Posted by Tom French |

Leaving

I'm about to leave Chatswood after two months of living the high life here. It's been fun. I think I only washed up 4 times in 2 months. By halfway through the second month I was just rinsing glasses because I was thinking "Well I'll be moving out soon, no point in doing a wash up this late in the piece."

The unit is clean. The beds are made (not very well, but good for me) and all my stuff is packed. Today I'm off to film Love Is. Hooray!

Posted by Tom French |

I was in Chatswood mall before because I was doing some late night grocery shopping and almost half the teenage girls I saw were wearing small tops and short skirts. So I'm wondering what possesses a girl to wear so little on a winter night? And it must be very diffcult finding something to wear in summer when you've exhausted all your outfits in winter.

Posted by Tom French |

Jo and I just had Krispy Kremes from the new store here in Chatswood. It opened today. I don't like Krispy Kremes heaps but I thought it would be rather important that I ate there opening day.

We had fun.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm just about to finish a 14-hour day at work, and it's been good. A marvelous day.

I'm very privileged to work at a church full of God and lovely people.

Posted by Tom French |

Law Breaking

Jude Law is copping a beating in the press at the moment. It looks like female journalists are having a field day having a go a Law, and males in general (well at least two on SMH are, and I saw the cover of NW in Coles last night, so I think that's a pretty broad sample). It seems that Jude Law getting caught sleeping with the nanny has proved that not only is he incapable of fidelity, all men are.

Jemima Lewis told me that most men are still cave men at heart. They "must hunt, must slay, must strew old bones and dirty socks over cave floor. And, of course, the most basic evolutionary impulse of all: must sleep around."

Well, actually, most of those are rather appealing ideas. But I don't think an affinity for dirty socks is a proof of a lack ability to stay faithful.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, perhaps just that I wouldn't want all men to be painted with the same brush. Or if we are all going to be labeled cheaters, I think it should be the male journalists that do it. But from what I can tell the male journalists aren't at all interested in this story.

Maybe, if people are going to have discussions about infidelity it shouldn't be just a male/Jude Law bashing exercise. There are worthwhile issues to talk about in this story and it's not whether or not Sienna will take him back, if Jude will demand the ring back, or if Jude's parents are getting involved.

The good news is though folks, Jude won't be sleeping with the nanny again. There's a new nanny and she's reported to be "a bit dumpy and not particularly attractive." There is some justice in this world.

Posted by Tom French |

Plus Soup

After a long day that I spent watching West Wing and Futurama, and reading Harry Potter, Ryan and I went to Soup Plus last night.

It was the first time I've been to Soup Plus at the new venue. It's become a very different place. This new venue feels like a cross between a restaurant, a bar, and a campsite dining room. The old one had a magnificent dingy, basement feel. The big wooden tables, and wooden benches, the darkness, and the low ceiling. It was great. The new place just didn't have nearly as much charm. It also seemed like the clientele had got a lot older too. Ryan and I were probably the youngest people there who weren't with their parents.

But on the up side we saw the Kings of Swing Band. They were fun. They played old Sinatra and Fitzgerald songs. There were 17 of them too. 17 wouldn't have fitted in the old venue. The soup was good. I had Pumpkin and Sweet Potato, and their croutons are lovely. Plus the staff were very friendly. It was fun. I think I'll go again.

Posted by Tom French |

Lior

On Saturday night Jo, Ryan, Jem and I went to see Lior at Carringbah Bizzo. I had been there the week before to see Jimmy's band Intone play.

We ate dinner at what was said to be one of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney, at least that's what the menus told us. The food wasn't bad. I would have liked to try their butter chicken. Butter chicken is how I judge all Indian restaurants. If the butter chicken is good than the rest of the place is probably good.

Jem has said that Lior is better than John Mayer live. While I haven't seen John live (neither has Jem) but I don't think Lior would beat John. At least he wouldn't have on Saturday night. Jo and Jem, the groupies, told me that he wasn't up to form. Maybe I just like John's music better.

Anyway, Lior was pretty good, despite his boredness. His band were fun, they all had good solos. The lead guitarist looked like he'd never escaped geekdom, like hang out in the Library geekdom. He was very good guitarist, which far outweighs hair dos, specticals and clothing choice when it comes to coolness. Lior sung a cool song about Mexico which I hope he puts on his next album. It was lots of fun.

