Posted by Tom French |

Marriage, Girls and Terror

I heard an ancient Babylonian saying that went something like “Treat your mother like a queen”. I’ve thought about that one a lot, I thought it was great. I think my philosophy on women goes something like this:

Treat girls like princesses, your wife and mother like the Queen.

I know that it may seem a bit old fashioned and perhaps a little chauvinistic, and that there are many girls who don’t want to be treated any different from guys. But I’m happy to be both of them if it means I treat women well. I know I didn’t always have that view of women. If you’d asked me when I was in year 10 I would have said “Treat everyone the same”, but since then I’ve changed my mind. I think it was because I’ve see too many guys who don’t treat their girlfriends well and it’s annoyed me. I think it’s because my Mother told my that my Father has utmost respect for women, and I realised that I admired that about him. I think it’s because I’ve noticed that I’m going to marry a woman (rather than a man) and I want to treat her well. I think it’s because women are a lot better looking than men.

I’m thinking about this because tonight’s small group was about relationships. Discussions and studies on relationships always get me thinking a lot. I think marriage is one of the things I am passionate about.

I’m also thinking about it because I was watching Ben Kingsley’s character in last night’s movie and thinking about what I admired in the way he treated his family, and what I didn’t like.

In tonight’s group we were asked to write down three things we value in relationships, and a list of the things we thought were the positives and negatives in our parents’ marriage. We were told that the three things we wrote down were probably a reflection of the things you didn’t like in your parents’ relationship. So if you wrote that you valued affection then you probably felt your parents weren’t affectionate enough.

The problem for me was that I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about my parent’s marriage. I am in awe of my parents’ marriage, and as much as I thought, I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.

My list was a reflection of the things I valued in my parents’ relationship, but it was also a reflection of the things I had seen go wrong in the relationships around me.

I am aware that I have grown up in a strange place. My parents’ relationship is like the model marriage. I come from the Brady Bunch home, I have an abnormal family that is much more blessed than I can express. We are like we are because my parents love each other so much, work hard at their marriage, and are really good match. My parents both think the other one is fantastic.

On the flipside side of that, the other major influences on my views on marriage are the relationships of the families that I grew up with. Way too many of them went bad. I have seen too many of my “secondary parents” split up. And as little as it seemed affect me when it happened, I still seem to be processing it today.

So the result of this is that I have very high ideals for marriage. I have this romantic dream of a fairytale marriage. I have dreams of making my wife feel like the most important person in the world, and loving her till I die. But on the other hand I’m terrified that I’ll stuff it up. I’m terrified that I don’t have the grace, commitment or love that my parents have. I’m scared I’ll ignore my wife, or I’ll cheat on my wife, or I’ll stop loving her after 3 years of marriage and spend the rest of my life in a sterile, non-aggression pact.

I have high ideals and a terrible fear of reality. I know what I want, but I don’t think I can get there.

I think one of my biggest fears is that I’ll commit adultery. It’s funny because I’m one of the least promiscuous people I know. But I’m scared that somewhere below the surface of me is this man that will always be seeking fulfilment in the arms of a “better woman”.

I hate what I haven’t even become. Perhaps this is a good thing, perhaps it is just paranoid.

As a result though, I am determined to make my future marriage work. I am determined never to cheat on my wife. I am determined never to abuse my wife. I am determined not to ever be rude to my wife. I am determined to always think my wife is the best. I want to treat my wife like a queen. I want to love her like Christ loves the Church.

I have said before that I don’t find Romeo and Juliet romantic. Anyone can fall in love for three days. If asked me what I thought was romantic I would say an eighty year old couple that has been married in a loving, committed, relationship for the last sixty years. When I think about love, I think about waking up next to my wife after years of marriage and realising that I don’t want to be married to her anymore, and then working like hell to make it work, honouring my commitment and my wife, and loving her with everything that I have, so my feelings will again fall back in line. That is real love, love that is not about feelings, but about selfless commitment.

I know that sounds very un-romantic. But for me, it’s perhaps what scares me and excites me about marriage the most.

Posted by Tom French |

I went to the beach again today. All by myself. I've never done that before.

I've not been blogging much recently because I've had nothing to blog about, or I've been too busy doing things that I could blog about, but I didn't have time.

That said, I now don't have time again. I just had about 45 minutes set aside to blog, but managed to talk to Helen for most of them. Perhaps though, talking to people is more important than blogging about talking to people.

Ryan and I watched House of Sand and Fog last night. It was very good, but very depressing. It was very well written, and as Matt once commented the characters were very well developed. The problem was you just finished it feeling horrible.

Oh it's meeting time so I'll go have it now.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm going to the beach today.

And seeing as tomorrow is going to be damn hot, I might go then too.

Posted by Tom French |

Contrary to not having enough time to do everything I need to do, God is managing my time very well (it must be God because I have the time management skills of a brick, that is, assuming bricks have no time management skills, however they do tend to do well at doing everything they need to do in the time they have to do it so perhaps a brick is a bad choice.)

In the past few days I have run a lunch time group at a high school, run 2 Bible studies, written a Bible study, written a sermon, written my last assessment for college this year, re-hashed a Gospel talk and been to a 21st. And between now and 11:30am tomorrow I will give a Gospel talk, do a drama workshop, go to a 21st, practice a sermon, give 2 sermons, and change my clothes too often. I haven't been stressed, and everything has fitted quite nicely, and the rest should fit nicely too. Calm I am, and it's lovely. My only disappointment is that I'm not at the beach.

Posted by Tom French |

I am going to wear 4 different outfits today. I feel like a girl.

Posted by Tom French |

Sometimes I feel like deserve better than this. Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve anything at all. Usually the second feeling comes quick on the heels of the first.

