Posted by Tom French |

Sluggish

I'm at David's office at the moment having a bit of a blog. I started a post at work yesterday but I think that work saps most of my blog inspiration out of me. It took me a few hours to write a few lines. So I guess that I'll just have to wait until we get the net at home. Which will happen tomorrow. Hooray. Cable and wireless at home. I love the idea of wireless. Although I have no way of connecting to it, and I'm not going to be carrying my computer around the house, I still like the fact that I could if I wanted to.

I caught the bus and train to Hornsby today to see David for lunch. It was my first bus catching experience by myself and it was pleasant enough. I didn't get off at the wrong stop, or accidentally have an emotional breakdown on the bus so that's good.

I got a phone call and a message today from my travel agent telling me to go pick up my plane tickets because they're closing down. That's a bit sad I think. I haven't been very disciplined at getting my tickets from them. They rang me at the beginning of January and I'm only getting around to it now. At least plane tickets don't take up much space.

Certain parts of our house are getting a little grotty, like the bathroom. I think because we haven't made our chores roster yet so the house is operating on skeleton chores at the moment. Things like washing the bathroom floors just aren't considered important enough. Every time I have a shower I think "I should clean the floor" but then I start thinking about how I would go about doing that and I can never figure out if we own a mop or not, so the floors don't get cleaned by me.

We have a slug problem at our house. Every night our kitchen fills with slugs, I think it's the local hang out for disaffected youth slugs. Next time I see them I'll tell them to get a job and stop living off our hard earned kitchen scum.

I haven't un-packed most of my boxes yet.

Mondays at work I never work very well. I keep getting distracted by everything. I keep having to rein myself in and make myself work. The only thing I look forward to on Mondays is lunch and small group. Small group is the fun part of my day. Sleeping in is good too.

I think I might go find some air plane tickets now.

Posted by Tom French |

Checking In

I'm such a bad blogger. Life in the new land is fun. Although I don't like the extra driving.

I parked in my driveway last night because the street had all it's parking taken up by people going to the theatre. Because my driveway is too skinny I couldn't fit the car all the way in and it blocked some of the footpath. Someone left a note on my car which said "Moron - Pedestrian Access - Report you" I don't think they liked having to walk around my car. But then again they did go to the trouble of climbing over our fence and into the driveway to stick the note on the front of the car so it can't have been the extra work that my car created that was the problem.

While someone was climbing over my car and fence I was up at the pub with Jo and Jem and Ajuk (sp?). I'd just got home from a long day of youth ministering and I could just pop up to the pub for a beer. It was great. And I have now found out that there is a 7-11 just 4 minutes walk from my house. Woo-hoo 24 hour cold Coke.

I managed to find IKEA on Tuesday. I bought a desk and a book shelf. I'm happy with them although I haven't done a very good job at using my desk yet as it's still covered in boxes.

This working week has been good. The good thing about working more is you get to see more people. More time youthing. So that is funness. I'm not enjoying having less nights at home. And less opportunity to go to the movies. I'll have to work on that.

I had some butter chicken in Hornsby today with Howie and Jenny. It's nice to eat some familiar food court food. It has been missing from my life.

Posted by Tom French |

I found myself a cafe. I haven't found my way to IKEA yet. I should go soon because I'd like to do things with my life other than go to IKEA.

Living here means I get aircraft noise. It's kinda fun. And building noise, it seems that a good proportion of my neighbours are building something. I like that noise less.

Posted by Tom French |

In Da House!

I'm sitting on my bed in my messy room. My room is just a mass of Babel-esque boxes, over flowing with the abridged contents of my 23 years. The only thing I've properly unpacked is my computer so I can write this and watch an episode or two of Lost before I go to sleep. We don't have the internet so I'll have to go and post this post when I get to an internet cafe tomorrow or something. Tomorrow will be the day of lots of things. I'm off to IKEA to buy all the things I need in my room.

Moving in was a good fun experience. I packed my car early in the morning. I took my bed and my essentials (books and cds) and headed off for my new home in Enmore. I picked up Chris along the way who kindly offered to help me move.

I arrived at the house and found the Landlady, Jo and Jemma sitting out in the backyard on Jemma's broken chairs. In about 5 minutes I'd signed my lease. It keeps occurring to me now that I didn't bother to read the lease so there's a good chance I've signed up for all sorts of nonsense, but what can you do eh? I reckon Jo or Jemma signed it. And there are 5 of us on the lease so I guess if I signed body away for medical experiments then I'll have 4 friends to go through it with.

Once the ceremony was done the four of us started inspecting the house. It's an old two story terrace house. It has all wood polished floors, except for the kitchen which had ugly brown tiles. Everything is a bit decrepit and the kitchen has mould in the cupboards. It's a really cool house. I'm a fan. My room is probably about the same size as my room in Hornsby, but it's wider and shorter. I reckon I'll be able to fit a good load of bookshelves in, which is a dream of mine. I love shelves.

The bathrooms all have holes in the doors.

While we were scoping out the house our Landlady got into a fight with the next door neighbour for their illegal building activities. The Landlady and the wife next door were standing in the street shouting at each other. The first words and only words I have heard from those neighbours are insults directed at our Landlady. Although I saw her later and she smiled at me so she's probably nice. Once she'd finished her altercating the our Landlady went home only to turn up a little while later to inform us that she'd called the Police because she couldn't work out how to deal with the people next door.

Jo and Jem went home. Chris and I moved stuff into the house and the Police arrived. They didn't seem all that interested. Chris and I locked up the house and left I didn't really feel like hanging around with the cops sorting out issues which are yet to be my issues. We went out for coffee and op shopping.

We came back met Mil, Martin and Gem and also met the other neighbours. They're young musician types and quite friendly. I like them.

I went to work that evening then came home and slept my first night in my new house. It was hot, full of bugs and the house makes noises. There was no one else there. I have a big spider who lives in my room. He's real scary. I hate spiders, I didn't get much sleep. I woke up at one stage and walked through the dark empty house looking for a drink. All I could think was "I wonder how many people have died in this house."

Saturday morning I got up, abluted and went for a stroll down Enmore Rd and King St looking for breakfast. I saw lots of lovely looking venues, but I was too scared to go in because I wasn't sure if I was meant to sit down and order or go to the counter, order then sit down. If I got it wrong I couldn't imagine the scorn people might heap on me. Life is hard sometimes. In the end I had some Boost juice because I know how that works.

Ryan and Libby came over and we tried to figure out how to move Jon's bed into the house. The stairwell to upstairs is very skinny, with a low ceiling. We ended up tying a rope around the bed then hoisting it up over the front balcony. That was good fun. It was a oft repeated exercise. I hope to do more hoisting of furniture in the future.

(Ooo, my door just opened itself. The house is haunted!)

I went home to Hornsby with Ryan and we got more stuff. Once we were back that evening we hoisted a few more things then it was off to dinner. It was the first time the whole household was together. We went out for Thai, and considering the abundance of Thai places in this part of the world I can foresee Thai becoming rather staple.

We came home after our meal and prayed for our house. It was lovely to commit the house to God. I do hope God has his way in this house.

The days following have been good. I'm excited to be living with the people I'm living with and starting this new chapter of my life. The people are great, the house is cool and the pub is just 50 meters down the road. What more could you want?

Posted by Tom French |

There's no internet in my house and no time when I'm not at home to blog. But internet will come.

It has been fun moving into my new place. I've only had one good sleep out of three so far but I'm hoping those odds will change.

I think I'll try and add more later. At the moment I should be working.

Posted by Tom French |

Almost Gone

Tonight will be my last night of sleeping in my room. I've been in this room for the past 12 year. It will also be the last night in this house, I've been here for the past 23 years. How sad.

Shame tonight's sleep will be short. I suspect I'll spend quite alot of time packing. Oh well.

I guess I'll get sentimental soon.

Posted by Tom French |

The problem with being at work all the time is that nothing new happens to write about.

I bought some butter chicken for lunch today but I didn't eat it all. Now it's sitting in the fridge getting grotty.

I had a conversation with the man at the Indian shop about my t-shirts and where I get them from. He said I have a good collection.

I had coffee with a new potential mentor. He's a friendly, godly man. I think I might be onto to a winner.

I didn't fit everything into my day.

I had my first scripture class for the year. My class seem like they have the possibility to be badly behaved but they were ok today.

I'm home now and I would like to go to sleep but I'm waiting for my dinner. I could lie on my bed and read but I might fall asleep.

Posted by Tom French |

Packing It

I'm packing my room up. I'm filling box after box after box. It seems that over the past 23 years I've just been hording stuff. My room is just one big storage facility. Oh well. At least we know I have a healthy love the past.

Posted by Tom French |

Anyone?

Valentines Tom.jpg

Posted by Tom French |

Tonight Howie and I packed up my CDs and DVDs in preparation for moving. Wow. I've never moved before, it's a little surreal. I'm moving out of home. I was feeling sad for my house because everyone here is losing such a good CD collection. At least, I like my collection, it has all my favourite CDs in it.

We watched Live Aid as we worked. The U2 performance was smashing. People say that performance was one of the turning points in their career. It was the one where the world noticed U2. It has a beautiful moment where Bono climbs off the stage picks a girl out of the crowd who's getting stuck against the barriers. It's magical. I've always heard about that moment and now I've gotten to see it.

The rest of the show was good, but I didn't know a lot of the bands. I wasn't all the up on popular music when I was 2-years-old so I don't remember them.

Posted by Tom French |

I came home all excited to watch The Contender and tonight seems to be just a rehash where they show all the old fights. What's up with that? So now I'm sitting around feeling bored. I'm not even sure if there's any food to eat.

I had my first small group with the year 11 and 12s today. It was fun. It was good to have a group who I didn't have to shout at to be quiet. And who I could ask big questions. Although we did even worse at getting through the study than in any other group I've run.

I'm a little bit nervous they're gonna need a better small group leader than me but I'll do my best.

Posted by Tom French |

I want Moral Corruption

I've been getting into Lost lately. I'm watching Season One so I'm a season behind. It's kinda fun.

I watched a really good episode this morning where the good guys tortured a man they thought was hiding medicine they needed to save a girl's life. It was this great look as a community's loss of innocence. As the days go on and things get desperate morals get more ambigous. Stick a bunch of humans together and it rarely ends well. As depressing as the tradjectory of this is heading I'm hoping it doesn't end well. There are many subplots of healing and redemption, but I don't want them to take precedence. I guess a community that starts with all these desires of a new start will rarely mean change. People's moral core doesn't change because they survive a plane crash and land on a desert island. If they end up as savages then perhaps it will challenge us who watch to look at our communities and make sure we don't go the same way. Plus it's more interesting when things don't end happy.

Then again they could all get eaten by the monster thing. I'm sure it's symbolic of something, something inside them all. But they better not slay the monster, I hope they just escape.

Please don't tell me how it's going. I want to see for myself.

Posted by Tom French |

Movie Clubbing

I went to Child Protection Training today. That was dull, useful and depressing as usual.

Tonight I went to join a Movie Club with Ryan and Libby. I had been told via email by the orgnaiser to meet at Dendy in Newtown at 6:30pm tonight, so we went to Newtown, ate some food then got to the Dendy at 6:33pm. We looked around for groups that could be a movie club, and we saw one. I went over to them and asked "Are you guys the movie club?" but they replied "No, but we'd like to be."

After that we couldn't find any groups that looked like a movie club. We waited till 6:45 then gave up. We'd been stood up by a whole club. Ouch.

We went and saw Brokeback Mountain despite not having a club to watch it with. It was good and depressing. I'm glad I'm not a married, gay cowboy. Life would be hard.

Posted by Tom French |

Fallout

Last weekend was one of the most intense I've had in a while.

On Friday night while I was out to dinner with the youth leaders Matt told us that a few hours before a local teenager had been killed when he was hit by a car riding to youth group. The youth group, he said, was the one whose camp I spoke on in the holidays a few weeks ago. But there was nothing much confirmed, everything was just rumours. It was pretty horrible news. We stopped and prayed for the family while in the restaurant. There wasn't much else to do. I was pretty worried about who it might have been, was it someone who I was on camp with, one of the boys I connected with? How would the youth group cope? And on top of that there was just this knowledge that out there his parents, whoever they were, would be having the worst night of their lives. It's so sad.

I didn't sleep well that night. I dreamt about death and the people I know.

On Saturday we had the Engagement Engagement and it was good. Our car broke down so I got there late. Through out the day I would often be reminded that someone I knew might be dead and I didn't know who it was.

I went out to dinner that night and got a call from Steve, my boss, and he asked me if I was aware of what had happened. I told him I knew a little but not much. He filled me in, told me who the boy was, where he was from, what schools he had gone too. He was in year 7 and didn't go to the youth group I spoke at. I didn't know the boy. It was a relief, but I felt guilty for it. Not knowing him personally didn't mean that he wasn't valuable and it wasn't just as terrible.

I was told a few extras would be coming to church with some of the girls who are in my youth group who were in his class.

I didn't sleep well that night either. I dreamt about the morning at church. I was feeling very out of my depth.

Dad gave me a lift to church because the car wasn't working.

At church, about half an hour before the service a family arrived who had a girl in the boy's class. They told me that there was a rumour going around the community that our church was running a memorial service. We needed to prepare just in case.

I met with a councilor who goes to my church before the service. She had been assigned to me so she could help me figure out how to best help anyone who was going to turn up. As we were talking I watched through the windows as out the front as lots of year 7 people and their parents arrived at church. This wasn't going to be a normal service.

By the time the service started we had about 70 extra people in our church. Steve started the service where talking about death, praying and reading from the Bible. I thought he did very well, Steve was in his element. This was then followed by communion. It was comforting for some reason. It went on for ages. We ran out of bread there were so many people.

When it was time for the Sunday School to go out I took my group. I had 19 extra people, all of them had known the boy who died. I was pretty scared. I had never had to do anything like this before. When you go into Youth Ministry you know that one day death will touch your ministry and now it had come to mine, but you never get to a stage where you're ready for it.

We sat down and I prayed before handing over to the councilor. She ran a debriefing session with the young people. She did very well. I was very glad she was there. When she had finished I talked about how God feels about death. I told the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, of the anger and sadness Jesus had when his friend died, but also the power that Jesus has over death. God hates death but he is not impotent in the face of death as we are, he will one day destroy it, we can trust that he holds all things in his hands, even the lives of those we have lost.

I'm not sure what the people who heard it thought. I prayed for them and I hope it was of some comfort.

During Church the parents went out for their own debrief session. After the service there was lots of ministry going on, lots of people being comforted and prayed for. It was wonderful to see our church had pulled together to help those who were grieving. All the young people hung out together after church. As the youth minister I felt like I should go and talk to them, but it was kinda strange because they all knew each other and I felt like the outsider. Generally they would talk to me for a bit then wander off. I got to talk to one or to for more than just a polite amount of time, but generally they were pretty happy to look after themselves, and I can understand that.

In the afternoon we had youth group. I do like playing soccer. During dinner we were in the playground at church and I was standing on a little kiddy swing talking to one of the girls. I was swinging on it while standing up. As I got higher and higher the girl told me that I was going to hurt myself, which I politely disagreed with. But sure enough I got hurt. I got to this point where I was so high that there wasn't enough momentum to keep me going against gravity's wishes. I stopped but the swing didn't, I fell to the ground onto me face. As I was coming down the swing came around and whacked me in the nose. It was rather painful.

I rolled over onto my back at which point someone noticed that my nose was bleeding. I lay on the ground thinking "It's the first injury of the year in the youth ministry and it's the youth minister." I felt at least that's what we call incarnational ministry.

The young people came and led me away to get first aid (tissues and lots of different people giving different instructions about where to put my nose) while the leaders filled the power vacuum and ran dinner while I sat on the sidelines trying not to bleed on things.

After dinner when I had cleaned myself up a bit I gathered the youth group together so we could pray for those people who had known the boy who died. It was another hard time. I'd found the whole day rather emotional, and this was no different. It was hard not to get choked up, but I pushed through. All the young people gathered around and prayed for those who were grieving and it was beautiful to see.

When I finished praying I realised that I had started bleeding again. I bled till halfway through Church.

We had a young adults do after church. I like young adults stuff but I had a head ache and was starting to feel sick. I didn't have a car so Tanya gave me a lift home. She's good value that Tanya.

When I was home and Tanya had gone (she came inside for a tour of the house) I came into my room to blog, but I couldn't concentrate. My head was feeling horrid and I wanted to vomit. I couldn't think straight. I think everything had finally caught up with me, the adrenaline kicked out.

I slept very well that night.

2/09/2006 06:46:00 pm

Books and Booking Me

Posted by Tom French |

Life has been so full lately. What with full time work and all. I need a briefcase and a suit. There has been no time to blog. I have plans to blog about my weekend, it was pretty crazy. I started but Mozilla died on me. Mozilla isn't as stable as it used to be it seems to crash. Actually every program on my computer seems to die. It helps you grasp the whole ethereal nature of computers (grasping something ethereal, I think that may be oxy-moronic).

I'm reading a book by John Birmingham. It's the squeal to Weapons of Choice which I read last year. For a violent airport novel it asks good questions about where our society is headed and what the consequences of the War on Terror will be on the morality of future generations.

The books are part of a trilogy, this book doesn't seem to be going so well for the good guys. It's seems like the Empire Strikes Back of the three. I wonder how much stuff will hit the fan before the end of the book. I never like the part of stories when things go bad. I like stories to be happy all the time.

I'm turning into a bit of a Birmo nut, this is the second book in a row I've read of his, third in five months, and I read his blog regulalarly. He sounds like a friendly guy, and he treats his blog readers well, I like him.

I went to a gathering of Youth Ministers from my area today. That and sending 4 emails was the only work I did all day. I did like the youth ministers hang out.

I got a mass email from a Youth Ministry person today asking if any of us who are on the list would be willing to speak in churches. If we are interested we're to send them a copy of one of our talks. That would be fun, but I did it 18 months ago and never got a response. Even with a follow up email I never got a response. I get the feeling I'm not the sort of speaker they're interested in. I'm not sure if offered my services again I'd seem incorrigible. Oh well. I'll decide later.

Posted by Tom French |

We have a house.

I'm moving out.

Fun.

Posted by Tom French |

Ryan on loving your enemies:

"If vengeance is a currency then someone has to come up empty handed."

I thought it sounded quotable so I quoted it.

Posted by Tom French |

Helen has lent me her car for a day or two so I can get around. It's very nice of her. Now I won't have to contend with nearly so many buses.

Thanks Helen.

Posted by Tom French |

Train's the way to Go

I had to catch public transport today to and from work. From the time I first left work for home it took me almost an hour and a half to catch a bus. I read timetables wrong, other timetables were wrong, I waited at bus stops where there were no buses, missed buses and had late buses. I'll tell you, I'm not smart enough for buses.

Posted by Tom French |

Birthday

It was good. I spent a lot of time with people today. Presents with Parents and Hannah, coffee with Kaye, lunch with Jamie, Kid's Club with Kids, Youth Group with Youth, dinner with the leaders. It was real nice seeing so many people.

I think spending my birthday night with the youth group was lots of fun. We launched the year and it was smashing. We played games, had a laugh, prayed, sang. It was a good way to start the year. I really do love being a youth minister.

The leaders went out for dinner afterwards, which was also fun. I do like the leaders.

The day has ended on a rather sad note. But it's not news for the blog.

I am happy for the Gospel.

Posted by Tom French |

Ranchy Movie

Big Sister small.jpg

The other week Howie and I made this movie.

It was done with no camera crew, no script, no planning, and no talent. But we had fun. I think our females sounded a little influfenced by Ja'mie from We Can Be Heroes. I think they we're hotter though.

We used Steve's music because we figure he won't sue us. Thanks Steve.

And his new album is coming out soon. Yipahh!

Posted by Tom French |

Thinking Big

I ate breakfast with Mil today. That was fun. I was walking home today after visiting the bank and reading in the Library, wondering what the big thoughts are that I'm thinking at the moment.

Incarnational Evangelism

I've been thinking about Evangelism and how best to do it. I've been listening to a series of talks that Mike Frost gave at Cooma 2002. He's talking about the need to do incarnational evangelism. That means doing evangelism where you go and join people in their lives and culture rather than inviting them into yours.

Which is in many ways the opposite of what we do in my youth ministry. We get people to invite their friends into the culture/community that we have created. When people are immersed in a loving community they'll want to hang around. That's the idea. Frost says that we should go out into the communities of non-Christians and live like Christ there.

Which is also part of our strategy. We designed a ministry that tried to free people up so they can participate in the social lives of their peers. We don't have small group go too late on a Friday so people can go to parties. We don't provide a full calendar of social activities so our young people are building social lives with their non-Christian peers, we hope.

Then again, Frost also says we should be building our own social "nets" outside the church to "catch" people in. I guess in some ways to a degree we also do that.

Anyway, it's been challenging to keep thinking about how to best to do evangelism. It's a challenge to work out how best to connect. I think probably we need to find a combination of both being "out" and inviting "in". Because without both we probably don't have the ability to meet all types of people and all types of needs.

What has interested me is the challenge to make sure I'm not living in a Christian bubble. To be living with people who aren't Christians, joining their clubs, drinking where they drink, eating where they eat. We should not just be where they are, but building relationships with them so that we can love them as Christ would have us love them. That is definitely something I am up for. I need to be making space for it. I wonder if there is a movie watching club in Sydney I could join. I love movies and then I might meet people who also like movies. And we could be friends that'd be fun.

It's always interesting thinking about evangelism and how when you talk about it often feels like you have relationships with people who aren't Christians purely because you want to convert them. That shouldn't be the case and more huge amounts of Christians it's not the case. I want to meet more people who aren't Christians because they have all the same potential to be my friends as Christians do. In fact in many ways I'm more interested in being their friends because Christians are a little boring. We have too much in common. I know too many of them already. Although I love them all.

Oh well.

Images of Salvation

I'm also thinking about images of salvation, themes of redemption, stories to invoke a yearning for wholeness.

We're working on the story for new Breakthru' Artz major project. I've been having images, scenes and scrapes of stories floating around my head. I want to figure out how to create a theatre/film/dance piece that creates a space for the Gospel to be told. I want to find a way to tell a story that will stand alone, but will create a resonance in people when they hear about Jesus. It's a hard task to do. At the moment I have things I want to do, but I'm waiting for the magic that brings it all together or creates something new.

But then, my idea may not be used. Matt and I are both coming up with ideas so we could use Matt's.

Boxing

I'm also thinking about how I might be able to go see the Anthony Mundine and Danny Green fight that's on during Soul Survivor. It's looking difficult at the moment.

Posted by Tom French |

I just finished my mail out. Only 1 day and 6 hours later than I'd planned.

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