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Unfetter. Unbind. Wander Freely, my Friends.

Unfetter. Unbind. Wander Freely, my Friends.

I have been meeting a lot of people recently (both in real life and also virtually, via social media) who are feeling unsettled and unsure in this whole process of breaking down and questioning their faith. Each stage of the deconstruction journey can bring a wide range of emotions, and it’s different for each of us. For me, vulnerability, fear, sadness, anger, and anxiety are among the major characters in the cast that I’ve come to know in this journey through faith de- and re-construction.

This morning as I was thinking of a word that could possibly encompass all of these feelings, summarizing everything I’ve felt through my journey thus far, the word ‘unfettered’ came to mind. If you are from a similar faith tradition as mine, you probably immediately think of the reverse: “fettered” or “fetter” … and then perhaps you might start singing or humming these lines:

“Let thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love…”

I used to sing these lines with abandon. Arms raised high, eyes closed, I would pray these lyrics, pleading with God to keep me close so that I would not stray away. The absolute WORST possible scenario in my imagination was what would happen were I to leave the God I love.

And yet, here I am.

I have left that God. I have left that faith tradition. I have wandered, and continue to wander.

I am unfettered.

But here’s the thing: the unfettering is beautiful, and I would argue, it is also absolutely necessary in order to have a true connection with the Divine. Have you ever stopped to wonder what that word even means? I looked it up again this morning, and was once again reminded that a fetter is “a chain or manacle used to restrain a prisoner, typically placed around the ankles.” (Merriam-Webster)

If you come from a faith tradition like mine, you have most likely been far too long fettered to a God who restrains. A God who crafted the chains with the desire to confine, to limit, to suppress. A faith that is constricting and choking in its rules and regulations that you must follow in order to be called among the faithful. Perhaps you have walked away from a community that revels in this suppression – one in which the quelching of voices has far too long kept people in the margins, merely for their gender, their identity, the color of their skin, their nationality, their expression.

From all of this, I say: We NEED to be unfettered.



So unbind your heart, my dear friend.

Let it wander untamed.

I am not your Prodigal Daughter

I am not your Prodigal Daughter

I loved when you used to read to us as children: exhilarating tales of a magical wardrobe and a fiercely gentle lion, of the ring of power and a journey of two friends through seemingly-insurmountable odds. These fantastical stories invited me into a world of imagination and adventure, and I clung to every word, on every page and in each stage of the journey. I felt curiosity in discovering the problem of the inciting incident. Trepidation in the starting out – as the heroes would take those first steps into the unknown. Fear in the rising action, battling the forces of evil and fighting for the cause of righteousness. Anxiousness in the perils and setbacks, the twists and turns, and the dramatic climax. And finally, the overwhelming relief and joy in the resolution of the story, where goodness was restored and justice prevailed. I was somehow not just a listener – but a part of the story, participating in every step of the adventure and feeling the ups and downs in the journeys of my favorite characters.

Once upon a time, you told me another story. This was a tale of your own faith journey and how at one point, you took a turn away from the narrow path you had originally set out on. You told me that through a dark season of questioning, you solidified your beliefs and were then able to come back to your faith foundation with more resilience and strength to fight against your doubts. It was as if you had faced a setback, battled the evil forces, gone through a season of wandering, and then you came back to the original path; the right path. You had faced your setback, battled your evil, found your resolution.

I know you are waiting for the same for me.

You are pleading with God for restoration and resolution.

You believe that this season of my life is merely a setback, that I am facing my own perils and fighting evil, but you anticipate and assume that one day I will return to the original path.

You see me as one who has been led astray, and you are waiting for your prodigal daughter to return.

It is true that my journey has led me into a wild and untamed wilderness of faith and spirituality. I, too, initially took this turn off the road with the mindset that this was merely a minor mishap – a short detour that would allow me to come back to the original direction with greater strength and dedication to my life’s path. But in an unexpected departure from the story structure of the tales of my youth, this journey does not end in a return and a resolution – at least, not in the way you are expecting.

Because once I entered the wilderness, I discovered that this was not a detour, but a completely new path for my life. What I found out in the wilderness was not goblins or evil forces that I needed to battle. Instead, what I found was incredible beauty and new worlds revealed. I have found a community; my people are here in the wild. I am experiencing peace and freedom, for the first time in over 30 years.