I've spent all day at home. I've managed to rewire the "entertainment unit", jump with Hannah, write a sermon, read a lot of news articles, watch TV and do some washing up. And I feel like I've been un-productive, I think that is the problem of having more to do than you have time to do.

Posted by Tom French |

Last night at the pub we had Get-to-Know-You question time. One of the questions was "What has been the most memorable fart of the day?" I think perhaps that question should be asked every day. It'd make me laugh.

Posted by Tom French |

There isn't much food in my house.

There were three girls in my Scripture class yesterday who said they became Christians. That was very exciting.

I have a Veggie Tales tie and an assessment due in tomorrow. I'm not sure if I'll get it done by then. I'm going to try.

I'm also going to try writing Sunday's sermon today. That should happen. I'm almost ready to start my run at the computer. One more shouting session in the kitchen, perhaps a quest to Hornsby for lunch and then I'll be typing my little heart out.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm meant to be writing an assessment at the moment so I'm signing petitions to end AIDS.

I reckon you should sign it too.

Posted by Tom French |
Posted by Tom French |

Telstra put a halfpage ad in the paper today telling them to go to a gayporn site instead of Casey from Idol's site. That's funny.

Story here.

Posted by Tom French |

"If only my life was more like 1983
I'd could just be a little, fat, bay-bee"
- Tom Mayer

Posted by Tom French |

I don't like it when you watch movies or tv shows and you see a character who is just like you.

Actually that bit isn't too bad.

The bad bit is when you spend the whole time feeling sorry for them.

Posted by Tom French |

All before breakfast

Because Mum and Dad are on holidays in Melbourne I woke up at 8am this morning to go pick Hannah up from respite. I put on yesterday's clothes and shoes with no socks. I intended to go get Hannah, drop her at school and be back in bed by 9am.

When I got to the respite place they said Hannah had a sore on her leg and we should keep an eye on it. Hannah was walking funny, but she seemed happy enough so I took her to school. I told them what was going on and to call me if Hannah was unhappy.

I came home called my parents, then was about to get ready for bed again when the phone rang. It was the school they wanted me to get Hannah and take her to the doctor. So called the doctor, made an appointment then hopped back in the car and went back to the school.

From there we went to the doctor. The doctor saw Hannah, perscribed some antibiotics then said see me in a week. Hannah and I went back to the school. As I was taking her to her classroom a bird pooed on me.

From there I went to the chemist, but they couldn't give me the persciption because I didn't have Hannah's health care card. I walked to the other side of Hornsby to get to a pharmacy that could give me the medicine. As I walked I thought about breakfast, my dirty clothes and the bird poo in my hair.

Once I had the medicine I went back to the school who told me I had to get a form filled out by the doctor to say that she could have the medicine at school. I also had to organise a form for Hannah's respite place so she could have her medicine there tonight.

I came home had a shower then went to the doctor with the forms. They said they'd be done by 2pm. I hoping they call soon.

Once that was done I came home and had some breakfast. I haven't bothered going back to bed.

Posted by Tom French |

Maybe I wasted that last quote there. Perhaps I should have saved it for something romantic. Oh well, I always have Van Morrison and Have I told you lately for wooing the ladies.

Today I wooed no one. I had fun though.

In drama we were rehearsing a scene for church next week. We have an American girl with us, so, just to make me happy, I made everyone (me included because I was filling in for a missing actor) speak with an American accent, except the American girl, who had to be Australian. It served no purpose except to amuse me, and amuse me it did. Actually I think we all found it pretty funny.

Later Rach and I went driving. She's getting good. She's very good on windy roads now. (That's windy where the road does a lot of turning, not windy where there is a lot of air moving around at high speeds. Are they spelt the same?)

Tim and I hung out at the shops and had laughs.

I did the talk at youth and that was harder than I thought it would be. I got nervous. Funny that. I couldn't quite work out what I was nervous about but that's ok. I guess it wasn't the easiest talk in the world. It was a "sin" one. It was on Acts 4:36-5:11.

What did I learn from this talk? I got a desire to see the young people of the Church have the courage to stand against sin. I got a desire to see them change the Church in the future by being ruthless on sin (not people). I learnt, personally, that I need to hate my sin. I'm too complacent, and I am too complacent with sin in the church.

We went to church and we started the service with an aerobics routine. I was up the front being led by a dancer and I did real badly. I was trying my hardest, but truly, I suck bad when it comes to moving coordinatedly. But at least I think some people laughed.

After church we watched Australian Idol. I was going for Casey, until Guin complained that she was too young. Then I felt a little guilty for voting for her. Perhaps I have some responsibility if fame ruins the poor girl's life. I hope it doesn't.

But destroyed lives aside, I'm glad she won. Anthony was too smooth and good looking for my liking. Any man that's better looking than me shouldn't be winning Idol. I know that means that not many men would be winning, but at least it would make me feel better about myself.

Posted by Tom French |

"Freedom has a scent like the top of a new born baby's head" - U2

I got it! I got U2! I got How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and I'm loving it. I'm on play number two for the day.

I went to Borders at 9am this morning to get the cd before going to work. When I found out they didn't that the Ultra-Super-Fantastic-and-Too-Expensive Special Edition, I had a terrible dilemma. I ran around to all two open stores in Westfield to see if they had it, and they didn't. In the end I had to settle of the Quite-Super-Reasonably-Priced Special Edition. I'll get the other one later and figure out what to do with the extra cd.

I drove to work (late) listening to the CD very loud and very happy. I had to drive the back way to church so I would arrive a little later and wouldn't have to stop the cd in the middle of a track. I finished the cd on the way home tonight. Yeah baby!

"Oh you look so beautiful tonight" - U2

Posted by Tom French |

I'm going to the Water Works today and where has all the good weather gone? It was hot yesterday, and Thursday. I was dying for the beach. I consoled myself by saying "On Saturday I'm going to the Water Works" and now I'm here, and the weather is cold and grey.

