A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

Deconstructing Deconstruction

August 12, 2022 Randy Knie & Kyle Whitaker Season 3 Episode 2
Deconstructing Deconstruction
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
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A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
Deconstructing Deconstruction
Aug 12, 2022 Season 3 Episode 2
Randy Knie & Kyle Whitaker

Deconstruction. What is it, why are so many doing it, and why are so many others apparently so threatened by it? We've said a few times on the show that we don't want to be just another deconstruction podcast, but we've never quite fully explained what we mean. So we sat down to work through our own experiences with deconstruction and what we've heard from others, to try to put our finger on what it is about it that leaves us wanting more, and to think together about what might be a richer alternative. Along the way, we try to be as respectful as we can to those going through it--which includes all of us in one way or another--and we also describe the weaknesses of some prominent critiques of it that we've heard. We hope this conversation will be beneficial to you if, like us, you've had reason to question the faith that you were given.

The book Randy mentions in the conversation is Radical Amazement by Judy Cannato.

The beverage we taste in this episode is Elliot's Revenge from the always stellar Manic Meadery.

The beverage tasting is at 8:25. To skip to the main segment, go to 10:50.

You can find the transcript for this episode here.

Content note: this episode contains some mild profanity, mention of abuse, and some adult language.

=====

Want to support us?

The best way is to subscribe to our Patreon. Annual memberships are available for a 10% discount.

If you'd rather make a one-time donation, you can contribute through our PayPal.


Other important info:

  • Rate & review us on Apple & Spotify
  • Follow us on social media at @PPWBPodcast
  • Watch & comment on YouTube
  • Email us at pastorandphilosopher@gmail.com

Cheers!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Deconstruction. What is it, why are so many doing it, and why are so many others apparently so threatened by it? We've said a few times on the show that we don't want to be just another deconstruction podcast, but we've never quite fully explained what we mean. So we sat down to work through our own experiences with deconstruction and what we've heard from others, to try to put our finger on what it is about it that leaves us wanting more, and to think together about what might be a richer alternative. Along the way, we try to be as respectful as we can to those going through it--which includes all of us in one way or another--and we also describe the weaknesses of some prominent critiques of it that we've heard. We hope this conversation will be beneficial to you if, like us, you've had reason to question the faith that you were given.

The book Randy mentions in the conversation is Radical Amazement by Judy Cannato.

The beverage we taste in this episode is Elliot's Revenge from the always stellar Manic Meadery.

The beverage tasting is at 8:25. To skip to the main segment, go to 10:50.

You can find the transcript for this episode here.

Content note: this episode contains some mild profanity, mention of abuse, and some adult language.

=====

Want to support us?

The best way is to subscribe to our Patreon. Annual memberships are available for a 10% discount.

If you'd rather make a one-time donation, you can contribute through our PayPal.


Other important info:

  • Rate & review us on Apple & Spotify
  • Follow us on social media at @PPWBPodcast
  • Watch & comment on YouTube
  • Email us at pastorandphilosopher@gmail.com

Cheers!

Randy:

I'm Randy, the pastor half of the podcast, and my friend Kyle is a philosopher. This podcast hosts conversations at the intersection of philosophy, theology, and spirituality.

Kyle:

We also invite experts to join us, making public space that we've often enjoyed off-air around the proverbial table with a good drink in the back corner of a dark pub.

Randy:

Thanks for joining us, and welcome to A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar. Is it just me or does everybody these days seem to be deconstructing? Right? I mean, it's something that so many people who are in their 20s, 30s, I'm in my 40s, so I'll just say that. All ages, I don't think it's an age thing. I think many, many people who grew up in the evangelical church or spent a significant amount of time in the evangelical church, it's probably not even particular to the evangelical movement, I'm sure there's Catholics who are deconstructing, and deconstruction is a thing. And it's all over social media. It's all over progressive Twitter. There was a backlash against it and how unhealthy it is, and the gatekeepers freaking out and all that business, and we get associated with deconstruction a lot, do we not?

Kyle:

I think it's the first thing we ever said on the podcast is, look, this is probably how this is gonna go, but we're not trying to make a deconstruction podcast, we want to be something a little bit different than that, because there's a lot of those out there. Some of them are really good, and we don't want to necessarily compete with them. Others ... I'll just leave it at that. But like, I think everyone that I know that's still religious would fall into one of two categories, either they're deconstructing to some degree, whether they'd use that word or not. Or they've kind of doubled down and they've become very difficult to talk to, I have a few friends like that.

Randy:

Sure. Interesting.

Kyle:

But there's really nobody in the middle that I can think of that's, like, just kind of untouched by whatever's happening.

Randy:

Oh I know plenty people like that, but that's probably because I'm a pastor.

Kyle:

Oh, yeah, yeah.

Randy:

But I know, I know, people, who listen to this podcast even, who are very tired of the idea of deconstruction, and just want to talk about something different. But I think the reality is, we get lumped into the deconstruction podcasts, because we talk about some needed changes and reforms in the church, we talk about what might be wrong with the church, because I'm a full believer that you can't have something that's beautiful and holistic and life giving without looking at what's wrong with it.

Kyle:

Yeah.

Randy:

Right? Like, I can't be a whole healthy person and have a liver that's crapping out on me and ignore it. It's just not a good way to live.

Kyle:

Not for long anyway.

Randy:

Not for long anyways. So I think just the best way to live as part of the church, and this is coming from me who is a church leader, is being honest about things. So I think honesty and deconstruction kind of got lumped together, being honest about our past, about our history, becomes deconstruction. And I don't know if that's appropriate. Because I want to, I want to be able to be honest about what our tradition has been, who we've become, without saying everyone's deconstructing who's doing that. Is that fair?

Kyle:

Yeah, I think that's good. And I'm sure we'll get into this as the conversation goes on. But like, I don't know anybody who just decided, you know what, I think I'm gonna question everything that my religious upbringing taught me, all of my religious authorities were probably wrong, and so I'm just gonna chuck all that and see, you know, start over, or something. Nobody just decides that, there has to be something to trigger it. And usually what triggers it is some kind of traumatic experience in the church or you read a book and you learned a thing that somebody, you know, that was supposed to have some responsibility for you had covered up or hadn't told you or hadn't been honest with you, or whatever. There's always something that has gone wrong to trigger this process. It's not just, like, a bunch of millennials sitting around wondering how iconoclastic we

Randy:

Uh, I'll push back again on that, like, "always." I do can be. think that deconstruction has gotten trendy. I think it's, in some ways, become a fad, like Blue Like Jazz, and, you know, like, other things were back in the day that I resisted. I think, I think it is the cool thing to do, is to say I'm deconstructing. And I don't know if, I don't want to judge anyone's motives, but it just feels trendy. And I think that's why I want to talk about it is because I'm a little bit skeptical of just accepting it part and parcel with this is what it means to have a mature faith is you got to deconstruct. I want to push back on that a little bit. And I want to reframe, if possible, what it might look like to question things and to be a lifelong learner, rather than have a moment, a season of deconstruction. Does that make sense?

