With the prospect of a long Easter weekend before me I decided it was high time for me to engage in the theological equivalent of a mid life crisis. I am proud to announce that I have deconstructed. I can see clearly now the vast empty nothingness since I have successfully demolished that tacky Christian eyesore of the church from my field of vision. It was holding me back from my true self, as I define it, I am free, and feel the ever shifting cold winds of modernity blowing around. This feels good, this feels right, at the very least it feels superior.
As such, I now require you to hear my story, my journey, dare I say it, my saga; to the truth that there is no truth, other than what I can conceive of. It is a story you have heard before, but never before, because I was not telling it and I matter. It is a tale filled with, anger, sorrow, bitterness, anger, snot, tears, anger, beauty, more anger, and glorious life filled with anger and bitterness. That beautiful, wonderful mess, that must remain vague because specifics would reveal any flaws, and I need to confuse and make it as easy as possible for you to affirm me. Or I will have to turn on you with a hot rage. As my new transgender Methodist allies and I now sing, “This is MY story.”
Well not so much my story, as mine and my benighted manservant Edward.* But he hardly counts, because this is mainly my story.
It began as I was legalistically preparing to celebrate, what I now know as a pagan overwhelmed holiday centered around cosmic child abuse. When lo, as I lay upon my chaise lounge in the solarium, sipping a Sazerac, and staring listlessly at a fine Davidoff cigar just out of reach. A thought drifted through my mind, “I really didn’t enjoy youth group growing up.” And this thought undid all. For it opened the doors of realization that my failure to have the group conform to my specific desires and whims threw the entire leadership and teaching in to doubt. How could the gospel be good when I didn’t find everything else to be good? The youth minister was silly, and legalistic. He got to wear shorts but if the lovely ladies showed more knee than he, which was what I wanted to see, corrections were given. His manipulative controlling of their bodies was obvious from my projection. Suddenly it all came crashing down. Well not entirely, I needed to be involved in the destruction of my faith so I could get the credit. So some cracks showed at this point, we’ll say, which the light began to show through.
I was on a tear now and screamed for Edward to bring me my N.T. Wright books. He rushed in with a precarious pile and I threw each volume at his head. I required my device so that I could more easily find the parts proving that Paul was only slightly better than Donald Trump with his blatant sexism. That knowing now that I was right because of Wright. I knew I needed to know how to move forward. Therefore I turned to the infallible word of r/deconstructing on Reddit.
Oh what joy filled my soul to find that by deconstructing not only was I justified in being smugly superior to everyone that had loved me I had free reign to mock and belittle them. I tested out some of my more biting straw men on the beleaguered Edward until I saw his upper lip tremble. Knowing I had utterly crushed his spirit I few back to Reddit for some additional zingers that would upset and embarrass my family at Sunday dinner.
After some time furiously trolling the reformed subreddit, getting banned, creating new logins (I was sad to loose Deconstructor 3000 which is what I also call my Cadillac SUV) so that I could continue my crusade of aggressively taking offense to people patiently showing me the error of my thinking. I passed out on the keyboard signaling to Edward that it was time for my turndown service and before bed absinthe spritz.
Upon the morrow I awoke full of vim and vigor. Edward awoke before me pale and dull, which means the height of health and mental acuity. Loudly rejecting my morning coffee I demanded twelve espressos and my Deconstructor 3000, for there was a road trip Edward and I would embark on that day.
As Edward drove us to Nashville and I bounced around the back seat I monologued with eloquence our plans for the day. Anyone who did not hold my new progressive views was an unloving bigot. I must be affirmed in all my ways and disagreement is literal violence. And since I had removed from Edward and my immediate circles any previous friends who did not meet my purity test we would have to seek out said literal Nazi’s in order to remain properly aggrieved, dare I say, persecuted. Enter Matt Walsh.
In my previous life I would have mocked Walsh for his slavish devotion to Popery and all of the absurdities of the Papist heresies. But now I know him to be a dangerous figure, Slightly worse than Hitler, almost as bad as Trump. He was speaking in Nashville on a bigoted subject, in a bigoted way, because he is a bigot. There are other words I wanted to use, but Edward has sensitive ears and I knew he would get his fill of harsh language, or Scottish talk, at the protest.
