INTRODUCTION TO RECONSTRUCT

     Reconstruct is a resource devoted to helping deconstructing Christians begin reconstructing their faith. This is because while more Christians than ever are deeply questioning everything they once held as true, few have the time or ability to sort through all the confusion and complexity. Even worse, some remain in a constant state of deconstruction, submerged in doubt and skepticism to the point that they find it difficult to reconstruct their faith at all.

     That’s where we want to help. We’ve undergone deconstruction and actually still are deconstructing, but we’ve also reconstructed our faiths in many ways. So at Reconstruct, we explore theological and philosophical topics with an aim to positively building an understanding of Christian thought and life. And whether we do this by interviewing a scholar, sharing someone’s story, or writing a blog post, we always keep our three guiding values in mind. These are meaningful unity, which means embracing the whole family of God, critical charity, which means being both open and discerning about new ideas, and serious theology, which means diving into thoughtful intellectual engagement.

MEANINGFUL UNITY

     Part of reconstructing our faith is rediscovering the unity that is inseparable from Christianity, for it isn’t ultimately a philosophy, ideology, or way of life, but a family; and one through which our relationships with one another are founded. So part of reconstructing our faith means doing it in community as part of a community, and holding onto the value of loving others even when you disagree with them, of growing closer to others rather than further apart.

CRITICAL CHARITY

     While reconstructing our faith, we’ll necessarily explore new ideas and perspectives, and we need to approach these in a charitable manner. We need to sincerely seek to understand a foreign outlook on its own terms—to comprehend someone else’s views before we judge them. But we must be at the same time both critical and charitable, both clear in our intellectual evaluation and open in our attitude to new ideas. On our path to reconstruction we should welcome dialogue and discourse, knowing that since all our beliefs have grown into the place at which they presently dwell, we should look forward to their future refinement. It should come as no surprise, then, that someone reconstructing to Calvinism could be encouraged by a progressivist’s perspective, or that someone reconstructing to Catholicism could be encouraged by a Baptist’s perspective. Anyone going through deconstruction and reconstruction realizes their particular faith tradition doesn’t have an exclusive claim to the truth, so there’s always something to learn from other members of the family. And yet we also want this to be a place where responsible convictions are carefully defended and lovingly heard, where perceived falsity is bravely challenged out of a sincere concern.

SERIOUS THEOLOGY

     We take our discussions seriously, we want to give issues the treatment they deserve, and we want to provide well-researched, well-prepared explorations of our topics. God knows we don’t need anymore pat answers, anymore unconvincing responses that ignore the complexities of our issues and refrain from serious intellectual engagement. Reconstruction should be marked by thorough theological and philosophical reflections, by investigations that seek to gain and impart a comprehensive, detailed knowledge of issues, topics, problems, and realms. We should take joy in researching, discussing, and ruminating upon where we’ve been and where we’re going. Essentially, serious theology is about loving God with all our mind.

     Of course, the goal of these guiding values, and of reconstruction as a whole, is that one might learn to love God and others with a greater capacity and to a greater extent. Therefore, if one’s reconstruction includes separating from others, it’s not going to work, if it includes dismissing others out of hand and just working towards a confirmation bias, it’s not going to work, if it trades responsible thinking for sloppy theology, it’s not going to work. 

     Our hope is that with these values in mind, we’ll be able to produce content that will make meaningful contributions to your faith. So whether you’re deconstructing, reconstructing, or somewhere in-between, welcome to Reconstruct: the collective exploration of our faith.


     John Raines is a Master of Arts in Theology student at Fuller Theological Seminary, co-host of the podcast Reconstruct, and blogs at Profitable Discourse. He lives with his wife in Seattle, Washington.

     © John Raines, Dan Koch, and Reconstruct, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to John Raines, Dan Koch, and Reconstruct with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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