Oh well.

I went to visit a youth group in western Sydney last night. It was fun. I like new youth groups. They spent most of the nights in groups organising their Youth Service which is coming up. This meant that I spent most of the night sitting alone on a chair in the middle of the hall trying not to looking like I as sitting alone on a chair in the middle of the hall. I read my talk over a few times.

I did my talk and it went alright. It wasn't a very funny talk. It's hard not doing funny talks because kids never give you much visual feedback. They don't look impressed, or nod their head, or say "Amen". So you just have to plow through and hope that it's doing something. There was one leader who was looking very concerned about what I was saying. I think maybe she didn't agree with me.

After the group I got to hang out with the kids a bit and have a chat, that's always my favourite bit. They were good fun.

On the way home I pulled into a petrol station that was large, over lit and underpopulated. I filled my car up then went to pay. The counter woman was very friendly and asked me about my day, and the weather. Then my Visa card got rejected. This was a worry because I had just made sure there was money in my account. She told me the machine is sometimes funny and she'd try again. Nope, no luck.

"Oh dear. That's no good." I started having visions of being stuck at the petrol station for the next week having to earn money by busking and doing portraits of people on napkins from the Freezie machine.

I called Robert and got him to log onto my internet banking. After telling him my life's secrets, he told me that I still had as much money in my account as I thought I had. I went back to the friendly counter woman and asked to try again. She told me that usually the rejects people once, but never twice, but I could be the unlucky first. It turns out I was. My card was fine third try.

I drove off with the legitimate petrol in my tank. I stopped off at KFC for dinner then drove home.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm off to do talk number one tonight. It's feeling alright.

I have decided that, because I am spending so much time writing talks, but having so little time between them to let them affect me, I am going to figure out what I learn from each one.

Tonight's passage is the Sheep and the Goats.

I've decided that I need to love Christians more. Honestly love other Christians in my life. Especially the difficult and needy ones. It's easy sometimes to hide behind my busyness and my job to not have to help people. But I shouldn't. I should be looking for ways to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ, not doing it out of professional or religious obligation.

Often it's a joy to serve others, sometimes I need to work on it.

Posted by Tom French |

It annoys me when you watch a live DVD of a band and they don't just show you the concert. Like when they put artsy bits in or have talking over the top of songs. I don't mind talking, and I don't mind artsy bits. But when the music's on, just give me the music, just show me the show. Get your hand of it and keep the rest for the special features. That's what I reckon.

Posted by Tom French |

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb comes out so soon, and I'm getting itchy. I'm getting restless. I'm getting impatient.

Posted by Tom French |

I have 4 talks to write and deliver between now and Sunday week. The thing that is exciting me about it is that I will be reading, thinking about, reading about, and teaching a lot of the Bible between now and then. I realised today that it's kinda nice to immerse yourself. I find I'm driving along making connections between all the different passages I'm speaking on, and thinking about all the different Bible verses. It is fun.

Right at the moment my head is full of Anna and Simeon, the early church, and Sheep and Goats.

I should be stressed, but I've given up on stress for the moment. It wastes my energy. These days there's too much to stress about, so I can't really be bothered putting too much effort into it.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm tempted to read the gossip magazines for a week just so I can give them up and feel really self-righteous.

Or perhaps just so that when I give them up I feel clean and new. Like sinning so you can experience grace.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm going to join Breakthru' Artz!

Bangles.jpg

Posted by Tom French |

It's no secret that the stars are falling from the sky
The universe exploded 'cause of one man's lie
Look, I gotta go, yeah I'm running outta change
There's a lot of things, if I could I'd rearrange
- U2

11/16/2004 03:25:00 pm

Beauty

Posted by Tom French |

"For God beauty has value in and of itself. He has created stars that man will never find, corners of the universe of untold wonder where we will never venture. He creates flowers in the wilderness that will bloom and die without any human ever encountering them. He has laid out his infinite wonders, very few of which we will ever know about. For God there is beauty whether anyone but he notices or acknowledges it at all." - C.K. Knight

11/15/2004 10:24:00 pm

TMI

Posted by Tom French |

More information than you need to know about my day today
(infact 2,774 words of it)

I woke up at 10am when my alarm went off. I set the alarm at 1:18am this morning thinking that 9 hours sleep should be enough (excuse my lazy maths). I fell back to sleep and woke up at around 10:05am when there was a knock at the door. I ignored it because I decided that it probably wasn’t for me and drifted back to sleep thinking about the uncomfortable excursion to the front door in just my boxers that would occur if I did go and answer the door.

I drifted back out of my sleep when I heard the knocker enter the house. I tried to work out whose voice it was that had come into my abode, “Was it Emily or Gemma?” I decided it was Emily. I ignored Emily’s “Hello”s, still thinking she’d be looking for someone other than me. Eventually when she knocked on my door, I thought I should declare myself awake. So on the second knock I grunted at the door. Martin game me some flowers.

After they left I got up and had a shower listening to Switchfoot. During my shower I tried to clean the red pencil off the shower floor that Hannah drew on Saturday night, I went over my schedule for the week over and over again and I watched a fly that was flying around the bathroom and wondered if it was the same fly that had been flying around the bathroom last night when I did my teeth. I wondered if it was cruel to lock a fly in a bathroom over night. When I finished my shower I was up to track four on the cd. I tried to stop it at the end of the track and was mildly put out when the guitar from track 5 came in before I could press stop.

After my shower I called Andrew to organise to see him this week. I stood on my bed trying to decide what I was going to wear today, while trying to sound normal and uninteresting, but genuine enough to be worthwhile.

