Hi all. This is a thread about what is commonly referred to as "deconstruction," Joshua Harris' new "course," and the grifters of the post-evangelical internet. Buckle up. #purityculture #churchtoo #deconstruction
I've been holding my tongue and biding my time on the "deconstruction" movement for a while now. Language evolves and we needed a useful term for the process many of us have gone through that involves unlearning, deconverting, and/or reconfiguring the toxic faith we once had.
What I'm about to say is in no way meant to imply that one must have specific credentials or certifications to be an expert in one's own experience, nor is it meant to imply that credentialing orgs are free of white supremacy, queerphobia, classism, and general vileness.
But I want us all, those of us who have been through what is called "deconstruction," to take a moment and think about all the different ways that the "calling of God" or sincerely held religious belief has been offered as a substitute for expertise, training and wisdom.
Not an actual counselor? No problem, all you need is the Bible! No knowledge about geology or anthropology or Hebrew? All good, you can still interpret Genesis 1. 21 years old and single? Let's give you a book deal to talk about what makes a successful, godly marriage. See?
The internet is an incredible tool, and there are incredible people out there, both therapists and coaches and folks who just happened to create IG/Twitter accounts who are doing great work to help people unlearn the toxic elements of their faith and be well going forward.
But we also have to recognize that the internet also gives folks who have no fucking business teaching others one lick about deconstruction, purity culture, trauma or religion the platform and ability to do so if they are charismatic enough and have enough followers.
This is kind of about Joshua Harris. I do want to point out that it's the most fucked-up fitting turn of events that the person who published I Kissed Dating Goodbye at 21 and single is now coaching on "deconstruction" when he JUST got out a couple of years ago.
But it's also so much bigger. Your energy, mind, heart spirituality & financial resources are precious. Not everyone who can make a trendy instagram graphic is a reliable guide for your mental health & spiritual journey. There are folks who want to capitalize on this moment.
To be honest with y'all this is one of the big reasons I made the decision to go back to school last year. Because I recognized that I was starting to get out of my depth and I wanted to put the rigorous academic and practical teeth behind the lived experience I already had.
Other than Joshua Harris, I'm not meaning this thread to be a "callout" or something of any one particular person. And to continue to be honest, I'm disappointed in Harris. I expected better and I don't care that you can take the course for free if you were "harmed" by his books.
I just want us to think critically about who we're allowing to influence us. Being the expert in your own experience does not mean you are an expert about that same thing as it relates to all other people it has happened to. That's a crucial difference and we need to remember it.

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More from @emilyjoypoetry

30 Apr
Sigh. So all I've really been focusing on the last couple of days is finishing up my semester & I'm fucking EXHAUSTED but the work of #ChurchToo does not care how many pages I had to write this week. I'm gonna tweet about Josh Duggar and Moody Bible Institute so buckle up & TW ⬇️
First of all, the news about Josh Duggar is traumatizing af for a lot of us especially those of us who come from fundamentalist homeschooling backgrounds (hi 🖐️) and one thing I'm gonna need every media outlet to stop doing immediately is treating purity culture like it's *cute.*
So much of the coverage of the last decade has been like "let's go look at these evangelical freaks with their purity balls & their weird church services! how unique!" It has felt like a field trip to the evangelical zoo but this shit is not cute. It's killing people. #ChurchToo
Read 13 tweets
13 Jan
Y’all I am driving right now but have I got a good story for you when I get home
OKAY so I was in a Zoom meeting when my old landlord from the tornado house called me, which I immediately assumed was a butt dial because we haven’t lived there since March and he is a middle aged dad
But he left me a voicemail that was like “hey a package of books was delivered to the old house for you and someone opened it and went through it and left it there but I grabbed it for you so if you want to come pick it up let me know”
Read 6 tweets
12 Jan
What's fascinating/horrifying/important to note is how the evangelical Christianity of my youth not only encourages but requires its adherents to do just this. Beyond just the standard and obvious "the heart is deceitful," "beat your body" etc. shit, the distrust piece is key.
We were taught that the world calls what is good, evil and what is evil, good. We were taught people don't know what's best for themselves without the gospel, and that it was our job to show them. We were taught that outsiders' desires were the product of their sinful humanity.
So if an outsider group—LGBTQ folks, for example—says "OUCH" when we step on their toes with the gospel, that's because their minds & hearts haven't been renewed by the Holy Spirit. An "OUCH" from someone is absolutely not a reason to stop doing what you're doing in this context.
Read 4 tweets
20 Oct 20
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times. The sun is setting on the days where you could get away with the evil these people have perpetrated with a slap on the wrist and an office switch. #ChurchToo #MoodyToo
For clarity Moody Bible Institute announced this in their weekly President's Chapel this morning, which is available for viewing (at least currently) here: facebook.com/watch/?v=98169… I'm going to watch the relevant parts and tweet quotes in case it gets taken down. #ChurchToo
This chapel service will be about "one of the challenges we're currently facing," says Moody's president of ~1.5 years, Mark Jobe. Jobe says he will address this with a "shepherd's heart and a dad's heart." #ChurchToo
Read 30 tweets
17 Oct 20
Okay I'm supposed to be writing a paper right now so I have time
Number one. There is no scientific consensus on "when life begins" because the question of "when life begins" is primarily a spiritual/theological question, not a scientific one. Really all depends on what we mean by "life," the various beliefs on the existence of a "soul," etc.
Read 20 tweets
9 Oct 19
All this Ellen talk has got me thinking about the other day when I was being interviewed by someone who was coming from a more conservative theological viewpoint and they asked me what it would take for me to be in community with people I disagreed with theologically.
And I said to them listen, I am constantly in community with people I disagree with theologically. In both directions. I’m close friends with atheists and I’m close friends with people who take the whole fucking nicene creed extremely seriously.
Where I run into problems with people is when it gets to matters of human dignity and civil rights. My life is not a theological issue. My personhood is not a theological issue that exists to be agreed or disagreed with. I reject the premise of questions that start there.
Read 6 tweets

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