Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: July, 2008

Golfing With Jesus

My dad came home from work today and said, “Dude, let’s do something.” So he, Mike and I went out to engage in just about the strangest sport you could dream up. Driving Range. That’s right, we grabbed a bucket full of balls and whacked at them for an hour with strange, metal sticks.

I am about the worst golfer in the world. I can rarely even make contact with the ball and when I do I more often than not dig into the ground below it, sending dirt further than the ball. And it’s a pretty frustrating gam when you’re losing. I don’t like losing.

Dave and Mike are pretty good, which made it all worse. Mike would sail those balls out as far as the eye can see and then have the nerve to complain about how it was too far to the right. It was kinda like those punks in college who never have to study, pull 95% on all the exams and then complain about it (*cough* Andy Mack). So it really wasn’t all that encouraging in the beginning, though it was certainly fun.

At this driving range there is an old car about halfway down, beat-up from years of being pelted with balls. I couldn’t guess at how far away it was. Probably very close for normal golfers, but it seemed like an unachievable ideal for someone like me. So Mike, our resident skilled dude, suggested that the first one to hit the stupid thing should receive ten dollars from the two losers. Dave thought it was a good idea. I’m not one to think through things, so I also agreed.

Now, I know my limitations. I fully understood that I’d never be getting that twenty dollar prize. Heck, I doubted even Dave or Mike could have hit that thing. But I tried anyway. Unfortunately under the pressure my game actually got worse. So after and five tries I gave up inside. No worries.

So I grabbed another ball, not caring about the car. I set it up and took out one of those funny sticks with a 3 on it. As I set myself up a few thoughts went through my head. Wouldn’t it be neat, I thought, if I actually hit that thing? But I certainly don’t have the skill for it. And if we’re talking about luck here I might as well try the lottery. And then I thought these exact words, though I really can’t understand why: “Jesus, show me how you feel about me with this next shot.” I have no clue why that thought showed up.

And then I swung. Didn’t really try, actually. But the ball went high and straight, the best shot of the day for me. It bounced on the ground right in front of the car and pelted it on the door. Dave and Mike were dumbfounded.

Now, I’m not one of those guys who things Jesus picks out the perfect parking spot for me whenever I ask for one. I know that it could have been complete chance that I hit that thing. But the object lesson I got out of it leans me toward thinking that Jesus actually did move that ball.

You see, I’m completely useless. Single-handedly I doubled the amount of divots on that driving range. But it didn’t matter that I was useless because Jesus likes doing crazy things with useless people. So the next time I look at a project before me that seems completely out of my depth, I’m just going to ask myself if the job is from Jesus or not. Because if he’s willing to give me a hand in winning $20 golfing, then surely he’ll get the impossible done through me when he himself is asking me to do it, right?

Golfing With Jesus

My dad came home from work today and said, “Dude, let’s do something.” So he, Mike and I went out to engage in just about the strangest sport you could dream up. Driving Range. That’s right, we grabbed a bucket full of balls and whacked at them for an hour with strange, metal sticks.

I am about the worst golfer in the world. I can rarely even make contact with the ball and when I do I more often than not dig into the ground below it, sending dirt further than the ball. And it’s a pretty frustrating gam when you’re losing. I don’t like losing.

Dave and Mike are pretty good, which made it all worse. Mike would sail those balls out as far as the eye can see and then have the nerve to complain about how it was too far to the right. It was kinda like those punks in college who never have to study, pull 95% on all the exams and then complain about it (*cough* Andy Mack). So it really wasn’t all that encouraging in the beginning, though it was certainly fun.

At this driving range there is an old car about halfway down, beat-up from years of being pelted with balls. I couldn’t guess at how far away it was. Probably very close for normal golfers, but it seemed like an unachievable ideal for someone like me. So Mike, our resident skilled dude, suggested that the first one to hit the stupid thing should receive ten dollars from the two losers. Dave thought it was a good idea. I’m not one to think through things, so I also agreed.

Now, I know my limitations. I fully understood that I’d never be getting that twenty dollar prize. Heck, I doubted even Dave or Mike could have hit that thing. But I tried anyway. Unfortunately under the pressure my game actually got worse. So after and five tries I gave up inside. No worries.

So I grabbed another ball, not caring about the car. I set it up and took out one of those funny sticks with a 3 on it. As I set myself up a few thoughts went through my head. Wouldn’t it be neat, I thought, if I actually hit that thing? But I certainly don’t have the skill for it. And if we’re talking about luck here I might as well try the lottery. And then I thought these exact words, though I really can’t understand why: “Jesus, show me how you feel about me with this next shot.” I have no clue why that thought showed up.

