Deconstruct Faith, Discover Jesus: How Questioning Your Religion Can Lead You to a Healthy and Holy God by Preston Ulmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Some time ago … my cousin asked me if there was anything in my faith that if he were able to prove wrong would break my faith. I took the question seriously and from that point I had a strong understanding of my own core faith. That doesn’t mean that I did not accept traditions outside of that core (of which most christian traditions reside), but that I was open to another way. That was the start of my journey to deconstruct my faith … after which I found myself in the Catholic Church after I reconstructed it. That is a long winded way to say that I can identify with what the author is saying here to some extent … I don’t agree with everything he says and would frequently say it differently (not surprising since he confesses a pentecostal viewpoint); however, he does make an excellent point.
The book is a quick read and mostly on point with minimal repetition. Part one deals with what deconstruction is and why it is good for the faith. This is important because the term deconstruction is not a common term in my faith tradition (restoration or catholic); although it is apparently more common in evangelical traditions where diversity within the pews is not well tolerated. That is not to say that people in other traditions doesn’t experience a crisis in faith … studies show that all the mainline churches are declining the in the US, but that we are using different vocabulary to talk about the same thing. Part One makes sure we are all on the same page. Part two introducing a way to use deconstruction constructively :-) this is also important. When you “blow up” your faith, something needs to fill the gap; here is a healthy approach to do that where the end result is a spirituality that is stronger and better that what you had before. Too many times I have seen people just give up entirely and walk away completely.
Introduction: Saving Deconstruction
Part One: Why Deconstruct
1. Deconstruction Is Part of Our Spiritual Heritage
2. More Questions Than Answers
3. Deconstruction vs Deconversion
4. Deconstruction Is About Authority
5. WWJD? (What Would Jesus Deconstruction?)
Part Two: How to Deconstruct - The FUSE Method
6. F - Find the Specifics
7. U - Understand Where It Came From
8. S - Share the Impact
9. E - Engage with the Remains
Conclusion: A Christianity for Our Kids
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.