Kyle:

Yeah. I do think there are definitely people who... I don't think deconstruction is a necessary step in anybody's faith maturation, I'll say that. Like, I can imagine if my own church trajectory had gone differently, maybe if I had just stayed in the one that I was kind of born into, I might never have needed to deconstruct. I think that's very possible, and I'm sure there's lots of people out there like that. I just don't know any of them because I was a fundamentalist evangelical for a long time. And so all the people I know that go into deconstruction do so because they have to. And many times they're, they're like, deeply grieved by it.

Randy:

Yeah. I, my experience when people talk about deconstruction, I don't think I've had a phase of deconstruction, but I would say my faith is much, much different than it was 5, 10, 15 years ago. That's unquestioned.

Kyle:

Yeah.

Randy:

But I don't think it's because of a phase of deconstruction. I think it's because, it's because I want to be a learner, I want to understand, the more we understand about science, I feel the more I understand, can understand about who God is, and what God's like. New understandings of reality, whether it be philosophically, scientifically, psychologically, all of the things--I think, I want to have a faith journey that can adapt to those new discoveries and new realities that we live in, and hold it up to light. And so I expect myself to be on a lifelong journey of learning and of faith evolution for the rest of my life. And I think that's what I want to talk about in this episode, is I want to talk about trading the idea of deconstruction, perhaps for some of us, for, for a new reality where we just expect to change in our faith journey, we expect our spirituality to evolve and to grow. We expect to believe different things along the way, and not, we're not surprised by it, it's not like we're totally throwing everything away. But having an expectation of growth just makes sense when we're talking about the possibility of the God of all creation, of the ground of all being, that sounds very unknowable to me. And I think growing in that idea, and being flexible, being humble, being learners, is only just going to benefit us, rather than seeing it as this one little season that we take things apart, we question everything, and then we put it back together, and we're all good to go for the rest of our lives.

Kyle:

Or, you know, we deconstruct to nothing, and that's that.

Randy:

And we're done.

Elliot:

That's, I resonate with both ideas, that of lifelong learning, but also of deconstruction, just because that experience still feels so vivid, like it's, because there were such large and rigid structures that were there before, it's like demolishing an old building in front of having to build a new one. Like, there's some required demolition. And some of that has even happened in the absence of having anything new to put there yet. Like, in areas of like, how I'm going to think about people with sexuality different than me, or how I'm going to look at the age of the earth and with creation, how do I look at God as creator? Like, there's some things where it's like, okay, I realize actually, what was there can't be right or isn't going to be helpful to me anymore, so I'm going to do away with it. But there's, there's still kind of a vacuum in some areas. And that's where I want to take the posture of lifelong learning. But it does feel like, like demolition has taken place that now we're kind of down to the, like, to the open field in some cases. So I do resonate with the idea of deconstruction, but I'm curious to hear how, I know that's been a destructive thing. And I'm curious to hear how you think differently about that.

Randy:

Yep. No, that's good. I mean, I think for some people, demolition needs to happen. Right? And deconstruction is a good analogy for that, or good metaphor, but I don't think that's universal. But it's interesting, Elliot, that you, would you say you've found yourself in the last couple of years in a season of deconstruction?

Elliot:

Yeah. And it's interesting to hear, like, one of the primary voices in that deconstruction telling me that, like, deconstruction isn't something I'm supposed to be doing. So now I'm all confused.

Randy:

I'm not saying it's not something you should do. I'm just saying we maybe, we can see it differently. That's what I'm trying to, to hold.

Kyle:

All right. We'll come back to that for sure. But we got a drink in front of us here that I want to share with you guys before we get any further.

Randy:

Let's go.

Kyle:

So you remember the first mead we had, right? It was a blueberry mead from a place called Manic...

Randy:

How could I forget?

Kyle:

...called Elliot.

Randy:

Lost my friggin mind.

Kyle:

Well, this is that, but with chipotle peppers.

Randy:

I'm a little nervous.

Kyle:

Yeah.

Randy:

Messin with a good perfect thing.

Kyle:

I know. I know.

Randy:

It's like adding to scripture here.

Elliot:

So it's still blueberry, plus chipotle.

Kyle:

Yep. So this is called a capsumel, which is just you know, a mead with some hot pepper in it.

Randy:

It looks like communion wine.

Kyle:

We can make it that if you want. So I've had maybe, I don't know, three or four capsumels, and this is easily my favorite so far. I think it...

Randy:

The nose is incredible.

Kyle:

...it hits the balance of spice to sweetness pretty much on the nose.

Randy:

The nose is like a mead's version of umami. It's like this combination of sweetness, ripe fruit, little spice that's kind of brought together in this perfect mixture. Oh, just, I could just smell this all day long.

Kyle:

So I'm a lover of hot pepper. And it's really easy to overboard this and just destroy all the other flavor with the pepper, but they did not. They reigned it in, and it hits you right in the right place.

Randy:

It's more smoky than spicy.

Kyle:

Yep. I think it's because they chose the chipotle, which I think was a good choice.

Randy:

Oh yea, the smoked jalapeno, yeah. That's delicious.

Elliot:

The amount of savory that the pepper adds, I love this just as much as the original. I can't say more, but it's great.

Kyle:

Yeah.

Randy:

I mean, there's nothing like the first time, so I'm, I was a mead virgin, and that was it for me, that's the grand poobah, but this is outstanding. I mean, it's, it's a marriage that needed to happen.

Kyle:

Right? And you would never have thought I would never have thought to put, you know, spicy peppers in a blueberry mead.

Randy:

I mean, most chefs would probably say that's a, that's a natural pairing, this, that's what I love about the mead, and it's got a little back of the throat heat, just a little bit. But it's...

Kyle:

But not as much as like, if this was habanero or something, it would be probably unpleasant in the throat. I think they chose wisely.

Randy:

I like, I love cooking and pairing things, and this is like, this is like a chef made this, I feel like. You know what I mean? Like, to have that idea of what's going to work together with that overwhelmingly sweet blueberry and coming in with that spicy, smoky business. Brilliant.

Kyle:

Well, I'm sure the guys at Manic will be happy to hear that. So this is Elliott's Revenge from Manic Meadery. Cheers.