And then I swung. Didn’t really try, actually. But the ball went high and straight, the best shot of the day for me. It bounced on the ground right in front of the car and pelted it on the door. Dave and Mike were dumbfounded.

Now, I’m not one of those guys who things Jesus picks out the perfect parking spot for me whenever I ask for one. I know that it could have been complete chance that I hit that thing. But the object lesson I got out of it leans me toward thinking that Jesus actually did move that ball.

You see, I’m completely useless. Single-handedly I doubled the amount of divots on that driving range. But it didn’t matter that I was useless because Jesus likes doing crazy things with useless people. So the next time I look at a project before me that seems completely out of my depth, I’m just going to ask myself if the job is from Jesus or not. Because if he’s willing to give me a hand in winning $20 golfing, then surely he’ll get the impossible done through me when he himself is asking me to do it, right?

Plug

Just wanted to draw your attention to a good friend of mine who recently started blogging. Drop by and say hi!

Or, if you haven’t the time to read more blogs, why don’t you just buy one of his books instead?

The Darker Knight

First of all, amen.
Second of all, there are many spoilers here, so stop reading if you don’t want to know the end!

I mean it, seriously, don’t read this if you haven’t seen the movie yet. And if you don’t intend to watch it, watch it anyway! The hype was right.

Okay, here we go.

Dark Knight was probably one of the best made movies I’ve seen in years. I watched it twice, mostly because of The Joker.

He was such an interesting character. And I think he was pretty much right in the wager he made with Batman. Remember when he said that he’d be able to turn the citizens against themselves? Batman figured that when the two ferries didn’t blow each other up he had been proved wrong about that. Batman figured that this was the indisputable evidence that the citizens of Gotham were basically good and the Joker was alone in his evil. But I think Batman was wrong.

The one ferry took a vote. Something like 75% of the people were for blowing up the other ship. But why didn’t they actually go through with it? Not, I think, because of their high morals, but because of their weak wills. No one was willing to press the button. Most of them wanted the other boat destroyed. But they just didn’t have the spine to do it. The Joker was right about their morality, he just overestimated their resolve. So if the movie was trying to prove altruism, I think it missed the mark.

We can see this with Harvey Dent’s fall, too. The greatest force of goodness was completely corrupted and became indistinguishable from the Joker himself. And his fall would have destroyed Gotham’s fragile morals along with his own had it not been for the fragile lie that covered it. So Gotham’s sanity, peace and safety depends on a lie about the Batman.

Maybe I’m digging too deep here, but I see this all as a commentary about self-image and self-esteem. We are Gotham. Mostly bad, but still with a stroke of good. And the majority of our bad is a sort of socially-acceptable bad, so it hardly matters. A few parts of our personality are completely screwed, like the Joker. So as we look at ourselves if we do not have a scapegoat to blame some of our wildest taints on, like the Batman, our whole system will collapse, because we will learn that we are not basically good, as we had thought.

I guess I’m just thinking out loud here. I loved the film, wonderful story, deep lessons. Watch it!

bitter/sweet

I’m hanging out with some of my favorite people in the world right now in the neatest part of Canada: Thorncliffe. I’ve always been interested in the neat demographics of the place. It seems to be almost completely Pakistani/Afghani.

But that’s not what is on my mine right now. My dear friends, Shawn and Hayley, are lovely people. And they quite obviously love each other. And as I see them in love I taste a bit of bitter-sweetness in my heart.

It’s sweet, because it’s great to see people I love in love with each other. Let’s face it, most marriages are not nearly as loving, affectionate or fun as they ought to be.

But it’s bitter because I haven’t seen my wife for more than a month. Ouch.

I’ve got my fair share of problems, but I’m willing to boast on at least this one thing: I’ve got a great marriage. Usually when you examine something deeply you find problems. Problems with you motives. Problems with systems. Problems with ideas. Very few things can stand up to real hard scrutiny and keep integrity. But I’d dare anyone to examine my marriage and find a glaring fault in it. Ruth and I have worked hard to love each other, and our work is paying off massively! I cannot understand the people who complain about marriage or talk of ‘settling down’ in marriage or about life becoming boring or routine because of marriage. My marriage is amazing, I have a wonderful wife with whom I’d be willing to live in the crappiest part of the world. It’s sappy, perhaps, but I am not complete without her. Ruth rocks my face right off.

So here I sit, alone in the dark, counting down to the day I hold her in my arms again. Soon and very soon, right?

So, Ruth, yar men bohut zyada pyaar karta hun tujhe. Aur yaqeen hoja ke me jaldi araha hun. Tere ghar aoonga, men agoona tujh ko lena. Tyaar hoja. Araha hun, men.

