Untangling Faith, Deconstruction, and My Story

by | Aug 16, 2021 | Uncategorized | 30 comments

Deconstructing Marriage and Sex Teaching
Merchandise is Here!

Deconstruction, as a term,  has become really complicated to understand.

Rebecca and i talked about it in a recent podcast, and it’s one of those terms that is used differently by different people. But it boils down to this:

You recognize that some beliefs/customs/practices in your faith community are toxic, and so you try to sift through what is toxic and what is central to faith, and discard the toxic stuff.

Unfortunately, what often happens when you do this is that you recognize that some of what you know is toxic is also held as deep tenets of the faith by other people who profess Christianity. Or at least they talk as if you have to accept the entire package–including toxic beliefs about marriage or sex or other things–or else it means  you’re leaving Jesus (Rebecca talked about the problems with this as a parenting style in Why I Didn’t Rebel).

When people are told the toxic parts can’t be disentangled from faith, then people deconstructing often do leave the faith.

 I want people to see that you can deconstruct the harmful stuff and still keep Jesus, and the Apostle’s Creed, and the essentials.

What I’ve been encouraging all of you to do in the last few years, and especially since The Great Sex Rescue came out, is to deconstruct what you’ve been taught about marriage.

LIke Jesus said, “You have heard it said X, but I say to you, Y.” He said that again and again and again. And that’s what we’re doing with marriage and sex. “You have heard it said that women need to have sex whenever their husbands want it, but actually, biblically, sex is to be intimate, mutual, and pleasurable for both. Instead of seeing it as an obligation, let’s back up and make sure that we’re treating sex like something mutual and intimate and pleasurable for both.”

The Great Sex Rescue is a deconstruction book. Many of you may not like the term “deconstruction,” but if you’ve liked The Great Sex Rescue, then you’re already deconstructing! It doesn’t have to be a scary thing. It can be a healing thing (and that’s what it’s supposed to be).

When you deconstruct like that, it actually makes it more likely that people will hang on to Jesus.

There comes a point when you can’t ignore the ugly stuff anymore. And if we’re not allowed to separate the ugly stuff from our faith, then people will end up walking away entirely. We have to be able to question things.

With that preamble, a couple of things happened in the last few days that I wanted to comment on.

Josh Harris, the author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, published, but then retracted, a deconstruction course.

As some of  you may know, he has actually left the faith and doesn’t call himself a Christian anymore. But he did publish a course for others who are deconstructing, offering that course for free to anyone who felt harmed by his books.

A huge outcry broke out on social media, asking why he felt that he needed to teach anyone anything, and he did end up retracting the course.

In the meantime, though, he had advertised it saying that it had materials from me. I didn’t even know about this until some people messaged me about it. Apparently he linked to my Instagram, where I had published quite a few “Fixed it For Yous” where I take a problematic quote from one of the marriage or sex books we looked at it, and then “fixed it”. He did not ask my permission first before he used my name in his marketing materials, and I did not help him with his course. So I did want to make that clear. He later admitted this in an Instagram post.

Amy Fritz of the Untangled Podcast posted an episode with me about Risking My Platform.

Josh Harris talked about deconstruction with me without my permission, but Amy Fritz did it right! She interviewed me on her podcast, and we talked about such different things from other podcasts I’ve been on that I wanted to draw your attention to it. Instead of it being primarily about The Great Sex Rescue, it was more about the journey of deciding to write The Great Sex Rescue, how this has impacted me as a speaker/author in evangelical spaces, and why I decided I couldn’t be silent anymore about the problems in this sphere. And then we talked a lot about my church journey and what I’m hoping for after COVID.

I really appreciated this conversation, and I thought many of you would, too, because you’ll hear some things I don’t think I’ve shared publicly before (or at least not all together like this!).