I think that's all I have to say about Lior.

Posted by Tom French |

3 and a half

They say that when you're tried it has similar effects on you to being drunk. It that's true, I spent all day under the influence, because I was functioning on 3 and a half hours sleep. It certainly makes me go a little silly.

Posted by Tom French |

Presbyterians

Today in my sermon I told a story about some inhospitable Presbyterians I stayed with once. I used it as an excuse to have a fun dig at Presbyterians. But I told everyone that infact I have met some wonderful, friendly Presbyterians.

But after the services I was deluged by people walking up to me and telling me they were Pressies and giving me a wink. It seems that everyone was wanting for a chance to have a dig. As I told one guy later, I've met more unfriendly Anglicans than I've met unfriendly Presbyterians.

So may I state, for the record, I like Presbyterians.

They are a little odd though...

Posted by Tom French |

Working in the Administration

Seeing as I am in love with The West Wing (still) I often think of my work as kinda like the one in The West Wing. I have decided who everyone in the office would play if we were the Bartlet Administration. Steve, being the Senior Minister would be the President. I like having meetings with him, I pretend to be meeting with the President. Steve is very busy too, so when I get time to speak with him it's like when the senior staff get to meet with Bartlet.

Stephen, being the Assistant Minister would be Leo, the Chief of Staff.

Helen would be CJ, the Press Secretary. Not really because Helen's role is like CJs but because they are both woman, and they're both cool. Helen doesn't brief the press much, but if there was press it might not be outside her domain.

Belinda, the old Office Administrator, would have been Mrs Landingham, because they both worked with Steve/Bartlet, they were both efficient and fun, and they're both gone now. Happily, Belinda is still alive and well, unlike Mrs Landingham.

Kathy, the new Office Assistant, would be Debbie Fiderer, the new Secretary to the President. Mainly because they're both new.

Beck, the Student in Ministry, could be Donna, the Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, but I don't think their roles are very similar. They are both females. The relationships are a bit similar though. I think Beck gets more independence than Donna.

I would be Sam, the Deputy Communications Director, mainly because Sam is younger than Toby (my other option I think), and Sam is more of a goody-two shoes. Toby is too depressing all the time. Sam loves speech writing too, and I love preaching.

I like dreaming that I work in the White House. Since starting to think that way I've been treating the Steve a lot more like the President. Or at least thinking of him that way. It's making me really good at respecting those above me, so it's not all bad this obsession.

I might start calling Steve, Mr Rector.

Posted by Tom French |

The World has Lost a Great

The man who invented the TV dinner, Gerry Thomas, died today. That man changed my life. There would be many starving single males if it wasn't for him. I wouldn't have survived the past two months if it wasn't for him. Farewell to the king!

Perhaps I will have a TV dinner in honour of him tonight.

Read it here.

Posted by Tom French |

Lost Classroom

In the continuing saga of my ineptitude at getting further education this semester, my class today is on a campus in Ashfield, but I don't know where it is. I'm going to a college which I can't find. When I first started high school I got lost trying to find the classroom that I was meant to be in. I'd wander round the school for a while with no idea. When your college stretches across two separate suburbs I think that will make wandering around trying to find my class room a decidedly more difficult task.

The good news is that I did buy myself a new lecture pad, it even has an envelope thing on the inside to hold my handouts.

UPDATE: I just rang the college to find out where it was and I got told off by the receptionist. I have the address now though, I'll be learning again soon.

Posted by Tom French |

Once more with Feeling

I've realised that I rarely blog about my day any more. I used to make sure almost every day got blogged. At the moment I'm in one of those phases where I only blog things that come to mind or are a little silly.

I'm wondering if I'm about to embark on a little journey of late night of introspection. I'm pretty happy at the moment. My emotional life it rather sunny. Maybe sunny on a Winter's day. Like today. Not sunny like Summer, exciting-and-full-of-adventure sunny, just sunny like "Isn't it nice to sit here in the sun while everywhere else is cold" sunny.

Beck had her first day of work at St Stephen's today. She had her first St Stephen's lunch with me. I was sad Helen wasn't around to inaugurate her with me. Helen and I have been doing lunches for years, we're like the lunch team. But sadly she wasn't around. Anyway, Beck and I ended up spending most of lunch talking about death, which is rather sad, but we were sitting in the sun so that was good. I ate butter chicken and burped it all day.