Between Two Worlds: Packer: Top 5 Books

Good read:
Between Two Worlds: Packer: Top 5 Books

I think it’s good for families to be pro-active in educating their kids. Let’s not leave it all up to the public schools, whatever our worldview is.

Bollywood Bride

My little bro, Mike, recently upgraded his iPod to an iPod. So I was able to score his old one. But I didn’t have any music. So I looked around on the server where I used to work and I found about forty old Bollywood mp3s that I had downloaded there more than three years ago.

I’ve been a little melancholy this past week. The love of my life (the very thought of whom drives me bonkers with joy/desire/lonliness/delight/etc) is on the other side of the world along with the fruit of my loins. And then I start listening to the music I listened to when we were first married. Almost lost it. I ran around the house for a while. The songs that we played at the wedding are on the iPod. And I thought to myself, “dear Lord, I miss my wife.”

I’m listening to Roop Tera Mastana right now. It’s the very first Indian song I ever heard. Man…I miss my wife.

So Ruth, if you’re reading this, just let me say a few things to you:

Yar, mein kya kahu?
Bas, mein kya karu?
Kyunke jo vo mein dolut samjhta hai dur hai
Aur vo hai tu.

Aur koi chiz nahin chahta.
Aur koi shukhs nahin dekhta.
Kyunke sub kuch, har chiz, sara jahaan to
hai kuch bhi nahin.

Tere beghar mein kuch nahin karsekta
Tere bin koi kam kamyab nahin hojata
Kyunke tu hai vo jo sub ko kamal (complete?) kardeti
Aur, bas, mein tujhe pyaar karta

Love ya, babes. See you soon.

Auto/Bio?

There was once a boy who went away to Bible College. He met a girl there. They got together. The girl was great, but the boy didn’t really know that. In fact, the girl was such an amazing person that there was really no one else in the whole world who could have been a better match for the boy. But the boy really didn’t know that. So after some time the boy decided it would be better to break things off.
But then the boy had to take a trip across the ocean to the strange country that the girl was from. It was a really tough trip for that silly, wimpy boy. He didn’t have a fun time for most of it. He decided that he would never be able to live in such a strange, uncomfortable, unfamiliar country. So he wanted to break things off with the girl.
So he called her and tried to begin the breaking-off procedure. But suddenly the girl was thrown into a strange crisis. The boy felt that he couldn’t break things off with the girl during this horrible crisis, so he decided to wait until later. So he comforted the girl as best he could and just waited in the funny country until his return flight was booked. While he was there he also decided to make sure he had permission to marry the girl, just in case he changed his mind later. Also, because it would be pretty embarrassing if he didn’t ask while he was there, and people might think he had a problem with commitment. The girl’s father said yes, but the boy wasn’t really excited about it much.
So then the boy came home, and he found out that the crisis had gotten worse. It seemed that the girl was going to be sent out of the country and maybe out of his life. So the boy was made instrumental in keeping the girl that he didn’t really want to marry in his country. He didn’t really know what he was doing, but he was doing what people expected him to do, and he helped save the day, in the end.
But he still didn’t really realize how cool and awesome and wonderful the girl was. He still wasn’t sure he wanted to marry the girl or even date her. He told her all this, perhaps hoping that she would make the choice for him. But she didn’t. So he stayed with her.
He went to a friend’s wedding with the girl. It was pretty depressing because he saw how happy his friend was as his bride walked down the aisle. Suddenly that common wisdom sang in his head, “Marry the woman you love.” “I’m screwed,” thought the boy.
But the boy was made of such a weak personality that he thought himself unable to change the events he was in. He felt obligated to marry this wonderful girl. So he started trying to make the best of it, and things improved. He proposed, she said yes. They got married near the end of June. It was a nice wedding, I was there.

And then it happened.

The boy’s eyes started to open. He fell completely, utterly and unalterably in love with his wife. He started to see her clearly for the first time in his life. And he didn’t just see all the amazing things about her that he had missed. He started to see her for who she was. He saw the good, the bad and the ugly, and he loved them all. He loved his wife. The years went by and, much to the boy’s surprise and in opposition to all the predictions people had given him about marriage, life got better and better. The first year was better than being single. Second year was better than first. Third was better than second. Fourth better than third. The boy was dumbfounded and humbled. He was so sorry he had ever thought about leaving that girl. He discovered that saying “marry the woman you love” is not nearly as wise as “love the woman you marry.”
And as the boy types this little blog he has made he wants to send out this encouragement to all the married or nearly-married people out there. Love your spouse. It’s hard work, yes. It’s difficult, of course. It’s a really pain in the neck sometimes, naturally. But there is almost nothing better in the world than a man and a wife living together in that strong, grace-filled love that God knits them in. Amen.