Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: November, 2009

To Dance

Do you remember the ball scene in The Sound of Music? The children ask Maria, “What music is that?” She says, “Oh, that’s the Laendler.”

Oh, the Laendler. Silly.

And then the captain walks in. There’s no, “Hey captain, do you know the Laendler?” Of course he knows. It’s like saying, “Dude, can you hum the opening bars to Star Wars?” Of course I can. Silly.

Can you imagine living in a society where dances are as popular as Star Wars?

I was in Scotland once. They taught us folks dances. Actual dances that you can take from town to town and, when the right music is playing, people will know what to do. You can be cutting a rug in a pub with a whole bunch of strangers, and you’ll all be doing the same thing. A real, live musical.

What about modern western popular dance? I think it’s more of a bump-and-grind-rub-each-other-to-wild-music sort of thing.

Musicals and folk dances try to infuse everyday life with music.

Urban club dance tries to infuse everyday life with sex.

In our culture, I think music is a more precious commodity.

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Free Illiterate Stuff

Hey folks!

I’ve always wanted to give away something of value for free. Not just the scribbles I make here three times a week, but something you’ll remember. With that in mind I create this new post. Here’s some free stuff.

1) 100,000 Words – A 30ish-page e-book I wrote. It’s basically an encouragement to creativity and writing those 100,000 practice words.

For now that’s it, but I’ll be adding more soon!


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Artful War

I just finished reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  It’s been getting nothing but amazing reviews on Amazon and by people in the online artsy community.  And it was written by the same guy who wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance.  How could I go wrong?

I don’t think I did go wrong.

The book is little.  Google books gives you a 100 page preview and two out of the three sections of the whole thing.  And the last section wasn’t nearly as good as the first two.

Pressfield sets out to help us break through creative barriers and achieve whatever it is that we’ve always wanted to achieve.  He does this first by outlining and defining the thing that is stopping us from doing it.  He calls it Resistance.  Resistance is that suicidal, anti-God force that tries to prevent us from doing anything good.  Then, he shows how to be the kind of person that fights against Resistance and does what needs to be done.  In the last section of the book he tries to put a vague, spiritual spin on it.

All in all, the book was great.  It’s quite small.  Many of the chapters only have a few sentences.  But it’s insightful and profound.  I wouldn’t give it the massively high remarks that the Internet folk are, but it’s definately recommened.  Especially for those of you who want to create but feel that horrible pull of dread when you actually try to sit down and do it.

Will this book help you overcome your creative blocks?  Yes, definitely.  I find I’m helped by a lot of it.  It’s not all good, but what’s good is very good.

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The Code

I was digging around in my computer again and I found a neat little thing I wrote a couple years ago.  I was preaching in Romans in Pakistan at the time and when I arrived at chapter 12 I realized that the passage could be adapted to make a great family code.  So I codified it and here is the result: The Cook Family Code:

October 5, 2007

Cook Family Code:
Based on Romans 12:9-121

01.    Love genuinely.  Verses 9 & 10
    Love God with all your heart.  Love each other with brotherly affection.

02.    Hold tightly.  Verse 9
    Hold on tight to what is good, but hate what is evil.

03.    Rejoice continually.  Verse 12
    Rejoice in the hope God gives us.

04.    Live fervently.  Verse 11
    Don’t be lazy in zeal, but be fervent in the Spirit.

05.    Serve gladly.  Verses 11 & 16
    Serve the Lord and others.  Give yourself to humble tasks.  Be humble.

06.    Overcome patiently.  Verses 12, 14, 17 & 21
    Be patient in trouble.  Never take revenge.  Don’t let yourself be overcome by evil, rather overcome evil with good.

07.    Give compassionately.  Verses 10 & 13
    Give to the needs of others.  Outdo one another in showing honor.

08.    Entertain indiscriminately.  Verses 13 & 16
    Always be hospitable.  Associate with the ‘lowly’.

09.    Dwell harmoniously.  Verses 15 & 18
    As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Rejoice with all who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

10.    Pray hard.
    Pray always, even for the people who give you trouble.

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