I cooked nachos for the leaders tonight. I got teased a lot but I think I deserve it.

On Friday Mitch and Graham came around to talk about youth ministry. We have a little youth ministers support group. It's nice. They were meant to arrive at ten and I forgot to set my alarm. I woke up at 10:03am. I shot out of bed and just as I got out the intercom buzzed and there was Graham on the video screen. I let him through the security door then raced back to my room to put some pants and a shirt on. He was waiting at my door for a little while but I think I did alright considering I'd been in bed a minute earlier.

After he arrived I had a shower while he read a book on church history sitting on the couch.

Today after Bible Study Ray gave me a long history of the Kosovo valley. It has something to do with the Roman Empire. It all sounded very interesting but I didn't quite follow.

Now it's time to watch The West Wing I'm going to try and finish season four before I move out of here. It's hard though, seeing as this is a sermon week. I'll get there though.

Turns out there wasn't much introspection at all.

Posted by Tom French |

Hi Ho Pilgrim

I just got home after catching one train, one bus, watching 4 movies and walking 25kms. It was a blast. My legs hurt and I'm ready for bed.

Posted by Tom French |

I just edited the first scene from Love is. I didn't edit the first scene, this was just the first scene I edited. I edited the stuff we shot on the weekend.

It was fun shooting on the weekend. It was nice because we only had one scene to film so we weren't working to any time constraints. The canoes that we filmed were very colourful, and the sun was out. I think the scene looks good.

Posted by Tom French |

I woke up this morning and decided I should check if my college semester starts today, just in case it does. I was pretty sure it started next Monday. But alas, it starts today.

The problem is that I can't remember what subject I'm enroled in. I'm pretty sure it's none of the subjects that are on today, so I have a little bit of time to sort myself out. Oh well, I guess I'll sort it out eventually.

Posted by Tom French |

Going to the toilet in winter when you're a girl must be horrible. But getting the opportunity to go to the toilet when you're tired and a girl must be a little bonus.

Posted by Tom French |

"My Heart Go All the Crackling"

I just found a web page that has translated my blog to French so I got Google to translate it back to English for me. It's rather amusing.

For example. My post about Norah Jones in March is translated:

I crushed one

I have the fancy for Norah Jones. Oh, so much.

I should not have left to see it yesterday in the night, it was tall, it made my heart go all the "crackling". It is a fantastic voice, it is a friendly person and it is large. Each time somebody in the auditoire(audience) shouted something to him as "You balance Norah!" Or "I love you Norah!" It recognizes it. And if it did not include/understand what they said that it would ask them to repeat it. How fresh is that? I mouse and incline the head with a auditoire(une goes down for hearing) of one, it asks for the clarification with a auditoire(une goes down for hearing) of 10,000.

And it made such a good music, it and its beautiful bande(orchestre). They was tops. Yay for Norah.

I think that I was one of little men there who was not trailed by their wife or girl friend and I think Jem and I was one of few groups of people minus the age of 35. But independently of our ├ętrange(impair), Norah was fresh.

The post actually said:

I have a crush

I have a crush on Norah Jones. Oh, so much.

I shouldn't have gone to see her last night, she was great, she's made my heart go all "pitter-patter". She's got a fantastic voice, she's a friendly person, and she's great. Every time someone in the audience shouted something at her like "You rock Norah!" or "I love you Norah!" she'd acknowledge it. And if she didn't understand what they said she'd ask them to repeat it. How cool is that? I smile and nod with an audience of one, she asks for clarification with an audience of 10,000.

And she made such good music, her and her handsome band. It was tops. Yay for Norah.

I think I was one of the few men there who wasn't dragged along by their wife or girlfriend and I think Jem and I were one of the few groups of people under the age of 35. But regardless of our oddness, Norah was cool.

Posted by Tom French |

Harry Potter comes out tomorrow.

Don't tell the Pope but I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by Tom French |

Online Matchmaking

I decided to do a little bit of online matchmaking so I typed in "A Wife for Tom" in Google Images, and this is who was first on the list:

Tom Fairhursts wife Alice_jpg.jpg

Google Dating: "Surefire" I say.

