“As I deconstruct, I rebuild.”
A simple post on Instagram that crossed my feed weeks ago, but it’s become my personal mantra during this past month. I have been happily deconstructing what I believe, but I haven’t been rebuilding anything.
The question that has been predominate in my mind for the past year is do I still want to be a Christian?
But how to define Christian?
Depending on who you ask among Christians, the answer will look completely different. Every denomination has it’s own opinion on what exemplifying Christ looks like; and a good many have that tied up in church attendance, small groups, and a schedule packed with good works and evangelism. This works-based lifestyle can lead to burn out, anxiety, and people falling away. Even further beyond denominational quibbles, the label has become tied up with Trumpism, Proud Boys, and the like and has little to nothing to do with a person exemplifying anything, much less Christ.
So is there a Christian path without the anxiety and guilt and radical hate? I want to believe there is, but I’m not sure such a path exists in practice. Inevitably, it seems that someone always wants to add to trusting in Christ. There is always just one more thing that you should be doing to really be living the Christian life. I realized I can’t live a life of constant guilt dressed up as repentance. I want to believe in a God who forgives sins, but the impression I get on Sunday mornings is a God who needs to constantly be appeased.
So I want to strip away the impression of a sinner in the hands of an angry god, and re-discover faith in a much simpler form. A faith not engaging in endless culture wars against people I actually agree with. A faith that brings peace rather than anxiety. But I’m not sure that faith can be found within the four walls of church.