Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: January, 2006

It’s where the heart is…

As I sit here with Joe in my arms, I want to five you a tour of our place. Come on in!


This is what you first see after walking up two flights of stairs to our place. There are apparently birds in that cage. If you turn left you can see…


A cute little kitchen from which we derive all sorts of yummy pleasures. We have a few too many lizards there, but it’s okay.


Walking throught the doorway in the first picture you come to our livingroom. It’s nice and Paki-like. The carpet was really cheap, I’ll tell you why later. Joe loves this room, plenty of space to play and the rug hurts less than the cement when falling on it.


Now picture yourself in the first shot. Turn completely around and this is what you see. A lovely halway thing with flowers and stuff. If you were to look up you’d notice that there is no roof in this section. Actually it’s really nice in the summer. What happens when it rains? Well, that doesn’t really happen often enough for us to worry about it. Let’s go up those stairs before checking out the room on the left.


The Roof. Lovely place. Nice and warm.


Enter the room on the roof and you find my classroom. It’s a real nice place to teach, hang out with locals or just sit and read. We also do our laundry in this room. Don’t ask how. Remember the picture of the hallway with the room on the left? Let’s go check that out now.


Yep, that’s our bedroom. Yep, there’s a fridge in there. It’s a little loud at night, but it’s the best place for it.

So that’s a little tour. I hope you enjoyed it, I’ll give you a few more pics because I love you all so much:

“Look at me, I’m in a bucket!”


Cute, eh?


That’s my father-in-law on the right, at a Marwari tribal convention. He’s pretty good with that thing.


And so is he.

And I’m done, enjoy the pics. More are on the way, Internet’s great these days.

Cook out.

An ode to odes

Do you like music? I sure do. Ever since I can remember I’ve always liked a catchy beat, and after a bit of higher education I began to appreciate music for its deeper qualities. Unfortunately I think I’m a little musically challenged. I’ve been playing guitar for almost ten years now and I’ve attained to the level of average. Be that as it may I think that music is one of the most wonderful things God had given us. Recently I became convinced that music is one of the characteristics of humans being made in the image of God. Did you know there only two groups of beings in the Bible that sing? Man and God. You won’t be able to find a verse that points to an angel singing, it’s only us and God. I love this verse:

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

(On a mind-blowing side note, can you imagine what it must sound like to hear the almighty God sing?) Have you ever thought about what music really is? Let’s use a guitar for an example. You have six metal strings of specific thickness and you tighten them up to a specific tension. Then you place your fingers on certain spot, changing the relative length of the strings and you hit them, causing them to vibrate. The vibrations resound off the guitar and fly through the air eventually arriving at your eardrums. They move the eardrum around and cause…pleasure. Pleasure is to be had in specific mixtures of specific frequencies of vibrations flying through the air. Kinda odd, eh?

Or think about visual arts. A splash of this pigment and a splash of another, arraigned in a certain shape. Light bombards the canvas and only certain wavelengths are allowed to bounce off while the rest is absorbed. These modified waves of light fly through the air and hit your eyes, producing…pleasure.

I like words. I love to read a poem or listen to a song that has finely-crafted words. One of my greatest ambitions in life is to write a beautiful song and, although I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to do it. I think writing a song must be the most difficult thing in the world. Words give me much pleasure.

But isn’t it interesting how elusive it all is? I don’t love words simply if their content is good, it’s something about how a sentence or paragraph is crafted. Check this out:

Around midnight I was studying some ancient books. Eventually I became very tired and almost fell asleep when suddenly I heard knocking at the door. I assumed it was a visitor.

Now check this one out:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
” ‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door;
Only this, and nothing more.”

Both passages have pretty much the exact same information. The only difference I can see is that my passage is mundane and Poe’s is beautiful. Why is it beautiful? Perhaps because of the careful meter. Perhaps because of the clever rhymes or word images. I really don’t know why, but reading this poem gives me pleasure.

I think pleasure through art is one of the ways that God shows himself to us. I am sure that creativity is a mark of the image of God. I know this because like every other mark is it a source of great joy and great sorrow. The greatest gifts given to us from God are also the most often perverted ones. I think that in the end of it all our creative faculties will be given a boost and I bet that we’ll use them in glory. Can you imagine the creative minds of all the redeemed pooling their resources together to create a masterpiece of praise, all the while God Himself singing and rejoicing over them? Handel would look like a pop star. Robbie Burns would look like a limerick writer. Michelangelo would become a doodler and Shayaman’s films would remind you of an SNL sketch.

