My dear friend, Peter Walker, posted a poem entitled, 'A Prayer Of Anger', by John Shea that i found to be totally raw, honest and scathing. i resonated with it because of my own struggles with my Lyme Disease and wrestling with all my existential angst as to the seemingly random things that happen in life and wondering where G-D is at in all of this. Is G-D present and involved? Does G-D exist in the midst of all this chaos of life? If so, why do bad things happen? Theodicy, which is the vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence of evil, and it's attempt to answer the problem of evil in the world are topics that have long been discussed and we never seem to get to the bottom of anything. Answers become dogmatic, circular, black and white, inconclusive, boring, old, worn out, shitty, et al. At times i am ok with not having everything neatly tied up and every question answered. Mystery makes for an interesting life. YET, if i am honest with myself, i do want some fucking answers and not having the answers frustrates the snot out of me! i get pissed off, frustrated, enraged, confused, indignant, snappy, defensive, and feeling totally out of control.
Sometimes i just hate life - how i react to people, how other people treat one another with contempt or in inhumane ways, the burdens of the world with all the poor, the human trafficking, corruption, wars, famines, global warming - HELL - FUCKING HUMANITY just plain grates on my nerves!!i grate on my own nerves!!G-D, if G-D does indeed exist, GRATES ON MY NERVES AS WELL! i recognize that i am human, i am depraved, i am failing, i am insecure, i am selfish, i am an asshole, i am deceived at times, i am often wrong, i am arrogant, i am bitchy, i am impatient, i am out of control, i am hateful in many ways, i am decidedly ungenerous to those who are unkind to me.
Is there really a G-D to extend grace and mercy to me or am i to simply rely on the kindness that humans can extol at times? G-D, oh G-D, IF YOU are real and exist in our lives, why do i often find myself having such a difficult time recognizing you? i have struggled with all these things the entirety of my nearly 22 year odyssey with you. i keep hanging on because something i cannot explain draws me, drives me, propels me. Some will say it's blindness and deception due to my being queer. Maybe that's true, but i don't believe so. i think it's a natural part of being human and honest.
That's the problem i see in many churches today and with some of those that i have been a part of in the past. People are so busy running around doing and not taking the time to examine their own lives. The busyness takes the place of honest reflection. Honest reflection and examination is where i believe true transformation takes place. It's important to serve others, but if we don't ever take time to get ourselves in order, then how can we truly be effective in helping others and treating others with the love and kindness that G-D commands of us rather than with contempt or an agenda. Sometimes i just feel stuck and become overwhelmed and paralyzed. Then i end up not accomplishing anything. At times i know this is ok too. It's just the ebb and flow of life.
i feel like lately when i pray it's just gibberish i'm saying and not sure really how to pray when i feel like G-D is so random in how G-D chooses to allow or not allow things to happen. Why did G-D set us up to fail so G-D could so gallantly come to redeem us yet still allow all this fucking shit to happen. Life is hard and there is no magic solution but i desire to see more of G-D at work in our midst. i even wonder if i am a deist, where G-D just created us and then left us to figure everything out because i feel like i am reaching so often in the dark and not knowing what i am reaching for if that makes sense. i have come to the conclusion that at this point i am a Christian Agnostic because i simply cannot sign on the dotted line anymore at this point and ascribe to all the human created doctrines and long-held
man-made traditions of Christendom any longer.
i know that i am ranting here but this has been inside me for so long that i felt like a tick filled with blood ready to explode all over the place. i am just writing what is deep inside me. i don't claim to have any answers nor do i expect anyone else to either. There just may simply be no answers. i must come to a place of acceptance of that possible reality and i fight it because i hate and loathe it so much.
i have rambled A LOT and many of my thoughts may not make sense to you. That's ok because i often write for my own processing, but if something does resonate with you, the reader, then that is awesome. If it angers or worries some, i am sorry, but this is my space to be open and honest with what i am processing in my life. i just needed to vent as this has been a long-time coming and i'm sure more will come.