Posted by Tom French |

Let me explain myself

You may have noticed that, for the past few days, I've been writing something that I have learnt each day. I thought I'd do it to test the saying "You learn something new everyday". So far it hasn't been a very good experiment, because while I have learnt something new everyday, I've been keeping my eye out for it. It's kinda been a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Today however has been a rather dud day. Seeing as I spent most of my day playing with envelopes and printers, I didn't learn a lot. I did have lunch with Lauren and that was a good respite.

I did learn things today, but nothing worth remembering. I learnt that Brad Pitt has gone to hospital with the flu and Scarlett Johansson wanted to shoot a sex scene topless*, but Michael Bay wouldn't let her. But neither of those things are world changing. SMH really does some high class reporting.

I learnt that when Jesus turned water into wine he made somewhere between 500 and 750 litres of wine. But I already knew that, I'd just forgotten.

Last night after midnight I learnt why the Secret Service is part of the US Department of Treasury. It's because when it was created it was designed to catch people who forge money. It still is. It was given the job of protecting the President in 1901 after the assassination of William McKinley that year, who was the 25th US President and had a pet parrot called "Washington Post". He was killed by Leon Czolgosz who didn't seem to have any real good reason for shooting the president, he was just an anarchist**. I don't know who looked after the parrot after McKinley died. Theodore Roosevelt was the president who succeeded McKinley.

Anyway, I got distracted. The Secret Service, who are meant to be dealing with forgery, protects the President because there weren't many other people who could take the job when it first went up for grabs. The FBI, DEA, CIA, ATF, NSA and all the rest didn't exist. The only other option was the US Marshals. They didn't get the job though. Probably because US Marshals doesn't sound as cool as Secret Service. One sounds like battery suppliers, the other sounds like a group of super heroes.

The Secret Service was created in 1865. The last law that Abraham Lincon signed before being assassinated himself was to create the Secret Service. People say this is ironic, but I don't think it is, because as I said before, they didn't start protecting the President for another 36 years. I think people have just loaded it with irony which isn't there. Then again you could say that irony is subjective, and then you can think anything you want is ironic. I think Alanis Morissettte subscribes to this view.

Anyway, I learnt, and pondered all that, before going to sleep least night, so I don't want to count that as learning something new today.

I did read today that Australia is buying up to 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. We'll have them by 2012. I already knew that too, but I'm excited about it. I like fighter jets. So I think I'll have learnt that today.

Today I learnt that Brad has the flu, Scarlett isn't shy, and Australia's getting some new planes. Tomorrow I'm hoping to learn who looked after the parrot.

*My hits are going to go way up now. I mentioned "Scarlett Johansson" "topless" and "sex" all in the same sentence. Google here we come!

**I think he was fighting for the rights of the workers but isn't everyone these days?

Posted by Tom French |

Mail out done.

Now I'm going home.

Posted by Tom French |

Working Class Man

The thing about holidays is that they usually mean less work. Untill it's time for the mail out, and then it gets a bit fatter. Helen was hoping I'd have work to do while she was away, and I don't see myself getting out of here before 8, so I'd say she'll be satisfied. I've been here since 10:30. That's pretty early for me.

Posted by Tom French |

Learn Something New

Today (12th July 2005) I leant that there is a place in Sydney called "Rodd Point". That's cool.

Jem told me that.

Posted by Tom French |

Oh it Hurts

The West Wing Marathon finished just over an hour ago and whoever says that spending two days sitting on a couch watching TV is easy, is wrong. It's very hard. I have a splitting headache, I'm battling depression and having a severe self-worth crisis and I'm probably suffering massive internal hemorrhaging. I'm just glad it wasn't an OC, or worse yet Big Brother, marathon. I'm glad it was a show I liked.

I'm off to Coles to buy some Coke and some Panadol. That should be good in the short term.

Posted by Tom French |

Today I learnt

Today (11th July 2005) I learnt what a Filibuster is. It's obstructionist tactics to hold up legisation from passing in the US Senate. The person who is filibusting takes the floor in the Senate before a vote is taken and talks. And they keep talking, they cannot stop talking, they cannot lean on anything, they cannot go to the bathroom, they must keep one foot on the chamber floor at all times. Filibuster comes from a Dutch word meaning "Pirate".