We have all been given a little something creative in us, even if that creativity lies only in appreciation. I think God loves creativity. Why else would he command us to write new songs? Sing unto the Lord a new song.

So just an encouragement to all you creative folks out there. Keep being creative and make sure that your creativity points to the Source. Whether you paint, write, sing, dance, cook, exercise, act, direct, play, sew, build, design, photograph, program, or any of the countless creative outlets that I can’t think of. Do it well, and make sure it points to the Source of it all.

In and out

A few days ago I tried a new little exercise in my English class. I presented A.W. Tozer’s book, The Knowledge of the Holy. I gave the book to people in the class and told them to open up to any page and pick out a word that they didn’t know. We would then talk about the word. For the first while it went as expected. People picked out words like concerned, repudiate, or comprehend. Then one man picked out a different word. He said, “Sir, what is Gospel?” What is the Gospel? I explained the meaning of the word itself as Good News, and I was giving a wonderful opportunity to give out the biblical meaning of the Gospel. What is the Gospel? The Gospel that we are to give as a reason for our hope, the Gospel that must be on our tongues and in our hearts in and out of season. Dwell on this for a second.
First, the bad news. You deserve to go to Hell. The infinite God promises great punishments to those who are in sin, and you have been in it since birth. You are daily adding to the already immense list of offenses against the almighty God. With every breath you fight against the only Power in the universe. You are hanging over the pit of Hell, as it were, by a tiny thread, every second moving closer and closer to your just end. There is no hope.
But there is hope, found outside of you. Jesus Christ, the righteous and holy Son of God. Born of a virgin more than two thousand years ago. He lived a perfect life in total accord with the character of God. He was betrayed by a friend, wrongfully tried and charged and condemned to death. Tortured and mutilated and forsaken by God His Father. He died. All in accordance with His own pre-ordained plan. He spent three days in the grave and rose victorious, having taken the punishment for your sin on His own body and rising to justify you, securing your hope and eternal life. He sits beside the Almighty ruler of the universe and says to Him, “That one, there, I died for him, forgive him for my sake, on account of my blood.” When He returns for His own He will call you, for you are now His. You will share in His reward. What good news!
The Gospel! Think about it! What an amazing thing! No wonder the Apostles seemed so crazy to their contemporaries! No wonder the saints of old were shunned and thought foolish by those around them. This wonderful good news should beget in us a burning fire that would consume us if we were to hold it in. Think about the Gospel, and then disseminate it.

It begins…

As they walked over the grassy knoll they encountered a troll, the owner of said knoll and the source of the noise they had earlier heard. This troll was busy eating a mole who had the misfortune of sassing off to the troll. The mole was being eaten out of a dish looking very similar to the bowel Lassie would eat out of, Shane thought that the mole might give the troll gas. Shane took stock of the whole situation and realized the lyrical implications of it. A gassy troll was eating a sassy mole out of lassie’s bowl while sitting on a grassy knoll. As this realization hit, a classy gnoll walked up and stole the mole out of the bowl of the troll. They were about to engage in vicious battle, until they saw Shane’s trio and united for attack.

They dropped the mole and grabbed a pole the gnoll made a quick roll and the troll dug a hole that went down to Seoul. Shane screamed out “No more ryhming!” and lit his light-katana which he bought from Montana from a girl named Briana. He ran across the savanna, while the 9th wondered about the capital of louisiana, to engage in mortal kombat.

