Archive for rant

.::Merry Christmas Rant

Posted in Life, rant, Theology with tags , , on January 21, 2010 by Walter

I know this rant is a bit late for the season, but it struck me that our common way of greeting people during the Christmas season seems completely inadequate.  Here is what I mean,  the “Merry” on “Merry Christmas” seems woefully underwhelming as an adjective.  When I hear “Merry Christmas” I hear, “Have a nice, little, safe, quiet Christmas.”

But Christmas is perhaps THE most powerful event in the course of human history.  Could we not use a better adjective to qualify our desire to celebrate the incarnation of God for the redemption of humanity?  Merry seems to small of a word to truly call us to celebrate God breaking in history through the birth of Jesus.

“Awesome”  doesn’t seem to work for me as it has been repurposed in our cultre to mean “way cool.”

“Extraordinary” doesn’t roll off the tongue.

“Amazing” begins to move in the right direction.

I am now taking applications for new appropriate qualifiers as I hope to begin a new movement away from “Merry” to something much more powerful.

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.::Random Ramblings

Posted in Life with tags , , on May 19, 2009 by Walter

Well I have been off the blog for a month.  I have had finals, a trip to Princeton for their Forum’s on Youth Ministry and then just a week and a half of self imposed Sabbath.  I do have a laundry list of topics that I want to write on in the upcoming weeks.  But for now, here are some random ramblings that I want to share with you:

  • There are two types of people, those who can hula hoop and those who can’t.  It looks like something everyone ought ot be able to do, but try as I may, I can’t.  .  .  bummer.
  • People got all up in arms about ASU and Notre Dame giving Obama an honorary doctorate, don’t they realize that an honorary doctorate has as much value as a coupon?  1/20th of a cent.
  • 24 went too far in its season finale.  There were more holes in its believability than a screen door.  Enter Jill Bauer (the redheaded lady) next season with Jack teaching her all of his torture moves.
  • The Red Wings are losing too many games for me on their way to winning this year’s Stanley Cup, the Lakers aren’t losing enough games and will just have to get out of the way for Sir James and the Cavs.
  • Nothing will come close to Star Trek this summer.
  • Pick up and read Flickering Pixels by Shane Hipps ASAP.
  • What are you still reading for?  You should be buying Flickering Pixels like I just told you!
  • The new Green Day ROCKS!  But do they really need to still wear eyeliner?  Really!  Their music stands on their own and they don’t need their image to gain any attention.
  • To twitter or not to twitter?  I still don’t get it.  How much LESS does the tech world think we need to communicate as a species?  Nevertheless you can follow me @surdacki
  • Tennessee in Spring time is about as beautiful of a place to be.
  • I love mowing my yard and the feeling of accomplishment that it gives me.
  • I am really getting in to systems theory and how to relate all of that to Adolescent Development, Family Ministry, and the Church.
  • I love being a regular member at church this year, but I am itching to get more involved in my sophomore year.
  • We have a bunny that finds its way in our yard every once in a while.

.::Pleasing Others

Posted in Life, rant, what matters with tags , , , , , on March 3, 2009 by Walter

I think it is inevitable that many of us (read “me”),  work really, really hard to not disappoint those around us to the point of overexerting ourselves, stretching ourselves too thin, just so we will look good to those around us.

Why is that?

I had a really, really difficult conversation today where I had to say that magic word–“No.”

It was difficult because I have that innate need to not disappoint and to come off looking good. It was difficult because what they were asking me to do is something I actually LIKE doing.  It was difficult because it is really, really nice to be wanted (read between the lines “Pride”)  However, it didn’t matter that what was being asked of me was somewhat unreasonable with an very short time line.

Even though saying “No” meant a lot of good things for me and my family.

Even though saying “No” meant my mental health and sanity.

Even though I preach to my students that longevity in ministry means saying “No” a lot!  It is still hard to take my own medicine.

It sure was this week.

But saying no this person meant saying “YES!” to my wife and daughters and that takes away the sting I am feeling.  That is what matters.

.::The Baby Jesus is Annoying

Posted in Ministry, rant, Theology with tags , , , , on December 21, 2008 by Walter

This clip from “Talledega Nights” used to really offend me, but after further reflection, while it may still be offensive at parts, it may speak more truth into our theology of Jesus.

Here is what I mean, perhaps we have a theology of Jesus that is a baby that we can admire, pinch its cheeks, fuss over and say “Isn’t he cute?”  It is a Jesus we like to keep in the manger.

A baby WE can parent.

A baby WE can control.

The problem is this baby Jesus doesn’t STAY in the crib.  He grows up.  In Luke 2:41ff we see Jesus bailing on his parents to go teach in the temple courts.  when his parents confront him, he almost gets snarky with them. . . yeah I said snarky.  If I had said what Jesus said to his parents, I would have been slapped (back in the days where slapping a kid wasn’t a crime but a character building experience.)

Then right after his public ministry begins in Luke 4 we see him reading scripture in the synagogue from Isaiah and just fires off a missile to the teachers of the law that says, “Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.”

If that isn’t enough he begins to talk about things like his own death, burial and resurrection . . . creepy!  I can hear the apostles saying, “Way to be a downer Jesus!”

He disrupts commerce like the trade in the temple and calls out the apathy and materialism around him.

He has the gall to notice the widows, poor, orphaned and imprisoned that weren’t being cared for by his people.

And it seems our response to these teachings is to turn our gaze away as to not see that sign that says, “Will work for food.”  But Jesus notices our wandering gaze and says, “Look at the Poor!”

How ANNOYING!

Donald Miller says ” that He is always going around saying, You have heard it said such and such, but I tell you some other thing. If you happened to be a person who thought they knew everything about God, Jesus would have been completely annoying.”  (Searching for God Knows What p.21)

It IS annoying because what Jesus says and points out RINGS TRUE to our Soul.  But we have bought in to the messages of our culture that have said otherwise.  The safe Jesus, the Disinfected For your Protection Jesus, the Anti-Bacterial Jesus, The Precious Moments Jesus, The Footprints in the Sand Jesus is the one we have bought in to.

This is the Jesus we believe has taught us that Christians are ones who: are good, recycle, pay our taxes, put fish on the backs of our cars, give our leftovers to goodwill, pay our taxes, etc.

And we can handle and manage this Jesus.  this is a safe Jesus.  This is easy and doesn’t invade our space.
But the annoying Baby Jesus says:

  • Love Your Enemy
  • Turn the Other Cheek
  • Help the Poor
  • Visit the Imprisoned
  • Sell Everything

Annoying!

Iti s annoying because we can’t CONTROL those things.  It is annoying because:

  • To love my enemy means I can’t CONTROL the revenge or hate that I want them to feel.
  • To turn the other cheek means I can’t control the dolling out of Justice that I think they deserve, I have to trust God to do that.
  • To take care of the poor means I can’t control all my money or I may have to give up some of my money or that flat screen I have my eye on.
  • To visit those in prison means I can’t view criminals as “them” and I need to see them at people and I have to give up the CONTROL of believing that is what they deserve and embrace the fact what they really deserve is the Love of God displayed through my presence there.

So this Christmas, when you hear the angels say, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Beware, It may not turn out to be all eggnog and poinsettia plants, but you may just have to turn your cheek, give to others and other “annoying” things like that.

Merry Christmas!