There was a guy on The West Wing who did it. He read shrimp recipies, card rules and David Copperfield to the Senate for over nine hours. It sounds like fun. I think I'd like to try Filibusting one day.

The longest filibuster ever was done by Strom Thurmond in 1957 when he filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes. He was protesting the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which passed despite his dedicated filibusting to a vote of 60-15.

Posted by Tom French |

We just finished the 15th episode for the day. We're hitting the sack now. We're just over half way through. It's fun but darn hard. We ate salad for dinner because sitting on a couch all day watching American television inspires virtue in you. Or guilt. Guilt or virtue, either way they both get the job done.

Posted by Tom French |

Ryan and I are in the opening stages of our two day West Wing marathon. We've just watched 5 episodes in a row. It's way fun, but getting tough.

We are hoping to finish season 3 by tomorrow. We are two episodes from the end of season 2 now. We have 24 episodes to go. I'm a man, I can take it.

Posted by Tom French |

Sunday

I think that Sundays should be held on Friday. Then you could go to church, go out, stay up late, then have a whole weekend. I'm sick of falling asleep in church. I could compromise with a Saturday. Maybe I should become a Seventh Day Adventist.

Posted by Tom French |

Everyday

If you learn something new everyday, today I learnt that the Council of Nicea was held in 325AD and the Arian Controversy lasted for around 60 years.

I read my church history book at breakfast. Does that make me uncool?

Posted by Tom French |

The Rest

Before Hillsong I spent almost all day reading. It was great. I continued reading Mandela, I finished the Vineyard response to The Briefing and three papers by Dave Andrews on the meaning of the cross. All were interesting and stimulating. I didn't fall asleep once all day.

Tonight I went to a cocktail party at Libby's. The problem with cocktails is that they taste really nice so you want to keep drinking them. But if you keep drinking them you get drunk and it would be rather inappropriate to get drunk. Plus I wanted to drive home. So I had a Pina Colada and then sampled others. I drank pink Lemonade for the rest of the night, how sad.

Towards the end of the night I was eating chocolate moose. I was pretending to dribble it out of my mouth and then suck it back in again just for a laugh. But I accidentally laughed while doing it and managed to spit the moose all over myself and my sister who was sitting opposite me. It was rather funny, but a little gross too. Sorry Jo.

Posted by Tom French |

Bonnke

Tonight Jo (sister) and I went to Hillsong Church to see Reinhard Bonnke speak. I heard that Reinhard Bonke (pronounced Bonky) was good, so I thought I'd go check him out. Plus I just wanted to say that I saw a guy with that name. What a cool name: Bonnke.

Unfortunately Reinhard wasn't there. I think he may have been at the City campus. Oh well. I enjoyed myself. I think Hillsong have gone more moderate these days. Or I have. But I had fun.

The offertory sermon which has never really filled me with excitement before was good. Dooley spoke about we never grow weary of doing good even if we aren't reaping at the moment (Gal 6:9,10). He told us a story about when God first convicted him at 17 to do good and he gave his pay packet to a missionary. He told us that he didn't reap lots of money the next day or week, but this week he reaped because he got to minister to 4,500 young people. I grinned. He'd hit the nail on the head. If I had been a penty I would have shouted "Amen". What a great way to reap from doing good, being able to bring the gospel to thousands of young people. That's the prosperity gospel I'm going for. Go Hillsong!

The speaker man was pretty good too, even if his name wasn't Bonnke. He had good illustrations between sin and disease. Impressed I was. So I had fun at Hillsong.

Posted by Tom French |

Maccas

Last night someone who shall remain anonymous brought up an objection to me saying that I haven't had McDonald's in over a year. So let me clarify, I haven't eaten or drunk any original products from Maccas since 15th May 2004. I have drunk their Coke, and I have eaten cereal and drunk milk out of containers that they sold me. But you can buy all them in the supermarket and they weren't made by Maccas. So there you go. I haven't eaten any fries, or cookies, burgers, ice creams. I haven't drunk any of their smoothies. I have however eaten their ice.

So there you go. I think I'm Maccas pure, but I'm not really concerned if I'm not because I don't know why I've given up on McDonald's. I just decided to stop. I guess it's an exercise in refraining from something that was important to me. Maybe it was about being healthier. Maybe it was about not conforming to the norms of society. Maybe it was just something to do. I guess if I haven't figured it out now, I never will but I'm quite happy being Ronald free.

