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Where Wandering is Welcomed

Where Wandering is Welcomed

In this space… you do not have to have all the answers. You do not need to feel secure, stable, or established in your beliefs. Here, questions are encouraged, doubts are embraced, and wandering is welcomed.

If you are leaving behind a comfortable, secure faith where you had all of the answers and knew what to expect from God…
If you are feeling the effects of toxic or abusive religious patterns or people…
If you are contemplating walking away from a community where you have always felt safe and accepted…
You are in the right place here.

Friends and fellow-wanderers, please know that you are not alone. There are so many of us in the wilderness of life after church/faith/religion/security___ (insert whatever it is that you have left behind in exchange for the unknown).

And if you are considering starting your own journey of faith deconstruction, I urge you to consider this inspiring mandate from one of my favorite authors, Sarah Bessey: “Set out, pilgrim. Set out into the freedom and the wandering. Find your people. God is much bigger, wilder, more generous, and more wonderful than you imagined.”

Sometimes it’s the ‘setting out’ that is the hardest to do. When you prepare yourself to leave something behind, fear and anxiety may decide to take up rooms in your home, staking a claim to your mind and intentions. This tag-team duo may even be so strong, to the extent that they become debilitating partners, blockading the door and causing you to remain right where you are. I certainly did not enjoy that contemplation stage, when I was thinking about leaving the comfort and security of my established home church and community, and the thought of giving up my set of infallible beliefs, in exchange for the wide open wilderness that I could not control. It was fucking terrifying. So if you are feeling fearful or doubtful of this whole process, believe me, I get it.

“Set out, pilgrim. Set out into the freedom and the wandering. Find your people. God is much bigger, wilder, more generous, and more wonderful than you imagined.” ― Sarah Bessey

But I firmly believe that in our setting out, we are inviting something incredibly powerful into our lives. By giving up the secure, the known, the comfortable, and the sure, we open ourselves up to receiving something much greater and potentially life-altering. Don’t let the fear of the wilderness hold you back. Don’t allow the seductive idea of safety hinder your first tentative steps away from what you have always known and believed to be true.

So set out. Take that terrifying, tenacious first step. And then the next. And the next. Until pretty soon you may find yourself running wildly through the beautifully untamed wilderness, your feet connecting to the ancient earth, and your face feeling the healing breath of the Divine, as you open yourself to something you never would have experienced had you stayed behind in the safety of your man-made structure.

This invitation is for you.

Your wandering is welcomed here.

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The Deconstruction Process

The Deconstruction Process

“What exactly IS this whole faith deconstruction thing?”
“How can I start deconstructing my faith, and what does it look like?”
“What are the steps I need to follow as I’m questioning my faith?”

These types of questions may be stirring in your heart or dancing on your lips, and I am so sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there really is no clear answer I can point you to. Believe me, I wish I had the answer. I wish I could lay out the ‘five stages’ of deconstruction, or give you the ‘crucial 7 steps’ that you will need to go through in your own journey. (Heck, I’m the product of the 5-point sermon era… I love it when things are packaged neatly, with clear steps to work through). But I’ve come to discover that it simply doesn’t work that way. Faith and spirituality will never be able to be contained within a series of checklists or steps or stages.

Each person’s process of faith deconstruction will look completely different from the next. We all have our own layers that we need to dig through, strip down, and sift. Our views of the world, our values, our faith traditions, and learned theologies are all different, based on a multitude of factors, and so, we will all have a very different wandering paths.

Ultimately I can only speak to my own experiences, however, I have also had the privilege of talking with several people close to me about their own processes of faith deconstruction. When someone invites me into their story of deconstruction, spinning and weaving their own experiences together, I see a beautiful unfurling picture. And I’ve found that while there is no singular path or set series of steps, there are 2 common themes that are often tracing a distinct line whenever I have the opportunity to hear someone’s faith shifting story unfold.

So in the process of faith deconstruction, I believe there are two lines that will be present, no matter what our experiences or background:

  1. There will be some tearing down, and
  2. it will be a continual process.

The Tearing Down

My husband and I are in the midst of renovating a home from the 1920s. Good Lord, I still wonder what we were thinking when we decided to purchase this home and embark on this seemingly-neverending project. Anyone who has ever remodeled a home this old can relate and understand what I’m going through here.

While every home remodel is different, one thing is certain when you start that process: you will be tearing some shit down. It’s a given. No matter what the end goal, no matter what you hope to accomplish or create, the tearing down process is inevitable. The same goes whenever you decide to seriously consider the foundations of your faith or religion, with an openness to change. No matter what you believe, if you are ready to question those beliefs and open yourself up to new things, you will have to begin by tearing down.

One thing is certain when you start that process: you will be tearing some shit down.

So grab that sledgehammer and get ready for some constructs and beliefs to come tumbling down. Don’t freak out; you will be able to rebuild or restructure those things if you want. If you decide to pick the pieces back up and put them back together, the when/why/how of reconstructing will all be up to you. But for now, before you can begin to rebuild, you will need to face the fact that you the destruction is an inevitable and necessary part of the process.

A Continual Process

Although I began this stage of my journey 5 years ago, I am still in the process of deconstructing and reconstructing my faith. When I first embarked on this process and began delving into my doubts, I thought it was going to be a one-time process. I truly believed that I would simply need to doubt and question, then rebuild my beliefs again. That idea is completely laughable now, as I look back on my journey and my entire life thus far. I have gone through hundreds, if not thousands, of shifts in my faith from childhood until now.

After all, aren’t we always evolving, changing, growing, and learning? Why, then, would we expect the faith deconstruction process to be something we can check off our list, after we have ‘completed’ it? This is such a Western approach to spirituality, and one that I’m sad to say I am prone to adhere to. I love to accomplish tasks and check things off my proverbial to-do list. And yet, the moment I think I have arrived at a solid foundation after some reconstruction work, I encounter some new idea or perspective that will completely shift my way of thinking yet again, starting me on a new process of tearing down, sifting, learning, and rebuilding.

This work will never end. It is continual. And I’m (finally) learning to accept that fact, and embrace this perpetual process.

If you enjoyed this article, we would be honored if you would take a moment share it with anyone who might also want to read it. Thank you so much!