Before I start, I just want to make clear that this is by no means a response to Steven McCurdy's most recent article. Though you should definitely go check it out. That being said, in some ways, this could be a response to the small course correction Steven lays out in his article on deconstructionism. To be clear, the meaning and definition I am using when I say deconstructionism is as follows: "the analytic examination of something (as a theory) often in order to reveal its inadequacy". Basically it is to take apart an ideal, philosophy, idea, worldview or social structure to reveal its flaws. To deconstruct something can be a useful when looking to improve something, but can be dangerous when the act is done in isolation of reconstruction. In its simplest form, this is the difference between critical thinking and simply being critical.
I have no real issue with deconstruction. Honestly, it is a tool I use quite often. I am the 'why?' guy in the teams and organizations I am a part of. But in many cases, deconstruction for the sake of deconstruction is probably not that healthy. First off, if all we do is deconstruct, we become people who are good at pointing out problems, but not giving many solutions. Yes, we can say that something is wrong, therefore the opposite must is the obvious solution, but, in reality, life isn't usually that simple. Actually, in many cases, the opposite can have just as many flaws. How we work through the flaws we find needs to be much more slow and painstaking.
Second, isolated deconstruction can sometimes give way to the temptation to want to criticize something to the point of utter destruction and leave it in waste. The issue with this is: just because something has flaws, doesn't necessarily mean that every example of that ideal is flawed or that the entire ideal should be thrown out. It can be possible that the example(s) we find are unique to the situation we are examining or that the example(s) we are examining can be redeemed and rebuilt.
Let me give an example. I have been reading a lot of criticism of the 'traditional' church model where there is a paid pastor or where people attend 'church' on Sunday, in a building, etc. Because there are proven issues and flaws with this model (some being quite bad), the conversation goes very quickly towards throwing the whole thing out.
Now, don't get me wrong. Some of the questions about how we do 'church' are not bad. Vocalizing the problems and flaws and confronting abuse in the church needs to be done. People should have a voice, especially the victims. Highlighting issues and putting a spotlight in the dark areas of our long-held traditions is not a bad thing. What I find curious is why it would seem that when we find stains on something like this we need to tear it down.
Asking why we do what we is not bad, but in many ways the conversations surrounding things like this says: because it is flawed and broken and abuse happens, we need to burn the whole thing to the ground. Maybe I am overreacting, over thinking and reading too much into what I am seeing in this trend. Maybe this is not what people actually mean. But it sure seems this way. If I am misreading this, please let me know.
This all being said, in some cases, a reboot or overhaul to the foundation could be exactly what is needed. I am not married to any particular ideology. I guess I am just calling us all to simply slow down. Let's be careful to not project our negative experience onto the rest of the world. If we are too quick to burn it all down we may burn up the good in the flames alongside the bad. Or worse, we may actually leave a trail of victims who were not capable of leaving the building that we set ablaze. Let me leave you with a quote Steven wrote in his last article as some food for thought:
"Because I found authenticity in spiritual deconstruction I thought other people would too. I tried to light a fire under other people’s faith systems. I never intended to completely destroy their faith, I just wanted them to experience the freedom that I felt. I can't do that anymore. That's spiritual arson. My faith has been reborn in refining fire and it is my hope that others will experience that too. I wanted my writing to be helpful, however, I now realize it's not my job to take people to the foundations of their faith. I don’t have that authority."
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