What we learn from Jerrod Carmichael and Rothaniel — CJ Quartlbaum
I like taking things apart and putting them back together. Mostly arguments, not really anything physical because my hands are useless. Nevertheless, I like to reconfigure things. It’s a good mental exercise. More people should do it.
A lot of Christians are doing it right now. This is widely known as deconstruction. People are taking a look at the faith they were raised with and trying to figure out which parts should stay and which need to be thrown away. When you step back, this makes sense, given the last 75 years of Western Church history.
I recently watched Jerrod Carmichaels’s new stand up special Rothaniel. The big news around it was that he came out as gay during the show. Honestly, that’s the least interesting part for me. There’s a point where he says, “I’m still a Christian but I had to reconfigure God and what God is and what he means in order to accept myself. I had to rebuild…”
This is something we have all been guilty of: reconfiguring God to match our sensibilities.
We are all prone to this error. Deconstruction isn’t necessarily a bad thing but many people are deconstructing themselves out of faith in Jesus.
I understand this. When we come face to face with God and what he says is right, it’s natural to recoil where we disagree. The question is, what do we do next? The answer to that determines everything. We either work to submit our lives to Him or we find ways to make God say what he has not said. And I can readily admit that for someone like Jerrod Carmichael, submitting to God in an area of life so core to his identity, is incredibly difficult.
There is another point in the special in which Jerrod, trying to reconcile his mother’s faith with his own journey, says, “But as much as she believes in God, I believe in personal growth and feeling free. I feel freer…”
Of course we feel free when we’ve twisted God into who we want him to be. It’s kind of like what I wrote about a few weeks ago, we feel peace when we make the rules. But are we really free or have we made ourselves slaves to the thing we have placed before God? The thing that we have now put all of our hope and trust in.
I know it may sound counterintuitive but actual freedom is found in the constraints God places on us. He knows far better than we do. He knows what is actually for our good. And we know that He is for our joy. With those truths in hand, we know anything God says no to is not him being a mean Father but a loving one putting us in the best position to flourish as He designed.
The fake freedom that comes from putting ourselves in God’s place never lasts because it’s not real. Many of us know this firsthand. Jesus is calling us to something far better than the mental gymnastics we have to use to justify ourselves. He is calling us to true freedom in Him.
I am not against deconstruction. Examination is healthy and good but in the end, may your reconfigured faith draw you nearer to God and not further away.
I saw this tweet earlier this week:
Originally published at https://www.cjquartlbaum.com on April 29, 2022.