Faith Deconstruction Isn’t Demolition- How Physically Restoring a 100 Year Old Building Saved My Faith

Fri 2:00pm - 2:50pm

Venue: Forum


I have spent the last four years restoring a 100 year old church building as well as the community that worships in it. This daunting task took me to the brink of my own faith, and back again. I want to share the story of restoration, and how it helped me envision something beyond deconstruction. Deconstruction had become a theme for the community I serve. As the church grew, it became a place where folks going through spiritual transitions could bring their doubts, bring their questions, and find other fellow questioners. While this was incredible, it lead to some unique challenges. For example, I can’t restore an entire church building or community all by myself. I needed help. But this community was burnt out and traumatized by past church experiences. They were sitting in their deconstruction feeling hurt, confused, and asking, “What now?” Persuading them to help me restore the very thing that had wounded them felt next to impossible. And as much as I wanted their help... I was feeling burnt out. My own deconstruction had started to feel more like demolition. After hours of sanding (and swearing), I had an epiphany. Faith deconstruction isn’t the same as demolition. I realized that as I worked to make space for others, I wasn’t just rebuilding a physical space for worship. I was rebuilding my reason for worship in the first place. When I thought about what I was tasked with doing one phrase came forward: make space. Is it possible that making space for other people is the final step of deconstruction? Maybe even the start of a restoration? So what does making space actually look like, and could it be the answer to deconstruction's biggest question — ‘What now?”