When we are children we learn from our peers, family, and environment. We’re constructing reality and meaning largely dependent on the guidance of others. Once we reach our teens we start to try to form our own identity, but we still need that guidance from our parents.
Usually the next phase of growth comes fully into play in college or right after when we move out from our parents and are taught many new ideas/ways of looking at the world by professors and fellow young adults. We often move to new towns, make new friends, pick new places of worship. This can spark a new phase of deconstruction. Now deconstruction doesn’t mean that we lose all our beliefs, but we may not believe all of the same beliefs as before, or at least see them in a new way.
It is not a straight line. Often this next phase is at the same time as deconstruction, but the next stage of growth is reconstruction. We find new beliefs to put in place of old beliefs we lost or we see our old beliefs in a more nuanced way that understands them as partial truths. We also build onto some beliefs and strengthen them further.
Often in deconstruction we see ourselves as opposed to our old beliefs/groups that we were apart of. We see the harm that they’ve caused. Our identity is in being opposite or different than the belief system we had before.
But as we grow I think we come to a healthier place where we see both sides of where we were and who we have become. We see the positives and negatives of both sides. We forgive those who are not yet where we are and we forgive our former selves. We no longer see ourselves in opposition to another view, but simply embrace our own journey and not comparing ourselves with others.
A healthy journey of growth is one that does not stop, but continually goes through the cycles of deconstruction and reconstruction throughout adulthood. The journey becomes unhealthy when we become stuck in one stage either thinking A. we have arrived at the truth and have all the answers or B. believe that we cannot grasp any portion of truth and do not move forward.
Again, the path is not linear. Not everything we learn is true or everything we discard is wrong. Life is messy and our journey is too. But that should not deter us from seeking truth and learning how to live it out in love. As long as we’re doing these things we’re on the right track.
So I hope this course helps you along the journey. There is a great deconstruction movement in Christianity now. I hope this course helps those in this movement or anyone seeking truth to continue moving forward.