God Gives Us Strength for the Climb

Moments of deconstruction can feel like staring up a 3,000 foot wall, but David Goodman reminds us that no one is called to climb alone or without a rope.

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It’s ironic that an analogy I heard recently to this, is that Jesus provides a door at the bottom… we’re just too proud and prefer to do it on our own.

Nothing against the author of the article, as he appears to be a genuinely awesome individual, but there is a door at the bottom. And pretending it’s not there doesn’t do anyone a service. There is a door.

Nice to hear more Christians aiming higher though they are almost drowned out at times by those insisting everything needed is right there on the ground floor.

Stage 5 involves a sense of wholeness which eludes many of us in the contemporary West. We are capable of living with the mystery of God and loving those around us from a full heart.

On the other side of blind obedience and ego some find it possible to love what God loves as God does.

The song rings true to my heart, as God is way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in a darkness.

He has provided a door to take us to fantastic heights to worship him in spirit and truth.

Knowing Jesus to be the door doesn’t take a lifetime of reading.

According to Peter and possibly John, it is based on the testimony of Scripture, eyewitness testimony (some basic historical apologetics), and a self-evident work of the Spirit. “Therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ.”

For me it was the conviction of sin. For Peter’s audience it was the miracle of Pentecost. God can do it in so many diverse ways, but he does do it. This was his promise. The blessing for those who would believe and not see.

If someone thinks God is helping them (ie inflitrating their free will or mind )as to better understand that something that didn’t happen is NOT literal then I would be deeply disappointed with God to not use the same tactic to change people’s minds all together. But that’s just me

…our culture transfixed on self-actualization.

That pretty well nails it.

Even then, I’m curious at why the author says “we live in the mystery of God and love other people.” It’s a theme I am beginning to see in the forum. And I’m pretty sure it’s my eyes adjusting to the environment.

God is a mystery, but he is also lovely and worthy of our highest praise. If the love of people is more compelling theologically than the love of God, then there is a gigantic need to have your heart checked.

It’s a tricky one. I’d say some folks in our circles say they delight in God but that isn’t seen in how they treat people (ie. ungracious, slow to own their mistakes, unwilling to apologise, lacking in gentleness and patience, etc.). Granted those are vices that are not unique to Reformed and Conservative Evangelical groups but they are more common among us than they ought to be. Especially, if one holds to a traditional doctrine of Election.

Personally, I’d suggest that love for God and people ought to exist as a feedback loop regardless of where one begins. Deepening our love for God ought to make us more like him, leading to a greater outpouring of love and compassion for the people who bear his image. Conversely, love for people ought to lead us into a deeper love for the God whose image we see in others.

So, in my humble opinion, the answer to the question “should we start by deepening our love for God or our love for people?” is “yes”.

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In current circles, it seems the other way around, where if you say you are about loving other people, then anything goes with what you say about God. I can think of only one or two specific examples here, of which I see no need to name, but it does feel like there is a strong underlying assumption that if we love people we have fulfilled the entire law.

Love God and love people. Piper handled this well in Desiring God. I would even go so far to say, that it is impossible to know other people without knowing God. So that deconstructing God without ever daring for a millisecond to deconstruct people… how long do you suppose God will put up with that nonsense :roll_eyes:

I appreciate the discussion of Stages 4 and 5.

Stage 4 involves a journey inward. This stage may come as an abrupt change marked by questioning, exploring, or doubt. Rather than calling this stage our deconstruction and running away, this is particularly the stage in which we must ‘honnold’ the best we can. It is in this stage that we must ask the deeper questions about who we are and who God has truly revealed himself to be.

Many of the questions … can’t be addressed with typical Christian tasks we can perform such as prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance.

It precedes emergence into Stage 5 when we are able to once again turn our gaze outward, but now from a surrendered stance with a wiser approach and the capacity to be motivated by genuine love. Stage 5 involves a sense of wholeness which eludes many of us in the contemporary West. We are capable of living with the mystery of God and loving those around us from a full heart.

Stage 4 is generally not welcomed by anyone in Christianity in the U.S. So, when people endure their lowest, hardest, most stripped back spiritual experience, they are not prepared for it, and (nearly) no one around them who could help carry the burden, is prepared to or willing to walk with them and listen.
The point in about typical Christian tasks being inadequate is important. There’s not a formula or prescription that can be used to cure stage 4. My frustration with a person, because what worked for me didn’t work for them, is absurd.

I would think as well, that some people are more naturally inclined to go through something like Stage 4 more than once, or remain there a long time. While we might not have answers to their questions, I think we can still offer support and be patient with them, as they are working through something we really don’t understand.

Not everyone will come out of the process as described in the article. Or with faith intact. I don’t know that we have many great models for relationships with them. We do have good principles and at least one good example. Jesus was patient with people and aided them in their unbelief. We can have faith that he will do that for others as well. Even if we don’t see it happen.

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That’s empty conjecture. Some of us have been through it. Some people are able to hear and others won’t. Ultimately only God can decide. And he is the rewarder of those who seek him. As difficult as some stories of apostasy are, the one thing I never understood was how someone picks up another cause or goes on a vacation after losing Jesus.

No. Maybe a broad generalization, but not empty conjecture.

I’ve been confronted by people’s experiences I don’t understand–why something gets to them and won’t let them go, that never got to me at all. Things that unravel someone else’s faith that I’ve never even thought about.

Yep. Ultimately only God can. I sure can’t. In the meantime, I have to trust God to work in ways I don’t see or understand.

  1. The process probably wasn’t something that happened over a weekend. A lot of people, as I understand, who go through deconstruction have been enduring it for a long time, and many of them have gone to enormous lengths to investigate the answers to their questions far more thoroughly than I have ever done anything. They didn’t handle it lightly, and when they reached their conclusions, they believed they had sound reasons.

  2. Humans don’t endure constant crisis well for long. And some people have been in crisis for years. They are trying to survive.

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While our paths are never exactly the same, some of them do correspond in such a way that we can be a blessing to others.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

Me too. But I wouldn’t turn it into a we.

Sure, “climb this mountain,” someone says, because they are unaware of this door someone else was comforted with.

Yeah. Sorry. I forget you are offended by the use of “we”. Since it’s a common construction, I’ll probably forget regularly to temper my use of it. I beg your indulgence in advance.

As you mentioned further up:

In my hardest trial, which wasn’t of an existential type, I was schlepped through by the strong arms of people I’d never met before. My metaphor wasn’t a mountain or a door. And I remember the day, when I realized the boulder that had been on my back had been missing for almost a week.

If you don’t like the mountain metaphor, I think you might need to address the author of the article, rather than me.

I posted what I found valuable in the article. I think my work is done in this thread, unless there is more discussion focused on the article itself and the specific issues it brought up.

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Deconstruction is immensely personal and so when people try to express what it was like for them they’re going to use personal reference points.

For me, deconstructing my YEC views was like pulling the loose threads of a woollen jumper. Wondering whether it was a good idea, regretting the damage I was doing to it, and wondering if they’d be anything (of my faith) left by the time I was finished. Fortunately, BioLogos helped me see that there were more jumpers in the cupboard than I first thought. And for that I’m grateful.

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This feels as if I am being mocked for noticing, even having a sensitivity for how people regularly misuse the plural pronoun.

Sometimes we do it casually to fault others rather than to make a direct accusation, and other times we use it to mask what is for us a personal issue.