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'Sexless in the City' and the varying stories of deconstruction

Updated: May 16, 2021

After I left my first church, I told a lot of people that I became more serious about my faith when I was in a less conservative environment. The veil had been torn in worshipping in a new place and a new community, in which I was eager to learn. I didn't get into specifics, but it didn't stop me from talking. I shudder at the nature with which I've been scathing, and I probably still am.

I didn't grow up within the church. I'm not strictly an ex-vangelical, because I'm still Christian and because I never personally held conservative beliefs, although the memoirs of writers such as Rachel Held Evans and Sarah Bessey have resonated with me. My faith has shifted over the years, but if anything I've said that I think that I've become more conservative, but I've come to realise that what I've meant by that is that I've become more convicted, which I realise now isn't exactly the same thing. It's funny what tricks our minds play. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm not culpable, because I'm beginning to realise that I am.

'Sexless in the City' splits Kat Harris' journey into three phases - deconstruction, reconstruction and the practical. At least the first two terms represent very common language within the communities of Christians and ex-Christians who have realised that their beliefs have been, at time or another, untenable. I wasn't quite sure how to define that, because 'deconstruction' takes many forms, and I believe you even could argue that it will always look different from person to person, even if there are obvious similarities across a few common archetypes. Indeed reconstruction is most likely just as varied in its nature and result. Just because two people might have deconstructed similarly, they need not then rebuild their faith and beliefs in the same or even a remotely similar way. I have seen that demonstrated in my own life. Sometimes it can be challenging to realise that you have not as many compatriots as you first thought. Bear with me, because looking for stereotypes is not necessarily helpful in walking with those of similar beliefs and different, no matter the path leading to those views.

On the surface, Kat Harris may not appear like a writer versed in the language of deconstruction. After all, she's written a book about her decision to abstain from premarital sex, but it's not true that having deconstructed means being not conservative. Indeed being apparently conservative in one area does not preclude a progressive streak in another. Similarly to Kat Harris', my own life bears this out. It's often been said that this is the reason why Christians can struggle to find a political home in Australia.

It's alright to change your mind. Indeed I would even argue that it's necessary if you hope to learn and grow in response to new information and from living alongside others. We are so often defined by our opinions these days. That might not necessarily be a new concept, nor is it necessarily a bad thing, but that does not mean that our views must be static. May we always be moving towards justice and peace, and for many of us (including myself) that takes quite a lot of moving. Don't be afraid, beloveds. This is the path - even if it won't always look the same.

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