What is Deconstruction?

church, deconstruction, theology -

What is Deconstruction?

incurable deconstruction cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

A doctor shows a patient an x-ray of her head full of question marks and says, “I’m afraid you have an incurable form of deconstruction.”

WHAT IS DECONSTRUCTION?

In 2009 I participated in a hermeneutics workshop. We were to prepare by reading books supporting conservative hermeneutical approaches to scripture while dismissing liberal ones.

I read them with fascination.

The workshop echoed the books’ defense of traditional hermeneutical approaches. But I loved the ideas of the philosophers (such as Derrida, the father of deconstruction) who were dismissed.

The workshop had the opposite intended affect. I was converted! People started calling me a deconstructionist.

Deconstruction is a philosophical theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about what is certain and what is true. It claims that words can only refer to other words, and that when we interpret them we immediately subvert their meaning.

My deconstruction began decades ago by questioning the inspiration of scripture. This workshop resolved my long struggle with the Bible.

A powerful epiphany that there is one reality and only language seems to divide us plus this workshop liberated me into a new lease on my spiritual life.

I decided to use the word deconstruction to describe the often terrifying process of questioning certainty and accepted truth. It’s the erosion of the beliefs we inherited and adopted. It questions our religious conditioning. It’s the crumbling of the foundation and structure of our spiritual lives.

Usually, our relationship to the Church is affected and many leave because radical questioning isn’t welcomed. It’s considered rebellious, backsliding, a denial of Christ, and a rejection of God.

But I claim deconstruction is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, it’s something to be proud of, embraced, and enjoyed.

Because deconstruction is growth!


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