As it turns out Walsh was not speaking at Vanderbilt but was there see a dermatologist for a mole removal. How the internet was aware of this is beyond me, but the Lord works in mysterious ways. This did not stop me from foaming with rage at this hateful man who wants all children to die. I think he supports their birth and healthy maturity without any experimentation on their bodies along the way. WHICH IS EVIL, THE JOE BIDEN TOLD ME SO. I protested him, I hurled epitaphs at him and Edward hurled Molotov cocktails into the Vanderbilt library because “knowledge is violence!”
After paying off the police the dispirited Edward and I returned to the Deconstructor 3000 to head home. Over a slightly watery Martini (Edward does struggle to mix drinks and drive at the same time) and array of Taco Bell burritos, I pondered the strange and quick turn I had made into progressive politics. This was supposed be a spiritual journey, the inevitable leftward political turn was clearly replacing the primarily place of religion. And while I was fine with that, the amount of exertion was taxing. I turned up the air and napped the rest of the way home.
I resolved upon rolling through the gates of my manse to further explore my relation to the large column of air vibrating that I now envisioned God to be. I ordered Edward to fetch me my caftan and Richard Rohr books. I gave the introduction a cursory reading, then settled down with my calculator to discover my Enneagram number.
Edward, in the proper feudal spirit, tried to explain the idea of “wings” to me with great pains. But through some automatic writing I had discovered that the application of math would unlock my true great Enneagram number, the sum total fulfillment of who I was, am, and will be.
Having received an unsatisfactory answer, for I am not prone to excitable and illogical whims as my formula revealed. I threw my thirty-year scotch and soda into the fire and stormed off to bed with Edward trying to catch up, spritzing absinthe behind me as I ascended the sweeping staircase to my chambers.
Easter morning came, and with it dread. For now I would have to face that most toxic of places, the church. What horrors lay before me with people who would want to greet me, What vile things would be said from the pulpit, how hard could I glare to telegraph my displeasure at those fools who were clinging to (as I now understood it with my internet informed philosophy) old and therefore bad ideas about God and what He said. Nevertheless I donned my Easter Tuxedo, slammed three breakfast mimosas, lit a Cohiba Behike, and set my face like flint for the trauma to come.
Alas, I must report that so great are the scars of past church abuse, so triggered was I at the sight of those I had known gathering to celebrate something that may or may not have happened (according to Rob Bell the jury is still out on that one), that all I could do was remain in the Deconstructor 3000 and suffer flashbacks; I dredged up with embellishment of my previous bad experiences, nay gaslit emotional abuse. Edward was dispatched to snag a box of Kleenex from the sanctuary for I had already cried through his hanky and it was soaked with my tears of anguish. I pulled loose my bow tie, like Sinatra, and turned to my emergency bottle of Jack Daniels, which only disgusted me further.
Edward returned accompanied by an elder, looking to gawk and gaslight. And through sobs, puffs of cigar and wiping mucous on Edwards lapel as he sat stoically comforting me; I explained how wounded I was by him and his ilk. And how simple minded I now found him and his blind faith. That last part did perk me up a bit. Also the discovery of a bottle of Chablis perfectly chilled in the picnic hamper Edward keeps prepared at all times in the boot. The elder entreated me not to remain in the parking lot but to come in. There was music, fellowship, good news, and the table. But no, I was beyond all these things. I had kept the commandments and found them wanting I have deconstructed and am free. The people of the church must now come out to me. Here I stand, I can do no other.
*There was some consideration early on as to wether on not I should fire him for his lack of diversity, both of us being straight white males (mea culpa, mea culpa). But in the end I decided the optics of having a black manservant fetching my smelling salts was just not appropriate. There may then or may not have been a regrettable episode of me in blackface trying to preform some racial justice. But we all make mistakes in the days of our naiveté, Justin and Ralph will tell you.
One thought on “My Deconstruction Story”
Comments are closed.