For The Wanderers
The word "deconstruction" has become a buzz/trigger word for many. To some, it is a blasphemous term that invokes embracing vices and turning to a life of debauchery and villainy. To others, it's a ballad of freedom against oppressive forces that have gaslighted and gatekept them their entire lives. For others, it may be a bit of both. But I am here to say that deconstruction is not only a healthy tool to use in one's life, but that everyone (yes, everyone) deconstructs multiple times in their lives whether they realize it or not.
The official definition of "deconstruction" is as follows: analyze (a text or a linguistic or conceptual system) by deconstruction, typically in order to expose its hidden internal assumptions and contradictions and subvert its apparent significance or unity. AND/OR reduce (something) to its constituent parts in order to reinterpret it.
Deconstructing is simply further constructive, critical learning about something you thought you already understood. When I think of it this way, I can't count how many times I've gone through this process about a vast variety of things. But most importantly, regarding my faith, I have majorly deconstructed 4-5 times in my adult life. This isn't even counting the little revelations I've had about certain open-handed, minor issues.
To best understand deconstruction, I turn to J.R.R. Tolkien's famous quote from LOTR, "Not all who wander are lost." I believe this quote is the best way to think about deconstruction because you are literally wandering through other possibilities and perspectives of a specific issue or teaching that you've held previously, but that doesn't mean you're lost while doing so.
I can't tell you the freedom I've experienced through the wanderings of deconstruction, because my goal (and many other people who do the same) isn't to just walk away from the things that have meant the most to me but to understand the reasons WHY I believe them, and if, after seriously seeking the answers to the "why", I believe them at all in the end. But I do this not to allow vices or "sins" into my life that I REALLY want to do, but to seek the truth of the matter.
Did Jesus really exist? This is a serious question that one must take into deep consideration. Even more serious is, did he actually die and rise again? The answer you come to is utterly life-changing in every way. Along that journey, you may discover things about HOW the Bible was constructed and learn different contextual clues about parables and cultural practices of the ancient Israelites or the church within the first 200 years. In discovering those new things, you may now very easily understand traditional teaching to be untrue or at least not as solid as you once believed it to be.
Deconstruction is important. It is very much the process of learning WHY you believe what you believe and then acting on it. Tradition be damned, if it's not truth, then leave it behind.
We who have chosen to welcome a path of deconstruction though, must consider the REconstructional part of the journey. If we simply stop at deconstruction, then we've lost the entire purpose of doing so. We must reconstruct what we believe so we can further live out a corrected worldview that helps us understand the world we live in. If we constantly live in a deconstructed uncertainty, we welcome anxiety, depression, and anarchic chaos into our lives and the lives of the ones we love.
Wandering is a wonderful way to experience life. You can understand so many different things and learn so many different perspectives on a multitude of topics that you would have NEVER thought of before. It's a beautiful practice that has helped me in every way. It has made me a more compassionate, empathetic, and gracious person and it has shown me sides of God that I never knew were there.
So wander my friends. Wander and seek truth, but don't become lost, for when you're lost, you lose hope and truth loses its meaning.