i so deeply resonated with Shea's poem. Thanks so much, Peter, for sharing this on your blog. Here's the raw and honest poem:
No hymn of praise today. No hand-clapping alleluia
For the All-Good God And his marvelous handiwork. Lord A child has been born bad. He gangles and twitches and shames The undiscovered galaxies of your creation. Why could not the hands that strung the stars Dip into that womb to bless and heal? Please no voice from Job's Whirlwind Saying how dare I. I dare! Yet I know no answer comes Save that tears dry up, skin knits, And humans love broken things. But to you who are always making pacts You have my word on this - On the final day of fire After You have stripped me (if there is breath left) I will subpoena You to the stand In the court of human pain.
So, what do you, the reader, think about all this? i don't look for preaching and answers, just honest conversation. Thanks to my readers for taking the time to read, process and journey with me on this odyssey of life. - Existential Punk
'...an approach (whether in philosophy, literary analysis, or in other
fields) which rigorously pursues the meaning of a text to the point of
undoing the oppositions on which it is apparently founded, and to the
point of showing that those foundations are irreducibly complex,
unstable or impossible.
Deconstruction generally operates by conducting close textual
readings with a view to demonstrating that the text is not a discrete
whole but that it instead contains several irreconcilable,
contradictory meanings. This process shows that any text has more than
one interpretation; that the text itself links these interpretations
inextricably; that the incompatibility of these interpretations is
irreducible; and thus that interpretative reading cannot go beyond a
Many Christians, in my opinion, even within emerging church circles, misunderstand what deconstructing our faith really entails. Often they say it is time to stop deconstructing and that it's time to move on to reconstruct and rebuild what has been deconstructed. Then there are those Christians who believe deconstructing and reconstructing becomes an exercise in relativism and creating the scriptures and G-D in our own image. i do not claim to fully understand deconstruction in the Deriddean philosophical vein, but Pete Rollins crystallizes deconstruction so clearly in the emerging church construct for me (HT: Jonathan Brink):
'A lot of people talk about deconstruction like this.They say, “Well
we’ve got to deconstruct and then once we’ve deconstructed, we can
And I want to stop at that point and say, “No. We never cease to
deconstruct. Deconstruction is not like knocking down a building so we
can clear a space to build something new. Deconstruction is like the
heat that keeps our ideas fluid and molten and moving and dynamic.” '
For me, deconstruction and re/construction are a simultaneous process that need each other. We must constantly question, rethink, seek, search, doubt, dig, knock, push, tear, rupture, deconstruct, reconstruct. We must also allow the Divine to invade, rupture, embrace, invade, transform, deconstruct, reconstruct us in ways we might expect but also in unexpected ways that are beyond our human imaginings. We are imperfect humans who can never claim to fully comprehend and understand the Divine. We, as people of faith, MUST and NEED to make room for the Divine to invade us without our preconceived notions. There can never be any human being who can claim absolute knowledge of everything about this life and the Divine. i don't care how knowledgeable, studied, gifted, et al any of us are, we are still fallible, imperfect humans who always screw up and get it wrong. No amount of knowledge, theology, Biblical literacy, intuition, etc. can outdo what G-D designs to accomplish. G-D is a relational Divinity that is not stagnant and stuck in a certain epoch.
i am mesmerized and humbled when Rollins boldly says that, 'I do not believe Christians are called to believe in the resurrection
of Christ. I believe we are called to be the resurrection of Christ.
To be the site where resurrection takes place.' That statement is amazing and has such deep implications for our faith. Take time to mull on those 33 words and allow them to really sink down into your being, your soul! This is deep stuff people.
We get so wrapped up in what we believe and don't believe so much that we are failing to really listen to the indwelling of the Divine and the radical transformation that the Divine desires to bring forth and rupture in our souls. We get in this us vs. them mentalities, argue over who has the right/correct beliefs, who is in and who is out. So often we are all so very ungenerous, whether conservative, liberal or in the middle. i know i am very guilty of this and for that i am truly sorry. My pride and hurt feelings get the best of me more often than not. i truly want to be a site where Christ's resurrection takes place. i am human and will fail often. At least i acknowledge my weaknesses and human frailties although it is very difficult and humbling. Sometimes i don't care that i fuck up and treat people ungenerously. That is one of the many dark parts of my soul where i need the Divine to rupture and transform me. Even in my unwillingness i need G-D to embrace me, transform me, deconstruct and reconstruct me.
