I'm running sound for a conference in Chicago this week. The conference is for pastors and is about the deconstruction and reconstruction of the evangelical church.
I've heard a lot of speakers so far, and so far I've heard a lot of compelling information about how things in the church-world are in a deconstructed state. It's all messed up. Some of the pastors believe we should just throw out the whole thing and start fresh. Others say we need a reformation.
I am in the back running sound, so I am not saying anything. Which is hard. But inside I feel three things burning:
- This is the manifestation of a picture I saw months before the pandemic hit — the ships (our old systems) are sinking... but the people on these ships can fly!
- These people can fly. No need to panic. In fact, this could be a gift... sometimes we need to be pushed to do what we know deep down we are fully capable of doing.
- No one (so far) has described reconstruction. I believe this is for one simple reason: very few have experienced it. I have experienced it. Heather has. Some of you have. But not many.
If I was able to share one lesson from my own experience of being deconstructed and reconstructed it would be this:
Trust the process.
These pastors, their communities, and people all over the world — in and out of church — need to be supported in learning to trust the process.
Learning to trust the process is a process in and of itself: First we have to know that there really is a process. Once we know that there is a process, we have a chance of trusting it. In order to sense that there is a process, we must slow down enough to feel the Current. In order to slow down enough to feel the Current, we must believe it is safe to slow down. To be here. Only here. Only now.
No one is helping us slow down right now. In fact, most of the voices in our world are helping us do the opposite. Even at this conference full of pastors — spiritual leaders — the pace is fast, and the focus is on doing, fixing, answering, restoring...
But we are not the ones to do the restoring. We are the ones being restored. This is our work right now: to be restored. We must learn to trust the process.
When things have fallen apart, it's hard to want to do anything except try to find a way to put them back together. We're uncomfortable with things being undone. But this place in which we find ourselves, as uncomfortable as it is, is a necessary point of an important process. Which means, it is okay to be here. Not just okay, but good.
It is okay to be in a fallen-apart state when that is where you are.
Laying here, on the operating table, opened and exposed, helpless, can feel like a nightmare. But it is important to notice the capable, loving hands of the surgeon at work.
Where we are is good. Grief is healing. Without grief, we cannot heal. Without deconstruction we cannot be reconstructed.
Trust the process. Even in this moment, while it feels that everything has fallen apart, we can look up and see that there is so much good here, even here, for us.