Week 39 / 40: deconstruction and reconstruction

Deconstruction has become something of a buzz word—and unfortunately a cliche—in the world of homegrown evangelical Christians. I’m not sure it’s the best word to use for the process many of us who grew up in the church are going through (or have gone or will go through). Personally, I’d like to use the word reconstruction instead. Deconstruction implies the destruction of something without any rebuilding (which in itself can be a necessary starting point). It suggests that one must get rid of the whole structure along with its foundation. In reconstruction, it is possible to keep at least part(s) of the foundation while doing away with some or much of the structure. In deconstruction, all of the bricks must go (again, possibly necessary for some of us). In reconstruction, some of the bricks may be removed without toppling the whole wall.

During the human life of Jesus, following him meant a reconstruction of one’s entire spiritual life (and it follows, their whole life)—assumptions and presuppositions, preexisting beliefs and ideas, world views, religious practices, had to be re-examined, at least partially deconstructed, and ultimately reconstructed. What was “normal” and “given” and “inherent” according to prevailing societal, cultural, political, economic, spiritual, and religious norms of the day had to be examined from an entirely new and different standing, rediscovered and discovered anew, and finally, practiced in everyday life.

This is what following Jesus requires of us today. If we view ourselves, others, and the world according to our nationality, political views, religious beliefs, cultural or social standings, or anything else before or aside from Jesus first and foremost, we are required to reexamine and reconstruct what and who we really follow, and why.

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