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Deconstruction: Necessary and Painful

Deconstruction can be both necessary and profoundly painful.

An existential crisis which touches deep within the human soul and challenges notions of both identity and community.

Once, the simplicity and steadfastness of faith offered a comforting stability, akin to an anchor keeping one’s life in safe harbour despite tumultuous currents and ever-changing seasons.

Like well-placed mental furniture, dogmatic faith accommodated the demands of each passing day, providing sanctuary, security, and familiarity.

However, orientation transitions to disorientation.

Beliefs that once provided a security and sense of identity and purpose are now challenged and critiqued.

I used to believe and feel orientated with the theological belief that the vast majority of humanity, those who don't explicitly embrace Christ as their Lord and Saviour, face eternal conscious torment, but now this belief has been weighed in the scales and found wanting.

Formerly established doctrines- part of the conservative evangelical tradition that formed and shaped me, now reveal a toxicity that wounds—a form of theological abuse inhibiting spiritual intimacy.

Yet, departing from certainty and previous dogmatic roots requires the steering away from former companions, heroes and traditions. It's a painful letting go, necessitating unsettling grief and destabilizing mourning.

The simplicity and security of faith waver in the face of relentless questioning—queries rooted in rationality and complexities inherent in life's intricacies.

These questions surge like a unstoppable force, compelling a painful reassessment of the structures of belief and understanding that once shaped my worldview.

Amidst this upheaval, the essence of my soul has often felt adrift, lost in the vast expanse of uncertainty. In the midst of my own existential turbulence, I grapple with the weight of ambiguity, seeking new foundation, a safe harbour, upon which to rebuild and find sanctuary.

In this process of deconstruction, seeing Jesus can be challenging.

It’s dark, very dark.

In our existential grief we ask ‘Where have they laid him?'. He seems absent as we stand in the graveyard of once living dogma.

But then he speaks, and though I don't recognize him at first, he calls my name. I respond, 'Rabbi.'

Despite the pain, the darkness and the lifting of the the anchor, he, not my tradition, is my living rabbi, existential teacher and spiritual guide.


Not all the time,

I doubt.

The gift of faith is absent,

And for a moment, I feel alone.


Not all the time,

I doubt.

Overwhelmed by the suffering of the world,

Underwhelmed by tangible divinity.

The night is dark,

East of Eden,

‘Is anyone out there?’

The night is dark,

Homesick Exile,

‘Where have you gone?’


Not all the time,

I doubt.

And then,

In the tomb of doubt,

In the darkness,

I catch a glimpse of him who is the Light.

- Swales 2024


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