Too Mutch

...a safe place to dance with ideas, play with theology, and re-create a life implicated by God

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Sneaky Holiday

It’s “sneaky” because…

All of a sudden, out of the blue, when you least expected it—there it is. IN YOUR FACE. Pressure. Celebrate me, it demands. Be creative and smart and…well…you should be a little sneaky too. White lies don’t count when you are surprising someone, but you better hope they aren’t trying to surprise you too. Otherwise, all the hard work, lying and sneakiness will be for naught. Let’s make this easier. Let’s give ALL the responsibility for surprise, for creativity, and for unforgettable romance to the gender that usually gets blindsided by this holiday. Great idea. Then, he can use his impromptu “sneakiness” as a cover for completely forgetting this national Holiday.

Thank You, Hallmark, for Valentine’s Day. (pause to remove tongue from cheek)
[image taken from]

About a week ago, my Valentine (of 9 yrs) says, “I had an idea for Valentine’s Day.” I immediately thought, “uhhhhh, it isn’t even February yet.” Some people, such as my wife, take most of the mysterious sneakiness out of life—they love to plan! Nevertheless, I’m baled out here. She’s got a plan. I’m sure it’s a great plan. I’ll luuuuuuuuvvvvvvv it. And, well, she did have a good plan. We’d go out for a nice dinner with a generous gift certificate we had received, we’d eat slow and talk a lot, and yada yada yada, we’d have a great night together, just the two of us.

That got me thinking. What in the world are we doing with this Hallmark holiday? Besides dropping some serious loot on cards, candy, dinners, movies, trips, jewelry (don’t get me started on Blood Diamond), lingerie, etc.? Is this a responsible use of our money and time? Is it justifiable? Even if it is justifiable (we do, after all, need more date nights), is it best, wise, generous, revolutionary, etc.? Is this holiday marked more by generous love or by capitalistic consumption? We can’t even say we are doing it in the name of religion—unless your religion is Reaganomics. All we’ve got is a contrived holiday that drives a night of romance for some…while some long for a touch or a connection or a meaningful conversation with a partner…while others meekly long for something as simple as a meal or a blanket. Like I said…it got me thinking…

So I ventured into somewhat dangerous territory—challenging the romantic plans of your spouse (though it isn’t so dangerous when you’ve got a remarkable wife). “What if,” I say, “we did something a little different this year? Could we be creatively subversive? Do something that demonstrates the kingdom we are residents of?” No pots flying at my head. No cold shoulder. Not much of a response at all. She just absorbed it. I could tell she was caught a bit off guard, but not feeling hurt or offended or overlooked. She just likes to chew on things. So she chewed for a few days…

Then she came up with a brilliant idea that we are now dialoguing about…massaging…working on. She suggested that we invite all of our single friends and family over to the house...bake lots of cookies together…then go downtown to hand them out to folks who need to be reminded that they are LOVED greatly. That is our (mostly Christine’s) subversive Valentine’s Day idea. Will we change the world? Not much of it, but maybe a bit of it. Will we cripple the industries that feed off of these kinds of holidays? Nope. Will we be more whole, integrated and shalomic? I think so.

Here’s to being less sneaky and more shalomic…Happy Valentine’s Day!

What will you do?

Got any other subversive ideas?

Post your ideas and what you decide to do here.

Inspire us…

Monday, January 22, 2007

Did you say Euchre-ist?

Uhhhhhh no. That would be one who excels in the wildly popular card game of the Midwest.

Well, it is just about midnight. I sit here in my orange chair (yes, the one Christine thinks is going to the 3rd floor) laptop ready, IPA in reach, with my notes from the conference I attended today at Mars Hill Bible Church. It is a conference celebrating the local church, cleverly titled "Isn't she beautiful?"

What I was referring to was the Eucharist. In it's roots it means thanksgiving...thankfulness...and the like. It is the word used by some churches to describe the sacramental ritual of The Lord's Supper or Communion. Today, Rob used it as a paradigm for leaders (and you could argue all followers of Jesus) to makes sense out of that feeling of being tired in the bones from giving ourselves away. Here's how the picture works out...

When we give ourselves away we are, like Jesus, being given over to death so that others will have life (2 Cor 4). Our bodies are broken when we meet with the couple who is thinking of calling it quits after 12 years of marriage. Our blood is spilled out when we drop everything and go to the hospital to sit with the family who has just lost their teenage son to a drug overdose. Over and over chunks of our soul are ripped away. We are this eucharist for our families, for our churches, for our neighbors, for our co-workers. We exist, as followers of this Jesus, to incarnate the breaking of the body and the spilling of the this in remembrance of me. Seems like somebody said that once??

