The story of Adam and Eve—one of the oldest and most widely cherished stories in human history—has been misused and abused in the battleground of America’s culture war. Dating back to the Scopes Trial of 1925, evolutionists and creationists have been tearing this story apart in their fight over the origin of man, losing sight of one significant detail: the story of Adam and Eve was not written as a scientific treatise but as an account of human nature and our relationship with God and one another.
Dying to Control offers a fresh and provocative look at the garden of Eden drama, revealing how the story of Adam and Eve is our story. By weaving autobiographical vignettes with cultural observations and biblical exposition, this penetrating work exposes our obsession with control and the extreme lengths we go to preserve and promote self. Yet, despite our willingness to kill ourselves and one another in an attempt to control our world and eternal destinies, there is hope—extraordinary hope.
This overdue commentary on American culture offers a compelling perspective on how to experience the fullness of life in a world dying to control.
“Where are you?”Like Adam and Eve, we all hide among the trees when we are afraid. There, we congregate with those who view the world in similar ways and welcome what they see of us. We hide and gather with like-minded people because we fear the world seeing the naked truth of who we are, what we think, and the shameful deeds we have done. We fear being exposed, for once we are truly known we must face an even greater fear—the fear of rejection.To avoid living in fear, we grope for control of our lives and surroundings. Desperate to gain control of our world and our eternal destinies, we hijack anything that might give us the power needed to exert our will. Again and again, however, in our attempts to preserve and promote self we end up killing ourselves and one another. This sad, sad irony has been an underlying theme of human history.So, what do we do? In a world bleeding with religious conflict, in a world coughing from pollution, in a world starving for nourishment and love, what do we do?I believe lasting solutions begin with making honest evaluations of ourselves as individuals, families, neighborhoods, and nations, and as a world community. Instead of covering our humanity, we need to interact and seek to understand one another in the midst of our humanity. Only after we stop hiding and blaming others for the woes of our world will we be able to own and address the shame that we have each brought upon the human race.My hope for humankind in the twenty-first century is that we will emerge from the shadows of shame to experience freedom from our obsession with control. This is the kind of freedom the world needs—a freedom that releases unconditional love and compassion.My hope for this book is that it will stimulate self-reflection and dialogue that will draw people out of hiding to experience life with one another. I also hope this book will contribute to the theological framework of the next generation of Christians who believe they have a God-given responsibility to participate in restoring an Eden-like beauty to every dark corner of our world.In the end, we have a choice—both individually and collectively. We can continue fighting for control by ignoring, denying, deflecting, rationalizing, and whitewashing the truth of who we are, what we think, and the shameful deeds we do; or, with open and outstretched hands, we can submit to one another. Fight or submit—this is the choice set before us. This is the dilemma of dying to control.
Leon R. Hayduchok is the founding pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Utica, New York. With a master’s degree in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary and nine years of pastoral experience, Leon brings seasoned insight to navigating the joy and pain of interpersonal relationships. In 2010, Leon, along with his wife and three daughters, relocated to Houston, Texas, where he now offers his distinct perspective and style to a broader audience through his writings, seminars, and workshops.