12/30/2007 06:44:00 pm

It Feels Like Summer Again

Posted by Tom French |

Finally the Summer weather has arrived. It was starting to look like the sun-free summer. But now it has come and we went to the beach. It was a joyous occasion that made me happy to be Australian. Not that I swam a lot. I got a little lazy. But I did swim and then I sat. And I was happy.

12/30/2007 12:38:00 am

Weddung

Posted by Tom French |

There was very little dung at the wedding.

What is it with this time of life and weddings? Actually I know the answer to that, but damn there are a lot of weddings.

I went to another wedding today. My lovely friends Matt and Beck veiled and tuxed. I was on PowerPoint in the service which was scary, because I could stuff up and the whole church would look at me in judgement as they try and sing Amazing Grace to the wrong words. But it went ok.

The wedding was lovely. The Groom cried like a girl which was nice to see, although I worried about how the photos would look. You don't want to look all puffy. Especially if the Bride isn't.

The bridal party all got to sit at the front on the stage in a semi-circle instead of standing at the front for the ceremony. It was cool. Kinda like the Council of Elrond. Which made me want a wedding where there is a proper recreation of the Council of Elrond. That'd be awesome.

The reception was held a cool place in Terry Hills with lovely gardens and high roofs. I was amazed that there was such quality in Terrey Hills. It's like someone smuggled in some 5 star-class.

Tanya and I were the MCs which was good fun. I like having things to do at weddings and receptions because sometimes I run out of things to talk to people about and mingling scares me. So I was joyed to have a job. There was a Reception Coordinator named Paul who I liked very much. He was amazingly organised, kept telling us what a good job we were doing, and answered all our questions on how things should be done. If you ever want a reception in Terrey Hills get Paul because he is good.

Often people talk about how single people go to weddings and get depressed. And I've seen it happen. It's something about happy couples having their couple dreams come true that highlights the singleness of us bachelors and spinsters. But I have never really found weddings depress me. They bore me sometimes, but not depress. I think my eternal optimism just means that I plan my wedding. I dream about my Elvis minister and what kind of cool cars I'll get, and it's all kind of fun. I even wandered around the most romantic gardens in the world tonight, alone, and didn't get depressed. Of course it did occur to me that the hidden chandeliered Roman rotunda thing in the deserted garden would have been much more enjoyable if I could have pashed someone in it. But I think that's probably just the nature of pashing, it's much more fun with someone else (preferably a girl).

And that's what I think of weddings.

12/28/2007 11:12:00 am

Holidays Begin

Posted by Tom French |

I'm now happily on holidays. I have a few short days to savour the taste of no work. And I'm going to savour them with plenty of DVDs, lying around and diligently ignoring the emails which I don't want to read. Yeehaa!

12/27/2007 12:30:00 am

Present

Posted by Tom French |

I'm constantly baffled by the concept of the present. How can one moment be so real only to instantly become the past, instantly unattainable, never to come back? How long is now? Time is constantly shifting, it never stops. It's like a conveyor belt running under your fingers, no sooner have you felt it than it's gone. You can't measure an instant yet it's all life is, instants.

It messes with my head.

12/25/2007 11:37:00 pm

Mas and the Christ

Posted by Tom French |

It's been a bit of Christmas cheer over here. I haven't really blogged for a while. Except for last night just after the "midnight" service ended. I was on PowerPoint so I took the opportunity to blog from the church computer.

Church has been rather mega again this year. 6 services in 3 days. That's a lot of services. I'm looking forward to Christmas moving away from Sunday again. Because three days in a row of Church is rather mega.

I was speaking at the two morning services on Sunday. I was preaching on Zechariah 6 which isn't really all that Christmas like. But I was plonked right in the middle of a full-blown Christmas service. My sermon was about judgement and the end of the world when Jesus makes war on the nations. So it was pretty much the bloodiest Christmas sermon that I've ever heard. I managed to weave Christmas in there somehow. I felt a little like a contortionist. I hope the sermon didn't sound like a controtionist looks. I'll upload it in a few days for the keen.

I also spoke at the 5pm Family Christmas Eve service. This was a kids talk which was pretty much your run of the mill Christmas kid's talk. I was talking about how Jesus got the worst present at Christmas (being born as a baby and killed as a man) so that we could have the best present (eternal life). When I got to the bit about Jesus being killed, I said something like "And then they killed Jesus. And that's the worst present anyone could get for Christmas." At which one kid piped up "That was at Easter". The congregation thought it was pretty funny.

Today I was given the day off work. Woo! I went to my old church in Hornsby with my Parents and Hannah this morning. It was nice to go back. A little strange but nice.

Today's Christmas festives were rather small. We did the usual Christmas thing at the Castles then had lunch at Mum and Dad's with a few extras. It was nice. I ate a lot because I was hungry. Then I slept for an hour and a half because all those Christmas services has tired me out. The 11pm then 9am service while driving across Sydney twice in between is a bit of a killer.

Tonight was off to the Gowies to give them their present and watch The Panel. It was a rather fun way to end the day. Maybe we'll do it next year and make a tradition.

And that was Christmas.

Tomorrow it's off to the cousins to do that side of the family.

Spiritually how did I find Christmas?

It's an interesting question seeing as this is a religious holiday. While I find it about as significant as the rest of the year, I really enjoy the carols this year. Especially "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". The theology was inspiring, even if I hate singing them.

And, well, Jesus is good all year around.

12/25/2007 12:11:00 am

Merry Christmas You Bunch of Hooligans!

Posted by Tom French |

That's all.

12/19/2007 11:30:00 pm

The Panics

Posted by Tom French |

I bought their album on iTunes because it was cheap, I had iTunes gift cards, I had no idea who they were so if they turned out to be good, I'd be hip and trendy and interested in little known bands. Although maybe they're big. I heard they one the J Award.

Anyway, that album is rather boring. They're is some good music in there and one or two good song, but other than that, pretty dull. And the lead singer sounds like Tim Freedman and that annoys me. So I guess there goes my desires to be alternative and cool liking alternative bands. Still I like their name. It's a good one in the "The Somethings" set (eg The Clash, The Frames, The Streets, The Killers, The Smiths. The Wiggles). So it'll look good in my iPod Artists, as long as they don't get popular and everyone knows they're boring.