For a more tasteful and serious post, please visit Psalm 119

How to have a Pakistani Christmas feast.
First, plan far in advance. Around September, sit down with your father-in-law and present the idea of buying a young goat together. If your father-in-law is anything like mine, his eyes will light up like a child’s on Christmas morning and he’ll be off to the meat market before you can get another word out. Don’t go with him to the meat market, your white face will likely drive prices higher than you want to go. Don’t be confused if your father-in-law brings home more than one goat. It seems that goats strongly desire company, so it’s always a good idea to buy at least two at a time, otherwise you’ll be up all night until the Christmas celebration. Also, don’t be surprised if your father-in-law brings home three goats. Because, hey, if you’ve gotta get two, you might as well get three.
Most people shy away from naming an animal doomed to slaughter. I think otherwise. I think that if an animal on its way to the chopping block has a fun name, it won’t think too much about its impending doom. I chose the name Shane for our particular goat, he seemed to like it. Be sure you talk to your new Shane at every chance you get, if you accidentally mention that the goat will soon be dead and dismembered, try to make light of it, and add some levity by cracking a tasteful joke or two. You’ll need to also distract the goat with food, lots of it. Not only does it ease dear Shane’s passing, but also it makes him fatter and o-so yummier. About 20Rs of ghaas a day should be enough to make his legs nice and thick.
One thing that should be done as soon as possible is the dreaded act of castration. It’s not fun, but if you don’t do it dear Shane finds himself rather confused and drinking his own urine. Don’t ask why, that’s just what goes down. I won’t comment on this much, but I will say you have two choices. Take him to the goat guy and get it professionally done, or grab a razor from the house and hold the goat tight. My father-in-law doesn’t like spending extra money, so with a razor in hand he called his brother-in-law and the goat was never the same since.
The day will eventually come when the goat’s hours are up. Give him a few encouraging words, crack another joke to lighten the situation and bring him around to the back of the house. You’ll need a few extra hands for this part. Hold dear Shane on the ground as tight as you can and get a big, sharp knife. It’s usually best to let trained professionals do this part, but we didn’t know any, so we kinda just winged it. As quick as you can chop Shane’s cute little head off and watch out for the fountain works. Tie him up in a tree and proceed to skin, gut and chop him up. Apparently the professionals are done the whole process in five minutes. I think we were done after half an hour.
Now one brief note on cooking. I found that the best way to do it was to make a marinade and soak some Shane overnight. The next day roast him over some hot coals for a while. Finger-linkin’ good!

For a more tasteful and serious post, please visit Psalm 119

How to have a Pakistani Christmas feast.
First, plan far in advance. Around September, sit down with your father-in-law and present the idea of buying a young goat together. If your father-in-law is anything like mine, his eyes will light up like a child’s on Christmas morning and he’ll be off to the meat market before you can get another word out. Don’t go with him to the meat market, your white face will likely drive prices higher than you want to go. Don’t be confused if your father-in-law brings home more than one goat. It seems that goats strongly desire company, so it’s always a good idea to buy at least two at a time, otherwise you’ll be up all night until the Christmas celebration. Also, don’t be surprised if your father-in-law brings home three goats. Because, hey, if you’ve gotta get two, you might as well get three.
Most people shy away from naming an animal doomed to slaughter. I think otherwise. I think that if an animal on its way to the chopping block has a fun name, it won’t think too much about its impending doom. I chose the name Shane for our particular goat, he seemed to like it. Be sure you talk to your new Shane at every chance you get, if you accidentally mention that the goat will soon be dead and dismembered, try to make light of it, and add some levity by cracking a tasteful joke or two. You’ll need to also distract the goat with food, lots of it. Not only does it ease dear Shane’s passing, but also it makes him fatter and o-so yummier. About 20Rs of ghaas a day should be enough to make his legs nice and thick.
One thing that should be done as soon as possible is the dreaded act of castration. It’s not fun, but if you don’t do it dear Shane finds himself rather confused and drinking his own urine. Don’t ask why, that’s just what goes down. I won’t comment on this much, but I will say you have two choices. Take him to the goat guy and get it professionally done, or grab a razor from the house and hold the goat tight. My father-in-law doesn’t like spending extra money, so with a razor in hand he called his brother-in-law and the goat was never the same since.
The day will eventually come when the goat’s hours are up. Give him a few encouraging words, crack another joke to lighten the situation and bring him around to the back of the house. You’ll need a few extra hands for this part. Hold dear Shane on the ground as tight as you can and get a big, sharp knife. It’s usually best to let trained professionals do this part, but we didn’t know any, so we kinda just winged it. As quick as you can chop Shane’s cute little head off and watch out for the fountain works. Tie him up in a tree and proceed to skin, gut and chop him up. Apparently the professionals are done the whole process in five minutes. I think we were done after half an hour.
Now one brief note on cooking. I found that the best way to do it was to make a marinade and soak some Shane overnight. The next day roast him over some hot coals for a while. Finger-linkin’ good!

don’t tell you’re mother. .

All of the sudden a shocking revelation overtook Shan. . .the little trio didn’t have a team cheer. He broke down in sobs of laughter until finally realizing there was only one solution. .-they had to make a team cheer. The 9th spake up in a cheery tone “free for all john deer’s.” Brilliant!

So with a brief regalement of the team cheer they all rushed forward in the direction of the noise, except barbjohn, who kind of just slithered/rolled painfully in it’s general direction. They briefly took stock of their weapons: Shan had his light Katana, that was good for one lab rat anyway; Barbjohn was, of course, completely defenseless; and the 9th had his trusty leaking battery (which actually wasn’t half as trusty as he made it out to be.) Realizing the hopelessness of ever overcoming anything but the smallest dirt-squirrel Shan and his party ran over the grassy knoll shouting “free for all john deer’s!”