Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: May, 2014

Richard Feynman on Everything

There are the rushing waves
mountains of molecules
each stupidly minding its own business
trillions apart
yet forming white surf in unison.

Ages on ages
before any eyes could see
year after year
thunderously pounding the shore as now.
For whom, for what?
On a dead planet
With no life to entertain.

Never at rest
Tortured by energy
wasted prodigiously by the sun
poured into space
A mite makes the sea roar.

Deep in the sea
all molecules repeat
the patterns on one another
till complex new ones are formed.
They makes others like themselves
and a new dance starts.

Growing in size and complexity
living things
masses of atoms
DNA, protein
dancing a pattern ever more intricate.

Out of the cradle
onto dry land
here is is
standing:
atoms with consciousness;
matter with curiosity.

Stands at the sea,
wonders at wondering: I
a universe of atoms
an atom in the universe.

– Richard Feynman, from his lecture, The Value of Science

What Martha and the thief missed

It’s fun that Jesus uses plain, simple speech. He generally leaves the sophisticated arguments to others. Simple and hard–some nearly too hard.

Give to the one who begs of you
If forced to go one mile, go two
If you are sued for your shirt, give up your coat, too.
If someone breaks in a tries to steal your TV, make sure they take the right remote with it.

This all seems too radical to pull off. I know a lot of people who say Jesus never really meant it the way it seems like he said it—that’s how heavy it is. Like ideals made for another world.
One day Jesus was visiting Martha and Mary. Mary hung out with him while Martha cooked and cleaned and played the proper host. It was a lot of work. Martha tried to get Jesus to tell Mary to help. Reasonable. Lots of work to be done.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed, or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better.”

Soto monk and hermit Ryokan (1758-1831) was a strange one. One night he came home to discover a thief—even though there was nothing in his tiny hut to steal. Ryokan didn’t feel right about sending a guest away empty-handed, so he gave the thief the clothes he was wearing. Meditating later, naked in his empty hut, he looked up at the night sky and wrote a haiku.

The thief left it behind:
The moon
At my window.