Advice for Reconstruction

I'm often asked about how a person can move from a season of deconstruction regarding the faith--a season of doubt, questioning, and searching--into a season of reconstruction, a season of renewed conviction, faith, and spiritual vitality.

Yesterday I wrote about how the theologian Stanley Hauerwas helped me pull out of a season of deconstruction. I observed that Hauerwas is unapologetically and aggressively Christian. I found that confidence and combativeness helpful during my season of wavering and doubt.

To be clear, combativeness isn't a good in itself. There are lots of combative Christians in the culture wars who I strongly disagree with. You can be combative about the wrong things.

But Hauerwas is someone who I think is combative about the right things, and is confident that Jesus and the church are the salvation of the world.

Anyway, when people are going through a season of deconstruction they often drift toward Christian voices that help them doubt better. From personal experience, let me just say that's a bad idea. If all you ever read are voices saying "Keep doubting! Keep doubting!" well, guess what, you'll keep doubting. And eventually those doubts are going to drown you.

So my advice, if you're wanting to move out of a season of deconstruction, is to start reading confident and unapologetic Christian voices. Hauerwas is a good choice. I also read Bonhoeffer, Flannery O'Connor, Dorothy Day, William Stringfellow, Fleming Rutledge, Oscar Romero, Jean Vanier, Augustine, Eugene Peterson. The list goes on and on.

And perhaps best of all, read the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Spend some time with Jesus.

All that to say, stop reading authors who reinforce your doubts and read someone who puts some steel back in your spine.

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