Wednesday, May 04, 2005
The sound was unbearable. A dull, blasting thunder. That wouldn't stop. Somewhere just on the other side of that wall. Or maybe that one.

I found myself in a building surrounded by much noise. Something was getting tore up real good. Drills. Jackhammers. I dunno know. But it made the gray matter in my skull slosh around.

I was supposed to be putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard?) regarding some theological positions for my ordination candidacy process. Questions about my most formational Christian experiences, my gifts, my usefulness, my gifts, etc. So I dug around in some old folders and files, knowing I've had to write on this topic very often in my most recent past.

And something I stumbled across was what I believe is my first draft for my seminary application letter. Here's how it starts:

I am 25 years old. I have been attending church practically since the day I was born. I have taken part in church leadership teams. Crossed the globe on numerous mission trips. Coordinated community outreach events. Spoken before groups of hundreds. Taught Bible studies. Lead worship. All rubbish. Pure rubbish. Perhaps I’m hard on myself. Surely there have been moments the Lord has used me to communicate his reckless, crazy love. Surely they are the moments that I was least aware of it. My spiritual pilgrimage is one marked by many a days of rigid, self-disciplined, determined abandonment to the Lord’s path and many a days of tangential, distracted, self-absorbed wandering. I have spent enough days in church to accumulate a vast collection of accessories and trinkets to dress my Christianity, and it is time to clean house. My heart echoes the sentiment of Henry Thoreau: “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner…” I wish to rout, to strip away, to excise all from my Christianity that is not Christ. I find myself at a crossroads where I am reevaluating my understanding of Christianity, where I must dissemble my faith piece by piece until there is nothing left but my brokenness and Christ’s wholeness.

That was January 17, 2004. I've been growing since then. There's some deep, bitter cynicism in that voice. Obviously, this was not the draft that was sent to the Academy. But there's also a rawness, a desparate honesty that makes me wish I could sit down with this fellow and talk over a cup of coffee, or something stronger.

I've always been fascinated in taking things apart. Mom has some stories, I think. How do these things work? And now that I'm older, how does Faith work? How does Church work?

This house is still under construction. Oh, the remodeling project has made leaps and bounds since a year ago January. But we haven't finished. The sound of drills still reverberates through the walls. It can be a little obnoxious, and I apologize in advance.

I appreciate Brian McLaren's comment regarding deconstructionism in The Last Word: "If you deconstruct a theory, you're doing it in the hope that a better theory can be imagined. If you deconstruct a social system, you're doing it in hope that a better system can emerge. And if you deconstruct laws, you're doing it in the hope that greater understanding of justice can come" (106).

I deconstruct because I hope. By faith, I take Faith and Church apart because I believe they can be more. I still wish to rout, to strip away, to excise all from my Christianity that is not Christ, so that my time and energy is not wasted on that which truly does not matter. My brokenness. Christ's wholeness. This is the beginning. The foundation on which to build.

The constant jackhammering rumble of deconstruction can be maddening. But piece by piece we're building something better here.

posted by Peter at 12:35 AM
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