Randy:

Cheers. So if you're a old listener, you'd know that we, every once in a while, read out loud reviews that we get, primarily on Apple Podcasts, on that platform, because they're such a big deal for us. They tell people, you need to listen to these guys, and we are so grateful for every review we've gotten. And so just wanted to feature this review from"Michele McGo." Michele McGo has titled this "the podcast we all need to hear." "I stumbled onto this podcast a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn't be more thankful. Full of stellar content, the choice of guests and topics are so relevant to today, particularly for those feeling a bit lonely in the Christian realm. It's just solid and honest and transparent, and I so appreciate that. I take the pastor and the philosopher with me on my walks down country paths in Michigan and come back home a little bit better than I left. Always a good thing."

Kyle:

Aw.

Randy:

How about that?

Kyle:

That's awesome.

Randy:

Well, if you're on a country walk in Michigan, Michele, just know we're grateful for you and your review. Please pause right now and go review us on Apple Podcasts, we'll love you forever.

Kyle:

And we might read it.

Randy:

Yep. Also something that we're grateful for is Patreon supporters.

Kyle:

Heck yeah.

Randy:

Particularly, we love all our Patreon supporters, but our Top Shelf supporters, you guys make this thing go. So who are we shouting out tonight?

Kyle:

Well, one of the perks you get as a Top Shelf supporter is a mention on the podcast. So Nick and Emily Matthews, thanks so much for being Top Shelf supporters.

Randy:

We love you Nick and Emily. So Kyle, can you define what your idea of deconstruction is for us?

Kyle:

Sure, off the top of my head, just based on people that I know who have tried to describe it, and my own experience, it is you have, you start with a structure that you've been given, right? For most of us in this space, it's been some kind of evangelical structure. If you want to know more about that, go listen to our episode on evangelicalism. And then something happens in your life, maybe you went to college, and you took a class that made you question what you'd always assumed about the creation narrative that you were told. Maybe you had a traumatic experience in your life, maybe you suffered some kind of abuse. I know that's really common for a lot of the people that I know that are deconstructing. Maybe you just, I don't know, kind of got out into the world and got a job and got to know people who weren't in that, and it starts to feel a little cultic to you, maybe, some of the stuff that you had gotten used to and never really questioned and then you meet other people and tell them about your upbringing, and they say, oh, were you in a cult? And then, you know, the card gets pulled out a little bit or the Jenga block gets pulled out a little bit, and suddenly the structure that you were given seems suspect all the way down. And once you start to examine it, it's difficult in some cases to find the bottom. How far back do I need to go to find the foundation? Is any of this trustworthy? And if so, how do I know which parts?

Randy:

Yeah.

Kyle:

If you find yourself in the throes of something like that, that's often what people describe as deconstruction. It's like we had a building, to use Eliot's metaphor, right, and then some part of it was faulty, and we went in to replace it and found out there was mold or something, and now we're not sure how far it goes.

Randy:

Yeah. And just to name certain things. I mean, I think some of us are realizing that our beliefs and faith that we've been given to us has turned into, it actually wasn't beliefs and faith in the first place. It was certainty. And so we, we built that Jenga tower on the idea of this is all fact, these are, these are, this is certain. And we quickly discovered is not. And we've discovered that some of our tradition is anti-science, discovered that some of our tradition is misogynistic, racist, homophobic, judgmental. Some of it, even our own scriptures, paint God to be a monster. And it's really, really hard to reconcile that. And some of us met that right atheist that completely eviscerated our idea of the Bible as being this pure, authoritative, infallible, inerrant even perhaps, Word of God, and we don't know how to put the pieces back together because we've been given this really fragile version of Christianity. It's, it comes across, when we're given that version of Christianity, in our youth and as we're growing up, it comes across as very cut and dry, very black and white, very hard shell, this is airtight, right? And then all of a sudden, we find out that this is so fragile. It's like this little tiny thing that if I open my my fingers at all, if anything slips through the cracks, it's all gone. And that, that is the product of the faith tradition we grew up in. And I do want to be a little bit generous to our parents and generations before us and to our tradition. This is not unique to Christianity, I don't think, right?

Kyle:

No.

Randy:

I think this is, this is something that any faith tradition, people are reckoning with and going through. I mean, I know Muslims who have deconstructed the toxic parts that they've been given about their faith. And I've known Jewish people who identify now culturally Jewish, but don't believe in God anymore, you know, and, because they've deconstructed that stuff. So I don't think this is unique to Christianity. I think this is just something that's, there's this wave happening right now, within evangelicalism.

Kyle:

Yeah, I don't even think it's unique to religion. I mean, if you remember back to the interview we had with Jenny Heckman, who is a therapist, right, and we talked with her a little bit about, like, rigid belief structures. And it's not so much the content of the belief structure that matters, it's the rigidity with which it's held, or as you said, the certainty, right, it's how flexible is it to, like, pivot with the stuff that happens in life. You can be an atheist and have a rigid, I know some of them, right, there, there are fundamentalist atheists, for sure. Some of them are quite famous. And I bet they have some psychological issues that are pretty similar to some of the ones that some of the fundamentalist religious people I know have. So you can deconstruct from pretty much any standpoint, but we can't deny that it's been very common for some very obvious reasons within evangelical Christianity in the last decade.

Randy:

Yep. And I mean, my wife and I would say, we're parenting, we're trying to parent our kids in a way that they don't have to deconstruct their faith. And that means taking a good hard look at our own faith, of what's real, what's belief, what's bias, what's there in order to give our kids something that they can actually hold with authenticity and integrity, and not feel like this is on shaky ground the whole time. So if this is nothing else, we can see this conversation as an opportunity of how to inform how we raise our kids in the church, how do we raise our kids and give our kids any form of spirituality whatsoever, right? And in doing so, I'm going to be learning about myself the whole time. So for the last year or so there's been some backlash. deconstruction has been a thing there's, you know, friends of the podcast, The Deconstructionists has been a thing for several years. It's not a new thing.

Kyle:

When did they launch?

Randy:

I have no idea.

Kyle:

Are they older than the The Liturgists or no?

Randy:

They're about the same time.

Kyle:

Because The Liturgists was the first one that I was familiar with, it was, like, people who were, like, famous Christians questioning everything.

Randy:

The ones that I knew of were The Liturgists, The Deconstructionists, and Nomad podcast in the UK. They're kind of the first, first of many. But eventually, the gatekeepers, the evangelical gatekeepers and Protestant gatekeepers found out about this whole deconstruction movement, and got really challenged by it, I think, especially because there were some books written, books that we've talked to the authors on the show, like Jesus and John Wayne by Kristen Du Mez, books like The Making of Biblical Womanhood and Beth Allison Barr, and A Church Called Tov, Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer, the list goes on and on, of books that kind of disrupted things and caused, caused people to look back and question what they were given in their faith journey within evangelicalism and Protestantism and Christianity. And the backlash has been quite amusing, I would say, quite desperate, right?

Kyle:

Yeah.

