Posted by Tom French |

So I went on a houseparty.

It was good. All about the Body of Christ stuff. As Rachel commented, I am also now a bit sick of body parts. Every thing was about the way the Church is like the body and we all fill different roles. I was challenged to be a better member of the body, rejoice in the community more. I had a good time. I met lots of good people. And I got to know people better. I sat with a bunch of old women for lunch on Saturday. I was the only male at the table for a while. It was great. How good are old women. Two of them started having an argument. It was a bit uncomfortable but it seemed like only the sort of argument that only people who love each other a lot can have. One of them told me off for the messiness of the youth but apart from that they were all very nice to me. Treated me like a grandson. Nice to have a 6 grandmothers for a lunchtime.

I hung out with the young people a bit. They were good quality. They are good quality. I'm happy being a youth minister with such fantastic youth. Last night they wanted to stay up late and flirt and make lots of noise. We allowed this, but I had to be on patrol and stop the guys going into the girls cabins. I also had to call a few of them down off the roof after I disappeared for a while to do my teeth or something. One of them told me I was like a teacher on school camp spying on them to make sure they didn't do anything wrong. That was a shame. I never want to be like a teacher. But sometimes you have to be a little responsible.

I had a long discussion with one of the boys about the ethics and theology of not allowing people of different genders in the same sleeping quarters. I think I have to think about that some more, because I'm sure it's going to be a discussion that is often had in my career. The discussion moved onto a good discussion of Christianity and homosexuality. At 12:01am I sent them all to bed.

The food wasn't too bad, but I would have liked more of it.

The traveling was fun. My passengers were a good lot, and out Hungry Jacks stop on the way up was most enjoyable.

I'm sure there are other things to say but I can't think of them.

Posted by Tom French |

I really feel like Tim Tams.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm meant to be doing something or other at the moment. Instead I'm blogging.

We had a good day at the Christian group at school today. We did the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. The kids responded well. It seemed to rock them a bit, the idea of unlimited forgiveness. It's always good when you teach the Bible and you see it challenging people. You see them try and get their brains around some concept and you think "Yeah, this stuff really is radical". Tops.

I'm going away on a Church houseparty this weekend. Should be fun I think. I'm not mentally prepared but, that don't matter, I'll get there.

There probably won't be internet there. How sad.

Posted by Tom French |

. . . .
Pretend Fan Mail

Dear Tom,

I think your blog is the best. I hope you write a book one day. You have inspired me to be all I can be.

From,

Devoted Fan

West Virginia

Posted by Tom French |

My list of things to do today:

Write Bible Study on Prayer
Plan lunch time group
Plan house party session with youth
Plan talk for youth meeting
Call my small group
Call some leaders
Prepare for talk on next weekend
Take Hannah to respite
Go to Food Court
Write report for Annual Vestry Meeting
Write article for Bulletin

Of those I did seven of them. I think that's pretty good.

Posted by Tom French |

The Passion

I have a bit of work to do today but I want to write about The Passion of the Christ before I do that.

It was an interesting movie. I spent the whole film thinking "This is marvelous" and "This is terrible". It was a great and horrid film. I want to see it again. Rarely does a film make me want to cry, but this one did.

It seems to me that the critics are mainly saying that it's extremely violent, beautifully shot, a bit un-inventive. I can see where they are coming from. For people who don't know the Jesus story, it's probably intriguing but doesn't really give you a good insight into Jesus. Garth at Dark Horizons said that "we see what happened to Jesus, we understand very little about why."

I think it would have been nice to see more of what got Jesus to the cross, and less of Him there, but this isn't meant to be a nice story. The relentless violence left me hanging out for the flashbacks. I wanted to see Jesus not bloodied and beaten up. But in the end I didn't mind. The lack of backstory was no issue for me. It's a story I've been interacting with all my life. I know the backstory, I know who Jesus is, and I know what got Him to the cross. And knowing that, and being a follower of Jesus, and one who loves Him so dearly, it was so agonising to see Him go through so much. Seeing Jesus' punishment, so often through the eyes of Mary, made the pain all the more immediate. There was a point right at the beginning when Jesus was before the Sanhedrin and one of His accusers hit Jesus in the face. "You can't do that to Jesus!" I wanted to jump up on the screen and smack that guy in the mouth. I can understand Peter cutting the soldier's ear off. You can't hurt Jesus, He's Jesus. Soon though, I realised what the rest film was going to be about. Just lots of Jesus going through horrible pain, and it wasn't going to let up, and Jesus wasn't getting out of it. And so I braced myself for the rest of the brutal film. By about half way through I was desensitizing to the violence. There was just so much, I switched that part of my brain off.

I thought Pilate was great. I've always liked Pilate, he's always been such an interesting person. So torn, so close to doing the right thing, so close to using his power for good, so close to saving Jesus. But in the end he was swayed by other people and their pressures on him. I've always identified with him because he's so real, he seems so like me. I'd love to think when it came down to it, I'd do the right thing, I'd stand up for Jesus, I wouldn't condemn an innocent man, but I'm scared I'd wimp out.

There was one point with Pilate where Jesus was standing there covered in blood and looking as pitiful as any man could be, and Pilate said to Jesus: "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" And Jesus turned to him and looked him in the eye and said "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." And I wanted to jump up and shout "Yeah Baby!" Because there, for a glimpse, we saw Jesus for who He was. He wasn't a broken man, a weak, beaten up, insignificant human. He was a King. The Son of God, one who commands angels, and created the world. There was glory underneath and you knew Jesus could do whatever he wanted to. And so He chose to die.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Posted by Tom French |

I just gave my mum a phone message that I got two days ago. I told her it was about a party that's on tonight. She said that she already got that message from someone else, and the party was on last night.

Late and wrong. Perhaps I'm not the world's best answering service.

I also just tried to book some $29 plane tickets on the internet and Jetstar's website isn't working. Virgin Blue is but I can't be bothered booking one if I don't book the other. I was going to fly somewhere on Virgin Blue, and then home on Jetstar. Oh well. No one day holiday for me.

Posted by Tom French |

I had a scripture class today. I had planned to come it and get kids in trouble who mucked up. Today I was going to be mean Tom, establish some control. But today, since it was raining, the teacher decided to stay in the class room. I didn't feel very comfortable being "mean Tom" in front of the teacher. It's like disciplining a child in front of their parents. That's not very easy. So I wasn't very "mean" today. I told a few kids off, but I was pretty nice to them. When I left the teacher got the class to stay. I think she was going to get then busted for their behaviour in my class. Bummer.

Posted by Tom French |

I sat in the library for 2 hours today (with a 1 hour lunch break) planning "The Donny Jaffa Show". And then I ran out of ideas. I did manage to fill 25 minutes of stage time, for 5 nights, that's 2 hours and 5 minutes. I reckon that's pretty impressive. It may be a crappy piece of entertainment, but I'm looking forward to it.

Now all I have to do is make it all happen. I envisage stress.

Posted by Tom French |

My shoolace broke yesterday. Now I have a new one in. That should delay the purchase of new shoos for another 3 months or so.

Posted by Tom French |

In other news, today I plan "The Donny Jaffa Show" (working title), lots of silliness, should be fun.

Posted by Tom French |

Sometimes you sit here in life and you say "I have absolutly no idea".

I have no idea how I'm meant to be. I have no idea who God is. Well, not all that much. I have no idea what He's meant to be doing in my life. How much? How little? I have no idea how to behave. I have no idea what to ask for. Have I gone too far? How much further? When do I get there?

Posted by Tom French |

I e-mailed an invitation to watch The Passion of the Christ with me on Wednesday night to George W Bush. I got an e-mail back which said: "Thank you for e-mailing President Bush. Your ideas and comments are very important to him."

Isn't that nice?

Posted by Tom French |

Today has been very quiet. David and I ate some bakery stuff in Westfield. He also installed lots of new software on my computer. I went to dinner at my cousins house and said very little. I didn't ask any questions, and I answered a few. Funny how quiet I am around my extended family.

Tomorrow I might fiddle with the new software.

Posted by Tom French |

Ryan (and Janet I think) got me a t-shirt for Christmas. I got it today. I think it's great. I've been dying for a new t-shirt for a while. Now I have one.

Next month I'll search for more.

Posted by Tom French |

There's a Norah song in which I thought the one of the lines was "The blues come and go, but a few stars still hang on to the sky" and I thought it was good. But that's not the words, so that's a little disappointing.

Posted by Tom French |

I feel like I have a lot to write. A lot of catching up to do. Right now I really feel like eating something (I'd love a Tim Tam) but I've already done my teeth, and I can't be bothered doing them again.

Well here goes. I'll try and be quick. My weekend on speed.

Friday

We had youth group at night. It was good fun. 23 kids in years 6-8 playing with food. They had a food fight during dinner, very fun to watch. I love seeing them have fun. Throwing food, doing memorable stuff, tipping Sprite down some other kid's back. Fantastic. I made them all clean it up too. Perhaps they weren't as impressed with that, but alas, it must be done.

Kaye organised a game where people had to lie on the ground and another person stood on a chair above them and tried to pour a cup of golden syrup into their mouth. It was very funny to watch, people throwing up, and getting their eyes stuck shut. One of the girls didn't want to play the second round so I had to take her spot. I had to lie down and get the syrup. My partner wasn't a bad shot, which meant that I had a mouth full of golden syrup. That made it difficult to breath, and hard to swallow. I also managed to get sufficiently covered in Syrup. The kid on the chair next to me didn't see the need to try and get the syrup in his partners mouth and poured his cup all over my legs. Lovely.

