I normally take the time up front to introduce a topic I likely haven’t addressed before, addled with stage setting and nuance, but I’d like to double down on concepts I got into on the last Westminster Effects Doxology Podcast, which you can listen to here.
That episode discussed the fact that Skillet frontman John Cooper has been taking time during the band’s tour to declare war on the deconstruction movement, which has ruffled some feathers, as did the meme I shared to get attention for my podcast episode. Again, click here to listen.
The TL;DR is that, yes, deconstruction needs to be eliminated, particularly in how the term is nearly always used in the common vernacular, which is leaving the faith. That’s how Joshua Harris used it, and that’s ultimately what postmodern patriarch Jacques Derrida meant. In this war on a movement, there are of course different tactics. Not everything is a full blown assault or nuclear exchange. It includes special forces, stealth missions, propaganda, reconnaissance, sanctions, and various and sundry other methods of achieving the end goal of defeating the enemy. Once more in bold, the enemy is the idea of tearing down the house of Christianity, not the people who have doubts about their faith.
And finally, my proposal in said podcast was to use the term “renovation” for when someone reexamines secondary aspects of the faith, such as soteriology or eschatology, but remains legitimately, historically Christian. They’re not tearing down the house; they’re putting in new floors and painting the guest room, but this sounds too much like my honey-do list, and these paragraphs sound like a regular introduction after all.
Like Kermit the Frog before the Muppet Show
The reaction was exactly as expected, especially the resounding butthurt around my “mean spirited” meme, which, once more, you can see when you listen to the podcast here. I was accused of not knowing what deconstruction is, told that deconstruction had benefited many, and labeled “hateful.”
Meanwhile, the aptly named Bad Christian podcast shared a post calling Cooper’s statements “evil” and later posted an incredibly enlightening, overwhelmingly convincing post about what the Bible calls evil, finishing with Deut. 23:1.
“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.”Deut. 23:1
The whole lot of ‘em
But it doesn’t stop with the Bad Christian/Emery guys neither knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God, nor does the buck stop with Joshua Harris, and that pun was intentional because both BC and Harris are making or have attempted to make money off their apostasy.
In fact, a pattern quickly arises when examining the best known decons. Marty Sampson, Michael Gungor, Derek Webb, that one guy from Hawk Nelson who came out after his band stopped being relevant and had nothing to lose, Underoath, Rhett and Link…
Wait a second. Why is this list only cishetero white men? Why aren’t they more inclusive? More importantly, how did we even get to the point where spellcheck actually recognized “cishetereo” as a legitimate word?
So what’s the point?
My point is this. This crap isn’t serious. The arguments are trash. And if we’re to know them by their fruit, then the self-diagnosed mental illness, bad TikTok videos, and umbilical contemplation should speak volumes.
This is not, to keep with the previous theme, robust enough to fight a war, whether ideological or the kind involving bullets and bombs. This is a shanty town of ideas that doesn’t even need a Scud to topple it. Just a stiff breeze and a little rain will do, and the leaders aren’t saying they need ammo; they’re getting a ride out of Dodge via a third party.
But we also have to look at what most of these guys have deconstructed from, and we will find an American church culture that has, in large part, failed so badly that if it were in school during Bush’s No Child Left Behind years, it would have flunked out of middle school. The Evangelical Industrial Complex, replete with easy believism, church services with three poorly covered Coldplay songs and a Ted Talk, and mass emasculation thanks to the constant refrain of, “It’s not a religion; it’s a relationship,” bears much of the blame.
Honestly, I don’t hold their rejection of that against them, mainly because there’s so little to reject. They’ve rejected a Dr. Seuss book’s worth of material instead of the canon of Scripture, and they were told all along that Jesus loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives, if only they’d stop breaking his heart like in that Hallmark movie the pastor exegeted to perfection.
And we wonder why their hearts are three sizes too small.