“In deconstruction, we are saved from being saved, just as being lost is the only way to start searching.” – John Caputo

In retrospect, one of the most significant turning points in my spiritual life was giving up on being saved. Not that I considered myself “an unbeliever” or a “non-Christian;” rather, I began to interpret my “belief” and “Christianity” not as something that made me better or in God’s good graces. Being a Christian did not give me more security nor did it make me one of the elect. Several years ago, I began to envision my Christian faith as something that made me less secure, less saved, less certain, and “a friend of sinners.”

This certainly helped take the pressure off of faith! It also began to eliminate in my mind the categories and distinctions between those who are “in” and those who are “out,” as well as the further distinction between those who “have it together” and those who don’t. To believe in unconditional grace is to believe that no one has any more favor or any privileged position in the eyes of God than anyone else.

One of my theological interests over the years has been to study the relationship between deconstruction, theology, and spiritual development. Deconstruction works against our certainties and destabilizes positions of privilege. Personally, I think that deconstruction might be important for Christianity, for religion, and for spirituality. In a secular world where most are turning away from religion (for good reasons), it may be that deconstruction, or something like it, is one of the only hopes for those of us who find value in religion.

If we allow deconstruction to inform our religious perspective and our religious communities, then we are “saved from being saved.” The mission of our religion then changes. The nature of proselytizing and evangelism changes. We are no longer holding out a belief or a way of life that others must conform to. We are no longer seeking to “convert” or otherwise change the “nonbeliever.” We cease to divide the world into the saved and the nonsaved. Instead, “we are saved from being saved, just as being lost is the only way to start searching.” We are bidding all seekers to join together in the common cause of seeking. We do so in the belief that we can all both teach and learn from each other.

4 thoughts on “Saved from being saved

  1. Wonderfully refreshing – thank you. “To believe in unconditional grace is to believe that no one has any more favor or any privileged position in the eyes of God than anyone else.” Surely this is the very essence of it all.

    For me it’s a paradox. I at last feel secure in my uncertainties. Again, thanks for a marvellous post.

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  2. It is so good to hear your voice again. I am very interested in exploring this whole topic, in my own mind, and to dialogue with others. What does it look like when, “The mission of our religion then changes. The nature of proselytizing and evangelism changes” ? What does that mean for churches, for individual Christians, for parents?

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    1. Kelly……Out of curiosity, what kind of dialog might you have with folks in your faith community? What kind of responses might you hear?

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