After cleaning up and having a shower in the church centre (scary experience, no lock, no light, neglected shower, and a terrible fear of creepy crawlies) I went over to Mil's to sit around and talk with Mil, Ryan, David and Howie. Stella joined us for a bit too. Very pleasant end to an evening.

Saturday

Yesterday I got a new phone. It takes pictures. Who needs a phone that takes crappy little pictures? Not me, but I got it because it costs the same, and I thought it would be fun. Really though, it's a bit of a waste.

I went to a drama workshop and heard things about characterisation. It was a good one. Delle taught it and see did good. I'm a fan of Delle.

The evening consisted of trip to Anmol's party. That was good fun. I like Anmol, and his parents are great. So nice. The party had old school people there who I had very little conversation with. I tried to meet some new people from Anmol's tafe but I didn't manage to crack the circle for long. Only long enough to learn names and suburbs.

We were the last to leave.

Today

Today has been like any other Sunday.

We did kindness projects in youth group today. That went really well. The kids had fun. We washed a blue Commodore, and some Scottish people's windows. They were very friendly. Everyone wanted to give us money, but our young ones were very good and refusing.

As a result of kindness projects I got excited about telling the community about Jesus.

After Church many young people went to Dee Why to hang out. I got to hang out with some people I don't usually get to hang with. The evening ended with Jo, Helen, Kaye, Rachel and I. I made a few bad comments. I think perhaps I didn't come out sounding too good, but much laughter was had. We sat one a blog of concrete by the ocean. It was very nice. It rained for about an hour, and we all got wet. But it was worth doing. I enjoyed myself.

I came home and put on trackies. How wonderful are trackies?

Posted by Tom French |

Quote of the Night

Mil to Me: "Gees, and I thought my love life was disfunctional"

Posted by Tom French |

I've arrived at work kinda early today and I'm not sure what to do. I've been slowly cleaning up my office. Now that I have a new computer and a bigger screen, I need to find good things to do with the room. I managed to pull some pieces of plastic off the wall, and plenty of paint with them. I would also like to throw out some furniture, but they won't fit in my bin. Oh well, it's a work in progress. I may even put something on the wall one day.

Posted by Tom French |
Posted by Tom French |

François is spelt like this "François".

I've always wondered that.

Posted by Tom French |

Robert, Tinku and I saw Timeline tonight. It wasn't fantastic. We arrived to an empty cinema and the ads were playing. As we sat there we discussed the options that we had having a cinema to ourselves. I managed to suggest "We could take all our clothes off" quite loudly just as the screen went quiet and a group of guys walked in.

Posted by Tom French |

I was driving home today and I saw a pink Magna, and I exclaimed "Oh my goodness, it's a pink Magna!"

Posted by Tom French |

I just remembered that The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen wasn't a very good film.

Posted by Tom French |

Today I worked from 8am to 6:45pm. I was trying to have a relaxing first Wednesday on the job. But alas it just turned into a long one. I did though spend three of those hours procrastinating so I guess I deserve the long day. And it wasn't that bad. I had a nice day. I had lots of conversations with different people, some of those conversations weren't even meetings, and I got to eat some butter chicken for lunch, and I got to listen to my cds, and I got to count lots of money, I love counting money. So it wasn't a bad day at all. Just long.

Posted by Tom French |

"Why, am I always the laaaast to leave?"

Tonight I went to a small groups meeting hang out thing. And I tried to leave early, at least earlier than a few people, but I ended up being the second last person to leave. What's with that? I always seem to leave events last, I leave church last, I leave meetings last, I often leave Soul Survivor things last, I leave parties last, I leave Maccas last.

At least I get to have more conversations.

Posted by Tom French |

I just got a hair cut.

Another one of life's most fear inducing experiences over and done with. Only a lifetime left of them to go.

Posted by Tom French |

I've got a number of prank calls on my mobile from a private number over the past week or so. I pick up my phone and say "Hello" and there's nothing there. Beep Beep Beep. I did it on Loftus Station the other day. There was a girl sitting next to me on the seat. I'm sure she thought it was very funny, me saying "Hello" to nothing. Oh well.

Posted by Tom French |

Yesterday (and today because it still is today, really)

I took today off. I slept in till 11. I had a slow start then ate some lunch with David. When we parted I went shopping for boxers and socks. How satisfying is that. I got three pairs of boxers. One silver pair, a stripy blue pair, and Superman pair. I'm so excited. You feel good wearing cool boxers. My map of Sydney ones were the best, but the elastic is gone in them now.

I met Anmol later on and had cheesecake with him. It was his birthday and I said "Happy Birthday". Happy Birthday Anmol. We chatted for awhile. It was good.

Tonight was spent with Tim. We had some dinner in Gordon, then went to the movies in Chatswood. Watched Shattered Glass that was a good film. It inspired me to be a person of integrity and to make right decisions, not popular ones.

I think I would like to buy a new t-shirt or two.

