Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Faith deconstruction resources

Picture of a lonely church
by Adam Morse

 (I did expect to have published more posts this year than this, and I still hope to flesh out more of my series on social media, but before much more time goes by, I want to share this.)

Faith transitions are hard.  It's called a deconstruction by the community for a reason.  For most and for me, it's felt like a ruthless demolition of all I held dear.  When the walls started falling around me, I was terrified because I didn't know when it would end, if it would end, or what would be left standing.

I've talked with many who had to go to the very, very bottom before they saw any hope for a rebuilding phase, which then brought its own worries.  What if my new set of beliefs don't match up with anyone else's?  What if my church doesn't accept me?  What will my family think?

If you've had any of these questions, this post is for you.  You're not alone, there are tens of thousands of us wading in the murk, stretching out our hands to blindly feel for what we hope will bring clarity and comfort.  My own outstretched hands have been grasped by others pulling me upward to where I can see just a little better.  The community of searchers I've bumped into and the resources they've pointed me to have been a saving grace, and I want to share these things in case you need it, too.

(Last updated: May 13, 2019)

  • Come Sunday  :  the true story of a Charismatic pastor's changing theology
  • Silence  :   the true story of Jesuit missionaries trying to find God in Japan
  • I am Michael  :   the true story of a young gay man who transitioned to an anti-gay pastor
  • Bonus TV show  :  Queer Eye on Netflix  :  true stories of 5 gay guys making the world a better place

  • Falling Upward  :  by Richard Rohr, about the 2 halves of life
  • Finding God in the Waves  :  by Mike McHargue, about his deconstruction story
  • The Bible Tells Me So  :  by Peter Enns, about making sense of the Bible
  • Inspired  :  book by Rachel Held Evans, about making sense of the Bible, but this time with more creativity

LGBTQ+ and Faith

The feminine character of God & Women in the Church resources

Enneagram resources

A little update on me - I am really happy with where my faith currently is.  The fear of not knowing has been shrinking fast this year, and I'm comfortable being in the in between.  There's not a common term for where I'm at, but I've used "agnostic Christian," "hopeful agnostic Christian," "progressive Christian," and I've joked saying I'm a "bad Christian."

If you'd asked 2010 Lindsay if 2018 Lindsay is a Christian, she'd probably say no, because she had a very strict definition (one that wouldn't cover much of the world's Christians).  I don't think there's a literal hell, I don't believe the Bible is inerrant, I don't know if Adam and Eve were real people, and I don't really care either way.  What I care about is living like Jesus' example, caring about what He cares about, and bringing that goodness to the world more fully.  I hope there's some kind of reward at the end of all this, but even if the lights just go out at the end, bettering this world in the way Jesus did is how I've chosen to live.

I sometimes pray.  I sometimes read the Bible.  I love learning about the Bible and about what the authors really meant.  (I currently have 15+ pages of a paper I'm writing about how women should be teaching and preaching and leading in the church, and it's all based on research from the Bible, its history and the culture of the original audience.  If you're interested in seeing the final product, let me know.)

There are still some areas of tension, but most of them occur when I'm interacting with more traditional Christian ideas and the people who hold them.  Being different isn't easy, especially when religion is involved, and I'm uncomfortable in some church environments due to things the preacher may say or the song lyrics or the Sunday Morning Face™ I never liked.  (Does anyone like that?)

I'm glad to be where I am.  I'm glad I didn't throw it all away when my doubts came in pronounced.  I'd been brought by my schooling to believe that doubt was opposite of faith, but I've found that's not true.  Certainty is the opposite of faith.  Doubt is more than welcome to join the dance, and having doubt doesn't make you any less of a Christian, however you choose to define that term.

With love.

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