Right from the start I want to say that I am only sharing my perspective from my experience and study. This is my journey I’m sharing. Not yours.
However, I am not only a survivor of deconstruction, but a thriver. I’ve made it! I have travelled the treacherous path. It has taken me many years, lots of study and contemplation. This is not to say I have arrived, but that I have mastered it. I am, like many of you, an expert in deconstruction. I have a wealth of experience and insight. So I feel it is my responsibility, as well as my pleasure, to help others along similar paths. If any of what I write is helpful for you, then I am very pleased.
One of the most important moments in our personal spiritual development is when we embrace our independence and become responsible, sovereign adults. In other words, a crucial turning point in our spirituality occurs when we claim and assume authority over our own lives. This includes our theology.
But what do we do with what we knew? What do we do with our previous religious experience? What do we do with the Christianity we adopted? I would like to examine this as though we were examining our roots.
APPRECIATE MY ROOTS FOR WHAT THEY ARE:
I appreciate my roots. I decided some time ago that it was unnecessary and even unhealthy for me to reject my roots outright. There was a lot I didn’t agree with. But there was also a lot of good that contributed to who I am. I am who I am in part because of my religious roots. Like it would be foolish for me to see a beautiful rose bush and figure its roots were ugly, dirty, unnecessary and dispensable, neither do I do that with my own life. I learned a lot of good things that are still meaningful to me. I experienced a lot of good things in Christianity and the church that I still treasure. Even though my religious roots are tangled, dirty, messy and spread all over the place, there are a lot of them that have been helpful, nourished me and perhaps even kept me alive. So in many ways I keep my roots. Like Jesus’ proverbial tree though, I dig around them, fertilize them and trim away that which is dead. This means I appreciate the bible, the faith and the church. I value them. I have even needed them. They have nourished me and made me what I am today, which is me, David Hayward. I don’t accept all of it, but I keep them and appreciate them for what they are. I am familiar with the God of Abraham, the God of Moses, the God of David, the God of Jesus, the God of Paul. I’m grateful for it.
APPRECIATE MY ROOTS FOR WHAT THEY ARE NOT:
My roots are not my fruits! One of the biggest problems with Christianity today, as with all religions, is their absolute and unquestioning allegiance to the past. There is undue focus on the roots as the whole deal! Oh what wonderful roots! In fact, Christianity made a point of cementing their roots in perpetual preservation forever to be worshipped, adored and obeyed without question for all infinity. It’s like Christianity concluded that all that could be revealed or believed had been established and so it locked in its account settings for life. And it did this vicariously for you and every Christian in its wake. As a result all we have is a splendid root preservation. Like a museum. Abraham’s had his revolutionary revelation of God. Moses had his revolutionary revelation of God. David had his revolutionary revelation of God. Jesus had his revolutionary revelation of God. Paul had his revolutionary revelation of God. Period! Done forever and ever. Amen! Wrong! All of these are fruits that have withered and died and fallen to the ground, split open and spilled into the earth to nourish the roots, but also to plant new seeds for further growth and more varieties of fruit. I believe it’s my responsibility, and yours, to have our own revolutionary revelation of That-Which-We-Call-God, even if it means the withering, dying, falling and spilling of all the beliefs we’ve inherited. This is called deconstruction! Without this unsettling process we wouldn’t experience the necessary development of our own spirituality. Our own fruit.
We are living in a very fertile age. The ground is rich for nourishing our roots and for creating new fruit. But we have to be willing. This takes courage. I recognize in all of you an essential bravery and integrity to break up the ground around your roots, to fertilize them, and to give them the space to grow into something profound… your own, distinctive and independent spirituality.
Your roots are good.
Therefore, your fruits are too!
What a garden!