Tuesday, 1 June 2010


Today’s post is the first of a three part blog.

“DECONSTRUCTION” is frequently used in society today; we hear that “Society is broken” we are in need of “root and branch” change, we are plagued with mantras and visual signs of ‘Change is Needed’ and ‘Its time to think again how we do things.’

Politicians build careers on it, businessmen build large empires on change and deconstruction.

But of what use is it you may ask?

When we see those who espouse it living in direct contradiction to what is being said.

To some deconstruction is a technical term that has often been misunderstood, it’s often perceived as threatening and confrontational and leads to DESTRUCTION.

A search in a dictionary reveals;

A philosophical and critical movement, starting in the 1960s and esp. applied to the study of literature, that questions all traditional assumptions about the ability of language to represent reality and emphasizes that a text has no stable reference or identification because words essentially only refer to other words and therefore a reader must approach a text by eliminating any metaphysical or ethnocentric assumptions through an active role of defining meaning, sometimes by a reliance on new word construction, etymology, puns, and other word play.

Deconstruction instead describes a particular method of literary criticism that seeks to get behind the text to reveal “Embedded Assumptions” another word being our Mental Models.

I wonder if subconsciously when we see or hear the word DECONSTRUCTION we see and think DESTRUCTION.

We need to begin a conversation and ask questions; start “to undo or take apart in order to arrive at a deeper understanding, allowing for a creative rereading” - Barbara Johnson – The Critical Difference.

Another term of phrase is Re-Imagining: – a term I will talk about in a later post. Eddie Gibbs in his book Church Morph, which I heartily recommend speaks of the transformation process (deconstruction) as the “morphing” of the church.

A search in a dictionary reveals;

The animated transformation of one image into another by gradually distorting the first image so as to move certain chosen points to the position of corresponding points in the second image.

Picture by Jade Ashcroft.

I like the term morph it creates warmth and certain safety somehow. It is derived from the Greek word morphe, which appears in the New Testament in a significant context. The apostle Paul writes to the Philippians 2:5-8

5For, let this mind be in you that is also in Christ Jesus,

6who, being in the form [morphe] of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God,

7but did empty himself, the form [morphe] of a servant having taken, in the likeness of men having been made,

8and in fashion having been found as a man, he humbled himself, having become obedient unto death -- death even of a cross, (Young’s Literal Translation).

Gordon Fee explains the meaning of morphe as denoting ‘shape’ or ‘form’. This is precisely what Jesus did as he embarked on His mission, It cost him everything; yet he gained more.

The paradox of Jesus' remark that we should ‘lose our life to save it springs to mind’.

Deconstruction is costly but worth it, before embarking hastily on our journey we should take care to understand the process the best we can having faith that once that God will journey with us.

What I would ask is that we see DECONSTRUCTION not as DESTRUCTION but as BREAKTHROUGH.
For deconstruction to be of any use to anyone it has to work on a personal level first it seems pointless to attempt to reshape, deconstruct, transform, re-imagining; anything without first applying the principles to our daily lives. Our lives have to morph in order to ensure that destruction doesn’t occur without it our rhetoric is useless, powerless and inept.

I hope this post has provoked some thoughts?

Tomorrows post. DECONSTRUCTION.2. – ‘Embedded Assumptions’

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