And it is good to be broken and to bleed.

very good.

But we have to be put back together again. We, like Jesus, need to get in the boat. We need to go to sleep. We need to escape to quiet places and be replenished. We cannot give 110% . I've heard that said before. We have to give more than we are capable of giving? I don't believe that. We give ourselves over to death, but we have to be refilled with life. Which leads me back to being thankful.

Who and what and where am I put back together again?

My and reading (which turns into coffee and talking).
The great folks in my house church
Late nights at Founders. It seems counter-intuitive, but the conversations fill me
A two hour conversation that "goes there" the first time we meet (thx MLaw)
Nights on the patio with the Howell's
Reading a great book
Coffee or other beverages with Leddy or Nelly
4 hours at the Kava House with you and you and you (you know who you are)
A 10 pm soccer match--but only when we win (which finally happened tonight!)
The list could go on...

To the people in my life who put me back together, Thank You. I need to tell you that more often. And in person. I will try.

So, what about the rest of you? When do you find yourself living out a Eucharistic Lifestyle? What breaks you and causes you to bleed? And what puts you back together again?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I've been Frye-d...or...tagged by Frye

A good friend, John Frye, has tagged my. The rules? I've got to divulge 5 things about me that most people would not know. Then I tag 5 others to do the same thing. And if I don't??? I imagine it's like not continuing a chain letter, but worse, b/c it's on the internet. So, here we go...

1. That I took a typing class in High School, then competed on a typing team in very intense typing competitions. The stories---oh the stories!

2. For my first semester in college, I was a civil engineering major. I wasn't too interested, danced too much, nearly failed my civil engineering intro course, and promptly dropped the program and started anew in the Spring semester.

3. I knew about 3 years before Christine and I were married that we would be tying the knot. In fact, I have it in a journal that I let Christine read when I asked her to marry me. I penned those words during a "listening" retreat the beginning of my sophomore year of college.

4. When I relented and began the M.Div. program in seminary, I wanted to skip out on the preaching courses. I hated being in front of crowds of people and never enjoyed public speaking. In one of the most suprising moments of my life, the Ewing Preaching Award was announced in conjuction with my name. I was unvelievably shocked. Just ask Christine--she was too!

5. I finished in the top 10 of a beauty pageant--a pageant that flaunted high school senior boys in full cross dress out in front of a sold out crowd in order to raise money for a school benefit. My stage name, you ask? Mountainous Morgana Mutch. You should see the video...
(it isn't on youtube)

Now, who to tag??
those with blogs...
Brad Nelson
Diane Nienhuis

those without blogs, but may have myspace...
Jettie Barrett
Matt Fulk
Erin Sweeney

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Coming Out...of blogging retirement

Was it really October that I last posted an entry? Time flies when you are frustratingly unemployed. That's what, I think, finally did me in with the writing. I had absolutely no creativity. I had lots of time. 2mutch time. But nothing that was beckoning to come out.

Well, I'm gainfully employed once again. It was a long wait, but the wait was worth it I think. I've recently begun working as a Chaplain (Sprititual Care Advisor to be techinical) for Hospice of Michigan. So far so good. I think it's going to be a a good fit for me (and hopefully them). Working again--being back in the game, so to speak--has me feeling more creative...desiring to think, play, and write.

The BIG question: What does one write about? I don't want this blog to be about me me me, even though I am awefully interesting and amazing. The rest of my life is focused on that enough. So, I want this to be somewhat multifaceted. I want it to push me, while at the same time being therapeutic. I'd also like it to be interesting to the readers and a place where people can interact with one another. Recently, I've been to see the movie Blood Diamonds. Powerful. Moving. I ask myself, "So--what next?" Saturday I was at a day seminar at Mars Hill with lots of challenging material. So--what next? I'd like this site to be a place where we ask "what next" and dialogue about IMPLICATIONS for life...this life...right now.

So, I sit here at home drinking at Centennial IPA from Founders...trying to come down from an endorphin rush from playing soccer from 10-11pm. It's now after midnite and I'm nowhere close to being ready for bed. This will probably be one of my writing times. Anyways, I digress. I am sitting here wondering...what to write about? What matters? What is interesting to people?

Maybe it's stuff I'm "The Walmart Effect" or "The Holy Longing."
Or the Enneagram. I've promised to come around to that sometime.
Or to get suggestions on where I can buy Fair Trade clothing for my new job?
Movies that move us?
I will certainly have lots of stories from my new job...
I'm open to suggestions.

Well, it's good to be back. I hope my next post is a bit more...let's say...compelling. Yes that's a good work. It's better than saying "less sucky."

Peace my friends (both of you)