Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: March, 2005

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A King and a Kingdom

Who’s your brother, who’s your sister
You’ll just walk past him, think you missed her
As we’re all migrating to a place where our Father lives
Cause we married into a family of immigrants

So my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country or a man
My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
It’s to a King and a Kingdom

There are two great lies that I’ve heard
The day you eat of the fruit of that tree you will not surely die
And that Jesus Christ was white, upper class, republican
And if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like him

Repeat chorus

And nothing unifies like a common enemy
And we’ve got one sure as hell
He may be living in your house
He may be raising up your kids
He may be sleeping with your wife
Or he may not look like you think

Good words from Derek.

Actually, it seems to have nothing to do with snakes.

St. Patrick’s day interests me this year. I found myself wondering what it was all about. I was really hoping that it was more than green beer and shamrocks. As it turns out, it is!

Patrick was born in 387 and died around 461, making him a contemporary of Augustine. He was born in Scotland to a Roman family. Although his father was a bishop, his family, for the most part, was only religious in an outward sense. When Patrick was about 14 or so, we was kidnapped by an Irish raiding party and taken back to Ireland as a slave. He seemed to have a religious awakening at this point in his life and devoted himself to prayer while working on a farm in Ireland. In his confessions, he wrote “The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.” Six years later he had a dream in which he heard a voice telling him to run away from the farm on which he worked. He ran to the coast and found a ship which took him back to his family. Patrick was eventually ordained as a bishop. Some time later he had another dream in which the people in Ireland called out to him saying “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.” He then returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel. He is credited as being the first person to bring Christianity to Ireland (the idea of him chasing the snakes out of Ireland is likely referring to him purging paganism from the island). For 40 years he traveled all around Ireland, preaching and planting churches as he went. He eventually died on March 17 in the city where he had planted his first church.

So, as you wear your green clothes or search for your four-leafed clover, remember Patrick, and the thousands of missionaries on the field today, doing what Patrick did so long ago. St. Patrick’s day is really a celebration of missions, in a way. Pray for the missionaries on St. Patrick’s day.

Sometimes a Light Surprises

1. Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord Who rises
With healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining,
He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining,
To cheer it after the rain

2. In holy contemplation
We sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation,
And find it ever new;
Set free from present sorrow,
We cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow
Bring with it what it may.

3. Tomorrow can bring us nothing,
But He will bear us through:
Who gives the lilies clothing
Will clothe His people, too:
Beneath the spreading heavens
No creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens
Will give His children bread.

4. Though vine nor fig tree neither
Their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the fields should wither,
Nor flocks or herds be there
Yet, God the same abiding,
His praise shall tune my voice;
For, while in Him confiding,
I cannot but rejoice.
– William Cowper, 1731-1800

For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.

To you that have any hope through grace that you have a title to blessedness, let me say as the Levites did to the people, ‘Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever’ (Nehemiah 9:5). What infinite cause you have to be thankful that the lot of free grace is fallen upon you! Though you had forfeited all, yet God has provided a haven of happiness, and he is carrying you thither upon the sea of Christ’s blood, the gale of his Spirit blowing your sails. You are in a better condition through Christ, than when you had the robes of innocency upon you. God has raised you a step higher by your fall. How many has God passed by and looked upon you! Millions there are who shall lie under the bitter vials of God’s curses, whereas he will bring you into his banqueting-house and pour out the flagons of wine and feast you eternally with the delicacies of heaven. O adore free grace; triumph in this love of God. Spend and be spent for the Lord. Dedicate yourselves to him in a way of resignation, and lay out yourselves for him in a way of gratilation. Never think you can do enough for that God who will shortly set you ashore in the land of promise.
– Thomas Watson, 1620-1686

Praise God for those who have gone on before us. Go read an old book.

“You’re doing what!?”

When you plan on doing something really silly like moving to an Islamic Republic about a month after the birth of your first child, you seem to invite a lot of questions, concerns and criticisms from people. I suppose it should be expected. One of the most frequently asked questions has to do with our child. I plan on addressing the issue in this post.

It is not a bad idea to use air travel with a young infant. I intend to prove this by answering the different concerns people have addressed over the past few months (in no particular order).
Preliminary facts:
Our child is due May 20. Often the first child is upwards of a week to 10 days late, so let’s say the child will arrive May 30, for argument’s sake.
Our flight has been booked for June 30, we will assume that our child will be one month old.
We will assume that the child born will be healthy because if there are medical problems that will obviously change plans. This would be an unforseeable problem that no-one could really plan for.

Question 1: What if the airline you use doesn’t allow children of that age?
Answer: It does. This, of course, is a very important consideration. I have heard that airlines don’t allow infants to fly, but this either isn’t the case anymore, or is was never the case with the airlines we are using. In fact, we have reserved a special baby seat. When we asked our travel agent about this, she seemed to think it was a bit of a silly question and assured us that no airline would refuse an infant.

Question 2: I have heard that an infant will go deaf if on an airplane, aren’t you concerned about that?
Answer: Of course we are concerned about the health and safety of our baby. However, the pressure change in an airplane is rarely strong enough to actually cause damage, even to an infant. Most doctors seem to recommend that you feed the baby (or rub her cheek) while taking off / landing in order to stimulate swallowing. This clears the baby’s ears and takes away any discomfort there might be.

Question 3: Other parent’s have told me that it’s unsafe to do this!
Answer: I also have the testimony of parents in favor of it’s safety. One couple we know very well went on a trans-Atlantic flight with their 4-week-old. She didn’t cry, scream, have her ears fall off or anything like that. Five years later she is healthy, not deaf, and quite cheerful.

Other thoughts:

  • At one month, an infant mainly does two or three things. She eats, sleeps, and poops. There is no need to worry about her getting bored or silly and unless the child has colic, she will be reasonably quiet.
  • This is something that people do. There are special seats in airplanes for infants. If it were as dangerous as people make it out to be, there would be warnings from the airlines. They don’t want to get sued, do they?
  • We believe that God has called us to this country this summer. I’m not saying that as if to say “God told me to, therefore I am above reproach in what I do,” but I am saying that I have confidence that God is going to undertake on our behalf and lead us through the difficulty of traveling with a newborn.

Anyway, Ruth and I do appreciate the concern that so many people have about our plans, and it’s good to know that people care enough to think about these things. We have looked into these issues and checked with people who have experienced it and who are informed. We believe that we are making the right choice. Boo ya!

In other news, I started reading Thomas Watson’s The Beatitudes. Beautiful.

Cook out.