Deconstructing your faith can seem like an overwhelming process to jump into, especially if you’ve spent much of your life embedded in Christian communities. There are a LOT of questions to ask and many answers for each question. Often, when you begin questioning your faith, you aren’t sure where to start. As a faith deconstruction coach, I’ve spent hours listening to clients sift through their changing beliefs as well as experiencing my own evolving faith journey, and I’ve written some very helpful guides and resources for you.
Articles to read as you begin your deconstruction
from toxic religion:
What is Deconstructing Faith?
Deconstructing faith is not a heretical, self-centered process like patriarchal, toxic religious leaders might have you believe. It’s really a journey in sanctification that focuses on basing your faith in God’s truth instead of man-made, unbiblical traditions.
Is Deconstructing Your Faith Biblical?
Because of the patriarchal and toxic backlash they receive, many women find themselves wondering if deconstructing their faith is biblical. (Spoiler alert: It totally is.) No matter the opinions of church leaders, the Bible actually supports a deconstructing faith journey.
Sometimes You Have to Leave the Church to Find God
Staying committed to calling out the practices, traditions, and leadership of toxic religion is EXHAUSTING. The work is good (and necessary), but the potential for burnout is real.
Not only that, but healing from trauma and abuse is really difficult when you stay in the environment where the abuse occurred. So if you’re feeling the weight of this in your church, leaving may be the best way for you to recover and end up closer to God in the long run.
Does Deconstruction Move You Toward Jesus or Away?
One of the biggest misconceptions I see about deconstructing is that it is a self-centered movement that leads people away from God. This always surprises me because most deconstructors I meet are tired of the church but actually want more of Jesus. Most are looking for a way to distance themselves from the church while remaining connected to God.
Deconstructing Your Faith Without Losing Friends and Family
I’m often asked about how to protect your relationships with friends and family while deconstructing. Will they understand why you’re asking hard questions? And if they don’t, or won’t, will they push you away? Whew. The prospect of losing those people who are closest to us is scary. Setting healthy boundaries with people you love will be vital to deconstructing your faith.
30 Signs Your Church is Toxic
Deconstructing is often confusing, especially in the beginning as you try to discern whether your church is healthy. When it comes to your faith, the last thing you want is to feel like you’re suffocating under the weight of legalism or fighting off racism, misogyny, and hate. But when you’re deeply embedded in the community, it can be challenging to see the warning signs.
How to Handle Online Bullies While Deconstructing Your Faith
If you’re challenging toxic religion, there’s a high chance that you’re going to run into some opposition. When you become more vocal about what you’re learning while deconstructing toxic religion, those who disagree with you are like moths to a flame. They attack and berate you for your questions and doubts about toxic beliefs that perpetuate harm. It’s easier to shake off the attacks from strangers, but it is very hurtful when the source is someone you care about.
Books to Help You Deconstruct:
You Can Talk to God Like That by Abby Norman
Deconstructing your faith requires a LOT of work to start letting your emotions flow again. If like most of us, no one ever taught you how to do it in a healthy way, it can be terrifying to just open the floodgates and see what comes out. Lament is ALWAYS part of untangling ourselves from toxic religion and patriarchal systems and You Can Talk to God Like That will help you let all that grief out without self-destructing.
Women Rising by Meghan Tschanz
Patriarchy and toxic religious culture oppress women and their voices in order to claim and maintain power. But the key to achieving justice and equity lies in women using their voices–and the Church listening. Women Rising by Meghan Tschanz focuses on stories of women around the world, and why feminine voices are needed for justice.
I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
We can’t experience true freedom in the church if white people like us choose to rest in our privilege and turn away from the trauma racism inflicts on people of color. In I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown shares the story of her life growing up as an African American woman surrounded by white people, white culture, and white expectations.
Holy Hot Mess by Mary Katherine Backstrom
Holy Hot Mess is about embracing your everyday life─even those moments when things don’t go according to plan or when it feels like everything is falling apart. Mary Katherine Backstrom shares hilariously relatable stories about faith, friendship, motherhood, marriage, and living with bipolar disorder.
Hey there friend! I’m Angela J Herrington, MA, LSCC and I’m a Faith Deconstruction coach who provides soul care for people who are untangling from toxic religion.
As a certified life coach and seminary-trained online pastor, I have a lot of experience helping people connect with God. But this is also a very personal journey for me.
For the last decade, I’ve been on my own journey to break free from learned smallness and step into wild sacred holy womanhood. Long story short, after finding faith in my early 30’s I began to realize that what I was hearing from the church about women didn’t always line up with what God was telling me. I loved God but realized the church was teaching some really toxic stuff.
So this Enneagram 8, first born, Gen Xer started deconstructing. I questioned and challenged everything I thought I knew about faith, gender, and myself.
It was messy and took a lot of work to sort it out. Therapy. Coaching. Bodywork. Spiritual healing. Conferences and retreats. And even a couple of college degrees.
You name it…I tried it.
But the thing that made the biggest difference was the presence and support of wise people who helped me up when I didn’t know where else to turn.
That’s why in September 2021, I created and hosted The Deconstructing Faith Summit. I gathered 20 phenomenal deconstruction experts to share their expertise and hosted over 1100 attendees in the week-long virtual event. Those who attended realized they weren’t alone, had a safe space to ask questions, learned dozens of strategies to help them deconstruct, and released tons of pent-up emotions they didn’t even know they were carrying around.
We laughed, we cried, and we danced, but the best part was…We did it together.
It was AMAZING and it was just the beginning.
So now, I’m doubling down on my commitment to create an inclusive support system for people, like you, who are longing to get away from toxic religion and cultivate a nourishing spiritual life.