In order to be reshaped in the image of others, first we need to allow for the possible removal of our existing points of security. This is indeed a risk because we must trust that God will meet us in the process. Lesslie Newbigin (4) talks of leaving the hill of the cross to journey towards the stranger. In doing so we risk that the 'other' may hold something of the truth and we must trust that the God of the universe will be with us both in the mission.
This seems entirely Christ-like; the second person of the Trinity didn’t consider the markers of his own identity more important than his willingness to change or become. The letter to the Philippians speaks of this kenosis, or emptying:
‘Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing’(5)
For us then, as followers of Christ, a key component of faith is not professing that our beliefs are right at all costs. In this context our expression of faith is bringing our lives into contact with others, trusting the Holy Spirit to hold our beliefs.
Deconstruction allows every generation to be involved in shaping the church and its mission. It often seems that the voices of the dead carry more weight than the words of the living. Witness the wholesale dismissal of Rob Bell (6) over his declaration that ‘Love Wins’ by some of the very people who feel comfortable quoting C.S. Lewis (7); someone who held equally controversial views.
I am not suggesting that our predecessors should be ignored, but that they should not be so revered that their views cannot be questioned.
For Beverley and I, our journey has brought us to embrace the twin motif of Rooted-Openness. We have spent time looking for that in which we can confidently put down roots. At the same time we have tried to build an environment of openness so that we might love, and learn from, those who see the world in a different way to us.
In this context, deconstruction always starts at a personal level before affecting a wider context.
Having said this I intend to add to this personal journey by looking at the following areas:
Our theology in terms of how evangelicals approach the Bible. In particular, I want to offer an honest assessment of my views on gender and sexuality.
Our ecclesiology and how we have a tendency to create self-fulfilling models of church that miss many of the marks of incarnation.
Our missiology in regard to how we see both the work of Christ and the message of the church.
It is time for incarnation. Let the deconstruction begin…….
Deconstruction is a holy process: sacred, because it mirrors the incarnation