Time for Reconstruction . . . Or Not

This is about my State of Faith project but not actually part of it—kind of a meta-post. I’m not entirely done with the deconstruction part, but I’ve documented the snot out of why I’m no longer even Evangelical adjacent and maybe not even Christian. I want to start writing about something positive—what I’m constructing now. I hesitate to call it reconstruction because I don’t want to simply replace one rickety system with another. I do want to talk about my evolving concepts of God and the transcendent, and the hope I’m finding there.

I don’t yet have a lot to write about, or I would have put it in the main blog feed, but I feel a need to be positive and hopeful. One reason I write is that it forces me to think clearly and helps me focus and process. I supposed that’s actually two or three reasons, but we’ll just call that a collective.

Some stuff I’ve been doing to help me process:

  • I’ve read some good books by Rachel Held Evans, and I’m working on some more. Damn, she left us too soon.
  • Learning about Process Theology, sometimes called ORT or Open and Relational Theology. In a related vein, I’ve done some reading on Philosophy of Religion.
  • Reading and listening to more Catholic and Jewish thought. Richard Rohr is the gateway drug for a lot of Evangelicals, and I’ve both read his books and am moving on to works on contemplative practice and writers like Thomas Merton.
  • Going to spiritual direction with a Roman Catholic sister. We’re both learning a lot about each other's respective worlds.

Longer term, I think ORT holds a lot of promise. I want to read God Can’t by Thomas Jay Ord, which is written as an introductory text. I’ve read and heard enough of his work to make me look forward to reading the book. God’s perfection and immutability are central to Reformed thought, and I’ve come to see their understanding of those as seriously flawed, because they lead to a god who cannot need or even respond in any way to humans, a god who cannot feel or share our pain. Calvinists have treated Jesus’ incarnation as fire insurance against divine wrath eternal conscious torment and lost reverence and thankfulness for God’s immanence and desire to be with us, and it becomes clear that Reformed notions of perfection and grace are at loggerheads and that their solution of holding those two in tension seems naive or even deliberately ignorant. Those concepts need to be redefined away from their Platonic origins to something that fits better with reality as we know it now. I don’t believe that’s cultural relativism—it’s intellectual honesty.

I’m slowly processing how this all works out in practice, but simply acknowledging that Calvinism’s Maximum Entity isn’t a God worthy of our worship is a huge first step in the right direction.

Ken Tryon @ArtGeek