12/19/2007 09:23:00 am

Trailer Park

Posted by Tom French |

There's been a little bit of trailer joy over the past few days to help a boy geek out.

The Dark Knight brought out it's first proper trailer. You can see it here. It pretty much rocks. I can't wait. Batman Begins was awesome.

And a new teaser for Wall-E, Pixar's Summer 08 film came out. And that's pretty cool too. You can see it here.

So trailers have made my day a little.

12/17/2007 10:51:00 pm

Dualriizion

Posted by Tom French |

This is why I love the Challenge version of Scrabulous:

dualriizion.JPG

Meanwhile, today is the 37th anniversary of when I invented the computer. Check it out.

Somebody thought of it before me, but it was a good idea.

12/16/2007 03:21:00 pm

Unlucky

Posted by Tom French |

Around midnight last night Ryan and I were watching A Scanner Darkly (which was good by the way) and Mil came rushing down stairs and out the front door in her pyjamas saying "Are you going to join me in making our presence felt?" or something like that. Mil was followed quickly out the door by Martin who was putting on a shirt and so Ryan and I got up and followed.

Turns out there was a man in the street fighting with his girlfriend. Mil and Martin could hear it from their room. Ryan and I didn't hear it as we were too busy watching an animated, drug-addicted Keanu Reeves. Apparently he smashed something and the woman said "I'm really scared of you right now" and so Mil and Martin got up to go and make sure the man knew we were there and we weren't going to let him punch her in the head or something.

So there we were on the street at midnight watching an angry man shout obscenities at his girlfriend and the stars. By the time we were there he'd walked down the street and the girl, after Mil asked her if she was alright, had decided to follow him. So I took the chance to check if it was one of my car windows that got smashed. It wasn't. Turns out it was someone's rear-view mirror.

Eventually the man walked away from the fight and came up the street shouting words that shouldn't be put on a youth minister's blog. As he walked past Martin he warned him to stop starring or there'd be more broken than a mirror if he wasn't careful. Lucky he didn't do anything or Martin would have broken him. And I would have danced around trying to figure out how to be helpful for sure. We would have made lethal combination.

Then we went inside and back to bed or our movies depending on what would we were doing before the fight.

As I watched the fight it renewed my desire to learn Kung Fu. Had something happened I would like to know I could do something to protect the weaker party. Plus Kung Fu is cool.

This morning I went for a run and discovered that it was my mirror that was broken. I hadn't seen it last night. So now I have no right side rear view mirror. Oh well. I'll just have to get it fixed. I hope that man doesn't get seven years bad luck. I hope he finds Jesus and learns to stop abusing his girlfriend. That'd be best.

12/15/2007 06:52:00 pm

For Keith

Posted by Tom French |

Tabitha has solved the problem of global warming.

I didn't want to stick a new one up so soon, but seeing as you made the request, here it is.

12/15/2007 12:51:00 am

Tough

Posted by Tom French |

Sometimes ministry comes at you with tough decisions with bad outcomes either way. It's times like that you wish there was neat a third option. But I guess I'm learning this year that messy problems generally have messy solutions. Which means that even if you manage to find what's right it's not always going to feel good.

I think the cross shows us that. I doubt you could find a messier, more unpleasant solution than that.

12/14/2007 03:16:00 pm

Hmmm

Posted by Tom French |

I'm a little embarrassed about that last post. It was late and I was filled with passion for an online DVD library. Things got out of hand.

Let's just pretend that never happened ok.

12/13/2007 11:59:00 pm

Quickflix

Posted by Tom French |

May I just say I'm really loving movies at the moment. And a lot of that is due to Quickflix. It's really cool. We signed up for $36.95 a month and they send us three DVDs to watch, we watch them, send them back, they send another three (or one or two depending how many we send back). And they do that as often as we like. Unlimited. The name is a little bit of a misnomer as it isn't really all that quick. There's a two day turn around on DVDs and my local video store has about 3 minute turn around, depending how fast it takes to walk from my door to the store and back, but still, this place has the range, and it's cheaper.

On Tuesday we watched The Phantom Menace because Mil and Martin haven't seen any of the Star Wars series. So we're educating them. It's pretty fun. It's like being around for a little bit of film history unfolding as we usher them into the culture and customs of a world a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away where many have been before them.

Then we watched Akira which was an awesome piece of Japanese animation. Rather strange, but cool. Guns, explosions, post-WWIII motorbike world. Yeah.

Tomorrow we're getting a few including Attack of the Clones and Rambo: First Blood Part II. I'm very excited.

I love Quickflix.

Actually, if you want a free trial for 30 days and to give us a free iPod shuffle, leave me a comment and I'll send you a referral and then we all get free stuff! I'd just add all my friends' emails but that's kinda just like spamming my friends and I'm not into that.

But you should try it because it's heaps fun.

Look at me, I'm being turned into a viral marketer. Damn. I'm part of the machine.

12/13/2007 01:07:00 pm

Rescue

Posted by Tom French |

David and I were on the approach to the Harbour Bridge on Tuesday evening and things started to get a little slow. We looked up ahead and saw there was a truck lying on its side. There weren't any cars with flashing lights there, just a truck lying on its side blocking two lanes of traffic.

As we got a bit closer we saw there was a ladder on the side of the truck, which we thought was a little odd. On passing the truck we noticed it was a Police Rescue truck. I thought that was pretty funny. I don't think anyone was hurt, there was just a Police Rescue guy and a traffic man standing around looking rather annoyed.

I couldn't work out if a Police Rescue truck waiting to be rescued was ironic or not. I think it was.

12/12/2007 11:51:00 pm

Change My World

Posted by Tom French |

I was thinking, as I lay on my couch watching the bonus features of Indiana Jones, that DVDs have changed my life. Perhaps not massively, but they have brought megaloads of joy to me.

As a film geek who loves anything to do with film making, having DVDs packed full of special features just pretty much makes my day. It brings me so much joy being able to watch all those "Making of" featurettes.

Every time we make a film we shoot a second camera just for making of footage because I love them so much. Not that we ever edit the footage.

One day I hope to know people who are making a film just so I can make a "making of" because I like them so much.

Not that I watch all the featurettes on every DVD. Some are boring as. When it's just people doing press junkets and talking about how good the film is with one or two shots on the set, I get bored.

When it's like the Extended Edition LOTR 2 hours of one documentary per film, I'm in heaven. Show me cameras, show me lights, show me clapper boards, you can even show me the catering truck and I'm happy.

Maybe one day I'll get to make my feature film. Or television series. Or both. One day...

12/11/2007 11:16:00 pm

Striking While the Issue's Hot

Posted by Tom French |

Here's another Tabitha video for all you Tabitha lovers out there.

For those of you who don't like her, feel free just to ignore.

12/10/2007 06:22:00 pm

Wiped

Posted by Tom French |

I got new wiper blades for my car today, so I was pretty stoked when it rained all the way home so I could test them out. "I can see clearly now the rain has come."

12/07/2007 10:34:00 am

Gone

Posted by Tom French |

On Wednesday I applied, and was approved, to have the last week of December and the first week of January off. In staff meeting yesterday I came out having reduced my leave to just the last week of December and having committed to a three week sermon series from January 6th. How'd I manage that?

12/06/2007 03:34:00 pm

If I was an American...

Posted by Tom French |

...and I voted Republican, I'd want Huckabee for my president.

Why didn't Kevin Rudd do something like this?

12/05/2007 11:07:00 pm

Tabitha Who Makes Waves

Posted by Tom French |

People's comments on the Tabitha videos keep bringing me joy.

Check them out.

12/04/2007 11:18:00 pm

Man Day

Posted by Tom French |

So the day off was a wonderful day of manhood affirming (or is it feeding?) happiness.

I woke up kinda early for a day off. Mooched through the morning. Ended up at K-Mart trying to buy new wiper blades for my car. Because my current ones work well as rubber streamers, but not too good as water removal systems. They are quite festive though, good for Christmas.

Sadly the wiper blades didn't happen because I didn't know what size to by and my car and it's manual neglected to tell me. So I'll have to do research.

I went home, then made my way back to Broadway for lunch and a movie. I went to see Eastern Promises. It was rather violent, quite bleak, had interesting characters and I thought it was totally awesome. I guess movies about the Russian Mafia are cool. Movies with Viggo Mortensen are cool. Movies with Viggo in the Russian Mafia kicking butt are massively cool.

There was a rather brutal fight scene in a bath house where Viggo killed to men while totally naked. It was kinda like the nude fight scene in Borat except only one person was naked and it wasn't funny. I thought "Wow, first time I've seen that in a film."

I came home from the film feeling pumped (not about getting naked). So I made enquires about joining a Kung Fu class next year (our whole house might go, we'll be the Kung Fu Commie House) and went for a run. The run was a bit sad because I got dehydrated about the 4 km mark and had to walk for a while. But I felt good after.

Tonight a few of the men who happened to be around our house in the past 24 hours met at Broadway for steak, beer and a movie. We had the $5 steak at the Lansdowne Hotel. It was a good. $5 impresses me. I'll be back.

We went to see Beowulf in 3D. Which again, was a very cool movie. Lots of fighting and shouting and fighting. The animation aspect of it just made it cooler I think. It added to the mythic quality of the story. And it gave the film makers the ability to do much more spectacular stuff.

And funnily enough, what should I find, but scene where Beowulf fights Grendel totally naked. What are the odds? How many nude fight scenes can there be out there? (Don't answer that, I don't watch those kinds of movies.) And I manage to get two in one day. Still nude men killing things doesn't bother me too much. It's kinda primal and I'm not worried that I might be sinning by watching, so I just let it fit in with the story. Beowulf was rather amusing to see how they strategically covered up his bits. Eastern Promises didn't care at all. They just let it all hang out. I didn't really laugh as much.

Anyway, enough of the fictional nude men.

We finshed the night at the pub drinking a bit more beer and Coke, eating wedges and talking about girls.

Man I am.

12/04/2007 12:45:00 pm

4th

Posted by Tom French |

Today is five years since I started regular blogging. That's pretty good.

Here's to another 5 years.

12/03/2007 11:31:00 pm

Rev Free

Posted by Tom French |

Tomorrow I was booked in to go to my second round of interviews to be ordained as a Deacon for the Anglicans here in Sydney. I was in a special stream of deaconing (or may be it's called a deaconate, pfft, silly church words) that ordained me to be a deacon but never to become a presbyter. Which means I'd be called Rev. Tom French, I could do weddings and funerals and get a house and car when I worked for the church. But I couldn't run a church, give communion and I couldn't forgive sins (pronounce the absolution), unless I did a further 4 years or so study.

I was in the running because I thought it might be helpful to my ministry. I wasn't much excited about being Reverend Tom. But I figured the extra spiritual superpowers might be good. I also liked the idea that I got a stamp of approval from the men in town if ever I needed to go work in another church.

I'd prayed about it and got nothing either way, so divine silence meant I just went with logic and logic said it'd be helpful.

That was about 2 years ago. I thought it'd all be over by now. End of next year at the latest but I'm only up to the second official round of interviews. Seeing as I was part of the first group going through, the guinea pigs of this new ordination scheme, things have been pretty slow.

Sometime over the course of the application process (an interview with an Archdeacon about your sins, a visit to a psychologist, a panel interview about your theology, a dinner with an Archbishop, a couple of forms and many months of hearing nothing) it came out that after ordination I was expected to serve in Sydney for 3 years. That's after my 2-3 years of ministry observation in my current job. Had I gone the presbyter route I could almost have been fully ordained before I'd made it to my three year tour of duty in the deaconing system.

All this extra time wasn't really making me excited about the process. And I didn't feel all that committed to serving in Sydney for three years. I feel committed to serving wherever God sends me, and I'm not to keen on saying "Here I am Lord, send me. But only somewhere south of Newcastle, north of Wollongong and east of the Blue Mountains.

Then I started having conversations with people and it dawned on me that getting ordained as an Anglican here in Sydney is good if you want to work in Sydney. It's not all that helpful if you want to work outside of Sydney. We don't really have a very good reputation outside of Sydney. Partly because Sydney Anglicans have historically been seen as rather aggressively conservative and arrogant. And partly because the strong evangelical nature of Sydney (which I love) doesn't gel with the strong liberal nature of most of the rest of Anglican Australia. Once again if God calls me outside of Sydney I don't want to make it harder to go. But God can work around obstacles like ordination.