Randy:

It's come across as very desperate and is exactly why so many people are deconstructing in the first place, I would say.

Kyle:

Yeah, a lot of the Twitter responses have just, like, confirmed all the reasons people were already leaving, for sure. I don't know if we should name any names, but...

Randy:

I mean, the Al Mohlers of the world, the Denny Burks of the world, the, I don't know if you could put Tim Keller in that, in that...

Kyle:

I mean, a little, yeah, so he's definitely more irenic, and tries, I think, to be, he's just kinder and probably, like, a nicer person than some of those other people you named, and definitely smarter than some of those other people you named, but he has been on this Twitter crusade for the last few, I don't know if we want to keep this in, but like, there is like a deep strain of anti-intellectualism in that, that camp.

Randy:

Which is ironic, because he's seen as, like, the evangelical intellectual.

Kyle:

Yeah, I know. And then it, like, catches the attention of some, like, very famous conservative pundits. And yeah, just, I think, probably causes more deconstruction because people see that held up as, okay, this is what evangelicalism could be. And then they look into it and it's still patriarchal, it's still racist, it's still like, hopelessly ahistorical. And there's just so many things about it that people are already trying to get away from, and we hold up a kinder version of it that's still just like overly confident about what it knows.

Randy:

And then on the other side, you have a person like Beth Moore, who was part of the Southern Baptist Convention and, you know, wrote countless books that Southern Baptists have loved and ladies have gobbled up. And she grew tired of the whole rigmarole and opted out of the SBC and took tons and tons of backlash for it, right. So I think anyone who, who has a voice, who questions things, and who, who tries to break down some problematic doctrines and theology and ways of seeing the world and interacting with the world, instantly get shown the door and called a heretic, which is what Beth Moore has had to deal with. So.

Kyle:

I mean, there's a lot of, there's a lot of money in, well, there's a lot of money in a couple of things. There's a lot of money in people being invested, kind of unquestioningly, in your system, whatever it is. There's maybe even more money, though, in there being an enemy to fight. So this is something that Kristin points out in her book, Jesus and John Wayne, is that if you kind of look at the history of conservative politics in America and its marriage to the religious right, what you see is the sort of nationalistic, you know, we're a Christian nation, we gotta get back to the fundamentals of, you know, America being founded as a Christian nation, that kind of view waxes when they're not in power. And it tends to wane when they are. And you can kind of watch this oscillation in history. And so I bet that dynamic plays into this backlash that you're talking about against the deconstructionist, I don't know if you want to call it a movement, but it's just a thing that's happening.

Randy:

There's got to be a bogeyman.

Kyle:

Yeah, there's like, there's literal dollars to be made, and there's a lot of influence to be gained, and there's a lot of Twitter followers to be, you know, to be captured by being the loudest voice speaking against that, whether anybody in your church is deconstructing or not. You know? So yeah, just having that bogeyman, you don't even have to read the book, you can, you can just write a stupid review of Beth's book without reading it and get all the followers that you want. And so we should be, I think, a little bit suspicious, as well, about, you know, where's the money going, what are you getting from this kind of critique? Are you actually being honest with the kinds of stories that you're writing off or dismissing? Like I see a lot of, so there's this Exvangelical thing, right? This has been kind of part of the deconstruction movement in the past few years. And very commonly, Exvangelicals, people who own that label, it's almost become like a pejorative or kind of a joke, right, like, oh, it's almost like calling somebody woke at this point.

Randy:

Sure.

Kyle:

Which itself started out as a real thing and now has become kind of a pejorative. Like, oh, crazy, you know, off the deep end kind of person, whatever. That's kind of the tone with which I hear Exvangelical thrown around a lot. But I know people who are very sincere and very smart, some of them scholars themselves, who refer to themselves in that way with that term. And the dismissiveness that you often see around it hides, I think, well hides like a grasping at some kind of power, but also hides an unwillingness to actually open yourself up to the kind of critique they're making.

Randy:

Exactly.

Kyle:

It's often assumed that anybody that would call themselves an Exvangelical, or would call themselves deconstructing, they must be doing it for emotional reasons.

Randy:

Yeah.

Kyle:

Even if you recognize that their complaint is valid, like for example, they were abused. A very common response, sometimes made very compassionately by people like Russell Moore, for example, will be to say, God, that's awful what happened to you, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Don't make just a purely emotional decision about leaving the church or about deconstructing all the way, assuming, as far as I can tell, without actually grappling with any of the actual arguments being made by these people, that there couldn't be any real arguments, that it must just be emotional, or that you know, the thing that you went through or whatever, must have clouded your judgment in some way. So we can understand why you feel this way, but it needs to be temporary. Ignoring that there might actually be a critique to be made that actually undercuts the system.

Randy:

Yep. Yeah, I mean, and similar to, you know, your comparison of when people use the term "woke" or "woke mob" as a pejorative--looking at you Aaron Rodgers--when they do that, usually, usually it's coming from, and I hate to make a blanket statement, so forgive me, but it's usually coming from a racist or misogynistic point of view that's just uncomfortable with being called out on some bullshit, right? Similarly, when you hear Christian leaders deriding the idea of deconstruction and thinking through things, it seems very insecure and it's coming from a place of power, not wanting to let go of that power, and it's also coming from a place of disingenuousness, I think, of realizing there's chinks in the armor, but not wanting to deal with it, wanting to hide, wanting to pretend that this thing that we're doing is more important than your process and your story and your journey, your abuse, perhaps.

Kyle:

Yeah, that's a big part of it, yeah. But also, yeah, I also, though, want to insist, and I think Russell Moore is a good example of this, that it can be completely sincere and unintentional. Like it, I don't think it has to come, I think it very often does come from that place you described, but I don't think it has to. I think it really can be a kind of self-deception, a kind of blinder, where it's just so obvious to me in my background, that this system must be at bottom good and right and true and sturdy, that any critique that comes against it, that seems to cut to the quick, must be emotionally motivated, or it must be coming from some place that may be understandable, but can't actually be true. Because if considered it was true, I'd have to open myself up to deconstructing myself, right? I don't know where I might end up after that. So it's that base level certainty that we carry in with it, so that even really compassionate people of character, like Russell Moore, as far as I can tell, who will say really honest and frank things to people in power about abuse and about serious harms that he sees in the church, still almost have this blinder about considering the weakness of the system. So I think it can be, it can be a form of self-deception.