Once I was dressed (I chose my brown shorts and green car crash T-shirt) I went and sat on the couch with my Bible to have my quiet time. I got distracted reading the bulletin from last night’s church visit. I started thinking about the way strangers have a much easier time getting through my defences, because I am too busy trying to figure them out and impress them to keep my guard up. Mum came home during this thought process, so I retreated back to my room to have my quiet time.

I read my Bible (Luke 9:28-36) and considered the Transfiguration. I thought about what a thoroughly overwhelming revelation about Jesus it was, and wondered how I would react. Then I realised that I have a much greater revelation of Jesus in the Bible (although seemingly less impressive), and I don’t get nearly as excited as I think I would if one of my friends turned white, a voice commended them from heaven, and Elijah and Moses turned up for a guest appearance.

I prayed my prayers, out of their usual order and as a result probably prayed for some things twice and some things I don’t normally pray for. I thought this was probably a good result for a little bit of mixing up the status-quo.

As I prayed I watched Mum hang out the washing and felt guilty that I wasn’t out there helping her. It didn’t occur to me that I may have been taking on a “Martha Mentality”.

As soon as I finished my quiet time I turned my computer on (according to daily ritual) and headed out to finish hanging out the clothes while the computer went through its seemingly infinite, mostly useless processes, before it becomes a mostly-functioning machine.

As I hung out the washing I considered how one best hangs out washing in tandem while causing minimal upset to my usual way of hanging out washing. It was a clash of washing hanging cultures, and I wasn’t sure how to hang with integrity. In the end I assimilated knowing that she had done way too much of the washing line to make my mark on the hanging procedures. During the process my mother invited me to go shopping with her today. I told her I would like to do that.

My mother went to have her morning tea and a shower before we went shopping, while I went to read my emails, check blogs and eat breakfast before we went exploring and raiding the plentiful world Woolworths. I read some articles at smh.com, noticed that there was no new blogging since I went to bed and that the emails didn’t change my life (although I did get an offer for a little social activity). I wondered if I had already blogged the fact that every time I check my email I look for the email that will change my life, whatever email that is. I’m sure if I took up some of the useless offers of enlargement and enrichment that arrive in my inbox I may just change my life, although I can’t think how my life would change apart from feeling stupid and disappointed.

I looked at my blog, wrote a comment and tried to work out who some of my unknown commenters were.

I couldn’t think of anything to blog so I blogged about the weather.

I then went outside to visit Mum who was reading the Good Weekend in the front yard and suggested that we went and had lunch as well as shop. She liked that idea and told me to eat some breakfast. I ate some yoghurt. She went have a shower leaving me an empty chair and a full Good Weekend.

I relished the sun and read. I started many articles and only finished one. All the others I stopped tantalisingly close to the end. I have an attention span that is almost long enough to be functional. I did notice that I’m not like many people my age. I have never slept in a park, or burnt a love letter. The Good Weekend let me know, that because of this, I didn’t reach 20 having done what most people have done by the age of 20.

When my mother was ready to go, I came back inside to check my email and the blogs. Nothing had changed.

When Mother and I set out for the shops it was about 1pm. Mum decided we didn’t have enough time or money to go shopping so we’d just have lunch. This seemed good.

At the Westfield car park I used my superior knowledge of the parking area to guide Mum to one of the best parking spaces in the centre. It was probably mostly due to being in the right place at the right time, but at least I knew how to get to the right place.

In the mall Mum and I had long discussions about where to eat while making the most of the $27 we had between us. We settled for Café Florence because neither of us wanted anything all that expensive.

Mum ordered as we sat at our outdoor table. I had my elbow placed just outside the shadowed area from the above umbrella, just so I could pick up a few extra rays as we waited. The food arrived and Mum told me about her sermon last night, I talked about and dissected my church experience yesterday and we discussed some preachers we both know and their quirks. David’s Dad walked past without a beard. It was the first time I had ever seen him without a beard in the 16 years I have known him. I realised that there had been more of David hiding under the facial hair than I had ever realised.

We came home to get ready for Hannah to go to her respite place tonight. Mum packed her bag and I rang up to book the car in to get the starter motor fixed. The girl who answered sounded friendly and I wondered if she was wearing blue overalls.

I found a letter that Ryan had sent me last week next to the phone. It contained a cut out print of a painting of a bum with some undies riding up the crack. The artwork was called Bottom, it made me laugh muchly.

I came into my room and checked my emails (nothing), and blogged about my waking up experiences and whatever came after that.

Just before I finished the post, the woman in the red car who drops Hannah home honked in her usual rambunctious fashion. It would scare me if I didn’t know she was so friendly.

I grabbed my keys and Hannah’s overnight bag and wandered out of the house having an internal argument about which a car to take. The Pulsar won. I collected Hannah from the red car and bundled her into the grey one. We the set off on our journey across Hornsby with the company of Triple M on the wireless.

At the respite house I parked the car, locked it and unlocked it too many times, and took Hannah in. Inside we were met by a carer whose name I have forgotten. Hannah gave me a hug and a kiss and I hoped that the carer (who was probably about my age and had a very impressive Irish accent) knew that I was Hannah’s brother. I thought if she didn’t she might think I was a really creepy white bus driver (all the kids that get dropped at respite places come in white buses).

When I left the house I wondered how someone would go about picking up a respite carer while dropping a kid off and I realised I wouldn’t know how to do it. I wasn’t surprised or upset by this thought at all.

As I drove home I wondered if writing about Fifi Box on my blog would increase my Google hits. Somehow the thought process evolved into thinking about all the exciting jobs I could have if life was a little different. I went to my computer and blogged.