Finally the more I thought about it the less comfortable I felt being called Reverend. It gives the implication that the bearer of the title is worthy of reverence. I don't want to be revered. I want Jesus to be revered. He can be Rev. Jesus Christ. I'll just be Tom. Many people told me it's not a big deal, but it has been for me. Pastor is fine, pastor is about the role rather than the nature of the title holder. Reverend is about how wonderful the person with the title is. And I'm not wonderful. The only wonder about me is the wonder that has come from Jesus.

Plus the more I prayed about it, the more uncomfortable I felt about the whole deal.

So on Friday I informed the people in town that I am withdrawing from candidacy for ordination. I'm out. No more Rev for me. Tomorrow I won't be going to any interviews. I can just sleep in, watch movies and eat Thai food. And that feels good in my soul.


That said I should just clear up I don't think other people would be doing the wrong thing to become deacons. Nor would they be wrong to serve God in ordained ministry here in Sydney. But my calling is too unclear for me to commit to that and my behaviour is too dodgy to be revered. So I'll just serve Jesus ordination free and see what happens.

12/03/2007 03:17:00 pm

Days Off

Posted by Tom French |

When I was in College they beat into us the need for a day off. Being a rather lazy person, I've always felt that it's a brilliant idea. I only wish God created the world in 5 days and took two days off. Or even 4 days, because a three day weekend would be wonderful.

Of course I understand that days off are not about just having a day off, but having a sabbath rest, which is a little different. But let's leave that aside for now.

Anyway this last week was massive. I found I worked over 67 hours between last Monday and yesterday. I got got home late every night, went to bed after midnight every night and was getting up at 7 or before almost everyday. It really was a killer. I had zero time at home to just sit on a couch and relax.

Monday was Scripture Seminars at the local high school.

I spent all of Tuesday, which is normally my day off, working on Impact doing the video work. We were doing a live mix with three cameras. It was much fun. I enjoy live mixes. One day I even hope to be good at them.

Wednesday was returning video equipment, Christmas assemblies and leaders meetings.

Thursday I was at church insanely early only because I am mildly insane and worked for about 12 hours.

By the time I made it to Friday I was in an immensely bad mood. I had been working for 10 days straight, hadn't slept enough on any of them and not everything in my life was a rosy as I would have hoped. I was at a school doing a whole day thing on "Self-Esteem" (which I plan on blogging about later) and I pretty much spent most of the time wondering why I had committed to hanging out with teenagers for a day. It's not as if it's relevant to my job or anything.

But things improved. I realised that teenagers are relevant and the people I was hanging out with were good and I was an idiot. Still I found it difficult to stay awake and not pissed off. At lunch time I went to the shops with some random pastor and his random friend (I'm sure they don't feel random at all, probably feel like there is meaning and order in their lives, and I'm the random) and found a Coke. That was amazing. My whole day cleared up and I was happy, at the end of the day I was even sad to see my teenage friends leave.

So now, being on day 13 of my working week, I have been reminded that days off are vital to functioning well as a person and Coke has similar qualities of goodness.

Thank God for sabbaths, sugar and caffeine.

12/02/2007 11:19:00 pm

Chico Che

Posted by Tom French |

For all those of you who are wondering who the wondrous Chico Che is. This is him:

12/02/2007 03:49:00 pm

Swimming

Posted by Tom French |

I'm off to a Baptism and pool party for Church and youth group. I like baptisms. Pool parties make me feel insecure. But I guess most people probably feel a little like that. Who's idea was it to go swimming anyway?

Mine. Darn.

12/02/2007 03:23:00 pm

Undignified

Posted by Tom French |

So I'm preaching on 2 Samuel 6:1-23 next Sunday. That's the story where David dances in his undies "with all his might" before the Lord when the Ark of the Covenant returned to Jerusalem. He was pretty excited.

David's wife doesn't really like his dancing much and tells him of saying he embarrassed himself in front of the slave girls. David replies by saying "I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honour."

Often people seem to use this verse as a call to being more excited in the way we worship.

The question is, that I put to you good readers, does proper worship require a loss of dignity? Should we, like David, humiliate ourselves to adequately respond to God?

11/30/2007 11:28:00 pm

Ring Ring

Posted by Tom French |

I got a missed call from Germany today. I only know one German in Germany and they've never run me in their life. I have no good friends. I wonder why a German would call me.

They didn't leave a message. This saddens me. Oh well.

11/30/2007 03:43:00 pm

Response

Posted by Tom French |

While I'm yet to properly comment on the debate below I want to comment on a comment left a little further down. Perhaps because it's a little more personal. Plus blogging the response means I get to quote it better.

You seem to expect the government to be like a good church. Doing all those things a good christian should do.

But in essence the things the christian chruch should be doing we aren't, and the government is doing them for us.


I think a few people have talked about this. But my view is that we, as Christians do have a responsibility to love the poor, protect the innocent and seek justice. While the Churches should be doing lots of good stuff in the world, and they are (though they probably aren't anywhere near what Jesus has called us too), we need to be using all the resources we have available to effect change in this world. One of those ways is through politics. We live in a democracy and God has given us the gift of being able to use our vote and our voice to pursue the things of the Kingdom through means which are not specifically Christian. So I believe in the Church doing good stuff. I believe in the Government doing good stuff too. I care about getting Jesus' mission done with whoever is willing and able to do it.

That said there are things which I care about which are not the Churches' responsibility but that God does care about. And of the things I talked about in the post below (eg tax cuts, climate change policies, refugee policies and terrorism responses) many of them are solely in the hands of the Government to decide. It is not up to the Church to decide how we use our military (and I thank God because the Church with an army has historically been a very bad thing). It is not up the Church to decide how and who we tax, it is not up the Church to decide who lives in this country. These things I care about and these things are the issues of the Government, so I will vote accordingly.

You have stated the politicians aren't christians, aand so theres no point in reading a prayer - so if they are not Christians - why judge them by Christian Values.

