Reconstructing Faith, Part One – Raised Catholic episode 89

Photo by Kerry Campbell

The following is a transcript of a Raised Catholic podcast episode. To listen to the episode, click here.

Today is episode 89: Reconstructing Faith, Part One

Hi friends. If you’ve listened to Raised Catholic from the very beginning (and actually, this is how I recommend you listen because the episodes are sort of designed to build one on top of the other), but anyway, if you have listened in that way, you’ll know that the whole concept of this podcast began with the fire, destruction and ongoing rebuilding of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. That great church was filled with well over seven centuries of worship, art, and history. Wow. Countless people – pilgrims and tourists alike – have visited Notre Dame – 12 million of them a year before the fire, and the impact of that grand place on so many personal faith stories from all over the world for such a long stretch of time is not something we could ever quantify, but there’s no denying that Notre Dame was a legendary holy place. When the cathedral was destroyed by fire in April of 2019, the whole world was shocked at the loss. Maybe you remember hearing about it in the news at the time. But for me, there was something in my spirit which immediately saw it as a metaphor for what was happening within the Catholic Church and so many individual faith lives at that time.

Like Notre Dame, the Catholic Church has suffered destruction, much of it the consequence of its own choices, unfortunately: the abuse of children and the related cover-ups, clericalism, politicization and more. News headlines and statistics about church membership and attendance, especially in the United States, tell the story of a divided church very much in decline. And just like at Notre Dame, any attempt at rebuilding must be purposeful, careful, and methodical, as we sift through ashes to discover what is essential and valuable in order to move forward, intentionally creating a structure that both honors the past and looks toward the future. This is in large part what the current Synod on Synodality is all about, hearing from the faithful at this critical juncture about the direction we will go. The Church has a unique challenge, responsibility, and opportunity in these days to make a spiritual home in which the faithful can find beauty and safety as they pursue relationship with God and God’s people on their life journey. And friend, each one of us has that same challenge and opportunity as well.

Here at Raised Catholic, I’ve tried to make a space in which disaffected cradle Catholics could feel comfortable and encouraged as they question and build their faith both inside and outside of church walls.  The process of faith deconstruction is a tender, sometimes worrying, and often painful experience and there’s no timetable for it, no road map.  It’s hard to say when the process of deconstruction is ‘done’ and reconstruction begins, and in fact I think we would probably be wise to carry our deconstructing, discerning lens to our beliefs throughout our lives as we grow. When it comes to our faith, there’s no such thing as arriving, this side of Heaven. 

In the next several episodes, I’d like us to explore what a reconstructing faith might look like.  I want to be clear that this doesn’t necessarily mean finding a church community, though it might. Church does not equal faith, but a wonderful church community is so valuable. Reconstruction does mean rebuilding a faith practice that we can live and thrive inside of and which we can call home. As the rebuilding process continues at Notre Dame, so too with us.

In the next several episodes we will review faith deconstruction as a concept, though if you want to hear a whole episode on just that, you can check out episode 22 of this podcast, it’s called Deconstructing Catholic. From there, we’ll move through some elements of what some call deconstruction and others call detangling, and then we’ll get into reconstruction, or evolving faith, always remembering that this process, like the stages of grief, is not a linear one, but is much more cyclical. As we stumble through the wilderness of deconstruction, we discern, we gather information, and we rebuild our faith practice in real time, in relationship with God who never leaves our side, and this is something that we as adults can and probably should do over and over again as we grow and change ourselves. 

So friend, I truly hope you’ll join me in this series. I really think it will be a helpful one for you and I in this season, especially as we move into the fall. I’d like to leave you today with a psalm that might be a great touchstone for us as we go. I pray it finds you in the deepest part of you as you hear from God directly. 

Psalm 121: My Help Comes from the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

This process of faith deconstruction and reconstruction could very well be renamed our ‘going out and our coming in’, and oh, I love those words to describe this process. Friend, there’s no place we can go, literally nowhere that God is not. He keeps us, and that is such good news today. 

That’s it for me this week, friend. If you need me, you can find me on Instagram @kerrycampbellwrites or on my blog at mylittleepiphanies.com. Thanks so much for rating, reviewing, subscribing and most importantly, sharing this podcast with a friend.  That really makes a difference in growing our community, so thanks. If you’d like to support this podcast financially, there’s a way for you to do that in the show notes, along with lots of resources to help you start this series with a good foundation for learning, so do check all of that out, but before we go, let’s pray together.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.

God, you tell us in Ecclesiastes that there is a season for everything. Whether we are in a season of deconstruction or reconstruction or some whole other season when it comes to the practice of our faith, help us to remember that there is no place we can go that is apart from you. In the coming apart and the coming together, you are always with us, helping us to discern and build a faith that is whole and healthy. Thank you that you are, as your daughter Hagar called you, the God who sees. Thank you that we are never ever alone, no matter where our faith journey takes us.

In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Well thanks so much for listening today, friend, and I’ll see you next time.

Show Notes

This week starts a series which explores the rebuilding of faith practices following or during a season of deconstruction. I hope the resources below will give you a good foundation to enter into this topic well.

f you’d like to connect with me, find me on Instagram or on my blog.  If you’d like to help support this podcast financially, there’s now a way to do just that, and thank you – visit me on my page at buymeacoffee.com! Thanks as always for sharing, subscribing, rating, and reviewing, as this helps our community to grow!

1. Evolving Faith: community, conference and podcast

2. Instagram follow: Kate Boyd, author and Bible teacher

3. Memoir: Searching For Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church, by Rachel Held Evans

4. Deconstructing Catholic – episode 22 of Raised Catholic

5. Book: Faith After Doubt, by Brian MacLaren

6. Community and resources: Compassionate Christianity

7. Song: Be Thou My Vision, by Audrey Assad

8. Song: Common Ground, by Matt Maher featuring Dee Wilson

9. Album: Common Ground, by Matt Maher – I could not conceive of a better reconstruction soundtrack. It’s inspiring and raises my heart and eyes up. Thankful.

10. IG Post – the poem I wrote on the day of the Notre Dame fire

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