Posted by Tom French |

Robbie

Kemp said last Sunday that she didn't know what Robbie Williams would do with himself if he wasn't famous. He was made to be famous.

I reckon if Robbie wasn't famous he'd be that sleazy guy at the pub who gets drunk and drops his pants a lot. He'd flirt with all the girls and most of us would find him annoying but rather endearing at the same time.

Posted by Tom French |

Today, Yesterday and Tonight

I've been very productive at work today. I've cleaned my office for the first time in a year and a half, I've made a website to download sermons from (not a very snazzy one though), I've made a program for this term. Of course that's not a very long list, but they are big jobs.

Last night Howie came over to the apartment to hang. We watched The West Wing and what was going on in London while we ate Subway and ice cream. It was strange flipping between the events of the fictional America and the events of the world. The fictional world doesn't recycle footage nearly as much as the live news does, but the fictional world doesn't ever seem as relevant in the midst of disaster.

Tonight I'm going to David's Dosa Party. That I'm looking forward to. I've never eaten a dosa before and with everyone's raving I'm hoping they're good.

Posted by Tom French |

Terrorism really sucks.

Posted by Tom French |

Undertime

I haven't been doing nearly as much work these past two weeks as I normally do. I work in an office full of people who never seem to stop working. I, on the other hand, do my best to take any opportunity I can to take some time off and avoid working (Lunch hours that last an hour, Blogfeed, phone conversations that should be 5 minutes that take 20.) I know I probably work an average of 5 hours overtime a week, but at my office, I feel like I'm the slack one.

This week though, I've been doing less. I can't find anything to do. Last week I read the Church Worker's Code of Conduct which is a bad sign, today I started cleaning my office which is a really bad sign. I'm trying to think of all the things I always wanted to do but never got around to doing. I've organised to have coffee (or ice chocolate, or beer, or lunch) with my leaders, which is fun, I like the catch ups. On Friday I might try and get the back TV at church working. Oh that would be fun. I'd need my electric screwdriver and everything.

Of course I could write a Bible study, or a roster, or a program. I could print envelopes and plan socials. But none of them sound nearly as exciting as getting a TV to work. Or I could convert all the sermons on the computer to mp3, I'm sure that's a priority. Or I could just clean my office. And I certainly should find more people I need to catch up with.

The possibilities are endless, and who knows, I might just end up working just the hours I'm paid for.

Posted by Tom French |

Ryan and Marrisa just slept together on their first date. Sandy didn't kiss his co-worker (which is a good thing). And I'm not all that interested in the next episode. This is a good thing.

Posted by Tom French |

While baking my banana cake (so pleased with myself) I started watching The OC. I'm not sure that this was a good idea. I hired a few dvds yesterday because someone had hired all The West Wing dvds. I think I could be about to get addicted. And it's such a trashy program too.

In the lift on my way to commy dinner I was holding my cake. The man in the lift said to me has he got out "Smells good."

I said "Good"

When I arrived at commy dinner I hopped out of the car with all my stuff. Just at that moment two cars came around the corner and startled me. I dropped the cake on the ground. Lucky it was sturdy, and I had it back in its container in less than 7 seconds.

Commy dinner wasn't vibey at all tonight. Hooray. People liked my cake. I thought the bottom was a little dry but the rest was good.

Now I'm off to the TV to see what happened with Ryan and Marrisa's date.


Oh Jed Bartlett, please come back.

Posted by Tom French |

Cake

I'm baking that cake I said I was going to bake. It's in the oven right now. I'm not sure how it'll go, but hey, it'll sound good even if it doesn't taste good.

Posted by Tom French |

Mosque

Tonight Chris and I went to Lakemba Mosque to hear a Muslim evangelist.

I picked Chris up at about 5 and we drove slowly over to Lakemba in masses of traffic. Despite the extraordinary automobilical turn-out we arrived early. We parked a long way from the mosque and walked up the road to meet Waleed. I was worried that I wouldn't recognise him because I haven't seem him in nine months and everyone outside the mosque seemed to have a black beard and flowing robes. Happily he recognised me and came over before I had seen him.

When going in we had to take our shoes off and put them on a shelf in a little room off to the side where you enter. In the room there were bits of scaffolding and lights lying around. They're renovating the mosque. They were doing that last time I was there too, but it's looking a lot better now.