Untangled Faith Podcast

You may like the story of how I decided to initially run that very first Love & Respect post about sex, about the sermon at church the day before. Or about why I think I’m flying under the radar with a bunch of the powers that be in evangelicalism right now, and  I haven’t become a huge target to teh big names. Or why it was easier for me to risk my platform–because it’s always been based online, directly to people, rather than through gatekeepers like conferences or big radio shows.

But most of all, you’ll hear my heart for finding a church where community is the main point, and where we can honestly talk about the things that are hurting us.

I really appreciated this conversation, and I hope you do, too!

And, again, I hope we can change our visceral reaction when we hear “deconstruction.”

For most people, it just means recognizing some of what you’ve been taught your whole life isn’t healthy, and it’s learning how to differentiate that from the essentials of the faith. Yes, some people can’t, and leave all together. But most find it a healing and necessary journey.

And many, many people are taking that journey, especially millennials and Generation Z. (Seriously, the survey results from our latest survey about beliefs when you’re teens vs. now are astounding when you look at the generations).

As a faith community, we need to be willing to sit with people when they deconstruct, or listen to their deconstruction stories, or we will end up pushing out millions of people from the church.  

Plus it’s simply the right thing to do. A lot of what we’ve been teaching hasn’t been healthy–as we show in The Great Sex Rescue. We need some self-examination. And I believe that when we do that, we’ll find the person of Jesus is even more evident than He was before.

The Great Sex Rescue

Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?

Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.

The Scary Part of Deconstructing Marriage & Sex Teaching

What do you think? Can deconstruction ever be seen as a healthy term? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Is Someone Stepping on Your Air Hose?

So many women--and many men as well--honestly feel like the church is hurting them. I do not believe that it is Jesus that is hurting them, but the things that the church teaches, especially around sex and marriage, do cause harm. Our surveys have shown that...

Can Sex Be Hot and Holy at the Same Time?

Can sex be hot and holy at the same time? One of my big picture passions that I want people to understand is that sex is more than just physical--it's supposed to be deeply intimate too. And maybe to understand that, we need to take a step back to see what God thinks...

Comments

We welcome your comments and want this to be a place for healthy discussion. Comments that are rude, profane, or abusive will not be allowed. Comments that are unrelated to the current post may be deleted. Comments above 300 words in length are let through at the moderator’s discretion and may be shortened to the first 300 words or deleted. By commenting you are agreeing to the terms outlined in our comment and privacy policy, which you can read in full here!

30 Comments

  1. Katydid

    If all we have right now of our faith is the Creed and The Lord’s Prayer, that’s ok. At first I felt terrible about not continuing with the typical evangelical narrative of how I should read the Bible, pray, worship, and do devotionals, but I had to stop because all I heard were human voices and opinions and not God. It actually feels really good to strip it all away and be very rudimentary.

    It’s like those HGTV shows where they gut a disgusting, rotting, stinky house, exposing so many problems hidden behind walls and under foundations, but once all the demo is done, they stand in the stripped house and breathe a sigh of relief and look excitedly at the potential before them.

    Where is Jesus in all this? He’s still the corner stone, and the more we pull back the layers of culture and politics and history and opinion and interpretation of individuals hone viral into denomination after denomination, the close we get to the raw, bare, expose foundational corner stone.

    Being churchless right now is hard. My husband, children, and I all disagree on church. Hubby is content to never go back to church. The kids are ok with not going, but would choose a Baptist church they like. I disagree with a lot of Baptist dogma and fear the influence of the evangelicalism I’ve deconstructed and I would like to try a more liturgical or high church. Tried Catholicism, but you have to vow to uphold ALL their dogma, and I can’t agree with every single one. Maybe Lutheranism, but many are now political woke churches. I don’t like any church that is politicized, right or left wing. Reformed churches seem a happy medium, but I’m not a Calvinist. I don’t like non-denomination churches because there’s no checks and balances, and they are often just based on the pastor’s opinions.