Posted by Tom French |

Sunday

Sunday was not very unusal. But quite hot.

I realised that we are in a spiritual warzone, and I got excited about kicking Satan's ass. That the first thing that got me interested in this gig.

Posted by Tom French |

Pie

Saturday

I got up at 8:46am very excited about the day's coming Pie Fight. The joy that would be had throwing cream and foil trays at each other. I picked my clothes carefully (my Hawaiian shirt and old SMP shorts), packed the car, then picked David up then headed of to pick ourselves a fight.

We were the first to arrive at Jo's but were quickly followed by Lauren, Kaye, Helen and one of Jo's friends who's name I think I remember but I don't want to write it because it might be wrong. James was also there. We prepared our pies. We put huge amounts of Dairy Whip in our pie bases and foil trays. One can of Dairy Whip did about two and a half pies.

Two more of Jo's friends arrived (I think perhaps they were called Claire and Brendan) followed by Keith. And so we had our inaugural 11. Jo and I tried to get some order going so that we could do this pie fight properly. We all grabbed a pie and met in the middle between two tables laden with cream pies. Jo attempted to organise us into two lines back to back so that we could take three paces then turn and throw. But Keith got a bit over excited and jumped the gun throwing his strawberry cheesecake at close range into the side of Helen's head, causing the only injury of the pie fight (trust Keith), and beginning the first ever Pie Fight. From that point it was on. I threw my first pie and it hit Jo's friend squarely in the arm causing a satisfying splat. And after that I have no real memory except there was about 30 frenzied seconds of cream, tins, screams and laughter going everywhere. Someone put a pie on my head, and I got cheesecake on my face which was a pleasant surprise when I licked my lips.

It quickly calmed down, and when the cream cleared, we were all covered in it. It was great. There was a small amount of sporadic firing as people picked up old pies of the ground, and cream off their faces and threw them about. But two minutes after it had started, the fighting had ended. It was a cream massacre. Fantastic. We all hosed the major cream off ourselves but I was unable to wipe the smile off my face for about and hour.

I had a shower at Jo's then some of us headed to Macca's for the post-fight meal. We went to visit Beck and Sal in the bakery who quickly informed us all that we stunk of off-cream. It was true.

The rest of the day involved a trip to Riverstone with David to fix my Aunties computer (it was very hot, Riverstone was) and lots of oven cooked frozen food for dinner with a dvd. What a lovely day.

Posted by Tom French |

It's been very hard for me to talk about what I need to talk about. Namely the past four days. But now I'm going to try.

Friday

This day was a good one. I can't remember if I was tired. Probably was. I went for a run with Ryan we ran around Asquith and Mt Colah. Managed to avoid hills almost the whole run. What a great way to run.

Kaye and I went to the high school for the our first proper lunch time group. Five kids turned up. We played with pegs, talked about ourselves, and ran out of time. It was good fun, I like those kids.

Small group was had too. The first proper small group. I had eight year 7 and 8 guys, they were lots of fun. We laughed a lot and they joked about farts, circumcision and genitals. They were very talkative but it was good.

I met David afterwards and we went to Westfield to look at the big, LED board in Greater Union. It told us our options for evening entertainment. We had around an hour to kill so we headed to Coles to buy our supplies for the pie fight.

The Coles Checkout Chick was suspicious of us buying so much Dairy Whip. We assured her it was for a pie fight, she thought we were crazy and apologised for having dirty thoughts. I told her the pie fight would be fun. She berated us for spending $40 on a pie fight when us two strapping 20-year-old men (I forgot my age) should be spending the money on our Valentines. I told her we'd let her know how the pie fight went.

Lesley joined us later and we all headed into Cinema four to watch Stuck on You. What a great film. Very funny film. I loved it. I giggled often. It's good to laugh in the cinema. I reckon it's the best film I've seen this year, followed closely by Big Fish, that was magical. The Farrelly Brothers seem to like making films with people with disabilities in them. Good stuff. Maybe they'll put Hannah in a film.

I went home after that I would say. And I probably went to bed.

Posted by Tom French |

I just got an advertising letter from Youthworks hand signed by Al Stewart, the CEO of Youthworks. You can tell I'm in the big time now.

Posted by Tom French |

Mr Waites said police had confiscated bricks and bottles used to attack officers - SMH

Will the police give them back when the violence is over?

Posted by Tom French |

Well, I'm back. Perhaps not for long. The rapture could happen any moment now, or Telstra could stuff up our cable again.

But I had a marvelous day today. I think I'll save writing about today till tomorrow when I have more time. I'm aiming for bed by 10:30pm.

Yesterday was good too. Save that for tomorrow also.

Um...

I exist, ain't that the truth.

Posted by Tom French |

So here I am at David's work because Telstra have still killed the internet.

We just ordered some stuff to fatten up my already fat computer. Now it's going to have 360GB of hard drive space. I may get lost in it all. (David would like to point out that that's over a third of a terabyte.) Pow!