These are merely my musings, thoughts, rants. Maybe i am wrong or just maybe i am on to something. Either way, i hope i challenge you, dear readers, to chew and ponder. i am not attempting to sway you to my way of thinking, lead you astray, or change your minds. This is simply my space to throw out what is ruminating in my soul and my being. i am just trying to make some sense of my feelings, thoughts and meanderings inside my little ol' mind! If you are here reading this and find yourself vehemently disagreeing with me, i am ok with that. Even if i am way off track, i trust the Divine G-D of the universe will gently nudge me back on track. That is how i have always lived and walked with G-D, and so far G-D has been the faithful one!
'Deconstruction: This represents psycho-spiritual transmutation;
reprogramming negative behaviour patterns through alchemical processes;
turning the black dross into pure gold.' Found this here and thought it apropos to my post.
i have been thinking about deconstruction and faith within the emerging church conversation the past month or so, ruminating, pondering, and attempting to form some cohesive thoughts. Today i came across a wonderfully thought-provoking post titled "Allowing Ourselves to be Deconstructed" by Blake Huggins. i see deconstruction as a form of transmutation which can be defined as,
'the act of changing or the state of being changed into another form.'
Deconstruction can be defined as,
'analyzing (a text or linguistic or a conceptual system) by deconstruction, typically in order to expose its hidden internal assumptions and contradictions and subvert its apparent significance or unity.'
Many in the emerging church conversation say things like, "Ok, we have deconstructed. Now it is time to move on and reconstruct, stop talking, and move on to praxis." i'd actually like to say i disagree with this premise because we are always in need of deconstructing. i see deconstruction/reconstruction as a continual and simultaneous
process that in order to be holistic must include decontructing
myself and my belief systems. We must read things we disagree with and allow it to read us, get under our skin, and challenge us and our assumptions. Also, deconstructing belief systems, whether long-held traditions or ourselves, while at the same time putting things into actual praxis is the simultanaity i am advocating for in our lives. Is it messy and scary? Of course! Yet, it is necessary. It goes along with Pete Rollins' idea of
furthering along my own conversion. Huggins talks about this deconstruction of our own beliefs so eloquently. He says two things that stuck out to me:
'I’m wondering if sometimes, in our efforts to deconstruct
“something else,” we miss the opportunity to let ourselves be
'That is not to say that I reject the deconstructing of historical figures or systems of thought. Not at all. I’m only suggesting that perhaps there is a tension between our deconstruction and our being deconstructed. The key is learning to live and embody that tension well.'
People must realize deconstruction is NOT a one time event to move on from but a continual, life-long process! What are your thoughts?
Shirley Hoogstra interviews Pete Rollins on an Inner Compass Episode at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Just scroll down to Episode #909 and enjoy the informative conversation. It's about 25 minutes in length.
Pete Rollins is returning to the USA for his upcoming tour entitled 'Lessons In Evandalism', which will include a visit to Richmond, VA the end of February. He describes the tour as:
The current religious landscape is cluttered with
various expressions of faith that claim to rethink Christianity at the
dawn of a new cultural epoch. However such groups often accomplish
little more than the repackaging and redistribution of faith as we
currently understand it. A repackaging that involves flashing lights,
video projectors and ‘culturally sensitive’ leaders who can talk about
the latest mediocre pop sensation.
Throughout his Spring 09 tour Peter will be arguing that, in the
midst of this arid landscape, there exist small but fertile sites of
resistance. Groups who offer a way of thinking that not only challenges
the way we express faith but fundamentally ruptures the way we
understand it. He will argue that these pockets of resistance represent
a growing, organic movement that are proclaiming the death of God,
church and religion as we know them in preparation for their
resurrection in a radically different form.