I packed my bag and walked out of the house again. I walked to the shops listening to Switchfoot from where I left off this morning and wondered if I should blog the embarrassing things that happened to me yesterday or if they would reveal my hidden insecurities. Outside Homebase I saw person who was in my year at school and noticed they had a shaved head. My bag felt funny, I had a look, and I realised that I had walked all the way to the shops with my bag completely open. I was horrifically embarrassed. It felt like I had walked to the shops with my pants around my ankles. I did wonder if anyone has seen my Bible and Christian books and hoped that perhaps I had done some really passive evangelism. I wondered where the easiest place to blog about my bag might be.

I bought a Coke and walked into the shops. I looked to see if Sal was at her work (she wasn’t), and decided that it would be a hideously scary place to work. I was happy she was doing it and not me.

I went to Borders and wandered around and questioned myself as to whether idlely walking around Borders might be placing myself in the path of temptation in this temple of materialism.

Forgetting this I went to religious section of Borders and noticed that it was conviently (and symbolically) located next to the Business section, and that Bhuddism has more shelf space than Christianity. I read the foreword to the Book of Job written by Louis de Bernieres. I decided that he wasn’t a Christian and wondered how much of the introduction I could quote on my blog.

After Borders I headed across to the Library strategically trying to avoid the “professional beggars” of the Cancer Council and all the guilt that comes with them.

In the Library I looked to see if there were any books they by Jodi Picoult, I thought I might read a bit of one to see what all the fuss was about. The computers told me that they were all out and reserved. This didn’t answer my questions, but did further prove that there is a lot of fuss about. I had images of lots of women running around Hornsby and Epping libraries borrowing Jodi Picoult books in a crazed, estrogen and literature induced frenzy. I have no idea of the demographics of Picoult’s readers but of all the people who I’ve heard talk about her, they have all been women so naturally they must all be women who read her. I was quietly relieved that she was all borrowed out, as I could have preserved my masculine image while in the library.

I walked over to the newspaper section and finished my perusal of the Good Weekend still not finishing any of the articles.

Following this I pulled out my book New Issues Facing Christians Today by John Stott and embarked on a journey into the theological reasons for Christians to get involved in social action and welfare. I would often drift off into self-affirming theological musings of my own. When you consider theology on your own there is no one to disagree with yourself.

At one stage I got distracted a impulsively jumped out of my chair to see if there were any copies of The Economist around. I went back to my chair empty handed.

Eventually swapped to Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres and wondered how much of it I could quote on my blog.

Every now and again I would get distracted by my arm on the chair and wonder if was getting any browner.

I left at the end of my second chapter and headed home. I walked past Phillip Ruddock’s office and considered acts of vandalism I could (but never would) do to it. I saw a man walking down the street who looked like Phillip Ruddock and I suddenly got excited and thought I could go meet him and we could become good mates. Then I noticed that the man was carrying a green Woolie's Enviro-Bag and I decided that Phillip wouldn’t carry one of them around.

When I got to the lights on the old side of Hornsby I thought about writing a song, which quickly evolved into poetry when I remembered I can’t play any instruments. I returned my dvd to the video store then got struck by the thought that I could write a really long blog post about everything I did in this mundanely commonplace day. I walked home composing the post in my head.

When I arrived home, I still had one track left on my cd so I un-packed my pockets and ventured out to the trampoline with my bag on and my earphones in. I decided to test the shock-protection on my diskman. I proceeded to jump on the trampoline with my Caribee on, listening to Switchfoot. I hoped the neighbours wouldn’t see me. Right at the end of the song my back pack exploded open and the contents went flying everywhere. I am happy to report though that the cd didn’t skip once.

I repacked my bag, put it on the ground and continued to jump. I wanted to see how high I could get. When I heard my neighbours talking I got scared and got off the trampoline.

I came inside and started this blog post. I listened to Dave Matthew’s Band while I wrote it.

Mum came and asked my to hang out some more washing with her. This time I was more assertive in my hanging style and we compromised and accommodated each other, creating a hybrid of out hanging styles.

I then hand washed my woollen jumpers and on inspection my the water afterwards I relised I am as dirty as I think I am.

I came back here to write this post.

At 8:40 I went and ate my dinner of Fish and Chips on the couch watching Four Corners which was about the siege in Beslan. That was depressing and made my angry. My chips had been over cooked.

Now I’m back in here, blogging, and I’m wondering how I’m going to finish this blogpost.

Posted by Tom French |

Jobs I would like to have for a bit:
(if I had the skill and the opportunity)


Petrol Station Attendant
Builder
Rock Star
Astronaut
Special Forces Soldier
Someone who drives diggers
Demolitions Expert
Pyrotechnics Engineer
Chef
Fireman
Policeman
US President
Truck Driver
TV Host
Musical Theatre Star
Film Director
Cinematographer
Novelist
Motivational Speaker
The Pope
The Dali Lama
Bodyguard
Secret Service Man
Rally Car Driver
Fighter Jet Pilot
Body Builder
Flare Bartender
Personal Assistant to a Really Famous Person
Teacher
Kung-Fu Master
Boxer
Rugby Leauge Player

Posted by Tom French |

Mil and Martin came over this morning to borrow my video camera. They found me in bed. I would like to imagine that when people find me in bed in the morning, I was a vision of seductive, self-confident, radiant male beauty. Women would swoon, and men would aspire to be like me. Alas I think people just generally feel guilty for finding such an incoherent, mess of a man.

When I see people who have just woken up, I usually think that perhaps they aren't a real person yet. I think "If I say "Hello" to them now will they know who I am?" Like when people have a shower, or put on clothes, they also put on their real personality. And for some people that personality takes a while to warm up, so they aren't fully themselves till around midday (depending on what time they woke up).

Sometimes I feel the most fully myself at around 1am or later. Although I think this maybe just the time of the day I feel the most lucid and carefree (on a good night). When I answer the phone after I have just woken up I usually do my best to sound as with-it as I do at 1am (on a good night), but people most often see through my facade and feel guilty for having the phone answered by such an incoherent, mess of a man.

