Why do you keep asking me to do this?
That is a question that many of us have asked God. It’s a question that my guest this week, Natalie Runion, asked the Lord during a season of church hurt while serving under toxic leadership. I invited Natalie onto the Hearing Jesus Podcast to talk through this difficult topic and share how the Lord met her in that place of pain. Together we talk about the concept of “deconstruction,” and how we can help those in a place of pain to find healing through Jesus. Here is a small excerpt of our conversation; you can find the link to the entire episode below.
Can you share a little about what led you to write your new book, Raised to Stay? And your thoughts on the “deconstruction” movement?
It was really in that wrestling that the Lord gave me this concept of being raised to stay, which isn’t about staying in toxic churches or staying in bad places, or abusive places, but rather that John 15 model of abiding in Christ, that when we abide in Christ, that doesn’t mean stay in a church. But when we stay in our relationship with Jesus, then we can produce good fruit. And sometimes, that good fruit is going to involve having to leave a bad place to find some healing. Maybe this will take two or three years for a church where you can really bloom and plant and grow some roots. And I don’t think we should rush that process.
Throughout all of Scripture, you see examples of things being torn down; we see in Ecclesiastes that there’s a time to build and a time to tear down. And in Joshua, the Lord is telling Joshua that you’re going to go and you’re going to plant, and you’re going to tear down things. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a bad thing; it can mean that we’re going to tear down religion, we’re going to tear down a toxic treatment of our congregants and our staff, we’re going to not stand for it, and we’re going to advocate for those who have been marginalized and set aside. And so, when we hear this word deconstruction, I want to challenge the church not to run from that word, or to get defensive, when we hear someone saying that they’re deconstructing their faith because perhaps it’s not that they’re running away from Jesus. But they’re actually tearing down idols and their life, they’re tearing down things that have caused them to question if God loves them based on unhealthy religious things that have been placed on top of them. And so I really try hard. When someone says that they’re deconstructing to ask deep questions, tell me your story. Tell me about your life. Tell me about your relationship with Jesus. And not just to let that word scare us or cause us to be defensive but to lean in and be better listeners as the family of God.
Listen to the entire episode that dropped today: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hearing-jesus-daily-bible-study-daily-devotional-hear/id1615623952