Randy:

Sure. Yeah. I think that's fair. I think that's a good point. So obviously, I don't have a blanket issue with deconstruction. I think for the most part, it's a necessity for many people. I think we shouldn't get in the way of that. But what I do want to present as kind of the pastoral side of this podcast, and if I can wear that pastoral hat, is I want to present an option for not seeing deconstruction as a season and not even maybe calling it deconstruction, maybe some of us have to call it deconstruction, because that's what we're doing. We're just burning the thing down, or we're ripping down floors, getting to the bottom of it. But here's where I've come to, is I, I'm a pastor and so people look to me for answers, right? And people expect answers. People expect certainty, people expect me to give them the direct line from God to them. First of all, that doesn't happen. It's a lot of pressure. It's ridiculous. Let's just leave that, leave that to the side, that's, that's a bad way of looking at your pastor or spiritual leader. But what I've realized about my own journey, as I look back, is that I have changed what I believe in the last 5, 10, 15 years. My idea of all sorts of things, of who God is, how loving God is, how merciful God is, my idea of the scriptures, has changed drastically in the last decade and a half. My idea of sexuality and what God does or doesn't prefer or endorse or, you know, affirm has changed. I could go down the list. And what I started doing in my, I would say, probably once I hit my early 40s, is I realized, my 30s was a decade when I thought I had everything figured out. Right? Now you guys are both in your 30s, so you can tell me if that resonates with you at all. But for me, in my 30s, I thought I was the best at being a pastor I could ever be. I was the best preacher I could ever be. I knew more, I knew as much as I'm ever going to learn, I literally had the audacity to think this stuff. And all of a sudden, I realized, I think totally differently. And I didn't have it all figured out. And man, I must have been an arrogant prick to be around, you know, and that's a fact. But what I also have been realizing these last several years, and what I've found a lot of freedom in is that I think I'm just in the middle of this lifelong journey of discovery of what is real, of what it means that I'm a spiritual being or a spiritual person, who God is, what the Scriptures are and the influence they play in my life and how I approach the scriptures, that's just on an evolution, it's on a, it's on a journey. It's fluid and dynamic, not static and stuck. My ideas of what human flourishing looks like and what sin or brokenness is, or isn't, those are evolving, those are changing. My idea of what God's about and who are God's people and different religions, those are changing, right? Like, I've just, I could, I could fill up the whole hour with what's changed about my faith. And what I've embraced is this idea of, I'm a life, I want to be a lifelong learner who knows that in 10 years, I'm gonna believe different things than I do now. And hopefully, I'll still have Jesus as my foundation. I say that hopefully, because I really like Jesus. I really like the Gospels. I think they're the truest thing, you know, the thing that resonates most deeply inside of me of anything that I've ever encountered. So I hope that Jesus is involved in what's 10 years down the road for me, or 15, or 20. But I'm certain of one thing, and that is that I'm going to believe different things than I do now. Maybe in micro ways, maybe in macro ways in some, in some different areas, because I'm a human being who doesn't have it all figured out. I'm a human being who's on a journey of discovery and learning, and our world is discovering new things all the time, whether it's archaeology and learning about ancient cultures and people groups, whether it's scientific discovery and learning about and seeing pictures of the cosmos from several billion years ago, literally, like, we're learning things that no human being has ever known. And I read this book a couple of years ago called Radical Amazement by Judy Cannato. She's a Catholic spiritual director who has since passed away. But her premise of the whole book is that we need a new theology to match our new cosmology. And what she meant by that is, in the last 100 years, our scientific understanding and knowledge base has exponentially exploded. What we know now compared to what our great-great-grandparents knew 100, 120 years ago, it's not even close. And we need a theology and a God that actually can hold all that we're discovering at such a rapid pace. Does that make sense?

Kyle:

Yeah, that's interesting. So I'm hearing you sort of construct an alternative metaphor for this experience that many of us are going through that's, that can accommodate, hopefully, everything that deconstruction, that metaphor, captures, but that doesn't end in death.

Randy:

Yes.

Kyle:

Right? Because, because that's the end of a deconstruction phase, you get to the foundations, and then you either leave it and move on, or you build something brand new. But it's not a guarantee that you're gonna build something brand new. And even if you do, the thing that you deconstructed is gone, it's dead. And for many people, that's where they have to get, and I totally understand that. There, there are really good reasons people should leave the faith, and I wouldn't stand in their way in many cases. But if you don't feel like that's where you want your, your process to end, a different metaphor might be helpful. And I like this evolution metaphor that you're proposing. One thing I like about it is that--and if you haven't heard our episode on evolution and need like a, you know, quick, just sort of breakdown of what that means go listen to that--but one thing that's fascinating to me about evolution, as it's understood scientifically, is that it doesn't really have a goal. It's not like aimed at something in particular, right? From the perspective of the gene, it's aimed at replication, just continuance. But it's not aimed at, like, getting better in a particular way, or, you know, this particular organism's success in its environment or whatever, it's a much larger view than that. And so things get more complex, generally, they respond to their environments that they're in, and they try to adapt for the purpose of survival and continuation. And that might seem... I can, I can, I remember enough of what it was like to be a fundamentalist evangelical that I can, I can remember a time when I would have heard that as kind of hopeless, that all I'm trying to do is survive and continue and pass on something to my kids, you know, that's not just death. But I don't see it that way anymore. I see it as a much more life-oriented thing. Like, this is actually the kind of thing that I am, I'm trying to thrive in my environment, and I'm trying to react to it in such a way that my offspring can also thrive in their environment. And we can take that literally, genetically, or we can think of it in terms of the next generation of the church, right? We're trying to live in the world we're actually in, which I think is what you were getting at with that, that science reference, right, that cosmology thing. The world we're in now is just fundamentally altered from the world that my, even my dad inhabited...

Randy:

Much less the biblical writers.

Kyle:

...yeah, right, much less the biblical, like, there are things that all of us take for granted now, that all of our children and grandchildren are going to take for granted, that directly impact how you think about God, that are not going to be optional to them. I mean, you know, living in a universe that is as old as we know that it is based on the pictures that everybody can Google on their phones, or living in a world where it's just obvious that there are people who are smart and justified, and not vicious, that think Christianity is false. And like we encounter them every day all the time online, or maybe even in person. That wasn't true for my parents' generation as much, not nearly as much as it is now, right, and not nearly as much as it's gonna be. So yeah, the world is fundamentally altered. And we need a faith that can thrive in that.

