Summary: Navigating Our Beliefs Series: The Deconstruction Zone: Navigating Doubts and Difficulties Brad Bailey - June 25, 2023
Navigating Our Beliefs
Series: The Deconstruction Zone: Navigating Doubts and Difficulties
Brad Bailey - June 25, 2023
In the late ’90s, Joshua Harris burst on to the Christian scene with a book titled I Kissed Dating Goodbye, a treatise on dating and courtship. The book sold millions and made him, in one observer’s terms, an “evangelical boy wonder.” He was just 21 when he wrote the book. 
At 29 years old he became the lead pastor of a Maryland megachurch as well as a principal player in Sovereign Grace Ministries.
But when that movement was torn apart by, among many other things, accusations of a systemic cover-up of child abuse, he found himself – in his words - “deconstructing.”
He left the ministry in 2015, and in 2019 he announced that he no longer identified as a Christian and that he and his wife were divorcing.
He told Newsweek that it was problems in his church and mistakes he made as a church leader, among other experiences, that led to his falling away from Christianity. As Harris put it,
“That was all part of my deconstruction process — questioning the things I built my life around.” - Joshua Harris
It is this type of experience that has led to the terms “deconstruct,” “deconstructing,” and “deconstruction” having entered into our cultural vocabulary in ways that have nothing to do with bricks and mortar.
Applied to Christian beliefs, “deconstructing” can refer to the process of anyone raising questions and exploring challenges to the beliefs they have long held. It is often related to beliefs one was raised with…which they are seeking to reconcile with their own thinking, or experience, or desires.
“Deconstruction” can speak of those who may conclude that they no longer believe… to those who sift through what they believe and identify what they deem to be some “cultural baggage” (misguided beliefs or practices) that they then leave behind…and to those who discover a more meaningful and mature faith. 
Broadly speaking…most of us go through some process by which we face a need to more deeply engage what we believe.
In the most basic sense… it’s not new. And as I hope to help us see today… it is a natural part of life.
It’s not uncommon to wonder…
What do we do when what we believe is true and good... doesn’t seem so clear?
But this process has been accentuated in the recent years. The last few years has brought something of a cultural shaking on multiple fronts that has led people to want to rethink all kinds of things. 
We’re deconstructing our politics, our memberships, our news sources, our mindsets, our views, our beliefs, our affiliations.
Everything that seemed simple and settled has become messy and confusing.
It seems like more spiritual leaders than ever before have fallen, more churches have engaged in the coverup of things like the abuse of children than ever before - or at least those things are more widely disseminated than ever before.
So today…we’re launching into a new series entitled The Deconstruction Zone: Navigating Doubts and Difficulties. We are going to engage the process of navigating the difficulties and doubts that can effect people’s faith.
Because some of us may find ourselves in such a process… now or in the future.
Because some of you are parents… or one day will be parents… and nothing will be more vital to the faith of those children than understanding how to navigate these issues.
And because some of us are friends with someone who may have walked away from what they believed.
I believe that God wants us to create a space wide enough to navigate …but with guideposts that keep us from simply finding ourselves stranded on the side of the road.
And one of the most important things to understand…is that
The process of “deconstructing”…of navigating difficulties and doubts… need not end in a cul-de-sac of unbelief. In fact, deconstructing can be the road toward reconstructing—building up a more mature, robust faith that grapples honestly with the deepest questions of life.
If we stand back… we can see that deconstructing is only part of a larger process. Or should be.
There is construction… deconstruction…and then reconstruction.
(Or we could refer to this as orientation – disorientation – and reorientation.)
Deconstruction doesn’t have to mean destruction. It can be reconstructing something that’s really healthy. It can mean walking away with a faith that is more vibrant, more real, more alive than ever before. Often it is about deconstructing the outward and shallow religious dynamics to engage that which is more committed to a way of life that flows from the heart of God. More dialed-in with the heart of the Christian faith than ever before.
Over the next few weeks…we will engage some of the issues in our current culture that can be barriers to belief.