    It’s also hard being around my family who are still very much evangelical, conservative, and into Trumpism. They are End Time rapture theorists a la “Left Behind.” So any time America doesn’t look like a 1950s white sitcom, it’s all “the end is near!” Every family gathering is religion and politics. We’ve been limiting our time with them, but it hurts to be so distant. And any move away from evangelicalism is met with “you’re losing your salvation!” It’s hard to hang out with people who think that way.

    Reply
    • CMT

      Katydid, that is a great image. Sometimes renewing the house requires stripping it back to the studs. It may look like you’re destroying it but you’re actually saving it and making it worth living in again. Just prettying it up and covering the decay won’t do anymore.

      I’m going through this process too. I relate to your sense of not knowing where to turn to find a community. It’s so disorienting, but I’m trying to stay hopeful that this is part of the process. As you say so well, Jesus is still there under all the layers. I’m praying that as we keep looking for Him, we will find our tribe along the way.

      Reply
    • Megan

      You said it so well. Minus having a husband and children, I am in this place right now of deconstructing and desperately wanting to hold onto Jesus and get rid of the shame, guilt, coercion, and bondage of fundamentalism. I feel that at this point trying to come back to a church community would push me further away. I’m still at the point of the layer peeling that I cringe when I hear preaching or people using scripture to argue their point because I haven’t yet healed enough yet to even hear it without resentment.

      Reply
  2. Kacey

    What I’m afraid gets lost in the deconstruction process is a desire to be in a church community. Someone who’s been in a toxic church environment may need to go it alone for a while, but that shouldn’t be their permanent state–God made us to need each other, to learn together, to worship together, to serve others. And I’m concerned that people who love Jesus but leave every church environment leave the things that enable them to grow.

    Certainly, growth is going to be stunted or arrested in a church with bad teaching. I agree people need to stand up or leave in those environments. Certainly, we are to stand against false teachers. But I’m afraid Christians are losing the unity that’s emphasized in the New Testament. I wish we could see as much growth in unity and good teaching as we see deconstruction right now.

    Reply
    • Katydid

      That may not come for a while and church may look more like small group of mutually deconstructing friends, or serving in community groups. Remember, the foundation of Christianity didn’t have churches, yet. They had communities.

      With something like 40,000 different denominations, sects, and cults in Christendom, it is going to take some time to process all the muck.

      I’m stuck finding the healthy church/how much dogma can I get away with disagreeing balance.

      In some areas there honestly just aren’t any healthy churches.

      Sometimes I think we should just walk away from newer, especially American made denominations and start filling pews in older, long-standing denominations. If you are conservative/traditional maybe try Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Reformed. If you are more progressive, moderate, or liberal, maybe Anglican/Episcopal, Lutheran.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think it’s a temporary shaking out. I think the problem is that many who are deconstructing don’t have a church community to go to anymore. But once those people who are leaving outnumber those who are staying (and stats say we’ve likely already crossed that threshold), I think we’ll see different forms of Christian community start that aren’t as focused around a sermon and music, but are more participatory. It’s likely just going to take some time.

      I know that a huge proportion of my friends and my kids’ friends aren’t going to church now and they’re not necessarily happy about it. So I think that’s where going back to some sort of house church meeting is likely good just to keep some plugged in. I don’t know, really. It’s a huge time of upheaval. But I think that the smart churches will see this as something to be involved in, rather than something to squash, and maybe welcome people to have some of these “home fellowship” meetings even in their churches, just not at typical times.

      Reply
  3. Becky

    I agree with Kacey on this one. I’m beginning to feel like a little bit of an oddball here, tbh, because while I agree with many of the things said here about how evangelical teachings around sex, marriage, singleness, and purity have been harmful and need to be re-examined, I’ve never felt the need to leave the evangelical church as a whole behind. Perhaps I’ve been strangely fortunate, since my church is healthy and we truly do feel like part of a community there. And when I hear stories about “deconstruction”, for the most part, it’s from angry ex-church kids who seem unwilling to acknowledge what is good about Christianity, and just want to rewrite the whole thing to be more “inclusive” of things that aren’t actually Biblical at all (i.e. sexual sin that is clearly labeled sin in Scripture, no matter what orientation one has). Or just rant against the church as a whole. So for me, I have a visceral gut reaction against the term “deconstruction”, just as someone on the other side of the issue would probably have the same reaction to “evangelical”. And since we live in a culture now where most people are unwilling to listen to each other or actually have healthy dialogue without resorting to labels and name calling, of course it’s going to seem like an attack on my faith.