I'm having a day off today. It's my first one since, um, 26th Jan. And that wasn't all that relaxing. So I'm not sure when my last relaxing day off was. But today is one. Today is off. Ahh. I made all my phone calls last night in a flurry of stress.

I also had "bonding time" with Dad last night. I was trying to figure out what to do with my night and realised that Dad was going to be at home all alone. So I asked him if he wanted to hang out with me. We got pizza and watched Bad Eggs. Was a silly film. But I enjoyed hanging out with Dad. My eyes grew heavy and my head ached, and I went to bed looking forward to not waking up. I did wake up early though and panicked because my alarm hadn't gone off. No worry though, I'm having a day off.

Today has had a food court visit and now this internet time. It's good to be connected to the world even when the evil telecommunications company tries to stop you.

Posted by Tom French |

All the freaky the people make the beauty of the world - Michael Franti

I thought I might blog. I don’t have internet at the moment so I’ll have to back date it. No matter. I’ve stuck the date and time at the top of this lovely word document so I don’t deceive anyone.

I’m so dependant on the internet. I have e-mails to send, but they're not going anywhere. And I have blogs to read, but where are they? My computer seems useless without the internet. I guess I could make a Powerpoint presentation. But there is no need for that at this stage of life.

Today was my first scripture lesson with the year fives. I was a bit scared. I thought they might tear me to pieces and I might be too timid to tell them to stop. I turned up and got a badge. It said my name was Mr French. I got introduced to the class as Mr French, and I decided to maintain the Mr French persona, because every other teacher there, scripture teachers included, is Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms. I didn’t think I should undermine their “coolness” by calling myself “Tom”.

The kids were good to me. I told a few to sit down, and a few to stop talking, and things like that. I think I was firm enough, but they were nice to me. We played a game they liked where they decided if a statement I made about Jesus was true or false. The game took longer than planned and the bell went while we were playing. But they said they wanted to stay after the bell. That was cool.

I went to college after that. I left school, hopped in my van and sped off. Always wanted to do that. Shame I’m in neither primary nor high school.

There were puppets at college which were fun while I did them. I did a short play about the lost coin with an old woman puppet. I was told it was good but the jokes were all a bit old for a kids show. Probably true, how many kids think jokes about supermodels and anorexia are funny? But I was playing to an older audience.

I had a sleep this afternoon. Energised me to make all my phone calls.

It’s raining.

I like rain.

Posted by Tom French |

Two Questions...

Why do the cowboys across the street, who drive utes that they call "rum tonners" need to put their big, orange flashing, council worker lights on when driving up their driveway?

Why does Hillsong need to put out a Christian business directory?

The second one concerns me more than the first one. I think it's silly to use one business over another because of the faith of the owner (except perhaps if you're looking for a "worshipping community"). I mean, at the very least, or perhaps at the most, using non-Christians means there's more evangelism opportunities ("Excuse me would you like to fix my car? Do you reckon you could find out what that rattle is? Have you met Jesus as your Lord and saviour?") I would say you should use the best people for the job. Having a faith in Jesus may not mean you'll be any better at your occupation. Christians can hide themselves from the rest of the world too much.

Posted by Tom French |

I bought another new cd today. Oops. But it was Norah Jones' new one, Feels Like Home, and we all know how I feel about Norah. It's going alright at the moment. Track 10's sounding pretty good.

As I was walking into Borders to purchase Ms Jones, I noticed the "Full Time Positions Available" sign which made me think of Lesley. So I pulled out my phone to see if she wanted to hang out with me tonight. Unfortunately she's busy so I might see if I can find something else to do tonight. My Mum just came in and told me that we're just having salad for dinner. And as grateful as I am for my juicy greens, reds and oranges, going out is sounding more appealing. Maybe I'll take myself on an adventure, go start a fight and rescue a beauty. Probably not though.

Within college today we learnt about drawing stories. It was a pretty easy day. This intensive isn't taxing my brain too much. I'm not much good at drawing though, and I found it difficult to not to tune out. But having pencils and blank paper in front of me helped the time pass quickly. I ended up writing nonsense on a piece paper in little writing, like I used to do in art in year 10 because I was no good at art. It was like a blog in pencil, on paper, written really small, and not worth sticking on the internet (not that this is).

I slept on the train and sweated. I tried to avoid the shiny sweat marks left on the seat by the person before me.

Posted by Tom French |

We had our first Sunday youth group this afternoon. Sang in youth group for the first time too. It was a good meeting. Good turn out. I'm looking forward to seeing where we take it.

I think that's all I have to say. I'm very tried. All this youth ministry starting has tried me out. I would look forward to college, but I think that'll just be a struggle to stay awake.

"Ba baa, do ab baa"

Posted by Tom French |

Really enjoying Meteora at the moment. Grinding gutairs, noisy rap, angsty lyrics, screaming vocals, turn it up loud, lots of fun. Makes me feel like a teenager.