Chris and I sat down the back and talked a little to Waleed. Ahmed came over too, who I had met before, and we chatted. At prayer time Chris and I were left alone while the guys prayed. We were joined by a young guy who wasn't praying. He told us that he was a Muslim but a bad one. He wasn't praying because he was too sinful. He didn't want to pray and be a hypocrite. It was very sad to meet him. I really wanted to get the chance to talk to him later. I would have loved to have told him about grace.

After prayer we were taken down the front to hear the evangelist talk. We met Ali again who we hung out with last time we were there. The speaker was a Texan man who used to be a Christian preacher. He was giving us a teaching about rights and limits. He said every Muslim has rights which are good. But all these rights have limits to give them balance. When he told us about the rights I thought they sounded more like laws, rather than rights ("Every one has the right to worship only one God", or something like that). So I was a little confused as to where the rights ended and the limits started. They all sounded rather similar to me.

But it was all interesting. And he was a good speaker, except when he spoke in Arabic, I didn't understand a word of it.

After the lecture I asked Waleed that if I could talk to the speaker. He told me to go and line up. There was a huge crowd of people wanting to talk to him, so Chris and I just stood near the back. Word got around, however, that the Christians wanted to meet the Sheik and we were ushered into the Imam's* office so we could have a private meeting. I felt like a celebrity.

The office was very plush it had big leather couches, a big desk, and a huge book shelf with many books with Arabic titles. After a little while the room filled up with 6 men and the Sheik who spoke. It was rather intimidating.

The Speaker warmly greeted Chris and I and then continued a conversation he was having with a new Muslim who had converted last night. Then he turned to us and asked us why we were here.

I told him I was interested in hearing his story about how he became a Muslim. But he told us it was too long to tell. Instead he went on to tell me that the Bible has been changed and is inaccurate. He quoted 1 John 5:8 and told me that that was changed in the 16th Century.

I agreed that the Bible has not been free from human corruption and told him also of Mark 7:16 for example, just to back up his point. I figure the best way to moot a point is to agree with it. But I made the point that the Bible translators are working to get rid of these additions not propigate them.

He asked me how people are saved if they haven't heard of Jesus. I told him that Romans tells us that God will judge people according to the law that is written on their hearts. He asked me what this proves about God. I was about to say "That he's gracious" but I didn't get a chance because I was told that it proves that God doesn't need Jesus for salvation, that God will save who he wants.

There was more to the conversation, and it was rather stressful. I was feeling like the minority. But I enjoyed it none the less. Being one of two Christians in a room full of Muslims talking about faith with an international Muslim speaker, in the office of the head Muslim for the whole of Australia and New Zealand, you can see how it would be both intimidating and exhilarating at the same time. Unfortunately, we didn't have long enough to talk. Just as I was getting my confidence up, the Sheik was told he had to go by his minder, so off he went.

When we went back to collect our shoes we were pulled aside into a darkened stairwell by a big guy who asked me "Do you know about the Bible?"

"A bit" I replied

"What's the deal with the bit when Jacob wrestles God? I've always wondered about that."

I told him how it was the story about how Jacob had to learn to submit to God to receive blessing, not wrestle the blessing from God, like he had been doing all his life. I felt like was conducting a clandestine Bible study in the dark, back corner of a mosque. Which I guess I was, except for the clandestine bit. If only he had asked me, "What's the deal with Jesus dying for our sins?"

After this Ali drove us to the local youth hang out where we were fed masses of food. We ate at a big table with the Sheik and the Imam (who's office we sat in before.) Everyone there was very good at greeting us. They all came over to shake hands with us and make us feel at home. They are a really lovely bunch of people. Waleed told me about his family and I got the impression that he was related to almost everyone in the room.

When we were done there Ali gave us a lift back to our car and we drove home. Just as we were leaving I invited Ali and Waleed if they wanted to come visit my church. They didn't sound excited but I'll keep working on them.

I had a fun night. I would have liked the chance to say more, but the opportunities didn't really present themselves. I might go back tomorrow night when the guy will tell his story about how he converted. Maybe then I'll get the chance to say more.



*I hear the Imam is the head for all the Muslims in Australia and New Zealand. And he was also the guy who flew to Iraq to negotiate for Douglas Wood's release. I was introduced to him tonight, so I'm feeling rather famous.

