De- and Re- Construction by Gary Meade

You may or may not be familiar with the buzz-word ‘deconstruction’, which refers in common parlance to a dismantling of one’s belief or worldview, typically prompted by a major life event or series of events. It’s a philosophical term, and I am probably not defining it strictly, but it does fit nicely with what most of us experience at some point of our lives.

For me, my moment of crisis came when the conception of God that I had held for most of my life came crashing down. I had envisaged God as a cosmic bully, a dictator who made most beings for the purpose of eternal conscious torment, which made me one of the lucky few who could enjoy eternal bliss. Even though I was lucky, I felt guilty much of the time as I could never feel good enough, ashamed of my ‘sinful nature’. In my quest to be more Christlike I came across teachers who provided a different perspective, a different picture of God, one who loved all equally and infinitely, who could never create a ceaseless torture chamber.

These ideas went past my inner resistance, landed in my heart, and utterly shook the foundations of my faith. Given that salvation for me was about getting a free ticket to heaven, I felt like an alien in church. I began to seek ways to process these new understandings which eventually led to leaving church altogether, exploring Buddhism and atheism, becoming one of the ‘nones’ aka spiritual but not religious. That was my modus operandi for many years.

In moments of angst and despair I began rekindling the Anglican faith that I was baptised into as an infant. Within the via media of Anglicanism I found a home for my doubts and confusion, and I found those who sought to live in the light of God’s love, rather than to being a slave to doctrine. I realised that I needed to deconstruct my previous idea of God, to become an atheist to this idea of God as an angry judge, and reconstruct to a conception of God like that of the father of the prodigal son. Like this son, I was lost, and actually needed to be lost to truly enjoy the loving embrace of my Father.

What have you deconstructed and reconstructed? Has your faith gone through significant shifts over time?

Warmest regards,
Gary Meade