Posted by Tom French |

It's a good day today. The sun is out, the sky is blue, and I've got bare feet.

Posted by Tom French |

If you search for Tom French in Google, I'm second on the list. Posh.

Posted by Tom French |

Mash

I just made some mashed potato. It wasn't magical, but it was quite good. I have decided to become a world class mashed potato maker. Then people will talk about my mashed potato, and I can make it for my kids and grandkids. It'll be great. People will want Uncle Tom's mashed potato. When people are sick, I'll send over a pot of it and they'll get miraculously better. The future is looking good.

Posted by Tom French |

We went to Zone 3 tonight for youth group. There were 31 young people aged 12-14. And they all ran around shooting each other with laser guns. It was good fun. I have so much fun hanging out with youth, even if I don't feel cool enough to hang out with them. We had small group too, which was, in my view, the best one we've had so far with the combined group. We were able to get some questions answered, and maybe, somewhere, someone learnt something. Ben helped out with the group for the first time.

In contrast to my night with friendly, fun, teenagers, I watched Thriteen when I got home. I'm really glad I watched it. The kids were amazing. It was so sad, and distressing to see this thriteen year old girl do so much to herself in her efforts to fit into her world. I've never been a thirteen year old, but it did make me think that perhaps this was an important piece of cinema. Important to get an idea of what it might be like for some. Seeing this girl go through so much, makes me pleased to be a youth minister. I may not be able to help much, but if I can do a little, then that's good.

Posted by Tom French |

I am doing my readings for college at the moment and I'm reading about censorship in movies. One of the readings is discussing if swearing is ok for a Christian to watch in movies. They went on to talk about swearing in the Bible. I thought this was interesting, and it made me chuckle. I chuckle at anything obscene I find in the Bible (and there is a lot more of it in there than I thought.)

I remember [a professor] leading a course in Philippians, and talking about a vulgar term used by Paul [that] the New International Version had covered up with the word 'rubbish'; the King James Version's 'dung' was a wee bit more accurate, he said. Essentially ? Paul was saying his accomplishments as a natural-born Jew and a law-abiding Pharisee weren't worth s***. Thomas Cahill, in Desire of the Everlasting Hills, translates one of Jesus' sayings, from Mark 7:18-19, as: 'Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean,' since it doesn't go into his heart but into his bowels and then passes out into the s***hole?' Cahill says in a footnote that the word aphedron is commonly translated privy or sewer but in actuality it was Macedonian slang that would have sounded barbarous to Greek ears; the NIV, tellingly, omits the word altogether and translates this phrase 'out of his body.' Of course, Jesus probably spoke in Aramaic, not Greek, so what we have is a translation of what Jesus said. But it's still there in the Bible.

The whole article is here.

Posted by Tom French |

How good are U2? Hugly good, that's how good.

I sat upstairs in my chair and just stared out the window listening. It was great. I didn't want to move because I was listening through the radio on my phone and it didn't have good reception everywhere.

The album is sounding like U2, but it makes sense to be the next place they'd go after All That You Can't Leave Behind. There was one moment where I thought, "Hey, that reminds me of something", and it was The Hands that Built America I was thinking off.

It is an album that makes you feel good. U2 are singing about grace, and they're hopeful (as usual). There's a lot of God on this album. I'm most impressed. I want to hear it again. And then again. And then well, a lot more. It's beautiful.

November 22nd here we come!

Posted by Tom French |

I'm currently listening to U2's How Dismantle An Atomic Bomb on Nova. Oh Baby! I'm freaking out! I love them! It's almost like the arrival of the messiah!

Posted by Tom French |

I'm at church now, and the car won't start. It won't even make the engine turn over. It's like it's stuck in drive, but it isn't. I've checked spark plugs and thought about looking under the bonnet, and neither have solved he problem. I didn't actually look under the bonnet because I didn't think I'd have any idea if things were out of place anyway.

So now I'm stuck here waiting for the NRMA. It was funny, I rang them on 131111 and got got put on hold listening to their recorded woman who told that if my car wouldn't start I should call them on 131111.

Posted by Tom French |

It's funny, with all that's happening in the Blog World at the moment I'm tempted to make a post that says something. I could talk about abortion but I did that before, and I don't have much more to say. I could complain about George and John, but I'm sick of that, complaining doesn't solve anything anyway, it just makes me feel better. I could talk about their policies, but I've written about them too. I could make a passionate plea for unity, but well, I can't be bothered. I think we all know we need unity. So, while I want the visitors, I have nothing to say.

I wrote a blog post the other night that I didn't post. Although I never planned on blogging it. It was my blog post that couldn't be blogged. Some of the things I want to say in public but can't. It felt good. I still wrote it like a blog post and had all the same rules I have for blogging, it was just un-publishable. It may have been publishable a year ago, if I was feeling really tired, and a little irrational, but these days, one can't put too much of themselves on the blog. It's the whole issue of remaining honest but guarded.

The problem is, when you have things you want to say on a blog, but you can't, you tend to be more vague, and more cryptic.

For example take this post:

I have this perpetual feeling that I'm missing something.

Now that, is not as cryptic as some have been, but it's recent so I'll use it. There are any number of assumptions you could make from that post.

1. He's in love and wants girlfriend (always my first assumption when reading any person's cryptic blog posts are that they are about love)
2. He's hoping for the baptism of the Holy Spirit
3. He's not a Christian and needs to fill that "God-shaped hole"
4. He's always thinking that he's left something at home (like when you think you've forgotten to turn off the heater)
5. He keeps forgetting to wear underwear and wanted to blog about it without telling people that he keeps forgetting to wear underwear.
6. He's lamenting over friendships that have disappeared from his life
7. He's lamenting over friendships that haven't eventuated in his life
8. He's feeling left out from the social activities of his peers
9. He's got some continual sin that he needs to repent of and he's not feeling the forgiveness of God.