"All I want to do is become more like me and less like you" - Linkin Park

Posted by Tom French |

This book that I am reading, Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, is an interesting book. It's about "discovering the secret of a man's soul". I'm reading it because I'm doing a talk next month called "Being a Godly Guy" and I thought I should do a little bit of research, because alas, I'm not sure I'm a godly guy. How does masculinity and godliness work itself out together?

So here I am reading this book, and it's encouraging me to be a real man. I started reading the book thinking "This book is fourth on the bestseller list at Koorong, I plan on not liking this". By the time I was at the second chapter it had sucked me in. It told me men were strong, and men were dangerous, and I'm thinking "Yeah, cool". I'm all up for being dangerous and strong.

Which would you rather be said of you: "Harry, yeah I know him. He's a real sweet guy." Or "Yes, I know about Harry. He's a dangerous man...in a really good way".

I read that and thought "I'd rather be nice". But then I substituted "dangerous" for "kicks ass", and that sounded a bit better: "Yes, I know about Tom. He kicks ass...In a really good way"..

I'm all up for being an ass kicker, in a good way. And that's not ass kicking as in "cool", but ass kicking as in "sorts out messes, puts bad things right, fights injustice, is a superhero". Yeah, I wouldn't mind being that.

Eldredge told me that: ...in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.

Is that me? Sure, I reckon. I never have a desire to go out and pick fights, but there is a desire to fight, fight something. I like making up battle analogies in my head, I like pretending life's a war, and I'm a master tactition. Spiritual warfare appeals because when else, as a Christian, do you get to fight? I hate making confrontation, but sometimes I'm itching for it. It's exciting when you find yourself in a conflict situation, and seeing what will happen, how will you go? What will you do? Can you kick ass? And when you have a righteous fight to fight, when it's time to stand up to evil, then I'm buzzing.

It's a little strange. I'm a pacifist. I believe in turning the other cheek. I hate war, but I love guns, and I love fighter planes. Why do I still get excited when I open my cupboard and find my stash of plastic guns? I'm like a little boy.

Violence scares me, but I'd rather avoid it because avoidance is right, not because I'm scared.

Adventures are great. I love exploring, I love finding someplace new, going somewhere challenging. Why do I like going hiking (not that I do it enough)? Because it's an adventure. Sure it looks good, the trees are pretty, and the air is clean, but the fun is in the adventure. Short bushwalks bore me. Where's the challenge?

Why do I want hobbit feet? It's an adventure. Why do I like road trips? Adventure. Same reason I like walking from the City to Hornsby, or the other way. And fire escapes, winding corridors, getting stuck in an elevator or busted by the cops? Adventure.

And a beauty to rescue? Well yeah. That's a mighty fine idea. "Get into my car and ride". Find Miss Beautiful, we fall in love, she becomes Mrs French, and we head off into the sunset and change the world. I guess I don't really feel like rescuing anyone. Although, I don't mind rescuing if it needs to be done. I don't think I'd be anyone's rescue, anyone's salvation. But I'm happy to rock someone's world, and I'd love for them to rock mine.

Now these traits may not be exclusive to men, they may not even be primarily in men. But that don't matter. They are in me, and so I'm going to subjectively pronounce the book right. The pop-Christian psychology book has won me over.

Except now he's talking about wounds. He's saying that all men are deeply wounded and that's why they aren't real men. We men all have gaping wound which must be healed if we are to be proper specimens of masculinity.

None of this wound stuff is clicking with me. I can't find my wound. I'm searching. I'm looking in my past. He said it's inflicted by my father. I'm looking, my father's done pretty good I reckon. I'm not a "real man" like the book says, but I don't think I'm wounded. As a result of our wound we have a false self which we present, so that no one will wound us again. Now I have at times been false. I'm still often tempted to present a false me. This is true. But I can't see a wound that's come from. I present false-Tom because I don't like the real-Tom. The real Tom isn't good, the real Tom is weak. Who wants to be seen as a sinful weakling? I don't think that's a result of a wound, I think that's a result of being like everyone else.

There are readers who even now have no-idea what their wound is, or even what false self arose from it. Ah, how convenient that blindness is. Blissful ignorance.

So now I'm wondering if the book actually is right. Perhaps I don't have a desire "for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue". Perhaps I have no masculinity to discover. The book's wrong, there is no wound, no real man.

Or maybe the book is right, and one day soon I will discover the hurts of my father, and he's not really the wonderful man I think he is (doubt that). I do remember once he was un-happy with me for not doing well at school. But I probably didn't, and anyway, I have no wound from that. I don't think I have "high achiever complex" or even a "low achiever one".

I think what I'll do is this: I'll finish the book. I'll fight the battles that I need to, I'll go on as many adventures as I can, and I'll keep my eye out for beauties, especially ones who need rescuing. And if I find my wound, I'll do what needs to be done to fix it. I'll get on with life.