Generally Christian Values are my values. I cannot vote as a non-Christian. I am not asked to vote as a non-Christian. I will vote according to my values. However I think that many of these issues are not "Christian" so much as simply moral. I am not voting for the person who prays the most, knows their Bible the best or believes in Jesus. I am voting for the people who will best, in my view, help Australians to love their neighbor.

I mean Mr Rudd loves his strip clubs. And has promised to fix all these things - but in essence isn't he lying? The bible says do not say that tommorrow you will do thi this and this. Instead say If God permits we will do this.

I think the point of what James is saying when he writes that (Jas 4:13-17) is that we must acknowledge our inability to affect the future outside of God's will. But you raise a good point on whether politicians sin when they promise things. The greater question is, do I sin when I make promises? The answer to that is yes. And I regularly make promises that are outside of my control. So there is a plank in my eye that I must deal with before I worry about Kevin Rudd's splinter of election promises.

The greens have no substance to policy. If they did run the country they are basically comunists.

I disagree. But as I said below, they're not going to run the country. When I voted Greens I did it knowing they wouldn't gain the seat I was voting in. I live in a safe Labor seat. If it had been iffy about whether or not Greens would win, I would have been a lot more hesitant to vote. I don't necessarily want the Greens running country. I do want them listened to.

So when you say lying cynical governemnt, by what values are you judging them by?

Mine. And what I can generally tell is values of most of Australia. When you say that you didn't know something when you did, that's a lie. When you say you didn't do something when you did. That's a lie. The Coalition seemed to regularly find themselves embroiled in scandals where it became clear they had lied to the Australian public (Children overboard and AWB being two that immediately come to mind, though I never completely got my head around the AWB thing).

Then again Kevin Rudd doesn't always seem as honest as I would hope. The whole Sunrise Dawn Service thing didn't turn out to good for his honesty, it just had much less an effect on the lives of other people.

Because I could say the same of you. You have never liked the liberals. You never even considered giving them a go. You looked at all the negatives about him, and are convinced he knows nothing and is a selfish up himself bastard.

And yet you have never met him in person


While I wonder what you are basing those statements on, I would reply that, I have never wanted to vote for the Liberals. But if you go through my blog you'll see that I haven't been whole heartedly, uncritically, abusing the Liberal Government. I commended them on their copyright laws and on their changes to refugee policy.

Contrary to thinking Howard "knows nothing and is a selfish up himself bastard", I think he is quite smart. I have worried about his pride. And I have commented that I think the election campaigns appeal to our selfish nature, but that comes from both sides.

However I have at times been harsher on John Howard than I should have. I have tried, especially on my blog from making personal insults and only commenting on his actions. But I am sure I have not always managed to keep to that ideal and that was wrong.

How would you feel if someone spoke to you like that? That your in youth ministry only for the money, and get paid a wage, while others in the community work for god for nothing and others starve? That you get your bennefits and perks whilst others live on the street?

That you only care about numbers and your church and being popular and bible bashing.


I would feel bad.

Its not true- but come on - lets be a bit more mature about it? Yes howrad is gone. But Rudd needs to be held accountable - he has promised to fix everyones problems.

I intend to find Rudd disappointing. If you go listen to my sermon where I talk about Kevin Rudd you'll see that even back in March I was expecting to be disappointed with Kevin because he is as flawed as the rest of us. I also intend to hold him accountable as all of Australia should. It is our job, as citizens to hold our leaders accountable so that they might best serve the interests of everyone.

I doubt he can. Time will tell - but greens support labor- they are more like a colation. I believe we need to get rid of the prefernce system.

Withought it, labor would not have won


I doubt Rudd will fix all our problems too. I have yet to decide what I think of the preference system.

The end.

Thank you for your comment Anonymous.

11/30/2007 03:35:00 pm

Funnies

Posted by Tom French |

These are real ads from a time before political correctness. Awesome.

11/29/2007 11:36:00 pm

First and Last

Posted by Tom French |

Sometimes, the last thing you want comes in first
Sometimes, the first thing you want never comes - Aqualung

11/29/2007 05:02:00 pm

Rise of the Skirts (or women in pants)

Posted by Tom French |

Still on the politics, I'm happy to see women deputies in both the Liberal and Labor parties. Hooray for the sisters! It'll be a good day when I don't even have to blog about how happy I am to see women in power.

11/29/2007 04:56:00 pm

Bring Back the Biff

Posted by Tom French |

So things are hotting up in the comments for "Tin Tin has a Win Win". Anonymous is doing his best to justify the Liberals past 11 years of Government. And so they should.

Anyway get in on the action. I love a good blog debate. As long as we all stay friends. If you voted Liberal, we need you, go join the debate, we the pinky-letfists are outnumbering Anonymous 4-to-1 at the moment. Anonymous needs back up, stat!

Play nice, type well.

11/25/2007 10:58:00 pm

Preached

Posted by Tom French |

I preached at a different church tonight. It was good to visit. Small and a little vibey but I enjoyed. I like new churches. Shame I don't hear new preachers when I go.

I preached a new sermon about Jesus being the High Priest. I did most of it without notes, which is new for me. Sometimes I go half a sermon without notes, but this was pretty much the whole thing. I had notes, but for some reason I got a little lost and decided to scrap them. It kinda feels like jumping out of a plane rather than waiting for it to land. Silly really, but invigorating. I'm not sure if it was any better. Or worse. Maybe a little less clear. But it seemed to have a little more passion. It's something I'd like to grow in.

11/24/2007 11:34:00 pm

Tin Tin has a Win Win

Posted by Tom French |

It was good to see Kevin and Johnny's speeches. Good bye John. Kevin really is a nerd. Still I guess we'll never have a Prime Minister like Matt Santos. We're probably doomed to be led by the uncool forever.

Still I liked Kevin's speech. He made me happy to have him as Prime Minister. I'm looking forward to having a Prime Minister I like. Well at least, one I like more. I hope we get the old Rudd back. The one who arrived in 2006 not the one who looked like Howard in 2007.

Tonight is a night of happiness for me. Yay for a fresh leadership, new ideas, making sure the fair go doesn't go "out the back door" and nerds in power.

Now I better go and finish that sermon.

