The 5 Stages of Deconstruction

deconstruction, theology -

The 5 Stages of Deconstruction

the stages of deconstruction cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

THE STAGES OF DECONSTRUCTION 

Deconstruction is changing your beliefs. It can be traumatic. Like death. It may be accompanied by grief. 

I’ve adopted Kübler-Ross’s stages of grief and applied them to deconstruction:

  1. DENIAL: We can’t believe this is happening. We’ve been faithful believers and now it’s crumbling. Like cancer, we can’t believe it’s real. We may deny our beliefs are changing, but they are. 
  2. ANGER: We get angry with the church or with God for not helping us. Or with ourselves because we aren’t good believers anymore. We thought we were better than this. Backsliding wasn’t our plan. How could this happen?
  3. BARGAINING: We try to figure out another way to be a believer. We might promise God we’ll work harder at being a good Christian if God would just restore our faith. We look for alternatives. Liberal? Agnostic? New Age? We’ll figure out how to fix this!
  4. DEPRESSION: This is the saddest because we realize we can’t go back and we don’t want to go forward. We’re stuck in a desert of doubt and fear. We face the death of our beliefs and our spiritual life as we knew it. Everything we enjoyed is gone and we gaze into a dark future with no appealing options.
  5. ACCEPTANCE: We accept our beliefs have changed and our faith is dying or transforming. It’s not giving in to fate, but neither is it necessarily joyful. Just a serene acceptance of what is. This is a transition into a new way of being. Each moment is treasured. It’s a tranquil and wise phase. You face your future with dignity, poise, and a sense of fulness.

    Deconstruction is not bad. It’s growth into a deeper spirituality and a more beautiful way of living.

    It’s personal growth. 

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