And while I do all this, I'll do what I can to be more and more like Christ. And when I die, and get there, when I am transformed to be like Him, then I'll be a real man. And I can spend an eternity with God as His rescued beauty.

Posted by Tom French |

I've spent most of the day sitting around trying to make a Bible study get written. It's now done. I've been quite slow. I think because because I was trying to make it a relaxing process. But really, it just drew the process out. I did however do the most stressful bit, actually writing the questions, down by the water in Brooklyn as the sun set. That was very nice. I was down there with my family and Tinku, and we ate fish and chips. It was very good.

Posted by Tom French |

How is it that there can be so much talk about one boob on TV?

Posted by Tom French |

On Thursday night David, Anmol and I went to see Big Fish. That was a great movie. Magical perhaps. I'm sure it was very deep too. Made my heart warm. And it made me want to be romantic when I'm 70.

Tonight I went with David to see The Last Samurai. (Spoilers ahead)That was not as good, but it had better action. I liked all the sword fighting. I was appalled when the emperor asked Tom about the main Samurai man "Tell me how he died" and Tom replied "I'll tell you how he lived." Heh heh. We love American's. (Spoilers finished)

We also had our second youth group activity tonight. All the year 6-8 boys went over to Ben's house where we ate pizza and watched a dvd. It was a nice night. Nothing special, but relationships are starting to form and the kids are being reasonably nice to each other so that's good.

Before that, at lunch time, Kaye and I went to the school for the first lunch time group of the year. It didn't go according to plan and we spent the whole lunch time sitting in a corridor waiting for a room to be un-locked for us, but it never was. No matter we talked to kids, and it was really nice. I got to see people I don't normally see, and show my shoes to a bunch of year 8 girls who recognised me from scripture seminars. Twas fun.

After the movie tonight I came home with my head buzzing with ideas for the big film project this year. I'm not sure if they will evolve, but it's good to be buzzing.

Posted by Tom French |

Well the birthday cd count is standing at eight:

Coastal Chill 2 - Various Artists
The 1967 New York Sessions - Van Morrison
Music from the Front Porch - Michael Franti and Spearhead
Stay Human - Michael Franti and Spearhead
Meteora - Linkin Park
What's Wrong With This Picture - Van Morrison
True Love Waits (Christopher O'Riley Plays Radiohead) - Christopher O'Riley "Radiohead songs re-imagined for solo piano"
This Desert Life - Counting Crows

This is all so exciting.

Posted by Tom French |

The sun may be setting here, but it's always rising somewhere else

Posted by Tom French |

"Don't fear your family, because you chose them a long time before your birth." - Michael Franti

Yesterday was a good day. I thought I should blog about it last night, but now I think about it I can't remember what happened.

Oh yes I have recall.

I got up at my usual college time of 5:30. Or at least that was the time I aimed for. I was in the shower by 5:50 so that's not too bad. While in the shower I had a sudden terrible thought that perhaps I was teaching my first scripture class. This thought tormented me to the point where after checking anything I thought I had at home which might tell me the day I started scripture, I decided I would have to drive to work and have a look at the letter that I had left there.

So I got in the car and left my home at 6:20, too damn early to be driving to work. On arrival there I discovered that I wasn't teaching till next week so I hopped back in the car, drove to Hornsby station can got on my usual train to college.

College was a bit better. We did drama again, but I liked this session more. The teacher had some good ideas, and got us doing a bit of improv. Always my favourite.

I had the thought that if there was any sporting team I would like to join it would be theatre sports. I wonder if they have any of them out there.

After class I tried to sort out my life. I had the brilliant idea that I could get a lift to church from Zoe, the friendly first year, who passes by on her way home. And then a lift home, and never have to see Hornsby in between, thus saving an hour and getting lots of work done.

That didn't happen so I ended getting a lift to Gordon and trained it to Hornsby, then drove to church arriving in time for meeting of those doing drama stuff this year. This was followed by a massively female abundant (Matt was the only other guy there) creative meeting to plan project work for this year at church (Are women just more likely to be creative than men? Or is it just "un-masculine" to be creative?). It was a good meeting. Got my brain buzzing. Now I'm on the look out for thoughts and ideas that could perhaps evolve into a film. Should be fun.

After the meeting and dropping Louise, Matt, Jill and Sal home, I met some (Jo, David, Howie and Ryan) at Scary Park to play some night frisbee. It is good to play frisbee. It seems to make conversation easier. Not any better, but there's something to do when no-ones talking. I really like the green light of the frisbee.

Dinner was had at midnight, at Magic Kebab, then it was back to land of my work to drop Jo home. For my third time that day, it wasn't a bad trip at all. David and Howie kept me company.

And that was my day. I'm not sure if it really should be recorded. It's probably of little importance in the big scheme of things. But the internet is so good that everyman and his canine friend can publish. And so I will add another day to the history of me, that will be forever on record to be poured over by historians in days to come and all my crazy stalker fans.

