I just finished reading the book “Dying to Control: The 21st Century Dilemma”, by Leon R. Hayduchok, and I must say, this is a very relevant book in our post-modern (or even post -christian) world that we live in. In fact, you can go to Leon’s website and read a post on his blog about how he struggles with embracing the term post-modern within christianity today. It’s worth reading for sure. This book brings to light many great points for one to wrestle with in their spiritual journey, but one question emphatically sticks out that needs to be on everyone’s mind. Within the first couple chapters of his book, he makes you realize that God is asking everyone a simple question that may take a lifetime to answer. The question is “Do you trust me?”. What a simple yet profound question coming from the Creator. Do we trust God? Do we even realize that we can trust God? Do we even see God as trust worthy? This is the main theme that Leon addresses in his book and he claims that this one question is key to understanding what really happened in the Garden of Eden between Adam and Eve and with God. It all came down to trust and our ability as human beings to handle it, understand it, and then eventually put it into action. Of course, if you have read the story in Genesis, you may already know the outcome, but Dying to Control: The 21st Century Dilemma”, by Leon R. Hayduchok, has a few very relevant points as we answer whether or not we trust God in our own lives and collectively as a community of believers in the here and now.
While the author asks you to answer the question for yourself of whether you trust God, he also explains a root cause of why, in fact, we cannot honestly say yes to the question. He explains so clearly in Part 1 of the his book, just like Adam and Eve, that we do not trust God because we are not truly honest with ourselves in this ever increasing consumeristic world. We are so bent on living for ourselves that we never stop to be honest in our relationship with our Creator. Leon says,
“The instinctive desire to protect and preserve self is what inspires us to live like mannequins on display, covering and hiding the truth of who we are, what we think, and the shameful things we’ve said and done”.
We so desire to fit in and belong that we are willing to be “mannequins”, as the book explains. If one is really interested in becoming an honest person, we must see that we can be fake to fit in. Leon’s personal touch draws you in as he tells stories from his own life to drive his points home. He connects with the reader and shows that his life is full of times when he realized his mannequin-self coming out to play. However, I will say that when the book dives into all the explanations as to why we shift blame for our poor choices on to others, we quickly see that it hits home in a personal and painful way. While it may seem to be a little despairing at the beginning, the book honestly brings us to the edge of what really matters, our relationship with God.
For those that like theories on what really happened in the Garden of Eden, whether you take the texts as literal or as a story, Leon Hayduchok gives a big spoonful of what he thinks may have caused the downward spiral and expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden. He uses a compelling visual to explain what the idea of the “Knowledge of Good and Evil” may be, and he explains that this knowledge is the point of the story not the fruit that everyone likes to focus on. In addition, while differentiating our understanding, that is humanities, against God’s intentions for humanity, he gave an excellent breakdown of his theory, thoughts, and ultimately his application of God’s intentions for everyday life and how we can view the world around us in a different light; in a light that comes from the Father. One thing is for sure when you read this book, the world has not changed from the earliest of civilization. We want to fight for control and Leon explains it well when he says,
“We humans are in a constant struggle with the natural world and each another as we seek to control our lives and our eternal destinies. Unfortunately, in our attempts to preserve and promote self, we are killing ourselves and one another—we are literally dying to control.
We are no different than Adam and Eve, and it is pretty safe to say that if we were in there position, we would have fallen just the same. However, Leon brings God’s love and devotion to his creation into play and proves that he is not some distant, aloof deity. On the contrary, God is Love and cares for each and everyone of us. Leon’s thoughts are as follows,
“What overwhelms me most about God’s pursuit of Adam and Eve is not his undying commitment to humankind; what overwhelms me most is how God’s reaching out to Adam and Eve seems to contradict a fundamental tenet of the Judeo-Christian belief system. Central to both Judaism and Christianity is the doctrine that sin and sinful beings cannot exist in the holy presence of God, but in the garden of Eden drama—the story that explains when and how sin entered the human race—God is portrayed as one who reaches out to sinful humanity.”
I loved this book as a whole, but I also loved this book for it points to the fact that God has loved us first and it is God who has pursued us in the midst of our violence and fear of the truth. It is his love that draws us into a relationship and right understanding of his intentions for us. Read this book purely for that reason alone. God is Love.
One final, yet excellent thought on the Genesis 3:16 passage, that has been obliterated by so many pastors for so many years, is that God intended an equal relationship between Adam and Eve. Leon gives the most down to earth explanation, with such clarity, on “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”. When you read this book, stop on chapter 8 and contemplate how Leon’s words may be enlightening and also healing at the same time. I would agree that most marriages have an upside down view of how God intended love in a marriage to be. This book suggests a better way they may be helpful.
Overall, “Dying to Control: The 21st Century Dilemma” is an excellent book for personal contemplation. We can never do harm to ourselves or those around us when we think of how we can be more loving to others as we lay down the pursuits of our own selfish desires. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to be honest with themselves. Who wants to become trust worthy to those around them. Who wants to be in a trusting and loving relationship with the Creator. However, as we all know, you cannot have love without a choice. Leon sums up my thoughts well by saying,
“Adam and Eve had a choice: they could either express their trust in God by eating from the Tree of Life, or they could trust in their own understanding by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was their decision to make, and God gave them the freedom to make it.”
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.