Let’s Talk About Deconstruction

Cindy Koen
6 min readOct 23, 2023

“I deconstructed only to reconstruct. Sometimes you gotta tear down a moldy house and rebuild. But build on the foundation that is Christ.” — Lecrae

For several months I have been trying to write a blog post about deconstruction. I have written, deleted, edited, and at times closed my computer and walked away. Writing about this topic is painful and triggering. It brings up emotions that are sometimes easier to avoid. Deconstruction is not trendy, cool, or “sexy”. It is an agonizing experience that is often a necessary part of our walk with Jesus.

What is Deconstruction?

My life has been centered around my faith since I was a little girl. But over the years I have experienced a lot of pain in Christian and church settings, most recently enduring spiritual abuse on a level that plunged me into a deep depression that was unlike anything I have ever had to face. It has taken a long time fully understand what was happening to me, but eventually, I realized that I have been in a time of deconstruction.

Many Christians do not understand deconstruction. They hear the word and immediately become judgmental, believing that anyone who claims to be in deconstruction is angry, negative, and blaming God for things He didn’t do. “Deconstruction” is equated with “destruction” and those who have rejected man-made aspects of Christianity are labeled as wicked backsliders who have rejected God Himself.

A lot of mistakes are made when we judge something with which we have no personal experience.

Deconstruction looks different for everyone, but experiences tend to start out similarly. A life-changing event or sequence of events causes a crisis of faith. What you have always believed no longer “works.” Disillusionment sets in and over the course of time, you begin to reevaluate your belief system. Christian deconstruction usually includes a reevaluation of what the Bible actually says versus how it has been interpreted in your world.

For me, deconstruction has led to great spiritual and emotional growth and a closer relationship with Jesus. It has also been an awakening, allowing me to see and understand the suffering of others on a deeper level and the problems in Christianity for what they are, free from idealization and defensiveness.

Lecrae on Deconstruction

Recently, several Christian media outlets covered a Twitter thread that Christian artist, Lecrae, wrote about deconstruction. The quotes I saw in various articles resonated with me deeply, so I looked him up on Twitter and read through the entire thread. I found it to be very insightful and compassionate.

Despite heavy criticism, Lecrae has been unwavering in his stance. He explained,

Many movements from the reformation to the civil rights movement involved deconstruction using scripture and then reconstruction. I offer this as an encouragement to those struggling. My faith is stronger than ever. I’ve been there and healing is possible.

He is exactly right. Jesus was criticized by religious leaders and accused time and again of blasphemy and other sins, primarily because he was challenging the status quo. And, as Lecrae points out, Jesus spent most of His time deconstructing the man-made, destructive parts of His religion.

Lecrae also wrote,

“Nine times out of 10 this type of unhealthy deconstruction begins with Church hurt. Racism, sexism, abuse of power, etc. give way to a need to make sense of things and the last thing people want to do is use scripture to make sense of these failures by “church folks”.”

He goes on to explain what unhealthy deconstruction looks like and he is spot on. However, in my experience, every type of deconstruction can begin with “church hurt” or far more devastating spiritual abuse (some of which are described in the preceding quote). Spiritual abuse is devastating to a person’s life and faith. It makes a person begin to question everything about their life including their worldview, and long-held beliefs. It usually involves a loss of innocence. And sometimes it does lead to a rejection of Christianity.

A Word to Those in Deconstruction

Those who walk away are regularly maligned from pulpits across this country. Instead of the compassionate and empathetic response that Jesus demonstrated, the wounded are made an example of by contemporary pastors who unfaithfully carry the title of “shepherd”. This is what God has to say about the subject.

The word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Son of man, speak against the shepherds of Israel for me. Speak to them for me. Tell them that this is what the Lord God says: ‘You shepherds of Israel have only been feeding yourselves. It will be very bad for you! Why don’t you shepherds feed the flock? … You have not made the weak strong. You have not cared for the sick sheep. You have not put bandages on the sheep that were hurt. Some of the sheep wandered away, and you did not go get them and bring them back. You did not go to look for the lost sheep. No, you were cruel and severe — that’s the way you tried to lead the sheep!

“‘And now the sheep are scattered because there was no shepherd. … My flock was scattered over all the face of the earth. There was no one to search or to look for them.’”

So, you shepherds, listen to the word of the Lord. The Lord God says, “I swear that wild animals will catch my sheep, and my people will become food for all those animals because they did not have any real shepherds. My shepherds did not look out for my flock. They did not feed my flock. No, they only killed the sheep and fed themselves!”

So, you shepherds, listen to the word of the Lord! The Lord God says, “I am against the shepherds. I will demand my sheep from them. I will fire them. They will not be my shepherds anymore. Then the shepherds will not be able to feed themselves, and I will save my flock from their mouths. Then my sheep will not be food for them.” The Lord God says, “I myself will be their Shepherd. I will search for my sheep and take care of them.”

(Ezekiel 34:1–2; 4–5a; 6–11, ERV)

“It will be very bad for the shepherds of the people of Judah. They are destroying the sheep. They are making the sheep run from my pasture in all directions.” This message is from the Lord.

They are responsible for my people. And this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to them: “You shepherds have made my sheep run away in all directions. You have forced them to go away, and you have not taken care of them. But I will take care of you — I will punish you for the evil things you did.” This message is from the Lord: “I sent my sheep to other countries. But I will gather together my sheep that are left, and I will bring them back to their pasture. When my sheep are back in their pasture, they will have many children and grow in number. I will place new shepherds over my sheep. They will take care of my sheep, and my sheep will never again feel afraid. None of my sheep will be lost.” This message is from the Lord.

(Jeremiah 23:1–4, ERV)

If you have suffered at the hands of people who claim to represent Jesus, maybe even turned your back on Christianity and everything it represents, I want you to know that God sees you and God sees what was done to you. Even if you have never told anyone else, God knows and He promises to care for you and to restore justice on your behalf. While too many Christian pulpits, YouTube channels, blogs, and social media are condemning you for your pain, Jesus is there for you like the good Samaritan who went to great lengths to care for the man who was wounded and left to die. While people who take His name in vain cross the street to avoid you, He is kneeling beside you in your pain and suffering and He will never leave your side.

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Cindy Koen

Doing my best to follow the Jesus while deconstructing from the toxic, man-made parts of Christianity. Read more at cindykoen.com.