Posted by Tom French |

Bed is calling. Tonight has been fun. Chris Martin called Live 8 "the greatest event ever in the history of the world" or something like that. Which I think would be a debatable point but I enjoyed myself none-the-less. I think the Black Eyed Peas won themselves a fan in me tonight. They were tops performers. I'd go see them live. Maybe I should. Are the coming to Australia?

U2 were the best, because they just are. Bono could be a worship leader, except that he said "Give us what we f***ing want", which I've never heard from a worship leader yet.

Green Day were cool, as were Good Charlotte. And the heavy German band who sang in German I liked them.

I do hope that the G8 do something exciting. Go you good things, change the world! (That's my message to all the leaders of the G8 who I know are avid readers of my blog, except for the Japanese guy. He doesn't get my sense of humour.)

Now I must sleep.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm Watching Live 8

There's a boring guy on now, so I thought I'd blog. I'm having fun though.

Oh Green Day just came on. Gotta go!

Posted by Tom French |

Donny's Air Guitar Gets Air

Donny Gets Air.jpg
Photo: Howie

Because I promised Scott a photo.

Posted by Tom French |

Today I might bake a cake.

I also might not.

Posted by Tom French |

Getting on the Bandwagon

I'm off to the city today to wear white arm bands, wear white (at least the closest things I own to white) and Make Poverty History. How exciting.

I'm so glad they picked white over pink or lime green. I doubt I look good in either of those colours.

Posted by Tom French |

Donny's Done for the Year

Well tonight was another wonderful Marrickville Air Guitar experience.

For those you who want to know the score, Donny didn't get a place. But no one's crying over here.

Tonight I decided that before I was performing, I didn't want to get changed in the toilets. There were rather gross. It's always a tricky act trying to get changed while keeping the clothes you aren't wearing out of the urine and fecal matter. This time I was going to go into the change rooms. The main attraction for me was that, seeing as Marrickville is the premiere adult entertainment venue of the inner West, I would be getting changed in the strippers' change rooms. There were no strippers in the room tonight. In fact there were no strippers at the club tonight happily, but at least I can notch that one down on the list of things that I have done.

The change room was a very interesting place though. I think that everyone who went into the air guitar competition was either a very confident extrovert or rather weird, or both. This meant that the change room was full of wonderful people and most of them seemed to be wearing KISS make up.

There was one girl who started chatting to me. I'm not sure if she was just chatty or she was chatting me up. I would like to think that see was chatting me up. After all see had seen me without a shirt and in my boxers. We talked about her family, our shared heritage, adoption, film festivals, karaoke, and lots more, which is a rather odd experience when your surrounded by half-naked men wearing make up. She even took a photo of me and sang to me.

Later in the club she came up to me again and introduced herself to me, and I accidentally barred her because I was watching the other Air Guitarists. I felt rather bad about that. When I realised what I had done I couldn't find her to apologise. I'm sure she was thinking "You're friendly in the change rooms, but as soon as we get into the club you treat me like I'm a no-body."

Anyway, Donny's performance went well I think. He did everything right. The music that Jimmy made for the occasion was great, I got to climb the pole (all the way to the roof), I smashed my guitar and I almost got my timing right. What more can you ask? Oh and I had fun.

But there were other people who were better then me. There was a girl who was a trained pole dancer who probably destroyed her guitar doing extraordinary pole things but got way up on points because girls dancing on poles get high marks.

There was another man who dressed as a woman. And there was a man who wore a suit with the back cut out of it exposing his bare bum to us all.

It really was quite eventful.

In the end Donny didn't win any of the places. But I'm glad I did it. It was certainly an experience and I can now say that I've danced on a real pole dancing pole and gotten changed (and chatted up) in a strippers' dressing room.

I doubt I'll be entering any more Air Guitar Competitions again though. I'll have to get my thrills elsewhere.

I would be willing to say that we probably won't see Donny again at least until next April, and what a relief that will be.

Rock On!

For those of you who are getting worried I don't endorse strip clubs, pole dancing, or other forms of adult entertainment (except perhaps bingo, gardening and other activities like that). And you won't find me at Marrickville RSL on a Friday and Saturday when the real adult entertainment happens. Just thought I should clear that up.

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