Such a scary word. And you know what? It should be. Because when we take something apart, we can be pretty near certain that it won’t go back together the same way. Not if you are honest about it.
That. That right there is what is really scary about taking apart your beliefs. It requires honesty with yourself. In todays society of filters, seeming perfection, or complete avoidance, being honest with ourselves is hard, uncomfortable, and a rarity. It is easier to accept church tradition, teaching and/or doctrine (TTDs) than it is to look at it naked, away from the pressure, hype, and lights.
I am NOT saying that all TTDs are wrong or unhealthy, I’m not saying that. I am saying that the unexamined faith, isn’t really faith… that’s just drinking the Kool-Aid and we all know how that story ended.
Example: Easter. David Hayward, the Naked Pastor, posted on Facebook, “We say the grave could not contain him but believe our theology can.” And Oofta, that has been so relevant this month for me. My church history and tradition told me that Jesus came to die for me. Because I have sinned and sin equals death thereby he died for me. This can also be known as substitutionary atonement. And for the first 30 years of my life, I ignored the little beep in my brain. All of this comes back every Easter season full force. This season I began to really ask the questions out loud.
- Why did it have the be so violent a death? If the point is victory over death, couldn’t this have been achieved by dying absolutely any other way and coming back again?
- Was the point of Christ’s entire life those three days? Or was it really about life and how he lived and, since being human, he experienced death?
- At the time of Christ, I had done nothing wrong. How was it my sins, my wrongs that put him on that tree? How can you atone for what has not even happened??? How does that answer mesh with free will? Pre-destination?
- What kind of father or mother knowingly sends their child to a gruesome, horrible execution? That goes against every single instinct in my body— instincts that are God given. It doesn’t make me feel better that Abraham was willing to do so to Isaac. “I love you so much. Would you be willing to go die for these people I created?” Uh…. What? No… I would go so my kid didn’t have to. But then you have the mess of the Trinity being three at one time, so technically, maybe? I wonder how much of my previous military approach to scripture affects my view of Scripture? How much has it effected my view of God?
Deconstruction looks like this ⬆️. Maybe those are simplistic questions and probably, quite common. I’m not saying I’m original or that this is my idea. This is just my approach.
Honest answers to those questions are hard. And many of them, I don’t know. I don’t need to know all the answers, but the mystery and wonder are increasing the more I ask and challenge. The God I believe in is good and kind. Much of what I see in Easter doesn’t mesh with the simple, easy answers that are cheaply given in rote.
In Easter, I see victory in compassion over cruelty and love over hatred. I see a moment where the Christ shared in the suffering around him to the point of allowing himself to be crucified. I see women so desperate for answers they hang around a tomb, asking any who come close. I see men racing with hope. I see Jesus. Ending his ministry as he began it. One on one with the people he loved. I am reminded of the song “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie.
Cause love’s such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love (people on streets) dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves under pressureBowie, D., Mercury, F., Deacon, J., Roger , T., May, B., “Under Pressure”, single released in 1981.
The people that followed Jesus only to see him die a vicious death, they were in a trauma induced forced deconstruction. Those hours that felt like years between seeing him take his last breath and miraculously appear to them individually in precious moments, were long and filled with every thought, question, and probably the realization that they had come full circle. The people on the edge. The broken, the weary, the desperate. Me. You.
I would love to hear your faith questions. I won’t have answers to them, but… we feel less alone when we ask questions out loud together.