    The ideal thing would probably be to come up with a different term entirely, to distinguish the deconstruction you describe from that of people who are just renouncing Christianity altogether, but it’s probably far too late for that.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, I agree. I think we do need different terms. And I’m really glad you’re in a good church! I hope that more churches become like that, more community based and there for their people. I know Rebecca left an evangelical church like that behind when she moved back home to her home town, and it’s been hard. She and Connor would have loved to have kept going to that church!

      Reply
      • Katydid

        I saw someone on Twitter call it unraveling to differentiate from leaving Christianity all together form of deconstruction.

        Reply
      • Katydid

        Ironically, there is a Catholic version of Mary called Mary, Undoer of Knots. In the iconography, Mary is shown unraveling a knotted up rope or ribbon.

        Reply
    • Kay

      Deconstruction has no pre-determined outcome. Deconversion is the term for people who have left altogether. Some deconstruct in order to save their faith, and some lose their faith as they deconstruct and ultimately deconvert.

      I think the hardest part of all for me has been the people that refuse to listen to my story because they say I am too angry. My question is… how are you NOT angry? Overall I wish Christians who are concerned about deconstruction would focus their concern on the toxic churches causing the harm, not the people who are calling out the harm that already exists. Does that distinction make sense? (I’m not directing this at you specifically, just in general.)

      Reply
      • Julia

        Louder for the people in the back!

        Reply
    • Bre

      I agree! I feel like this sort of thing is natural for any part of your life; as you get older and experience more, you change how you view things and your opinions, values, and preferences change as you learn and acquire more information. Deconstruction is a bit too scary of a word; it’s more like doing what the NT talks about when it says you shouldn’t accept things without making sure they are of God. It’s a sifting/analysis to make sure that your beliefs and actions align with Jesus and are sound…which is something you should be periodically doing anyway. In my faith story, I was brought to church as a child stayed partly because my grandma would shame me if I didn’t go, but mostly because it was the only place I wasn’t bullied and was accepted and had friends. I didn’t really “get” anything about God until I was in high school; even though I didn’t understand, I did get that God made me feel safe and loved after my life of being rejected and wanted more of it. I had to overcome my grandma’s shame-based platitudes and my own self-hate to realize that God wasn’t going to smite me for wanting to be baptised when I was imperfect. I finally took that plunge at 17; while my church was fairly conservative, my grandma is a loving but super strict into literalism and has turned some people off of the church because they thought the church believed what she did when they didn’t and thought she was a bit off base. Everyone knew I loved God and was ready and was waiting for me to overcome myself and reach the point of being ready; there was a ton of crying by all of us that day! After coming to college, I’ve had my beliefs on marriage, women, and sex shaken up and am now very egalitarian. I also was convicted and moved by God to get involved in the pro-life movement. In the last 1.5 year, after a lot of prayer, I’ve gotten involved in political action for various things; in my personal experience, the conservative and “normal” churches I’ve been to basically see politics as another blasphemous word and think that it’s ungodly to touch it with a 200ft pole; I just got tired of the constant complaining about the world going to heck in a handbasket and not using the government participation privileges we have as citizens actually to do anything about it. I’m considered nuts and “poisoned by the worldly college system” in many cirlces.In my experience, the “crazy conservatives” are far outnumbered by the catholics and non-christians (ironically, listening to a catholic priest’s podcast was what changed my idea of how to responsibly use my rights to political involvement while putting Jesus first above it) That’s just my observation and story, not to undercut anyone else’s experiences, which may have been different than mine cause no community is totally homogenous and everyone has different experiences . I’m still going to grow more in my knowledge of God as I’m still only 22, and I’m probably going to ruffle many more feathers, and it isn’t an inherently sinful thing for anyone to do. I mean, God gave us free will and, with some nuance in some areas obviously, he wants us to believe in him and follow him with our whole heart, not just robotically following rules and rituals…we have to evaluate stuff or else we’re just mindlessly following rules and not really holding them up against God to see if they hold up.

      Reply
      • Bre

        Also, in a way, wasn’t “deconstruction and reconstruction” kinda what Jesus did? A lot of times he said “You’ve heard it said to you that X , but I say to you Y.” Jesus also explicitly said that he was here to fulfill the laws and not end or alter them. However, the issue was that God gave them to his people for a specific reason to point to his future salvation plans, but the religious leaders created 100,000 rules and caveates from each one that no human on earth could possibly fulfill, and then told them that their purity and the love of God hinged on upholding them to the T. Jesus went against the religious practices of his day, but he wasn’t actually breaking them or sinning because some things that the people believe and practiced/followed were human traditions/misunderstandings/twistings of what God really meant and, as he put it, he was the fulfillment of God’s laws and promises, the ACTUAL ones. Jesus seemed heretical to his people, but in reality, their comprehension of God and what he wanted from them was wrong, not Jesus’s teachings. Obviously, we need lots of prayer and discernment to make sure we are seeing what God wants from us, but the idea of deconstruction is similar to what Jesus did in many ways; sorting out what’s actually God’s will and rules and what’s overly complex, human-made embellishment/misunderstanding. Paul actually talked about it too; he had to tell people to cool it with thinking that their salvation rose and fell on still perfectly maintaining the old-covenant laws and traditions; continuing them was wrong, as they were of God, but those practices didn’t make them better or worse believers, and their salvation and holiness came from Jesus, not the laws. There also was no point in pushing the old practices on Gentile believers because of the fact that the promises were now fufiled and the Gentiles had no context to give those practices any meaning beyond obligatory religious rituals. A lot of Paul’s letters also have him going off on churches for following false teachers, becoming legalistic, and generally adopting crazy rules and practices not of Jesus without any questions. While we now have a term for it, the idea of “deconstruction” and evaluating your beliefs related to God is actually Biblical and wise.

        Reply
      • Bre

        On my second comment…* was not wrong*…sorry, my grammar was really bad on that comment for some reason, so it may be a bit confusing.

        Reply
    • CMT

      Hi Becky. I think you are on to something when you say that your reaction to the term “deconstruction” is similar to the reaction some others have to the word “evangelical.” Can I take that further? “Evangelical” is a 4 letter word to some because they have been misled, confused or actively abused by people or institutions who use this label for themselves. Some may use the term “deconstruction” to stridently criticize or dismiss beliefs you hold dear. While that may be rude of them, and it may make you uncomfortable or even angry, it is not really the same thing. I am not aware of a “deconstruction culture” with a long history of enabling discrimination and abuse analogous to that of American evangelical culture. What I’m getting at is that many people find churchified language triggering because of their personal traumatic experiences and that is a legitimate way for them to feel. If I want to continue using a term like “evangelical” positively, i must recognize this fact and humbly ask others to understand that the term means something different to me than it does to them. But I have to extend the same courtesy to them. It would not be fair of me to ask other people to stop using terms that are meaningful and helpful to them in order to make me more comfortable, unless I am willing to do the same and more for them.

      Reply
  4. Dawn

    Loved the podcast. We started a house church several years ago. We are definitely not like the standard Sunday service. We follow topics we’re interested in and often are studying and discussing Scripture verse-by-verse. The first half hour or so is everyone checking on how their week has been. We also only meet on Wed nights because we like to leave the weekends open to spend with family, friends, and the unchurched. It’s been awesome! We’re part of DOVE, a network that has all models of church including house church.

    Reply
  5. Anon

    Deconstruction should ALWAYS be a healthy term – if it’s not, you’re not using it properly because deconstruction that doesn’t result in something good following on is just destruction.

    And for all the people who think you can make changes without deconstructing first – when the rot is deep, building on top of the rot just makes things worse.

    Several years back, I had an injury that wouldn’t heal. Eventually, I got referred to a specialist and he said that there was no point trying to get new, healthy tissue to grow on top of a damaged surface because there was no stable base for the new tissue to grow on. What he had to do was to clear away all the damaged tissue until there was a clean, stable surface underneath – and THEN the new healthy tissue had a solid foundation to latch onto as it grew. To a non expert, it looked like he was making things worse as the wound got bigger – but once all the rubbish had been cleared away, the rebuilding and healing was really rapid.

    I think what you are doing is a bit like that – you’re clearing away all the rot & rubbish that is festering and making it impossible for anything healthy to grow around it, and right now, it looks like you’re making things a whole lot worse. But once that is done, we will have a fresh, clean base to start rebuilding something healthy on!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly! I love that. And, yes, I see deconstruction as a healthy term too.

      Reply
  6. Laura

    Wow! This is what I needed to read this morning because within the last year, I’ve been trying to deconstruct from unhealthy teachings that have seeped into the church (not the building, but the body of believers). I definitely want to hold onto Jesus because He is my everything! Here’s what I’ve been trying to deconstruct from: Christian nationalism, the assumed belief that being a Christian and a Republican have to be synonymous, the obsession with the End Times prophecies that are not completely biblical, that you must tithe 10% to your church (this is Old Testament), prosperity gospel (if you pray enough, pray all the right words, and do all the right “Christian” things, then God will reward you with what you want), science and the medical field are the enemies and if you believe in the need for those, then you are not trusting God, and of course patriarchy.

    I haven’t attended church in over a year due to COVID and even when my church opened up last summer, I still chose not to go because I live with my mother who’s over 60 and has some health issues. In spite of both of us being fully vaccinated and many places fully opened in our state (New Mexico), I’m still not attending church. Unfortunately, many people I attend church with will not get vaccinated because they think this virus (now we’re dealing with the Delta variant) is politically magnified and they are more worried about losing their religious freedoms than “loving their neighbor as themself.” I just cannot take the risk of going to church right now and I’m seeing the church becoming way too political for my taste. Thankfully, my pastor adhered to CDC guidelines and does not get political. It’s a number of church members that do. Right now, I am turned off by American Christianity.

    Reply
    • Chris

      The end times stuff always drove me nuts. The whole “left behind thing” doesn’t mesh at all with a Catholic view of the scriptures and you could show it to any of the great protestant reformers like Luther or Calvin and they wouldn’t know what you were talking about either.

      Reply
  7. A2bbethany

    I get more and more thankful every day for my foundation. I got saved as a child but my parents didn’t want to baptize their children immediately upon saying that they got saved. They wanted to see evidence and fruits. As a result, the first 5+ years of salvation. I only had a Bible and prayer. I didn’t have anything else really teaching me, except Christian bios. I also had that sister who never seemed Christlike, be baptized and welcomed to the church, after a few weeks of good behavior. I learned that only God knows who’s saved and who’s not. So I never got caught into deeply caring about church politics. I learned that christians can struggle with sin and solely depend on God for help.

    I learned that man’s opinion, really means zip. Because I had an anger issue, stemming from my abuse and no therapy, I didn’t act like they wanted. She did, at least at first.

    Because I learned to prioritize my relationship with God and my own mental health over the church’s teachings, I’ve avoided things that wouldn’t have helped my journey. (Instead of evangelizing, I started working at a drive thru and learned how to comfortably chat with men.)
    Once you understand that God has every child on a different path, you don’t get so hung up on proper etiquettes.

    Currently my lesson is listening to the holy spirit.

