In just over 100 pages, the 23-year-old Kugler offers his thoughts on the subject. He said he has gathered material for his book from his own personal experiences, conversations with family, friends and mentors, and from his studies at Lee.
Kugler was born and raised in Cleveland. He graduated from Walker Valley High School, where he said he found his identity playing baseball and basketball. He currently attends Georgetown Baptist Church. He values it for its community and the deep relationships he has forged there.
“(Cleveland) was a really good environment to grow up in,” Kugler said. “I had everything I wanted — a very nice life, a very nice family, and I’ve been very fortunate.”
Kugler said the great irony of having everything he wanted was that it was not enough for him. This insight, which he said he gained at 16, was what brought him to his Christian conversion.
“What led me to Christ was my realization that you can actually have everything, and still not have anything,” Kugler said.
He believes the transformation he experienced upon his conversion helped him to live a more meaningful life. According to the preface in his book, he desires a similar transformation to occur for his readers, which was his purpose for writing.
The book attempts to crystallize the realizations he has made through his own rigorous study of Biblical Scriptures, Kugler said.
“I have found that Scripture does not prescribe ‘mindlessly’ obeying a master, but invites us into a relational dynamic with God the creator,” Kugler said.
Kugler admitted the process of this clarification was long and tedious. He said he edited the book about 11 times, often because he himself no longer agreed with things he had written. While he compared seeing the finished book to glimpsing a newborn baby, he portrayed the writing and editing process in a different way.
“It was like cleaning up puke and changing diapers,” Kugler said.
The public response to the content of his book has been largely positive, saying the only part of his writing people seem to find bothersome is his description of the Gospel, Kugler said.
In this illustration, he depicts a “pray this prayer and you will go to heaven” philosophy as dangerous. While understanding this may be uncomfortable for some, Kugler stands by his beliefs. At the same time, he recognizes how his thoughts may be molded and altered in the future.
“I expect that maturity will bring clarity and precision,” Kugler said.
Many Lee faculty have noted Kugler and the work he is doing. John Lombard, an adjunct in the Christian Ministries department and Kugler’s boss, was full of praise concerning the author.
“He is very consistent and conscientious,” Lombard said. “[He] really strives for excellence in the job that he does, so I highly respect Chris.”
Kugler said he hopes people reading his book are left with hope.
“I want it to be taken away that Scripture offers this spectacular vision of powerful, redeeming, restorative hope,” Kugler said. “There’s so much that we don’t even scratch the surface of.”