic has come up so many times, I think I might have a few thoughts to share:
1) Christians are afraid to go into valleys – I think we have a vertical fear – can any psychologist tell the word for the opposite of the fear of heights? I’m amazed so many choose to go to the Grand Canyon on their travels to Pasadena!
2) Christians are cocky. Yup, I said it. I think we’re cocky. And self-righteous. And the list goes on…
I have this difficulty where I read about these other people who want to walk away from the word Christian because I so direly want to follow. I want to abandon the epistemological challenge; I want to run for labeling that I so righteously fear. Yet what value is there in my walking away from the very truth of who I am. Do I really think that Jesus came to start a whole new faith? No. Was I born into the Jewish tradition? No. What choice have I?
I do not think that Jesus wants me and a group of rebel-rousing, Christ-believing, hope-seeking women and men to start our own, more comfortable version of Christ-following religion. If Christ came to reform, and called out Pharisees, Sadduccees and the like, why in the world do I think it is appropriate to create my own version of church or Christianity? We’re all gonna do it wrong in some fashion, no?
We struggle in the midst of knowing truth in how to conscientiously share this truth without recreating the us/them infrastructure – I equate it to a baseball game’s vendor? God Jesus? $5. $5 here. And then of course, we gotta stick our tongue out too. And yet, when a professor in a classroom tells us that maybe the text we call holy is – gasp – flawed by redactors (read: editors), but is still containing ultimate truth, some people around run and get angry at the deconstruction of their so-called faith.
I mean, I can’t blame the hurt and pain of the deconstruction. I face it when I struggle with various issues walking around campus; when I see peers struggle with homosexuality, image issues, or addictions. Maybe because my deconstruction of faith came at a much earlier age. When you’re 13 and your sibling is suddenly absent from his bedroom and you have no answers as to why death, cancer or loss is okay in life, and yet you’re supposed to go worship at church this God who takes and supposedly gives with unending love, your framework for faith radically shifts. It’s been deconstructed to the core. I could have walked away – I did. I was done with it. And yet when I turned around, the Constructor was waiting with arms wide open.
I have seen where the valleys and the peaks have taken me – I end up in the same place. I end up back in those very arms of a God who is omniscient and who laughably (and heartily) teaches me when I choose to re-create the wheel. So the last few weeks have been a bit of both: construction and deconstruction. And I don’t want that process to end. I guess I just want more control… sigh… silly, silly me.
Thus the new blog title, the new set-up, and some subtle changes to me… who knows where this is going… but I see a ride for a life-time continuing. This – I like this me. God’s radically up to something. And I think I’m more ready than I’ve ever before been.
:.:::::bullhorn theory:::::..::..:::justin mcroberts:::..: