Editors Note: This may be a first in a new series in the impromptus section. I am calling it Your World as I See it by Astor Clement. As I am still the only author it is obviously me, and for the children of the 90’s the Jim Varney reference will be clear.
One of the credos of this blog is that we don’t do hot takes here. It is nearly guaranteed that any news you read on this site is a fresh month old. That said, another credo is that this is the place where I (the current only writer, and unqualified editor) will go on a rant from time to time. This is only different from a normal piece here in that I take less time to qualify my comments for those of a more sensitive disposition. With that out of the way, I am getting pretty tired of hearing the beautiful stories from the continuing journeys those deconstructing their evangelical faith.
Not that any of this will be a surprise to the five of you who occasionally read in these parts. But, really can we, the true Christians just start calling a spade a spade? They went out from us because they were not of us. It’s in the Bible, why are we bending over backwards to try and win the approval of those who found they could get attention by taking a dump on us? Or worse, acting like they are some sort of authority on how we should re order what we do?
I get the whole, make your critics your counselors. They may have some points. But by in large I am not seeing a reasoned reflection on where we may have lost our first love. Instead I see a fawning, groveling, compromising reaction. It is masked by claims of being gentle, loving, repenting, or weeping with those who weep. But frankly I think the response, with the vast majority of deconstructors is to call their bluff. Some people have been truly hurt by abusive churches, but that is a small minority. Most, up to and especially including the big names more fit into the quote by my friend *Layne: “I am tired of people leaving the church because they got butt-hurt.”
And this brings us to the heart of the problem. Most deconstructors are simply not being honest. They are lying to you, lying. They are not looking for God, or trying to recover their faith, they are not remaining christian but just not attending organized church (which is an oxymoron greater than the words: government competence) and they definitely are not seeker, searchers, journeymen, or even deconstructing. They are demo men. None of these people are doing the hard work Francis Schaffer did in the attic when he deconstructed his faith knowing he was going to reconstruct it. None of these people have two months later emerged and then led thousands to Christ and changed the face of evangelicalism. All they do is whine and complain in NPR voices.
Many talk about their trauma. Which Bari Weiss did a very handy interview with trauma expert George Bonanno that further proves that what most people call trauma is absolutely not.** An upsetting experience is not a traumatic injury. A person can whip themselves up. We see it with Pentecostals all the time. We are dealing with a couple generations that are soft, entitled, and selfish. And it is time we stop helicopter pastoring children who are pitching a temper tantrum to get their uniformed way.
So yes, some people had a bad church experience, but more than that they didn’t like how the church refused to bless their sins. There is a time and a place for the church to examine its own failures. But that absolutely does not mean that we should deconstruct anything. My big frustration is that the doeconstructors are sloppy, it shows their hand. If they were actually a group to listen to they would encourage reform. Semper reformanda, the church reformed, always reforming. The Protestant reformers called the church back to the gospel. Deconstructors call for the church to conform to their fleeting worldly desires. And when the church doesn’t bow to their decrees they have just enough strength to run to their Twitter to tell the world how they have the shakes and the whimpers before sinking into their trauma.
It is time to stop falling for this. These people are advertising that they are unconverted. Instead of a Kleenex and a pat on the back with a soft, “there there” At this point our only response should be a firm but clear, “repent and be converted.”
*I used this quote in the third article on the blog.
**I deserve so much credit for not running to my favorite Screwtape quote on “trauma”