Randy:

Yep. And one of the major things that I want to, that I'm trying to propose a new way forward, that I think is faulty within this idea of deconstruction is we deconstruct everything, kind of, everything except for a few things goes away and we melt them away, and we're left with very few few things that we're holding as far as faith. And then we're expecting, we have this expectation, I think, of like, now tell me what's real. Tell me, tell me the truth, you know? And once I get that, now I can go on my merry way. And I want to say that that is a fallacy, that's actually trading one form of fundamentalism for another, in some ways, to have this expectation that like, I have a deconstruction season, I question everything, now I'm gonna see the, the reality and the truth of it all and I'm gonna move on and be happy with my life. And that is the unhealthy expectation I want to come against. I want to say, it's, I think it's a more healthy and humble and mature perspective to say, oh, no, this actually isn't a season for me; this is a new way of life and a new way of holding my spirituality that's holding it with a little bit looser hands, not as tight fists, not based in insecurity and certainty, but holding mystery and wonder, and enjoying that reality, actually. Enjoying the freedom from being right about everything. Enjoy the freedom of saying, if God's real, God is way beyond my world, and Augustine just might be right where he says, any of our ideas of God just immediately fall short, we know we're talking about a false god in many ways. Meister Eckhart saying in the 13th century,"God, rid me of God."

Kyle:

Yeah.

Randy:

Right, I mean, that was very controversial, still would be, but basically saying, my idea of God is holding back my understanding of God, in kind of layman's terms, right? Which sounds very scary and decentering, but it's actually, can be kind of freeing to know, I'm doing my best. And that's where I think Jesus is the thing that I come back to, and we'll get into that in a little bit. But I just want to come against this idea that deconstruction's a season, we get all our new information and new facts and new certainty, and then we move on with our merry lives. I don't think that's a good mature way of operating.

Kyle:

Or just replace the old fundamentalism with a new one, right, tell me, that old Derek Webb song, "give me a new law," right? Tell me, tell me the next thing to do once this one has gone. Yeah, like, you know, I've just replaced Christianity with the Democratic Party. Or I've replaced it with a progressive political agenda, or I've replaced it with a conservative political agenda, or, I don't know, fill in the blank, there's, there's lots of ways to rebuild a structure that's different in the parts and the content, but is essentially the same basic kind of structure that doesn't necessarily evolve any more effectively than the previous one did. I'm not saying that wouldn't still be an improvement; I think in many ways it would.

Randy:

Yeah.

Kyle:

Right, there, there are more and less damaging forms of fundamentalism. But hopefully, there is a posture from which deconstruction becomes unnecessary.

Randy:

Yes, that's exactly what I'm getting at.

Kyle:

And I think that maybe that's what we're looking for, right? It's not, we don't want to get caught in the cycle of deconstruct, construct, deconstruct, construct forever.

Randy:

That's, that's exactly it.

Kyle:

There's gotta be a posture past that.

Randy:

Yep.

Kyle:

So what do you think that looks like? Let's get concrete, let's try to put some flesh on the bones of that. Like, let's say that we've gotten to the place where probably a lot of our listeners have gotten to, where we still like Jesus, we, you know, we read the gospels, and we read Sermon on the Mount, and we may be puzzled by some of the things he did and said, but we see love there, we see something really enticing about his character. Maybe we read bits of Paul, and we see the similar, similar kind of thing, even though there's even more there we have to be a little bit uncomfortable about, but in general, we can get on board with, like, the, the through line of the New Testament, which is this kind of agape love ethic. Maybe we don't know what the hell to do with the Old Testament. And we're like, just full on burned out of, of all the things that American evangelicals have made their, you know, the hills that they have chosen to die on. So we're just totally done with that kind of authoritarian, hierarchical, patriarchal, misogynist, racist, all the things, we're just totally done with that, anti-science, anti-intellectual, whatever. And now we're wondering, okay, if I'm going to hold on to something that I'm going to call faith, and I'm not just going to be your average progressive Democrat, living in the ways that they live, I want this other thing, I want a relationship with God, concretely, what changes in my practice, do you think?

Randy:

I mean, a number of things. But for me, my spiritual director said this yesterday, I was sharing some of this with him, and he said, all living things grow. Can we just leave that as a baseline expectation and understanding, that if something's alive, it means that it's, it's on this growth trajectory. And that's inevitable. And we should expect our faith to be along the same kind of lines, if it's alive, it's inevitable that it's going to grow, and that maybe that's not ever going to stop. So I think having an expectation of living things grow, my faith is going to grow, my, my spiritual journey and understandings is going to change and morph and evolve, and it should, right? Because if what I know right now is is everything, God help us, you know, and that's a very, very small, limited God. So I think having that expectation that all living things grow, this is a natural process, embrace it, don't get scared of it, it's a little bit jarring, but in the end of it, you'll find freedom and you'll find humility, you'll find maturity, you'll find life, I think, if we can hold our spirituality in such a way to expect growth, and we can expect evolution. And I think, when I was reading that book, Radical Amazement by Judy Cannato, I wish she was alive when we could interview her, I read it at a perfect time, couple years ago, and I remember being blown away by the science, because she really does bring in a lot of good scientific understanding and discovery that's happened in the last half decade. And I remember being blown away by the size of the cosmos and the universe, it overwhelmed me to the point where it was maybe the one time where I felt like abandoning a lot of the stuff in my faith journey. Like I was, this was just a couple of years ago, pastoring, doing the whole thing. And I remember driving on a road trip thinking, if the universe is this big, and if the cosmos is this big, do we really think that God cares about a person's sexuality? Or, you know, whether I cuss every once in a while? Do I really think that that God, who is the author and sustainer of the cosmos, cares about that stuff? And I was ready to say no, in some, in some ways, I still don't know. But what brought me back to saying, okay, I can actually sit here in this faith tradition I've been given and that I'm leading people into call Christianity because of the Incarnation. That's the thing for me that was the thread that I held on to when things were falling apart, and the particularities of the faith that I've been given and that I've been preaching and that I've been to discipling people into felt like it was holding on by thread, that thread was the incarnation of, if this God of the cosmos and of the universe, saw fit to become a human being, limited in space and time, become a baby even, and then inhabit our humanity, and become created matter, and walk around in the dusty Earth in the Middle East 2000 years ago, and show us, embody who God is, and like Paul said, reflect the full image of the unseen God, the invisible God, that keeps me coming back.

Kyle:

Yeah, I remember an early conversation I had with my wife, who, I don't think she'll mind me saying, had her own process of deconstruction, and trying to replace the kind of sin-based understanding of Christianity with something more positive, not positive, like happy go lucky, but positive in the sense of there's actually something to do, we're not being, the old, you know, the old language is we're not being saved from something, we're being saved to something, and we're trying to put some flesh on what the to is, like, what is it actually, that we're looking forward to, if it's not just get out of hell, and it's not just, we're all born dead in sin, we're trying to overcome that in any way that we can. Like, what is the positive vision that we're, that we're actually holding up? What...

Randy:

There's so much there.

Kyle:

...what does that look like, yeah. And so, can we, can we maybe discuss some of what that is, or at least the main themes of what some of that is, because this is something you preach on all the time, so I know you've got some stuff ready to go here. But I think this is really important for a lot of people who are deconstructing from just a really judgmental kind of faith, something that made them feel small and insignificant, that you can actually still have something identifiably Christian, right, something that even the ancients would have recognized as Christian faith, that doesn't really have much to do with sin, frankly, that it's a much more positive vision for what the world should be like. You wanna talk a little bit about that? Like, what are we, what are we going towards?