And you could go on for a while.

The truth is that I wrote it because I've been feeling a bit restless lately. And I've been feeling like I should be doing something for God, or that God should be requiring something of me. But I don't know what it could be. So I have this feeling that I'm missing something. Like I'm missing what God might be saying to me. I wasn't sure if that was because I was missing something, or I just felt like that. Either way I wanted to blog it without going into this much detail. I don't mind people knowing though.

And so you blog non-specific things, which give less facts, but start more wonderings. It's so easy to misinterpreted things on blogs because more often they are written with a very limited audience in mind. You write for those who will understand and forget about everyone else.

Anyway, none of this means much. It's just some thoughts while I kill time. I'll still keep blogging the same way. I'll make vague and cryptic posts every so often, and people will make (mostly) wrong hypotheses about them every so often. And life will go on.

Posted by Tom French |

It's annoying when you drop your toothbrush in the toilet.

Posted by Tom French |

Home group tonight was a lot about the separation of church and state and freedom of religion. It was interesting as it seemed to touch a lot on the blog discussions of late.

Kemp and I had a long chat in the car about looks and good looking people. And how we reacted to good looking people. I would like to say it was an important discussion where we made good moral progress, but I don't think we solved much at all. The verdict was probably that some people are good looking and that matters for about 5 minutes.

I had a road trip meeting with Jem about the Road Trip too. We booked accommodation and it's all very exciting.

Tomorrow I will shave.

Posted by Tom French |

If I was ever to get very depressed, or go on a violent rampage, it would be triggered by burning DVDs.

Posted by Tom French |

I have life pretty good. There isn't much I should be complaining about.

I was sitting in McDonald's today trying to work out if I almost always get what I want, and that's why it feels like that. Or if I don't often get what I want and I have just decided that I have enough anyway.

Or somewhere in between.

I never finished the thought because I got distracted by the manager carrying a tray from the post-mix machine.

Posted by Tom French |

I went and had lunch with Matty G today. It was nice to catch up.

Generally when we catch up he has something to say about how he wants to the church to change. He always inspires me to do something. Today I told him that I wanted change but I have no idea how to do it. I see some of the problems with the church and I think "The only way to fix that is to start a whole new church" but I know if you do that within a generation the church will just go back to how it always was.

It's a shame but it's true. So I stick within the current system, not because it's perfect but because it's there. As flawed as it is, it's still God's Church, his Body, his people.

Posted by Tom French |

Well there's a bit of healthy debate going on in the blogworld. Yay!

I must say, contrary to past occurrences, I agree with a lot of what Matt said.

I especially liked what he said about prioritising why we elect people. I have been thinking about that for a while, but I haven't put it as eloquently as Matt.

I didn't, however, vote for Howard and CDP.

My issue with the CDP seems to be that they have more interest in restoring Christendom than they do in governing lovingly in this post-Christian society. It makes me sad that our leading Christian political parties are known more for their views on homosexuality than they are for their love and compassion. There seems to be more condemnation than calling for justice, equality and love. I have no interest in endorsing homosexuality, but I think there are bigger things to worry about in the country.

In the Church I think it's a different argument, but our country is not the church.

As far as abortion goes, I am less happy to let things go. I hate abortion, and if we could get rid of it that'd be great. Unfortunately, as Matt said, it's going to happen anyway. I could vote for whoever in Australia, and it'll still be legal.

I think George Bush is a Christian. And that's great. I think we should pray that all national leaders, especially that they find Christ as we are urged to do in 1 Timothy 2. Christian government is the ideal, but I don't vote for politicians on their religious beliefs, I try and vote on how closely I think their policies fit with the Bible. Unfortunately, I find this quite a disheartening exercise.

When Jesus said we should love our enemies, I'm sure it was applicable to individuals. I don't think it was meant for governments. While I would call on my government to love its enemies, I think governments have been given the job by God to bring justice to the world. Sometimes where an individual should turn the other cheek, a government should go to war. How that works for Christian soldiers, I'm not sure.

Sadly, I don't think there are many times when governments go to war motivated to bring justice.

I think that the war in Iraq wasn't justifiable. I think the continued presence of troops in Iraq is. As I have often said, although perhaps not in my blog, I think it's a bit rude to go and blow up a country then leave. I support the US and Australia doing their bit to clean up their own mess.

I think the "War on Terror" is being fought in primarily the wrong places. If the terrorist's ideologies are being fueled by the Western-enhanced oppression, and inequality that is experienced in much of the world, then perhaps the place to start is not the terrorists, but the problems that help create them in the first place.

Of course, I do not in any way think that the problems caused by the West in the rest of the world is any justification for terrorism. Terrorism is abhorrent, more so than the actions of our governments. If I could tell the terrorists to stop I would. But I am not a citizen of a terrorist nation, and my responsibility is to be responsible for the actions of my country, and call on my government to act with justice.

I may have more to say, but I can't find it. This hasn't been all that well thought out, it's just a bunch of thoughts. I didn't want to get left out of the discussion. And now I will end with a quote from Bono, because, well, Bono is just the best.

"The war against terror is bound up in the war against poverty, I didn't say that, Colin Powell said that. And when a military man from the right starts talking like that maybe we should listen!" - Bono


Posted by Tom French |

I've been watching too much useless Foxtel recently.

Posted by Tom French |

I have this perpetual feeling that I'm missing something.

Posted by Tom French |

I had this thought last night that I'm not really all that good at video stuff. I just know more about it than most other people, so I do better at it than other people. If I taught people how to use the stuff I use in very little time they would be doing a better job than me.

I thought this because as much fun as I had last night mixing the concert, I think I did a bit of an amateur job. I couldn't get a job in the industry.

