In the story of the 3 little pigs the big bad wolf is able to take advantage of the shoddy construction materials used by pig one and pig two to blow down their house and have a nice pork sandwich snack. It is only upon coming to the house of pig three that he finds himself thwarted and eventually turned into a snack himself.
As a pastor I have come alongside many who have had their faith houses blown down by the big bad wolves of what life can often bring. Sometime their faith was built with shoddy materials that are indeed easily blown down. But unlike the story, even those who have seemingly built a faith house of brick will find that house is in pieces all around them having been blown down by the big bad wolves of life. Big bad wolves of suffering, or bad theology, or doubt, or spiritual abuse.
At this point there are a couple options. One could set the whole thing on fire and walk away believing their faith house never really had anything to offer them. Or they could begin to search the rubble and see if there may be some pieces of the house that are worth beginning to reconstruct with again. Maybe as they search they see a floor board of ‘dispensationalism’ or the window dressing of ‘penal substitutionary atonement’. They pick these up and realize that maybe they did not serve them well and they set those things aside. But wait over there under all the dogma rubble they see something else! They can see a strong beam. It looks well made and solid. Something worth building with and so they pick it up and move the ‘Jesus’ beam to a new place and begin to construct again.
In my work as pastor I have discovered that all of our fatih houses, no matter the construction, get blown down at some place in time. And that they all NEED to be blown down at some point. It is only after the big bad wolf comes by that a deeper journey of faith can begin. And on that journey we need folks to step into the rubble with us and help as we reconstruct our way to a new and more contemplative faith that holds mystery and paradox together in our faith understanding.
This is the work I seek to do in my coaching, consulting, speaking, and spiritual direction. I love to come alongside and pick through the rubble with others. Wrestling with our assumptions and understandings of who we are, and who God is, and how it all works together for some good in this world around us. This is what I believe it means to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling.’
If you or your church are in that space of deconstruction. Of looking around at the pieces and wondering what is next, I would be glad to step into the rubble with you. To look around and ask the questions more than provide any answers and encourage you as you take your next steps toward reconstructing a faith house that will never be finished, but that can offer a safe haven of hope and mystery as we encounter the big bad wolves of life.