Randy:

I mean, for me, it comes down to the three main ideas, beliefs, whatever you want to call them, within Christianity, that I think our faith hinges on, it doesn't, our faith doesn't hinge on the scriptures, our faith doesn't hinge on doctrine, our faith hinges on, I think three things: incarnation, resurrection, and new creation. You know, and incarnation, I think, includes crucifixion of Christ, but incarnation, resurrection and new creation, for me, those things change the way I interact with the world, they change the way I see myself, they change the way I see animals, it changes the way I see the Earth. Incarnation, for me, means every single bit of matter matters. Right, like, incarnation, the reality that the infinite God would become a finite being and inhabit this world means to me, and this is not concrete and very esoteric, but it means that I kind of think we're living in an enchanted world, right? I kind of feel like we're living in a world that's been inhabited by divinity, which means that we've been changed, and literally like a fairy tale, Jesus came, the Incarnation happened, and now everything matters. Or maybe we just got reminded that everything matters because God created it, and God calls this his temple and this place where God dwells. But for me incarnation changes the mundane, normal, this idea that this planet is going to burn up and it doesn't matter so we can ride our SUVs and our huge trucks and not care about it. Incarnation changes things. Sorry, Elliot. It's a beautiful truck, it really is. Resurrection for me, changes things. It gives me, it gives me profound hope in moment by moment basis, it gives me, resurrection and new creation are kind of two sides of the same thing, which is that, the idea that we're heading towards wholeness, we're heading towards, the world is heading towards beauty and life and redemption and renewal, and that I see around me actually concretely, like it's, I can choose to see all the shit going on in the world and all the ways things are falling apart and evil people like Putin are doing things and we got the January 6th hearings, and I can get, I can obsess about all of that garbage, and I can obsess about sin, I can obsess about brokenness, I can obsess and preach people to death about what's wrong with them. Or I can choose to see the beauty in what the Spirit's bringing about in their lives that's, that's evidential, that's real. That only needs to be pointed out. It's already there. I can choose to see the beauty in other faith traditions, even, and see the Spirit moving in places where I traditionally have seen as kind of empty and devoid of the Spirit of God, right, where that's been, where God has abandoned things because it's so evil and ugly. I actually, because of new creation and resurrection, think there's no place, no person, no place in history that hasn't been inhabited by the Spirit of God moving us towards new creation and resurrection. And for me, that changes the way I interact with my kids, it changes the way I interact with my wife and my church, it changes the way I want to be a neighbor, it changes the way I see walks, and literally interacting with the world around me. I know that's not very concrete. But for me, that's the stuff that matters.

Kyle:

It is, I see why you might say it's not, but in a way that it is. So like, if you're looking for, yeah, but tell me what to do tomorrow, right? I understand that urge. And there are, you know, concrete things we could suggest that you maybe change about your normal routine tomorrow...

Randy:

Yeah, some books to read.

Kyle:

...if we learn more about you some, yeah, some things maybe you could approach differently in your relationships, whatever. That's going to be a case by case thing. But we have to be constantly on guard against that, "but just give me the new law," right, just tell me the next thing to do. And this is, I think, is about as concrete as you can get in the sense that it affects literally every decision you're going to make. Are you going to go into this with a vision of hopefulness and the kind of outcome that you would hope to have from this interaction with this person, or from this project that you're undertaking, or from this really difficult thing that you're dealing with or whatever. There's a kind of faith--this word gets overused and maybe I should define it here--but like, you can take faith into that, or you can take hopelessness into that, and that makes all the difference in the world. And it's, it's impossible, really, to have faith, I think, if you don't have a clear vision of how the world could be better, of how that specific thing that you're dealing with could be concretely better, and some motivation to try to make it so. And I think all the things that you just described can be utilized in, in service of that. So, so maybe it will be helpful to get a little bit clearer on what we mean by faith. Maybe we should have done this prior to now, I don't know, maybe we should have had an episode on it a long time ago, I don't know. Because everything you just said sounds to me, it sounds to me perfectly continuous with what Christian faith has always been. So it's not, like, at odds at all, as far as I can tell, with what faith was in the New Testament. It's, it's not at odds, I think, with how Paul cashed it out, or the early church understood it, how many of the medieval thinkers understood Christian faith. It's a really kind of recent thing, recent in the last couple hundred years, where we've begun to think of Christian faith in terms of cognition, and belief and...

Randy:

Behavior control.

Kyle:

... yeah, behavior, or a kind of moralism.

Randy:

Yes.

Kyle:

Or maybe even just group identity, or youknow, political identity. So I'm a, I'm an American, so I'm a person of faith, or I'm a, whatever. That's fairly recent. And I don't think it's something that the New Testament authors who used the Greek words that get translated as the words "faith" and "belief" would have really recognized; that's kind of just an unfortunate Greek to English thing that happened when it, when that word gets translated as "belief," often. So if you're, if you're thinking of faith primarily cognitively or in terms of belief, or in terms of group belonging, or in terms of some kind of moral system where you're in or you're out based on the beliefs that you hold about what's right and wrong, and how good you are at pretending that you follow them, then it's very easy to construct a system that someone could then bump into the limits of, and want to deconstruct, or feel kind of dead inside.

Randy:

Yeah.

Kyle:

But if that's not what your faith is, if you fundamentally conceive of it differently, if faith to you is a set of practices that you're committed to continuing with a specific people, which is kind of how I've come to think about Christian faith, and the ethic of Jesus, and those three ideas that you just described so nicely, are at the core of it, and that's what your community is built around, and that's what your practices that you share together and that you're committed to are built around, and there's like, free choice of all of that all the way down, right, which ideas you incorporate, which practices you incorporate or don't, which people you do it with or don't, and there's no expectation of, we're going to hold you here forever, if you need to go you just go, like, if that is your fundamental faith orientation, if that's kind of how you understand what faith is, then it's very difficult to construct a thing that you would then need to get out from under eventually, right, because the nature of the thing just doesn't lend itself to that. It's, it's, as you put it, a more evolving thing. It's a set of practices that change over time as we change over time, as the world changes, as the questions that we're confronted with change. It molds to them, and that's fine. And that, that, I want to say, is perfectly continuous with what the New Testament, what the early church did. I mean, that's kind of the way it's always been. The structures that we build to contain it are the things that we're, we're finding ourselves outgrowing.

Randy:

Yeah, what you're, what you're talking, speaking to, reminds me of what Brian McLaren said in his most recent book--we just dropped that, that episode--where he says, are we more committed to reality or to our version of reality that we've been given? Do you remember that in that book?

