Deconstructing Deconstruction

The Chargers left us for the lure of a new and improved stadium in Los Angeles. To be honest, this means very little to me, except that this leaving left our city with an eyesore of a meaningless football stadium. For a few years now, the ghastly stadium has stood solitary and purposeless. Recently, however, the deconstruction of the stadium has begun.

I don’t know what I expected the deconstruction to look like, but I had vague imaginings of a giant explosion all at once. No such cartoon-ish moment has happened. Rather, piece by piece, bit by bit, the old stadium is being carefully knocked down. Hoses with water pump high pressures of water to keep the dust and rubble contained. At the rate they are moving, this careful process will take many months.

The point of such costly, careful deconstruction is ultimately reconstruction. San Diego State has big plans for the huge lot of land that once housed the Chargers. The detailed, painstaking process of tearing down the old structure is intended to make space for the new structure.

Deconstruction for the sake of destruction is, well, destructive. Tearing down should be antecedent to the careful construction and blueprint of skilled designers. While it seems that would go without saying, we live in a culture that is marked by widespread deconstruction.

The postmodern mindset of cynicism toward establishment, authority, and tradition has created a society full of individual deconstructionists. With its strong penchant toward tearing down systems, structures and world views, postmodernity is left with heaping piles of rubble but no clear plan or direction as to how to rebuild all it has torn down.

While there are most assuredly structures that need refining, injustices to expose and right, and power abuses to address, to do so without a clear standard, blueprint, or world view could be as potentially harmful as the systems being deconstructed.

As believers in Christ living in postmodern and postChristian culture, we are invited to model thoughtful, prayerful repair. We have to learn to face the brute facts of the systems around us, including the Church. However, we have a blueprint, and even better, we know the Architect. We have His revealed word. We are have His Spirit dwelling within us.

It is not surprising that the church is polarized, as we live in one of the most polemical times in modern history. It feels as if believers are being forced to fit into one of two camps: those who completely support establishment and authority and those who seek to tear them down.

Is there a space for careful deconstructionists? Can we make room for those who admit the need for reform but also believe in the need for a building (and even more so, a Builder)? Perhaps before we tear down and explode, we ought to spend more time considering what we are seeking to ultimately build. To tear down human-tainted institutions only to rebuild new human-centered institutions will not fix the root problems.

I am so thankful that we serve an all-wise, always just, never-changing, loving authority. I am thankful that we can look forward to the city whose builder and architect is God (Hebrews 11: 10, 16). In the meanwhile, we are invited to seek to build on a foundation that lasts, to tear down that which stands opposed to His word through prayer, and to point others to the One who will make all things new (1 Corinthians 3:10–15; 1 Corinthians 10: 3–6; Revelation 21:5).

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