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Emerging Faith 2: Deconstruction, not Demolition May 2, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion, Post-restoration/Restoration Movement.

I used to think that deconstructing something meant the same as demolishing it. It is not. Rather than destroying the thing, deconstructing something is more like, "getting to the bottom of this…" or answering, "How did this come to be?"  

When I began to ask the questions about how this or that came to be in the Restoration Movement, the answers became difficult to swallow. Yes, I liked the slogans: "Back to the Bible," and "Speak where the Bible speaks," and "Christians only, not the only Christians," but you can't live on slogans. When the rubber meets the road, what do you have? What I found was a sincere belief in many people that just saying these slogans were the same as living them, and that these slogans were enough to live by even if you did live by them.

Now, I 'm not saying these people were a bunch of frauds, but I found that there were not good answers to my deconstructing questions. Initially these questions were answered with pat answers. But when pressed further, these questions were allowed to be part of a conversation that would be "thought about" by leaders. Frankly, it was more of a stalling technique than anything.

But more importantly, my questions about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the church were not sufficiently answered by the Restoration Movement. Plus, when other people's questions entered my world, I was ill equipped to answer those questions as well. And finally, when I meet God face to face, or however I meet God, what good is the RM going to do for me then?

I realized that I had to unlearn some things in order to make room for the answers – or at least make room for pursuing the answers. I also had to make room for more questions.

What if God is more loving and gracious than I had ever dreamed? What if Jesus didn't come only to die and be raised, but to really show how to live? What if the Holy Spirit is more than words on a page? If the Bible is not a rule book and not a manual, then what is it? Who is the church?

These are foundational questions that need to be addressed. They have implications for action and the expenditure of resources.

For example, if the church is synonymous with the Church of Christ, then it is worth my time to try to convert a Methodist. But what if a Methodist is already in the church? Not only would a conversation trying to convert that Methodist be a waste of time, it would be divisive in the body go Christ. I would be a divider. My time would be better spent working with that Methodist on how to serve the poor, fight disease, or fight racism.

If the Bible is a rule book, then it is worth my time to find out what all the rules are. However, if it is a story or a romantic letter, then not only is looking for rules a waste of time, it is offensive and clueless.  

If the Holy Spirit is limited to words on a page in the Bible, then it is worth my time to debunk any and all miraculous claims. However, if the Holy Spirit is active and on the move, then it is worth my time to access those available spiritual resources.

You see, theology is practical because it informs a person on what is worth his or her time and money and effort and mental abilities etc to do.

More to come.



1. Lee Hodges - May 3, 2006

Good stuff! Looking forwad to more.

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