Not Deconstructing: Why We're Actually Resisting (in the spirit of MLK)
My church is doing a sermon series right now on the effects of religious deconstruction and how to maintain some stable posts in the midst of the chaos. While I am overall happy to be reminded of the most solid tenants of my own faith, I am finding the explanations a bit wanting. While there are certainly people simply realizing they don't really believe what they said they believed, there are some of us pushing back for a different reason.
I don't really see myself as deconstructing, as I was a VERY slow win to faith in the first place. I resisted as long as I could and chewed every bite before swallowing. When I fell in love with Jesus it was a permanent devotion. If there's anything that's changed for me over the last twenty-five years it's not what I believe about Jesus, or even how I feel about His people, but how much I trust the institutions that claim His name.
My problem is not with any particular person. In fact, I love my pastors and respect them immensely. I would defend and protect my brothers and sisters and am proud to be considered their friend. My problem is with the harm being done in a systematic way to 1) people of color 2) people of diverse sexuality 3) women and 4) people in poverty—essentially anyone in the margin in any way. This includes short-sighted stewardship of our resources, unequal pay, hidden discrimination, and failure to protect the most vulnerable.
The God I follow cares about people even more than I do. They are a priority to him, even more so than any institution. If the institution is harming the people, it is worth wrestling with.
In other words, I don't have a problem with YOU, I have a problem with US, which includes ME. I am not happy about my own cooperation with an oppressive system and therefore it's on me to do something about it. It's up to me to stop enabling it the way I have been. I can't in good conscience continue. So if you see me leaving organized religion—that's why.
I actually haven't left church. But I am no longer loyal to anything just because it's called Christian, and in fact I'm pretty skeptical of the label for how it's been used. I'm looking instead to devote my time and energy to movements that are healing, growing, protecting, and nourishing the poor and needy because those feel like the true ministries of God.
In terms of other individuals I'm frustrated with? As much as anyone denies being a part of the oppressive system or denies benefitting from the oppressive system that is how much I have a problem with you. I can walk away, but I would much rather you join me.