Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: June, 2007

Dead religion or living Man?

Organized religion has a very bad name. It wasn’t always like that. It used to be that people viewed the church as the stairway to God. Christ’s body on earth. People don’t think that any more. More often than not if you ask someone about their religion they will answer you like this: “I’m spiritual, but I have no use for organized religion.” I can think of two reasons why the church has lost the respect it used to have. One is because through political events the church lost its power. The church can no longer influence kings and nations as it used to. Secondly, people lost a good deal of their superstitious beliefs about the church. An edict of excommunication from the pope used to be the height of condemnation and terror. Who really cares today, though?

I am not sad that the organized church has lost its power. I am a little sad that it has lost its respect, but that’s really her own fault anyway. You know what the real problem with organized religion is? Nothing. Organized religion, if it be true, is great. The problem is the adherents to religion. The greatest problem with the organized Christian religion is people who love it.

The Pharisees had this exact problem. They loved Judaism. They loved it so much they devoted themselves to it day and night. They followed every single law and a whole bunch they made up, too. If Judaism was the door it heaven, they had all the keys. Only one problem. Judaism was not the door. Christ was. They loved their religion. Christ came to stir things up. They hated him.

Christians have the same problem. We love Christianity. We know all the right songs and read all the right books. We show up for every single meeting and faithfully condemn those who don’t. We follow every single law and a whole bunch that we made up. If Christianity is the door into heaven we are set. It’s too bad Christianity isn’t the door.

What is Christianity? Nothing, really. The word is not in the Bible. God does not talk about devoting yourself to a religion. He talks about devoting yourself to a person. The message much of the church needs to hear today is this: “Don’t follow Christianity! Follow Christ!” The Pharisees chose Judaism over Yahweh. Today we are choosing Christianity over Christ. We choose the religion before the Man when we dress up nice on a Sunday and refuse to feed the poor in our city. We choose Christianity over Christ when we listen to evangelical sermons and go home never intending to tell the world about Christ. We love our Faith more than our Father when we follow all the rules without trying to meet the One who made the rules. And this is dangerous. This practice defiles the reputation of Christ and his church on earth. Worse, it jeopardizes your eternal future. He who loves God in Christ will be saved, not he who worships the idol we made that kinda looks like him.

I’m still here

I’m a real mountain man now. That means I’m pretty much just the same except with a really rough Internet connection. I’m trying to get some photos up in this post and maybe we’ll have areal post up in the next few days.

much time later…
hmmm….maybe this won’t work…grrr.

A Method to this Madness

So many times I’ve asked myself (and you readers) why the physical is given power to screw up the spiritual. Why my fatigue level affects my desire to pray. Why the temperature changes my inclination to the Word. Why my body rules my soul. I think I found an answer.

Christ is a treasure. He is the greatest treasure. The Pearl of Great Price. There is nothing you can trade Christ for because he is the most valuable thing in the universe we could ever possess. There is nothing you could ever compare to the greatness of having he who has all things.

But where do we put valuable things? In appropriate containers, of course. Laptops don’t go in cardboard boxes, they go in laptop cases. Diamonds aren’t fastened to car antennas, they are put in jewelry boxes. So where is the greatest treasure of the universe placed? Clay pots. Now that seems strange. The surpassing power of the spirit of the Son of God is put in simple, fragile, cracked pots. Us.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay…

God, in his foolish-looking wisdom, has deemed it right and good to place the spirit of the fullness of godhead into idiot humans who can’t tell their right hand from their left. But why?! This doesn’t make any sense! Humans will abuse the spirit of God! Humans will quench it, humans will dishonor it! Humans don’t even know how to use it! Why would he put the spirit of Christ in us?

to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.


Why is my body a clay pot? Why does it break and crack and do things that cause me to stumble? To prove to me that whenever I do succeed and when I finally will succeed the power is God’s. There is no mistaking it at this point: I have no useful power. My power is weakness. My intellect is stupid. My righteousness is crap. Any good that comes cannot be from me, I’ve proved that abundantly with my life. Therefore I know that when I finally do win, and whenever I make steps in the right direction, God is the one holding my hand and gently (or roughly) leading me on to my final home at his side. The surpassing power is his. Excellent.

Late, as usual

Here are some shots from our lovely town here in the North. We took a little trip yesterday to the border of Kashmir. We were going to go in but our taxi driver seemed a little nervous. Maybe next week. The border is only an hour and a half away. Enjoy the pics!

Okay, uploading those pics took a total of 47 minutes and 7 seconds. I have more, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry!