Here are seven questions with Leon Hayduchok.
1.Tell us about your book?
Based on the story of Adam and Eve, Dying to Control is a commentary on human nature, American culture and interpersonal relationships. Written in the genre of literary non-fiction, I use various literary devices to weave my personal story with observations about 21st century culture and the biblical account of Adam and Eve.
In the end, my objective was to address heavy theological topics in a deeply personal way in hopes of making the subject matter relevant and accessible to a wide array of readers – from layperson to scholar, from religious to agnostic.
2.What led you to write it?
Back when I was in seminary, I was writing a paper on the holiness of God and I felt an overwhelming sense to stop writing what I thought I already knew and read the story of Adam and Eve. As I read the story I began to see how God pursued Adam and Eve after they had sinned, which seemed odd to me because:
1. I had never noticed that before and…
2. I had always been taught that sin can’t exist in God’s presence. As I continued reading the story of Adam and Eve, I began to see God and my relationship with him in a whole new light.
Two weeks later, I woke up in the middle of the night with the thought, “What are you going to do about it?”
Wide awake and unable to go back to sleep, I went to my computer and started to write about how I thought I would someday write a book about my new understanding of the story and Adam and Eve.
3.Who is a writer that inspires you and why?
Henri Nouwen. To be honest, I’m more of a thinker than a writer, so the idea of writing a book was very intimidating to me. But when I started to read Nouwen, I saw a man willing to engage thoughts and ideas from a position of uncertainty and vulnerability.
He didn’t write from the ivory towers of higher education, but from the streets where people lived – places too messy for neat and organized theology. Nouwen helped me see that I didn’t need to have all the answers, or be a scholar, or even be a good writer. I just needed to be myself – a thinker who felt called to write a book about a world dying to control.
4.What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?
Finding my voice. It took me several years to develop a writing style that I was comfortable with—one that allowed me to address heady theological concepts in an easy-to-read fashion.
I also wanted the book to be personal; I wanted people to see my struggle with dying to control; and I wanted people to see that theology is tangible and practical and that the story of Adam and Eve is our story.
5.What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Before giving any advice I would ask the question, why – “Why do you want to be a writer?” For those seeking fame, fortune or have some other self-serving ambition, I would encourage them to think long and hard about whether or not they really want to be a writer.
For those who write as a hobby or because it’s helpful to them in some fashion, I would encourage them to continue writing as long as they enjoy it and see how things develop over time.
And for those that feel compelled to write because they have a story to tell, information to share, or a message to deliver, I would encourage them to be patient and to never give up.
It took me fourteen years to write Dying to Control. Hopefully it won’t take them that long, but you never know.
6.Where do you get your ideas?
That’s a hard question for me to answer. I’ve always been an inquisitive person and I’m an obsessive thinker, so ideas have always been flying in and around my head.
The bigger issue for me is trying to make sense of those nagging thoughts and ideas and getting my brain to shut down once in a while. If that sounds a little crazy, well then… call me crazy!
7. Anything that you’d like readers to know that I haven’t asked?
If I have to limit it to one thing, let me say this: faith grows in the fields of doubt.
Our modern quest to prove the existence of God, systematize our theology, and formulize our faith has made the Church anemic, and as a result, we have failed to feed billions of starving people around the world.
However, I have hope that things will change in the 21st century, that a post-modern Christian faith will emerge and flourish, and the fruit from that faith will feed people in every corner of our world.