What was fun though, was that I had a good time. And I like hiring equipment. I went to St Leonards on Friday arvo to hire stuff. And I always like doing that.

The concert went good. My drama team performed good, despite their drama leader.

Why am I bad at blogging at the moment? I don't know. I don't feel like recounting my days, I just like to talk about the interesting things that may occur. But recently life has been pretty mundane. Well I've had fun, but just nothing too out of the ordinary has happened.

On Thursday night Kaia, Ryan, Jem and I went and saw Hero at Chatswood. It was a really wonderful looking film. The fighting was very good. I didn't like it as much as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

On the way home Ryan and I had a long discussion about whether the film was promoting communist ideals, and telling people that the violent conquests of a nation's leaders are justified because in the end it brings peace. I thought it was, Ryan didn't.

All in all I thought the film was kinda preachy. I thought that if the script was in english I would have vomited. But that could have just been the subtitler.

On Monday night Jem and I saw The Manchurian Candidate. That was good. The story was fun and I liked its really strong undercurrent of the war on terror. All through the background of the movie there were news reports of the war on terror, and all the polititions kept talking about security. Even in the quiet, reflective scenes there were sirens in the background. It was interesting because the next day the elections in America were happening and the film was about presidential elections in America.

It was quite an uneasy film.

I don't think the film approved of the current government in the US, or it's foriegn policies. It seemed to think the the government was controlled more by the corporations than the people.

I think I agree, to a certain extent.

I went and visited St Peter's tonight. It was good visit. I felt like I was in a dream. Like I was back at my old church (which I was), and there was a new minister (which there was), with many new youth (which there were), and I was still the youth minister and expected to do something (which I wasn't). It was an odd feeling, but I'm glad I took the opportunity to go check it out.

The bad thing about doing video stuff on the weekend is that you always have to take the hired equipment back on Monday morning. I wanted to sleep in.

Posted by Tom French |

Howie and I just spent 45 minutes watching TVSN (Television Shopping Network).

Posted by Tom French |

At the moment I am burning the last DVD for tomorrow's (today's) concert... If it works. I'm hoping it does. I may even get more than six hours sleep tonight. Posh.

I think that tomorrow (Sunday) I would like to go find a pub and watch the Kostya Tszyu fight, but I don't think I have any friends who will go with me. It would be fun though. For some reason I have been interested in the fight. I'll see if there are any boxing fans in my life. How fun, to sit in a bar, with a beer and lots of men, watching other men hit each other around. I can't think of a better way to spend a few hours of my life.

My blog posts of late haven't been all that long. Probably because I haven't done huge amounts. At least not huge amounts that is different from what I usually do. Although I have two films to de-brief. I'll do it when I have time. The cinema is tops.

It occurred to me after my exam how exciting it is to know stuff. I really like having knowledge and being able to answer tricky looking questions. There are many joys in education.

On Thursday night I decided to start asking God "What are you trying to teach me?" Just in case I'm missing something. I haven't found anything so far. I'll keep my eye out though.

And now I will put two cool words into one useless and pretentious sentence:

"After the sun prematurely capitulated to the advancing evening, the day seemed somewhat truncated."

Posted by Tom French |

I think that being a video person would be kinda fun. I like plugging in TVs and video cameras. I like saying things like BNC and RCA cables. It's fun making the mixer work. One day I'll work at a U2 concert. I'll work on the video crew. Yeah, I reckon.

Posted by Tom French |

Exam done. Not many people liked it, but I thought it was fine. That probably means I'll fail.

Posted by Tom French |

Today I have my one and only exam for the year. It's a worry, because I'm not worried. I'm not stressed. And I haven't studied. Usually at this point in the process I'm crying out to God for grace, but at the moment, I'm not really thinking about it. It's just another thing to do this week. I have done about 2 hours study for it though. And I'll do some reading for it on the train, so I should be fine.

We'll see what happens.

Posted by Tom French |

I had a thought the yesterday that feelings aren't real unless you tell them to someone else.

That actually isn't true. But I think we work that way. When you want a feeling to be validated, when you want it to be real, or worth something, you tell someone else. When you don't want a feeling to be real, you don't tell anyone, and when it goes away, it was never really there.

I'm not sure if that's true, but it's a thought.

"They say a secret is something you tell one other person
So I'm telling you, child"
- U2

Posted by Tom French |

Ok, so I picked second place. That's not too bad.

Posted by Tom French |

I just did an hour and a half's study straight. My goodness, I'm an academic king.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm really excited about the elections in America. Unlike here, they look close. What could be fun is if Kerry wins. At least I say "Go Kerry". I've heard a joke or two that this elections is the one that will decide the next leader of our country for the next four years. So true.

I want to go vote in Florida. I want my vote to mean something.

In other news, my Melbourne Cup tip is: VINNIE ROW

Trust me, I picked last year's winner.

Posted by Tom French |

Saturday I spent all day trying to write yesterday's sermon. I had planned to have it written by 5pm. I didn't have it finished by 1am when I went to bed. The interesting thing was what happened while I was trying to write the sermon. I watched tv, I ate, I swept, I looked at photo albums, I looked at blogs, I checked my email many times, I paced a lot and lay on the floor. None of it really helped me to push the sermon out.

Helen visited me at around 9:30pm to drop some stuff off and she stayed for a while. That was good. We talked and I was able to vent my frustration, and talk it out a bit. When she left I cleaned the unit.

In the morning I wrote the sermon, and I didn't really remember what I wrote because it was 6am. Or 5am according to none-daylight saving time.

It was an interesting day, Saturday. Frustrating, but you get that.

Yesterday was like most Sundays. Today, I went to Chatswood to return the key to the unit, now that I'm home again. And I hung out with Chris. I also ate a strawberry.

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