As I explained in my Hating God post, hating God through control began my freshman year of high school. At the time, I was ready to check out of the church. That said, I really didn’t have any other place to go. I was an outcast at school, the magic of Boy Scouts vanished, and I didn’t have any other hobbies beyond video games. I was, in every way, lost.
Then a guy named Ken, who volunteered with my parents’ church’s youth group, noticed me. I can’t explain why, but somehow, this lost kid ended up on his radar and he made it his personal mission to save me. Ken was a bit wild and crazy. In my straight-laced world, he had the appeal of a rebel. But more than anything, he cared.
I wasn’t any good at basketball, but he used to drive miles out of his way to pick me up and drop me off for the church’s youth league games and practices. He did the same for other youth group events. Perhaps most importantly, he helped me connect with other youth. Before long, I had friends.
This created a new conundrum for me. I hated God, but all of my friends were connected to the church. How do you balance those two realities? For me, the answer was to control. I used my intellect and the discipline of theology to box in God. It started in high school and continued through undergrad. My Master of Divinity degree is descriptive as my life’s aim was mastering the divine.
It’s hard to identify when I stopped boxing in God. Perhaps in some ways, I have yet to. But here are a few key steps along the journey and a project to help all of us embrace an uncontrollable faith.