On Deconstruction

Upfront: I don’t like the word “deconstruction”. Unless you’re an academic, this isn’t a familiar term, so it’s easy for bad-faith actors to try to scare you. It’s a foreign word. So I’m not going to use it.

I’d rather say Reformation. Or perhaps Exodus. These are familiar concepts in Protestant thinking, and handy metaphors for what’s happening here. I’ll try to explain why:

Once you open your eyes to the spirits of the age that evangelicalism is in thrall to, you can’t unsee it. And to be very clear and not to mince words, evangelicalism in general and American evangelical in particular is in thrall to demonic powers. To antichrists. All in service of blunting the church’s witness, providing a form of godliness that denies the gospel’s liberative power. You find the church more concerned with money and power and empire and this ism and that ism and you ask… is this right? Is this good? Is this true?

Again, when you see what evil the church will not simply tolerate but celebrate in pursuit of its goals, you can’t unsee it. So you have some choices to make.

You can live with that friction for the rest of your life. You can even try to transform the church from the inside out.

Or you can abandon faith altogether. A lot of folks are going this direction.

Or you can take your faith, nail your 95 theses to the door, and attempt to strip it down, like a dog with fleas. You can confront Pharaoh and empire. You can confront the Pope and the Vatican.

This is surgery. An attempt to strip away cancer so the body can survive.

And it’s how all Reformations start. The Luthers and Zwinglis and Calvins of this world aren’t some federated force until the histories are written. (And it’s fascinating that the Reformation arose after the printing press, while our current moment is after the internet; maybe a co-incidence, but an interesting thought.)

The evangelical church with its commitment to following the political and ideological ways of the world and its spirit of fear might never go away, much like the Roman church hasn’t gone away.

But we might be able to make something different and new. We might be able to find some kind of promised land as we try to escape our individual Egypts.

As ever: ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda.

(And let all the theobros say: “Not like that.”)

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