Kyle:

Yeah.

Randy:

And that, I think, is a profound question for people of faith. Because most of us have been handed this thing that, again, is ironclad, airtight, we know everything, and then all of a sudden, you're confronted by reality and you have a choice to make. Like, I think probably most of us have family who have built a sheltered world that's impervious to pop culture, it's impervious to academia, it's impervious to science, and like, I have family members who are trying to raise their kids in this bubble, and they won't ever get confronted by the complexity of the world. You know, that's what they're trying to do. Some people successfully do that. I don't understand it. But some people can literally go to the grave with that kind of faith. I'm not interested in that personally, you know, but it's, it's out there, it's real. But if you have this idea that McLaren proposes, that maybe we should be more committed to what's real, in reality, than what we think is real in our own reality. That's where I think that lifelong learning, faith evolution things come in, because we're going to constantly be confronted by things that we believed were true and now we actually have this decision to make, am I going to agree with the science that just came out that is based on good consensus and good scholarship and good expertise, or am I gonna choose to agree with my tribe's old idea that might not work anymore? Does that make sense?

Elliot:

Yeah. And putting all of that, the last two or three minutes together, like that condenses to me for, if there's, you can't be liberated from something that's not oppressive. So if I'm feeling liberation in my faith journey now from things that were previously oppressive to me, I mean, that's, that's, I guess, the liberation itself is a sign that that was an oppressive faith.

Randy:

Sure.

Elliot:

That's especially striking in the context of a life that supposed to be lived in freedom, like freedom in Christ is like this, there's kind of this core idea of liberation. And so to realize that faith actually has been, has been the oppressor in this case, it just, it...

Randy:

That'll mess with you a little bit.

Elliot:

... it's vivid how deeply dysfunctional that faith is then.

Randy:

Yes.

Kyle:

Yeah. And I'll, I just want to reiterate, there are absolutely expressions of faith, and it may for any given individual be that they can never describe any positive experience in their life as faith again.

Randy:

Yeah.

Kyle:

And I get that, and it can never have any, you know, religious trappings or symbolism or connotation for them ever again. And I totally get that, and I don't want to discount it at all. But I do want to say that in another, perhaps more fundamental sense of the word faith, faith is not the thing we're deconstructing, right? That would be like deconstructing love or hope. I mean, these things are like cardinal religious virtues for a reason, they hit at something deep in the human spirit. And without it, you're impoverished. I mean, you're not living a flourishing human life, on any ethic, secular or religious, that I'm aware of, if you don't have some faith in something, and it doesn't have to be in a God, it doesn't have to be religious at all. But faith is a part of what it means to be a human. And so that isn't the thing that we're deconstructing. We might need to find a different name for it and different symbols for it, that's fine. But there's got to be a way to live healthily and experience something that I would call "faith," which to put it kind of basically--we could have a whole episode on what faith is--but to put it kind of basically, is a kind of commitment beyond the evidence.

Randy:

Yes.

Kyle:

So you're, you're committed to trust and to act out of that place of trust towards certain people, people that you've chosen, and around certain ideals that you share with those people, you're committed to certain practices towards them, beyond what the evidence guarantees for you. And that's just, you can't be a happy human without doing that. You can't be a sports fan without doing that. Like, I mean, it touches every part of life. And it's, it's so tragic that that capacity has been, in some cases, almost completely destroyed by the thing that was supposed to be its expression.

Randy:

Yep. Yeah. And that's, I've said, very, very similar, less eloquently, to friends who have deconstructed to the bottom and felt like they have to walk away, I don't believe anymore, and I tell them, I love you no differently than yesterday when you did believe, but for me, I think I see holding to faith and being a person of faith as a virtue. I see being a person of faith and holding faithfulness to something, and believing in something, for me, in my experience, I think it makes me a better human being to hold to that faith. I just resonate deeply with what you just said.

Kyle:

Yeah.

Randy:

So perhaps you find yourself in that moment right now where you're taking things apart, and you're realizing that the emperor has no clothes, and you're realizing that some of the things that you've been given that you stood on your whole life may be a little bit shaky. And we want to bless you in that. That's, can be scary, can feel uncertain, can feel lonely. I know that for a fact. But I want to tell you, you're not alone. There are millions of other people who are doing the same exact work, and it's good work. It's, it's the work of faith. Can we come to a place where we just expect it, we expect to not know everything, we expect to hold mystery when we think about God, more often than not, rather than certainty. Can we enjoy the pleasure of being filled with wonder rather than certainty? Can we trade some old things that aren't very pleasant for some new things that are more biblical, more in line with the ancient tradition of our faith, and many other faiths as a matter of fact, and enjoy this journey of a faith evolution, of growing, of maturing, and heading somewhere good, but not ever getting there fully?

Kyle:

Well, that's it for this episode of A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar. We hope you're enjoying the show as much as we are. Help us continue to create compelling content and reach a wider audience by supporting us patreon.com/apastorandaphilosopher, where you can get bonus content, extra perks, and a general feeling of being good person.

Randy:

Also, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, and Spotify. These help new people discover the show and we may even read your review in a future episode. If it's good enough.

Kyle:

If anything we said really pissed you off or if you just have a question you'd like us to answer, or if you'd just like to send us booze, send us an email at pastorandphilosopher@gmail.com.

Randy:

Catch all of our hot takes on Twitter at@PPWBPodcast, @RandyKnie, and@robertkwhitaker, and find transcripts and links to all of our episodes at pastorandphilosopher.buzzsprout.com. See you next time.

Kyle:

Cheers! I just have to tell you about this because what you said made me think of it, we'll definitely cut this out. There's a funny thing on the internet, it's, it's old, so like before we had the stunning new images of the universe that we have now. So it would just be even more funny now. But it just, like, takes a picture of the earth to start with, and then it zooms out in the next photo and it's the solar system with a little arrow pointing to the earth. And then the next photo is like the galaxy with a tiny little arrow that you can barely see pointing to our solar system in one arm on the outside of that galaxy. And then the next picture is like the local galactic group and you can't really see the Milky Way anymore. And it just continues doing that until you get to the observable universe with a teeny tiny little red thing pointing to a super cluster that's not visible. And then the next image is Jesus holding that whole observable universe in his hand saying"don't masturbate."

Randy:

That's exactly what I'm talking about. That's exactly what I'm talking about.

Kyle:

Yeah, yeah. Kind of puts things in perspective a little bit, and all it took was, was a really good telescope.

Randy:

Yep, yep. Oh, man. Don't talk about telescopes and masturbation in the same sentence. I actually think we might be able to keep this in.

Kyle:

Okay.

Randy:

Yep.

Beverage Tasting
Main Segment