Cool hand Luke gazes into the rafters inside the abandoned church. “God, I never had much to do with you,” he says, “but you have to admit, you haven’t given me much of a break. If you are really up there, now would be a good time to show yourself.”
Silence. For several seconds.
‘Yeah, I thought so,” he says, and a generation of movie-goers say, ‘Yeah, we thought so too.’
It is like when Jerry Reed sees the judge:
Well, when he took us inta court I couldn't believe my eyes, The judge was a fishin' buddy that I recognized
I said "Hey, judge, old buddy, old pal, I'll pay ya that hundred I owe ya if you'll get me outta this spot"
So he gave my friends a little fine to pay, He turned around and grinned at me and said, "Ninety days, Jerry, when you hot, you hot"
He should have paid him back that hundred he owed him. Not only did Cool Hand Luke not get out of his spot. He got shot. It’s just a movie. Same as when the cast of Good Lord Bird showed up at Harper’s Ferry. The National Historical Park ranger told me people began asking them all sorts of questions about what John Brown did back then in that town, as though they were the actual participants. Look, it’s just a television show, they said.
The only one who you don’t have to worry about getting out of spots is God himself. It’s part of the qualifications for being God: “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,” he says. What! You’re going to get him out of that spot? (Psalm 50:12)
There are in the archives many life experiences of those in a spot from which they call out to God and later say they were answered. But they generally propose a ‘deal’—‘get me out of this spot and I’ll do your will forever,’ something like that. Maybe God, who can read hearts, after all, translated Cool Hand Luke’s makeshift prayer as, ‘God—get me out of this spot—so I can raise hell among your people just like I’m raising it here.’
And a cadre of humanists say, ‘How shocking! He should be able to raise hell wherever he wants!’
****** The bookstore