Deconstruction and the Loss of Speaking Coherently

Deconstruction and the Loss of Speaking Coherently

speak coherently cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

A doctor says to his patient who is filled with questions, “I’m afraid you have ‘deconstruction’ and may lose your ability to speak coherently about your spirituality.”


My theological deconstruction lasted decades. It started in seminary and finally culminated in 2009.

I finally found the peace of mind I’d longed for. It was over.

However, the effects of deconstruction intensified when Lisa and I left the ministry and the church.

What was most difficult was I felt at a loss for words.

I couldn’t articulate what I was going through.

This is normal.

All my years in the church, ministry, and theology caused great anxiety. I could not reconcile what I’d been taught with what I knew. Then, in 2009, I had an epiphany.

I saw that we are all one at a fundamental level. We all share one reality. But we all apprehend this reality through our own lenses. Then we all articulate our apprehension of this one reality with our own words.

The words we used to describe one paradigm fail us when we try to describe another one.

The words of our previous spirituality no longer suffice when we try to describe our present one.

This is where we may experience our greatest anxiety with deconstruction. Not only do we have difficulty understanding what’s happening to us. We also don’t have the language to explain ourselves.

Even in intimate relationships, trying to articulate it can create tension.

My advice now is:

  1. Realize this is normal;
  2. Abandon the need to explain yourself;
  3. Get comfortable with mystery and silence;
  4. Know you will find words to articulate your new reality.

Peace of mind will come.
And so will the words.


Leave a comment