Demolition is Better if You are Building Something

My men’s group is going through a study by Richard Rohr on the Enneagram, a model for human personality and a tool for personal transformation. The introductory session was outstanding, giving me way too much to try and share in one blog post. However, something did stand out to me that I haven’t been able to forget since last week.

First of all, he talked about the need we have for faith crisis, when our definitions of goodness become exposed as insufficient. For many of us, our view of the world is seen only through a dualistic lens. It’s simple when you can look at things only as black and white, and you can have some spectacular arguments while taking your stand. However, it’s rare to find much truth in these spectacular clashes of ideas. Truth is best explored in the subtleties of Scripture and the nuances of our lives.

Second, exploring the Enneagram isn’t about developing our consciousness, but about transforming it. Furthermore, you can’t develop until you deconstruct, simply because we are in need of complete transformation, based on entirely new structures. When it comes to the practice and belief of Christian faith, the deconstruction can be the most unnerving part of the journey. When we disassemble a way of thinking that we determine to be faulty, the danger is that we will be left only with a vacuum where a belief that we depended on used to be. I personally think that many who abandon their faith in God do so at this point. They deconstruct everything but never find the wisdom or the tools to create new belief structures without completely denying God’s personal existence.

So the challenge from this first week is to deconstruct with intent to rebuild, not simply to destroy. Unfortunately, blowing things up, even at an intellectual and spiritual level, is a lot more fun to do.

2 responses to “Demolition is Better if You are Building Something

  1. Agreed…while there is “a time to break down, and a time to build up; (Ecclesiastes 3:3 ESV)”, there is need for intentionality in either regard. This is where I sometimes falter…not really knowing what I’m after in the first place (e.g. What does this need to look like?). I tend to tear down too quickly, without proper forsight for the future. The biblical model is quite the reverse, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28 ESV) However, acquiring the right tools and/or perspective is time-consuming and cost-intensive. Who can live their lives like this?

    • In reply to:
      “This is where I sometimes falter…not really knowing what I’m after in the first place (e.g. What does this need to look like?).”

      I personally don’t believe we have to know what it all has to look like before we start the important work of deconstruction. I’d be concerned about the problem of being stuck in a bad place because I don’t have it all figured out yet. To stick with the analogy, if a building is condemned and even dangerous, I must move out and it must be torn down before I start thinking that it’s okay to move back in and get resettled.

      In some areas of my life, I have simply tolerated the vacuum left by this deconstruction because I can’t yet figure out my blueprint for what I’m building in its place. But I have the “intent to build”, and I’m moving that direction. I think we have to be okay with that.

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