Is Deconstruction Actually Discipleship?

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

By Kathryn Libel

The trend of evangelicals walking away from and denouncing aspects of their faith tradition has been alarming to some. For others, it’s a sign of a long overdue spiritual awakening. 

Russell Moore recently left the Southern Baptist Convention, citing racism, covering up of sexual abuse, and abusive behavior as the reasons he could no longer be a Southern Baptist. Until that day, Moore was the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. 

Some are worried that the abandoning of religious institutions by prominent, (and not-so-prominent), people of faith spells trouble for the future of Christianity. There certainly are many, like Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye), who have completely rejected all of Christianity. There are others, like Audrey Assad (multiple Dove Award recipient), who have painfully stripped away much of what Christian culture says and redefined what faith in Jesus means. “Deconstructing” is something that has many faces and many degrees, as we can see in our family of writers here at The Exvangelical Parent. 

As I pull at the threads of sexism and patriarchy, I hear the voices of my heritage yelling in my ear that the whole tapestry of my faith will unravel if I keep pulling.

When Russell Moore pulled at threads of racism, the powers that be struck back hard, shouting that any change in the tapestry will be catastrophic to the Gospel. Jesus challenged sexism and racism by healing and validating women and Gentiles (non-Jews), and when he dismissed the teachings of the powers that be and re-interpreted Scripture to be loving and inclusive, the establishment killed him.

There is always going to be a religious elite that feels threatened by any challenge to their tradition. 

There will always be those that find the comfort of certainty to be better than dangerous faith. 

But for those of us who are willing to challenge the status quo, we couldn’t be in better company. When we proclaim the beautiful gospel that God loves people more than s/he loves rules, we speak the same truth that Jesus spoke when he healed a man on the Sabbath.

When we open our arms to those the world has oppressed and rejected, we are mimicking Jesus when he embraced tax collectors and harlots. 

Jesus is my model for deconstruction. 

God help me, as I search for truth amid the ruins of evangelical Christianity.

Kathryn Libel is a Midwestern mom to a boy who loves books and a girl who loves dirt. Words, big thoughts, coffee, and good food really turn her crank! If she isn’t busy navigating big thoughts and big feelings with her kiddos, she is usually reading, writing, or eating something delicious!

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