Through a mix of parables, philosophy and discussion Peter will be
exploring the theoretical kernel of this emerging movement and
addressing its dangerous, revolutionary and transformative potential.
Pete tells a parable about a small town of believers faced with a very difficult situation, one which would challenge their obedience to the voice of GOD over a rebel visitor. The situation eventually presents itself where GOD asks one of the men to defy GOD's word.
This is the man's response to GOD:
"The caretaker, a man of deep faith, looked up to heaven and replied, 'If you want me to remain faithful to you, my God, then I can do nothing but refuse your advice. For you have already demanded that I look after this man. You have written that I must protect him at all costs. Your words of love have been spelled out by the lines of this man's face, your text is found in the texture of his flesh. And so, my God, I defy you precisely so as to remain faithful to you.' "
"With this God smiled and quietly withdrew, confident that the matter had finally been settled." (p. 3)
This parable brings to my mind the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac. Why didn't Abraham question GOD about killing his own son and take a stand to question and defy GOD speaking double-talk?
Here Pete explains where his title was inspired: the "What Would Jesus Do" phenomenon that the abbreviated form, "WWJD" that was, "...etched onto countless bracelets as a way of reminding the bearer that they held Jesus as the ultimate authority in moral, political, and religious matters." (p. 5) I never got into this "CRAZE" of the CONSUMERISM OF CHRISTIANITY!!! Although, i have, in the long past, my own encounters with Christian Cosumerism. Ickkkkk!!!!
Then Pete came up with the question, "What Would JUDAS Do?" as a way of asking what would Jesus do if confronted with Christianity today. "Rather, by asking whether Jesus would betray Christianity as Judas betrayed Christ, I am asking if Jesus would plot the downfall of Christianity in every form that it takes. Or rather, to be more precise, I am asking whether Christianity, in its most sublime and revolutionary state, always demands an act of betrayal from the Faithful. In short, is Christianity, at its most radical, always marked by a kiss, forever forsaking itself, eternally at war with its own manifestation." (p.6)
The crux of the book is broken up into three parts:
Part 1 explores what we mean by the idea of the Word of God. Part 2 interrogates the Being of God. Part 3 introduces the reader to the centrality of the Event of God.
"As this structure is gradually revealed, I argue that the consequences are twofold: First, we are led to embrace the idea of Christianity as a religion without religion, that is, as a tradition that is always prepared to wrestle with itself, disagree with itself, and betray itself. Second, this requires a way of structuring religious collectives that operate at a deeper level than the mere affirmation of shared doctrines, creeds, and convictions. It involves the formation of dynamic, life-affirming collectives that operate, quite literally, beyond belief." (p. 7)
THANK YOU, Pete, for what looks like another incredible, insightful, soul-stirring, and challenging book. ALL THE BEST with its success!
In this work I make the claim that, in order to remain faithful to Christianity, we must be courageous enough to betray the bible (section 1), God (section 2) and the church (section 3). Why? Do I think that we must abandon them as redundant relics of a by-gone era? Do I think that they have served their purpose? Or do I feel that they prevent the world coming of age? By no means! Here I argue for a betrayal that remains faithful to these very words by helping us to re- discover the truly untamed, white-hot, life-transforming reality that they house.
This book was not easy to write and it will no doubt be difficult to read, but I hope that you find it to be a provocative and worthy dialogue partner as you continue to reflect upon what it means to follow Christ today.
"The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief
What if one of the core elements of a radical Christianity lay in a
demand that we betray it, while the ultimate act of affirming God
required the forsaking of God? And what if fidelity to the
Judeo-Christian scriptures demanded their renunciation?
In short, what if the only way of finding real faith involved betraying
that faith with a kiss, like Judas did to Christ? The author of last
year’s much-talked-about debut, How (Not) to Speak of God—is at it
Employing the insights of apophatic theology, Soren Kierkegaard, and
deconstructive theory, The Fidelity of Betrayal seeks to explore the
subversive and clandestine nature of a Christianity that dwells within
religious institutions while simultaneously undermining them."