Everyone seems to be talking about deconstructionism these days. Everyone. And especially Christians.
The book Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism from philosopher James K.A. Smith was very helpful in introducing postmodern (and, subsequently, deconstructionist) thought to me. To summarize Smith’s reflections on the writings of the father of desconstructionism himself, Jacques Derrida:
Derrida’s well-known statement – “There is nothing outside the text.” – should in all actuality lead us back to understand, as best we can, the greatest text God has given us, that is holy Scripture. Yet, this text should also find its best interpretation within the Spirit-governed community of the church. God forbid we find ourselves thinking the highest attainment in the Christian life is private interpretations of Scripture.
Smith’s book on postmodernism is accessible to the non-philosopher (like me). Knowing certain terms have found their way into the language of popular culture, I encourage others to consider reading Smith’s work so that we can better understand, from a leading Christian philosopher, what deconstruction is actually about.
I have written further thoughts about Smith’s interaction with Derrida. You can read those on this post.