Out with the old by Peter Wigglesworth
Deconstruction is a fairly new buzzword within Christian circles. However, as with most things applied to matters of faith, it covers a multitude of ‘sins’ as folk interpret the term differently depending on their situation and circumstances. It’s not merely a label which points to believers who have fallen out with church and all the trappings of a formalised Christian lifestyle. It means in essence a re-thinking and re-examination of what and why we believe certain things. A change of heart and mind, true repentance from a biblical perspective, which results in changed actions and lifestyle. A fresh engagement with God, allowing previously cherished aspects of old belief to fall away and cease to be important. The change can be quite radical and is often misunderstood by others who feel challenged or judged.
Many Christians perceive their faith as a fixed number of beliefs which they apply to their lives. Sadly, such a mindset interprets Christianity as a set of rules to be followed, with reward or punishment as the outcome depending on your success. Truth is seen as an interpretation of fact based upon a knowledge of good and evil, an assessment of right and wrong. A believer’s life can end up being one of duty and obligation, driven by guilt or fear as they take the fruit of their own understanding and try to apply it on a day to day basis.
In contrast, we need to know truth by experience, and that truth is a person. Living life by desire and joy, not being driven by performance. Our identity comes from our relationship with God, it’s not something we should strive to produce. We live from our heart and spirit, not our mind, loving God as a response to who He is, not as a duty or obligation. Much of our belief is rooted in old covenant thinking with a theology that ‘protects’ us from seeing things differently. Our acceptable reasoned belief system is prone to filter out anything new or challenging. It often takes a significant personal experience, almost a trauma, to shake us loose from the limitations of what we already believe. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding’ Proverbs 3 v5, and yet so often we make our own understanding king. But God does not live within our theology. Christianity is not based on being right or wrong, nor is it dependent on knowledge accumulation. It is first and foremost a mystical encounter with a God whose Spirit longs to mingle with our spirit giving us wisdom, revelation, assurance and love. So, in the light of this, may we hold lightly to our theology and instead continually hunger and long for a greater experience of His presence and fullness