"All's well that ends well"

Posted by Tom French |

Today I asked David if he had a desire to "Rescue the Beauty" (it's one of the three desires that all men have according to the book I'm reading). He said "Yes, but it never ends well".

Posted by Tom French |

Helen has linked to David as "Davis". I like that.

Posted by Tom French |

I would like to do a big post. Or a big few posts.

The things I would like to write about are:

The first night of youth group
The weekend
Community dinner
My book about manhood
Today (Well yesterday technically)

Maybe that's tomorrow's job. Tomorrow (which is today technically) is my day off. Praise the Lord.

Posted by Tom French |

If I had a wife that was put in gaol for being a suspected supporter of terrorism, I'd still love her. I'd stand by her too. And if she was a terrorist, I'd condemn her actions, but I'd stick around till she got out of gaol, or one of us died.

I think that would be a nice day when my wife got out of gaol. We could have a cup of tea together on the front verandah while the sun set, the birds chirped and the neighborhood kids played with hula-hoops in the streets.

Posted by Tom French |

(Dudley counting his birthday presents)
Dudley Dursley: How many are they?
Uncle Vernon: 36, counted them myself.
Dudley Dursley: 36! But last year-Last year I had 37!
Uncle Vernon: Yes,Yes, but some of them are quite bigger than lasts years.
Dudley Dursley: I don't care how big they are!
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Today I got lots of presents. Good ones too. I got a cheque for $8,113. That never disappoints a man. I got Coke too, Tim Tams and a bag. And some cards. Very nice.

Mum and Dad gave me a red, foam, surfboard. I wasn't quite sure how to react. They bought it in consultation with Ryan, to whom I had confessed a fleeting desire to learn to surf while up in Coolangatta. I didn't really hold that thought for much longer than about 30 minutes, and it was in that 30 minutes that I think I must have told it to Ryan. So there I was holding my surfboard, trying to decide whether to be polite and pretend to like it, or be honest, and tell them that it wasn't really what I wanted. I mean it's not a big deal not getting what you want. I could have got nothing and I wouldn't have cared. So getting something you don't want shouldn't be a problem. Except that it felt a bit rude to say "Thanks" smile and then put it away in my room and try and avoid all Ryan's questions about when we will learn to surf until one day I confess that I don't really want to. I thought it would be better to own up then and there.

So I did that, rude and selfish little boy that I am. And we all had a good laugh. I still felt a bit guilty for not liking it, but I guess that's better than being a liar. I do like that they put effort in to thinking of things for me. And innovative presents are always good. And that's what my present was. When they say it's the thought that counts, I think that can be true here. Truly, no shmultz intended.

Posted by Tom French |

I thought I might take this opportunity to blog from college. I'm back, which is a little strange. I feel like I'm in one of those dreams where you have to go back to school even though you've left. It's a little disconcerting. At least I know that I chose to be here, no one is forcing me.

I'm doing the Children's Ministry Skills Intensive. That's pretty crazy. I keep having to do things which I don't want to. Yesterday was "Music, Games and Craft" all three of which had a practical component and all three of which freaked me out completely. I don't want to be singing songs, and doing craft. I had to make a little pom-pom/pipe cleaner lead-pencil man. When she said "Craft" all my most terrible childhood memories of failed creative projects came back to me. Paddle-pop stick creations, and paper mache people, all just turning into a horrid mess. One of my most traumatic memories of primary school is when in Year 6 they brought in a special helper for me to cut out a paper circle, they didn't feel that was within my skill level.

So here I am, learning to teach children stuff. Ohmigoodness! I love children, but I'm happy to leave them in Sunday School till they are too cool to put actions to their music.

Today we did drama, which I was a little happier with, but still, it scares me. I can't wait till next year. That Children's intensive should be better. I hear they spent all morning debating covenantial theology. No practical what-so-ever. How nice does that sound?

Posted by Tom French |

Happy Brithday Tom

Good on me I've managed to live 21 years without dying, not even of a drug overdose, or a gangland murder. This calls for a celebration.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm home and life's going very fast.

I would love to give me to the full catch up, but I'm getting up in the morning at 5 to go running, so damn early. Then it's off to college for a new year, even though I left. But I'm back. Back to get more letters, or at least get some letters. I may never get my letters.

The weekend was really good. Leader's weekend in Avalon, with a fantastic view. It's nice spending time with leaders. Often when I think of the people who I lead, and I get really proud. Like a proud father in a little way perhaps. It's really nice. I know they are all about around a year younger than me, so I'm not quite the right age to be their father. But hey, they're great people and I love em all. Even the new ones.

God's done good things in the youth ministry. And will do more.

He's done good things in general.

Tom Clancy on the other hand...

Red Rabbit is pretty poor and I'm normally a Tom fan.

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