There seems to be a tide changing in a lot of people's lives lately. Maybe it's always going on in some form, but lately it's been happening in the lives of people close to me. Friends, acquaintances, instagram followers, it seems like every where I go, someone is in the process of deconstructing their faith.
And these people are now asking me for advice, ME of all people.
On some level, I can see why, although I still feel oddly unqualified. I went through the messy and painful process of deconstructing my faith over a decade ago. And, like most things in my life, I did it full tilt. I bulldozed the whole thing to the ground and then lit the place on fire over the course of about nine months. I lost friends, community, my self of direction and purpose, I was suddenly starting from scratch. No assumptions were made, and nothing from my old life was left behind.
I remember, very vividly, having a conversation with a dear friend who was going through the same process where we both lamented not knowing anyone who had been through this and come out the other side. We often wondered to each other what it would be like to go through the hell we were in and some how make it back around to Christianity in some form. We were both fairly convinced it just couldn't happen.
Flash forward 10 years and I'm now a full-fledged member of a Christian church. It honestly hurts my head just thinking about it.
In the last several weeks I have sat on the other side of numerous cup of coffee listening to friends old and new alike share with me their story of deconstruction. I can hear my 17 year old self in many of their questions, and their frightened yet hopeful wonderings. I have the strange sense that I have all of the sudden become the person I needed those 10 (now 11!) long years ago. I have come back around. And holy hell is it a completely different place (and, like, WAAAAAAAYYYYY better, I might add).
What I'm hoping this blog will be is two things: 1) if you are in this process and you need someone to talk to, hit me up. We can grab coffee and chat. I will listen to and hold your story, and I'll share mine in hopes it lightens your load, if even just a tiny bit. 2) I want to give the one piece of advice I wish I had gotten when I was 17:
DON'T BE AFRAID TO BURN THE PLACE DOWN.
There was so much fear and trepidation as I tore down all the walls of my former life, as I said good bye to close friends, and set out on my own. What if this is a huge mistake? What if they're right? What if I'm going to burn in hell? What I wish someone would have told me was hurry up and tear the place down already. Don't be so slow to deconstruct your faith, the Infinite, Unknown, Mysterious, and Wonderful Power of the Universe (read: GOD) is waiting for you in the rubble. What's left in the wreckage is what's real.
Don't be so quick to reconstruct your faith. Learn to be comfortable in the Unknown. I see so many people shying away from this valuable process in favor of throwing up a shoddy replacement faith. Give it time. This isn't a one or even two year process, this is the great work of your life. Treat it as such. You don't have to have anything "figured out." I truly believe this is what scripture was intended when it calls us to "Live by faith." We are meant to be undone, our minds open to see and experience all of God's creation in all it's myriad forms, our hearts open, bare, and unprotected to bear this world in love. Anything that gets in the way of those two things doesn't belong in your newly reconstructed faith and will only cause you to tear the thing down again.
So, that's what I've got. The sooner you start demanding answers for the difficult questions you're carrying in your heart, the sooner you can experience the true Love and Power of the Universe. The slower you are to grab hold of doctrine or dogma, the longer your heart and mind will remain open to that Power and Love.