I never would have dreamed that I would be here, writing this to you. I never could have imagined this deviation from my original trajectory. It was scary at first, but I’ve determined that this is the most amazing and beautiful chapter in my life thus far. I invite you to see this chapter of my life through my lens, through my experience, through my words and my expression. But in order to do so, I’m afraid you will need to let go of your hopes and your expectations of how my story will end. I invite you to seek the beauty, the love, and the goodness that is right here, right now, in the midst of my journey. I ask you to wonder what it might look like for you to acknowledge that this is not a diversion from the right path, but instead, to accept that this is the right path for my life.

I am not lost. I am not alone. I am not in the midst of a battle with evil, at least not in the way you may be imagining. I am making my home in the wilderness. It is beautiful. It is life-giving. And it is good.

I know this is a scary outcome for you to accept.

I understand that you will probably never cease in praying that I will return to the path I had originally started on.

But I have found a new path.

And so, my dear father, let me be clear: I am not coming back.

The path I am forging for myself does not include a return to the faith of my childhood.

I love you so much…

But I am not your prodigal daughter.

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.

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! 


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! 


On The Terminology of Deconstruction

On The Terminology of Deconstruction

“Faith deconstruction.”

This is a phrase that can have so much attached to it. And because of all the attachments that come clinging onto a phrase like this, you may love or hate it. I know some people may embrace this term with warm and welcoming arms, knowing that this is a good and necessary process for anyone following a spiritual path. On the other hand, you may read those words and feel an uninvited guest, something akin to terror, start to make its way into your very being. Or perhaps you’re on the other side of the deconstruction process, and as you begin to rebuild your own faith or spirituality, you’re simply tired of hearing others continue to talk about the breaking down, the tearing and destroying.

Choose Your Own Words

So let me first say this: You are on your own unique journey, and if you don’t like the term ‘faith deconstruction’ – don’t just write me off – instead, I want to challenge you to think through the process in a new way. Because let’s face it, the phrasing is mere semantics, and you are more than welcome to substitute this for your own damn phrase. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Faith evolution
  • Shifting spirituality
  • Seeking more truth
  • Changing your perceptions of the Divine
  • Sifting your beliefs

Whatever words you choose to use, know this: It is a process. The process is your own. The process is good.

Why I Use The Phrase

I personally have decided to adopt this phrase to help describe my journey. To be clear, I haven’t always loved the term ‘faith deconstruction.’ These words have brought a significant amount of fear and more than their fair share of confusion. This phrase has made me feel unsteady, uneasy, and unsure of myself at times. And the words have not only impacted me personally – they have also sparked debates between myself and some close family members who have seen my journey through the lens of fear.

But at the same time, I also love this phrase, because it represents a beautiful chapter of my story; a chapter that has breathed life to my soul and given me incredible freedom.

Deconstruction is a process. The process is your own. The process is good.

So whatever words you choose to pick up, adopt, and use to describe your journey and your experience, remember that this is going to be a process. It’s not about reaching a particular destination or arriving at a final marker that proves you have completed your faith shift experience. The moment we think we have ‘finished’ our deconstruction process, we do a disservice to ourselves. May we always be ever de- and re-constructing our belief systems, our ideas, and our views of the world, and our faith. May we continually seek to learn, grow, change, evolve, and shift in the way we approach ourselves, the Divine, our world, and the people around us.

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! 


Welcome to Faith Deconstruction

Welcome to Faith Deconstruction

Why I’m Here

Hi there! I am so glad that you’ve stumbled on my little corner of the internet. My name is Kim, and I’m here because… well… it was time. Bringing this site to life has felt a little bit like preparing to give birth to a child for the first time. I have been excited and nervous, not fully knowing what to expect. I’ve been anticipating when the timing might be right to bring this to life, but not really knowing when that moment would arrive. I’ve had more than a little trepidation about whether I should even DO this thing, or whether I was, perhaps, making a monumental mistake. Even now as I write this, there is a small voice in the back of my mind, reminding me that it’s not too late to pull out. I could hit ‘move to trash’ instead of that scary blue ‘publish’ button staring back at me.

But I’m ready. I have been preparing my mind and my soul, and I have been ruminating and processing through my experiences and some things that I have learned in the last 5 years, and it’s time to bring these words to life. Whether or not this blog finds any readership is not the point. Even if nobody ever reads these words, still I must write, because I feel the labor pains growing, and the time has come. I can’t keep ignoring what is inside of me, and I can’t turn back now.