    Reply
    • Laura

      A2bbethany:

      I loved reading your testimony. Our mental health is important and another teaching I’m deconstructing from is the way the church has handled mental health. I have struggled with depression since my teen years and well-meaning Christians would tell me that I needed to rely on Jesus and not take antidepressants. Taking antidepressants meant I lacked faith. Even though I knew several pastors who talked about their struggles with depression and believed in taking medication, I still felt condemned and not strong enough in my faith.

      I think the bottom line here is to prioritize our relationship with God over what other people say. I cannot recall how many times I’ve heard God tell me, “Stop listening to people and pay attention to Me.”

      Reply
  8. Jo

    Hello from Switzerland, as I read through the comments i am amazed how great examples there are for deconstruction (old house, wound). I really can relate. I grew up as a pastors kid and studied theology. So i got in touch with many toxic teachings. Because of sexism in church and bad realtionships to christian men i started deconstructing and I always saw it as a good thing. Because I realized I believed harmful messages which held me in a bad realtionship. Because I felt like christian men treat me worse than others. Because some churches or members were so sexist and “excused” it through bible verses… Some of my friends had a similar journey. I am happy that there are so many people who do not want to leave christian faith but change the church. Because I believe it needs change as always in history.

    Reply
  9. Nathan

    1. Sex is primarily about physical release for the husband, and the wife must have sex with her husband any time he wants, no matter what.

    2 The husband/father is in complete charge of the marriage and household. He makes all decisions and only his opinions matter.

    There are many (many many) other toxic messages out there, but if these two can be deconstructed, that would be a very good first start.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Yes! I totally agree Nathan!

      That second teaching “The husband is in complete charge of the marriage and household. He makes all decisions and only his opinion matters” was the reason I stopped going to church one month after I got saved back when I was 17. If the God of the Bible was really a male chauvinist then I wanted nothing to do with Christianity. I was not raised in church so this teaching was never modeled by my parents. They had a great marriage where they were equals. At least I believed they did until people at church said that the husband’s supposed to be in charge. I never felt right about the teaching that the husband is the head of the household.

      It’s ironic how I left a marriage where my ex had that “headship” mindset and I rededicated my life to the Lord. Yet, I did not hear a lot of those teachings when I went to a nondenominational megachurch in a big city. It’s when I moved back to a small town where more people are conservative (usually Republican) and still adhered to those old-fashioned beliefs. I returned to the church where I was saved and that pastor was (still is) a male chauvinist. I don’t know why I returned there, but after a year of attending and hearing more about how women need to be put in their place and the pastor’s wife also promoted this teaching, I changed churches.

      I realize that after being back in my hometown for 14 years, I’ve gone through 4 different churches and now I don’t think I want to be in church again. It’s not just the patriarchal teachings that go on in marriage and women’s Bible studies (thankfully most of the pastors I’ve had hardly preach that message) that bother me. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I feel that the American church has gotten too political and I’m not comfortable going with COVID still not over.

      Reply
    • Laura

      #2 was the reason I stopped going to church one month after I accepted salvation when I was 17. Even though I rededicated my life to the Lord 19 years ago, I still struggled with that teaching and felt that I had to believe it in order to be faithful to God. I’m still deconstructing from that teaching.

      Reply
  10. Naomi

    I think deconstructing is just what the Bereans we’re commended for doing… holding every teaching up against the Word of Christ. The Spirit can give us intuition on when something is not right as well as the written Bible.

    Reply
  11. Cara

    My thoughts on deconstruction is that everyone of a genuine faith goes through it, it is just the first time this word was ever used. It is why so many who grew up in the church feel they come to faith in their late teens or early 20s. It is the first time we have actually had to make our faith our own, and decide things we do or don’t like about it, and decide if we actually want to seek God ourselves. It is called “growing up”. What is funny though is I rejected my Methodist, very organic background for a more strict, structured Evangelical view, and am now back to my roots of understanding, which tends toward John Wesley’s teaching. I have come full circle, and feel deeper in my faith than ever! I just had to walk that myself and understand what it is I am desiring in my faith, and what I believe about God.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *