Am I Doing This Right? — Decon Pt. 1
The more I learn of the true contexts and perspectives from which the Bible was written versus my modern understanding of the world, I’m left to wonder if I’ve been missing the main point the whole time.
As some of you may already know from listening to the Undoing Podcast I’ve been a part of (shameless plug), I’ve been on a journey of deconstruction of my faith. Not in the sense of leaving it behind entirely, but leaving behind any unnecessary baggage I’ve attached to my faith over the years for various reasons.
What I’ve found most interesting through this process is that it seems as though I’ve been hearing the truth all along, but mixed in with lies and added burdens. I’ve also noted that these nuggets of truth are either harder to observe or seemingly less prominently displayed or celebrated in the church, generally speaking.
This is all so vague and confusing, I know, so let’s get more specific.
Take the “Purity Movement”, for example. I was taught both explicitly and implicitly that my sexual purity should be understood alongside and inextricably linked to my spiritual wellbeing. While I believe this is somewhat true, I also happen to believe this to be mostly untrue or, at the very least, limited in the nuance of both. I do admire those that made it all the way to their wedding nights before being “deflowered” (see also “giving themselves away”, “losing your v-card”, or any other euphemism of choice with negative connotation), but I’ve heard just as many horror stories of intimacy issues with those people as the horrors that were promised to the others who couldn’t keep it in their pants.
The truth, I’ve found, like just about everything else in life, lies somewhere in the middle. Not everything is as cut-and-dry and black-and-white as we would prefer. The world is easier to understand when we (think we) know where the line is and whether we’ve crossed it. In regards to the “Purity Movement”, this resulted in creating teenagers who were far more concerned with what did or did not constitute sex than what was actually healthier or better for them. The question inevitably became, “How far can I go without breaking the rules?” rather than, “How will I, my future spouse, and our relationship benefit from exercising restraint?”
What if all that was even a complete distraction from what God ever wanted for us?
What if we missed the forest for the trees? What if what He’s really after is us, just as we are? What if He prefers the mess over the pretension? What if He’s far more concerned with our hidden thoughts and feelings than anything anyone else can observe or whatever sins escape or failed sense of self control? It should be obvious that these are rhetorical questions that have certain and knowable answers.
I’ve been thinking lately that we spend so much time and energy dissecting the words in the pages of the Bible that we can easily miss God Himself right before us.
Like being so incredibly focused on reading and understanding the words on a sign that we completely forget to visit the breathtaking destination altogether.
While I consider the Bible to be utterly priceless in value, it by no means is a stand-in for God himself. When God seems distant, His Word is always near and accessible. This is both a blessing and a curse. When I feel disconnected or in the trap of mindless routine, I often find myself reading without doing the work of seeking to connect with the Creator. I find my mind being filled, but not my heart and spirit as much.
I honestly think this is a problem that Cultural Christianity faces as a whole. We don’t put in the work to connect with our Father and instead attempt to control our behavior by our own will, which if you haven’t learned already, tends to fail quite often.
I have so much more to explore and this is already getting quite lengthy so I think I’ll make this into a series. Stay tuned for more!