About Me

I’ll share the longer meandering chapters of my story through this blog in the coming months, but if you’d like a quick and condensed summary, I’ll hand you the CliffsNotes version for now: I have been in the process of deconstructing and reconstructing my (fundamental/conservative evangelical Christian) faith for the last 5 years, and it has been quite the interesting experience.

When I first began the process of questioning and pushing back on what I believed, it felt as if the world was spinning out of control. Because, if I’m going to being forthright with you, here’s my honest admission: I actually loved the certainty of ‘being right.’ I cringe now even to write those words, but it’s the unfortunate truth. So when I began to open myself up to the possibility that perhaps what I had believed was built on a somewhat shoddy foundation, well, that was not an easy pill to swallow. And yet, once I took one small step down that road, there was no turning back. I had to follow through and continue my own process of deconstruction, breaking down belief by belief, combing through my messy theology until I had made my way to the very bottom. And only there, when I felt my shovel hit the hard ground that meant there was nothing more to sift through at that time, when I finally reached the very end of myself, that is where the rebuilding could begin.

So, why am I here? Beyond the fact that it was just time to freaking give birth to this thing… I also have 4 specific reasons that are stirring in my heart and calling me forth to type these words onto this screen.

1. Community in the Wilderness

I want to let others know that there can be an incredibly rich and beautiful community out here in the ‘wilderness.’ When I first began the process of deconstructing my faith, I felt absolutely alone. My husband was also deconstructing, but we were on our own personal trajectories, and when we left our faith community and lost our familial support, it was a very lonely and scary place to be. Slowly, however, I made connections with others like myself who were also walking in the wilderness in their own ways. I began to build relationships, have deep discussions, and realize that I was not alone.

If you are in this place where you’re setting out into the unknown wilderness of deconstruction, beginning to question your religion or considering leaving a community of faith, I want to be sure that you know you are not alone. There are more of us ‘out here’ than you would imagine… and I promise, it’s not as scary as it seems.

2. One More Voice

I also want to recognize that there is already a beautiful symphony of amazing voices in the online space of faith discussions. I know that I am not bringing anything ‘new’ to the conversation, and that’s ok. I’m not here to share original insight or ground-breaking wisdom; I’m simply here to breathe evidence of my own story, in the hopes that maybe my words will connect with someone else’s unique experience. I also believe that there is always room for more voices to be added. Just because there are others who are already sharing doesn’t automatically mean there is a ‘closed’ sign on the door, barring any new voices being added to the conversation. This blog is the small whisper of my experience that I am putting out into the world, and I’m ready to add this whisper to the multitude of conversations already taking place.

I’m simply here to breathe evidence of my own story, in the hopes that maybe my words will connect with someone else’s experience.

3. Resources for Deconstruction

When I was in the midst of my deconstruction journey, I devoured any and all materials I could find on the issues and topics I was sifting through. I searched for new-to-me perspectives on theology, the Bible, feminism, sexuality, LQBTQ+ issues, and more – particularty non-white-male perspectives. Whenever I stumbled upon articles, books, or podcasts that helped shake up my old ideas and inspire new seeds to be planted in the newly-tilled soil of my soul, I was always incredibly grateful to those people for what they had given me. So that is another reason why I’m starting this site. My hope is to begin creating and curating lists of helpful and encouraging resources on a variety of topics that I personally struggled through, and ones that I continue to work through now.

4. A Cathartic Practice

My last reason for starting this blog/site is an incredibly selfish one, and it’s this: there is simply something about writing that helps me connect with myself, and with my own story. Writing has always been the best way for me to process my own inner thoughts and the way I see the world around me. It’s incredibly cathartic for me to sit down and let words flow unhindered through my fingers as I hold a pen to paper, or as I allow my fingers to dance freely across my keyboard. This free-flowing dance of words, letters, and phrases is how I am able to hold tightly to what is happening in my heart and remain connected and grounded to myself and my experience.

And so here we are, dear ones. If you are reading this, I hope that these little whisperings, and the stumbling, imperfect dance of my words on this computer screen will somehow be an invitation to you to dive into your own process with less fear – and with greater anticipation of what is to come in this beautifully messy journey of faith deconstruction.

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!