11/24/2007 09:36:00 pm

Kevin 07

Posted by Tom French |

Kevin's in. This makes me happy.

The contest for Bennelong is enjoyable. I really hope Maxine comes out on top. To lose Howard would just make my day.

11/24/2007 06:52:00 pm

The Games Begin

Posted by Tom French |

I'm enjoying watching this election unfold. It's like watching sport but the Grand Final happens once every three years and I care more.

Go Ruddy!

11/24/2007 01:08:00 am

The End of my World As I Know it?

Posted by Tom French |

Tonight could be the last night I go to bed with John Howard as my Prime Minister. Oh I do hope so. I've prayed for him and all that. But by golly, I hope he and his lying, bribing, cynical Government* get kicked out tomorrow. I do love a good election, not that I've gotten to vote in any yet.

Of course the prospect of Rudd and friends getting in doesn't really fill me with joy. Not now that they're now only a bit left of right. Or at least only a little left of centre. Not that I really care about lefts and rights. I do care about tax cuts that appeal to our selfishness, climate change policies that sacrifice as little as possible, refugee policies that look much like the old ones, terrorism responses that support aggression and leaders that look just like their opponents to gain power rather than change.

Still I'm really in the mood for a Labor government at the moment. With plenty of little guys to keep 'em honest.

I'm thinking I'll probably vote Greens tomorrow. The Christian Democrats will tell me they're all communists, which may have convinced me in the 50s, but right now I think we should be fine. People in general will ask me if I want to do drugs. Which they do, whenever I say I'm thinking Greens. So I had a look at their drug policy and I like it. They're not into legalising drugs. They're into not punishing users, but rehabilitating users and punishing dealers, importers and producers. I like that.

Of course if you look at the Checklist of Christian Values the Greens fail in all but one category. It always makes me wonder though why "Christian Values" means things like prayer in Parliament, pornography and abortion. While I care about these things (well the latter two at least) there are plenty of other things to put on a "checklist of Christian values". Where is the tick-a-box on caring for the poor, marginalised and vulnerable? Where is the question about foreign aid? Where is the question about support for unjust wars? Where is the question about care for the alien, the orphan and the widow? It worries me that Christian lobbyists are so narrow viewed. So maybe the Greens don't win the Christian check-list. But I care a lot more about how we treat people and this world than what prayer our (mainly) non-Christian politicians pray before they start work each day serving this post-Christian nation. So Greens still get my vote.

Plus if anyone is worried, the Greens aren't going to get into power anyway. They may just hold a bit of sway. And we like sway.

So at this point, a few hours out from voting, this is where I stand.

But if you're of voting age you can vote for whoever you want. Just go vote. Voting is more important than who we vote for. Voting is a gift from God to play our part in choosing the people we think are best suiting for establishing God's values on earth. I care much more that you care than who you care about. This is good stuff.

Yippah for democracy!

I hope Mr Howard gets to retire tomorrow and have a happy retirement by the ocean somewhere. I mean that. I hope he's happy somewhere other than Parliament House.

*I know that might sound a little harsh but I that's how I feel and this is my blog so that's what I'm going to say. I'm not preaching, I'm blogging. If it worries you, vote for someone else.

11/24/2007 12:53:00 am

Speeches Made How They Should Be

Posted by Tom French |

This story of the Knox Captain who stood up and told off his cheating peers and their bullying parents is a good one. I wish I was Knox boy now for the first time ever in my life. I hope this guy becomes Prime Minister or something.

11/21/2007 11:42:00 pm

Ductive

Posted by Tom French |

Some Wednesdays feel like the most unproductive days around. I usually spend most of the day in my office and I find it hard to concentrate for that long. Today however was most productive. And most not so.

I managed to organise Scripture Seminar stuff, do more Impact work, do sermon prep, edit a Bible Study, make some phone calls, teach scripture and more.

I also managed to research many planes on Wikipedia. Which was a joy. I do love planes. Especially fighter jets.

I'll have to put what I've learnt about planes into a sermon illustration and then it'll have been productive rather than distracting.

11/21/2007 02:41:00 pm

Good-Bye Sister

Posted by Tom French |

My sister, Jo, left today to go overseas for 14 months. She's off to Japan for a 24 hour Bill Murray/Scarlett Johansson experience. Then Mexico and seeing Central America. Then off to Washington, DC and finally settling in Guatemala to work with IJM (International Justice Mission) doing after-care with the people they get out of slavery. (I think I can say that, although maybe that's a secret. I hear they have a big of blog secrecy in the IJM thing.)

I must say, I'm pretty pleased with this. Not my sister leaving, cause I liked having her in Australia, but her decision to go work for an organisation like IJM. They're a group who have heard Jesus' call for justice and are aggressively pursuing it. She's got the skills to go help people in ways lots of us couldn't. And she's following a call that will be difficult, uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous. It's also the kinda thing she's been dreaming about doing for ages.

So I'm excited to see what she'll do. I'm proud of her and I'll boast about my sister, or at the very least what God has done in and through my sister. And I'll try and send her emails because she'll like that.

Tops marks for her I say.

11/16/2007 11:33:00 pm

Going Up the Wrong Way

Posted by Tom French |

The Exilic Prophesy exam went ok for those who are wondering. I think I'll pass. But I doubt I'll do any better than that. Thank God for NIV headings is all I can say.

The other day someone asked me about my poor effort at Bible College and if I should be trying harder. And I think I should. I agree. I'm going to be doing two theology subjects next year and I'm pumped for them. I love theology.

After the exam and my post exam relax I went to work. Tonight was a social with my year 6-8 small group. We went and saw Fred Claus which, in the tradition of most Christmas movies, was not very good.

After the movie we took the boys to Coles as we had some time to kill. On the way back up the car park the boys decided it'd be fun to run up the escalators the wrong way. This is quite an understandable urge, I do it on a semi-regular basis myself. This time I refrained as I was feeling a little lazy. Happily for me, when I reached the top there was a security guard who had nabbed three of the boys and was giving them quite a harranging for their most dangerous of activities. Apparently there is a high likelihood of death or at very least serious amputation when running up the down escalators.

When he let the boys go he told me I should dish out some apocalyptic judgement on the boys for their misdemeanour and the protection of his two-year-old daughter. I didn't quite get that connection.

Then when we left he followed us up to the carpark to find more of our boys and tell them off for another 10 minutes too. While he was doing that one of the parents arrived. That's a bad look, going to pick your son up from youth group and finding him and the youth minister all getting a lecture from an irate security guard. He told me to dish out my punishment then went to talk to the parent. Unfortunately I didn't really take it all that seriously and just pointed at the boys and told them to stop smiling and look like I was telling them off.

I know that's probably not the best behaviour but I wasn't feeling particularly angry for what really is an activity that a little bit of fun. Of course it is a bit dangerous too but so is climbing trees and soccer and rumbling and playing tip and pretty much any of the activities that young guys like to indulge in that doesn't involve a gaming console. My only real worry about about the boys going the wrong way on the escalator was the inconvenience to the other patrons.

In the end I told them to respect the security guards, they're doing their job, and say "Sorry" when you upset them. At least that's what I've learnt from my semi-regular occurrences of getting busted by security, police and other enforcers of the peace. And I think I told them not to do stuff that's illegal.

I'll tell you next time I go to that shopping centre I'm not going run up any escalators the wrong way, though it will be darn tempting.

I wonder what Jesus would have done?

11/16/2007 11:26:00 pm

Dead Man

Posted by Tom French |

I got bones beneath my skin, and mister...
There's a skeleton in every man's house
Beneath the dust and love and sweat that hangs on everybody
There's a dead man trying to get out - Counting Crows

11/15/2007 11:53:00 pm

Zam the Man

Posted by Tom French |

I have my Exilic Prophesy exam tomorrow. I have to write about Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah and anyone else they decide is exilically inclined.

It's a worry. I remember a bit about Isaiah from that assessment I pulled out of darkened regions the other day. But Jeremiah and Ezekiel? I think I have forgotten whatever I was taught about them or I wasn't there because I was in Africa bringing the religion of the white man to the not-so-white men (that's the politically correct term isn't it?) I don't think I can even spell Jeremiah and Ezekiel without spell check.

Oh well. I only need to pass. Ps make degrees plus the pay-level is the same whatever your GPA and that's all I care about.

11/15/2007 12:03:00 am

Prophets and Priests

Posted by Tom French |

"If you have sin in your life and you bring it to your prophet friend he says 'Knock it off! Or you're going to hell!' That's a prophet.

You go to your priestly friend and they say 'Tell me about your childhood. How do you feel about this? Do you need a muffin? Here I'll rub your back. Can we meet again tomorrow? We should do this everyday... for eighteen years.' That's a priest.

Prophet: One minute counselling sessions 'Stop! Next.' I mean, that's it.

Priest: 'I knitted you a sweater, when you wear it, think about Jesus so you don't do that any more.' That's a priest."

Mark Driscoll on the difference between those of prophetic disposition and those of priestly disposition.

I know people will say "That's not what prophets and priests are like." But I took it out of context, so don't have a dig. I just thought it was funny.

11/14/2007 11:56:00 pm

Day of Joy

Posted by Tom French |

Today wasn't really a day of joy. It wasn't anti-joy either. Although if joy is that deep way of being and knowledge of salvation, then I guess that today was a day of joy. I appreciated my salvation today. The sun was out so I appreciated it more. I know that may not sound connected. But sunlight is part of grace so is salvation. So sunlight reminds me of Jesus.

Gosh, I sound like I should live in the Blue Mountains.

I think I was going blog about my day.

I was stuck in traffic for about and hour and a half for some unknown reason. Everyone in Sydney decided to drive north across the Harbour Bridge this morning. And why not? It's a world icon and it's beautiful who wouldn't want to drive across it on a sunny Wednesday morning.

I got scripture in time but not having done what I needed to do.

I told my class that it was our second last lesson together and I felt sad. I really do like that class, they're the nicest scripture class I've ever had. If I was 11 we could have all been friends. Not that we're not friends now, but I wouldn't invite them to my birthday, their parents might think I was strange. Friends with your scripture teacher is a little different to friends with your peers.

I pushed buttons and read Bible stuff in my office and had salad for lunch.

Did mentoring with my mentor.

Did small group in my small group.

Now I'm home and happy to have Jo's iTunes music on my computer. Good for iTunes and their 5 authorised computers I say!

The end.

11/13/2007 11:57:00 pm

Cleanliness

Posted by Tom French |

Today was booked in as the enthusiastic day of house cleaning. Emily booked us all in for some spring cleaning before spring ended. So today was my day.

I enthusiastically arrived on the scene to clean at about midday after an enthusiastic sleep in. Emily and I cleaned for about an hour before it was decided that we should break for lunch. So off to Thai Ryan, Emily and I went. The thai was good. We went to Doy Tao. They didn't have any Coke, which upset me a little.

When we got home from lunch it was back to frenzied cleaning for 20 minutes, and then we were done.

I'll tell you that's how all cleaning days should work. 80 minutes and a pile of thai food. I can't think of a better way to make the house nice.

11/13/2007 11:51:00 pm

10 Reasons Not to Become a Christian - The Sermon

Posted by Tom French |

Thank you very much to everyone who helped me with Sunday's sermon. I did use your ideas, you were very helpful. I enjoyed writing a sermon with all your help. It was like having an interactive sermon. Like when I preached there were 10 of us preaching it not just me. We make a good team.

If you want to know what the ten reasons I settled on you can have a listen. You can get it here: Ten Reasons Not to Become a Christian

Or subscribe to my preaching podcast by searching for Tom French in iTunes.

I'd type out the list but they work much better with the explanation and that's a lot of text to stick in.

I had a bit of fun with this sermon. Evangelistic sermons are always hard. Alter calls are particularly difficult. But I do them.

We had a bit of a response from this one, but I'm not sure if anyone become a Christian. But I preached and I pray I preached faithfully, so that's the best I can do. The rest is up to God.

11/13/2007 06:38:00 pm

iPod is Back

Posted by Tom French |

Ryan knows how to press buttons better than me so it's fixed. Thanks be to God. And Ryan.

11/13/2007 11:42:00 am

My Life is Ruined

Posted by Tom French |

I think my iPod may have committed suicide. What am I going to do?

11/12/2007 10:53:00 pm

Kicking Out

Posted by Tom French |

I did the sermon on 10 Reasons Not to Become a Christian. I'll post it sometime this week.

Mondays are funny days. Whenever I get home on a Monday I feel rather dead. Work isn't too bad. I generally have energy for that. But once I get home the adrenaline kicks out and I'm left feeling unimpressive. But then Tuesday comes and I like Tuesday. It is good to me.

11/09/2007 11:55:00 pm

Lies Exposed!

Posted by Tom French |

I went to The House With No Steps today to watch House Idol because one of the people from church was performing in it. And I discovered that there are actually steps in The House With No Steps.

Scandal! I walked up a whole flight of them. Ten steps maybe. And they weren't even on a gentle incline. It was quite steep!

The whole place is built on a lie! I can't believe a charity would blatantly lie to the public like that. It'd be like Médecins Sans Frontières having doctors who wouldn't cross borders. It'd be an outrage.

I'm going to call Today/Tonight.

But, that said, I quite enjoyed the show. People with disabilities are always a joy to watch. And what they lacked in stage craft they made up for in personality. So I forgave them. I'd be a bit of a knob if I didn't.

11/07/2007 07:34:00 pm

Funeral Day

Posted by Tom French |

I went to two funerals today. Normally I do two a year. You know what they say "If you only do them once a year..."

Number one was Howie's Nan's funeral. I'm not sure, but there didn't seem to be many people there who weren't related to her. I felt a little like an intruder. I liked Nan when I met her. And I like Howie. So I was happy to go.

Funeral two was for a woman I never met. I was on church duties, setting the church up, running the PowerPoint and sound. There were probably about 150 people at that funeral. It was for an 83 year-old woman who had 34 children, grand-children and great-grand-children. Imagine their Christmas list.

They did a lot of eulogising (in contrast to Nan's where there was none) and from what I can tell this woman was the best woman in the world. She was pretty much perfect. And she was a damn good cook. I hadn't had breakfast so every time they talked about her cooking I got a little hungry and angry that I was stuck in a sound desk surrounded by crying women and glum men in suits.

My job of putting on the PowerPoint presentation got a little stressful when it wouldn't start. If there is any event you don't want to stuff up technically it's a funeral with a hundred unhappy people waiting on you to project their memories on to a screen. But I got it in the end and Frank Sinatra sang to photos of this lady, so all was well.

She did seem pretty good. I'm sad I didn't get to meet her. Or eat her cooking.

When I was setting up the chairs for the funeral beforehand the undertakers carried the coffin in. They were a lot more jovial bringing it in than when she was taken out. At one point everyone left the church and it was just me and the coffin. I realised I'd never been left alone in a room with a dead body before. It wasn't a big deal. I wish it was would have been a better story.

It did occur to me that it is a little weird that the place where we put the keyboard and bass guitar on Sunday is the same place we put the dead bodies during the week. What odd buildings churches are.

Funerals are funny things. I feel like other cultures do death better than us. Other cultures mourn for years, and eat lots of food and have lots of music and hug and cry for days. At least that what the books and movies tell me.

We spend an hour in a church. It just seems a little token to me.

I decided after today that when I have a funeral I want people to talk about what they didn't like about me. I don't want people leaving thinking I'm Jesus the Sequel. Because if you really what to remember me remember the fact that I was selfish and arrogant, as well as the fact that I make brilliant pasta and microwave meals.

The minister of the Catholic church did a sermon about old age and how it's bad. And about how we neglect old people. I think. I found it a little hard to follow but he had some nice images.

Joe, my minister, talked about hope and that we find hope in death only in Jesus. It was pretty good. Because really, when you're preaching at a funeral, it's no use preaching to the dead body, they're gone. It's the rest of us, living somewhere between life and death you have to worry about.

I did spend a lot of the day reflecting on my hope in Jesus. I am very happy to have a saviour who has died for me. I'm happy to have a hope for life beyond death. I am thankful that sinful me has been saved from hell my sinless Jesus. I am thankful that death is not the end. Death doesn't excite me, but I'm not to worried about it. My God, he has done it.

To quote Nan's order of service: "We grieve...and live in the hope that death opens out into victory."

That was the best thing I heard all day.

11/07/2007 04:58:00 pm

Take My Survey!

Posted by Tom French |

Ty had a good idea of surveying his blog readers. So now I've stolen the idea.

So please click here to take my awesome online survey. I promise it'll be more fun than you could have thought possible.

Please ignore the advertising. And I'll stick up the results when I get around to it.

No doubt my HTML friends will abuse me for using such an ugly free survey site. But to them I say "Bah!"

11/04/2007 03:46:00 pm

Paradise

Posted by Tom French |

My family and I are currently on holiday in Paradise (Suburb not after-life). It's joyous. I like my family.

I might blog again when I'm back.

10/31/2007 05:09:00 pm

Note to Self

Posted by Tom French |

Do not drop your phone in a glass of water. It is bad for the phone.

I always knew storing my mobile on the rim of my glass of water would get me in trouble one day.

10/31/2007 02:29:00 pm

10 Reasons for Not Becoming a Christian

Posted by Tom French |

I'm preaching at an evangelistic service in a week and a half. At this stage I'm thinking I want to make a list of at least 10 reasons why you wouldn't become a Christian. What are the reasons it's a bad idea to be a Christian?

So please dear blog readers, in the interests of the gospel, tell me, why shouldn't a person become a Christian?

10/30/2007 11:02:00 pm

Povo

Posted by Tom French |

I managed to spend a lot of money at the beginning of month this month, I'm not sure how. I got to about week two with almost nothing left. Since Saturday I think I've spent $17. That's pretty phenomenal for me. I usually spend about $20 a day, at least. But I guess I've learning to live simply. Or learning to scrounge.

It really just means I spend more time eating at home, and I spent more time playing Command and Conquer rather than going out. It's pretty fun. Ryan and I have been playing over the network. The games take and hour or two, and they're heaps fun. But Ryan has always won so far. I just try and stay alive for longer.

Oh and we watched First Blood tonight. I've decided to re-watch the Rambos because, well, they're cool. And Rambo IV is coming out soon, so I want to be in shape. He's pretty cool John Rambo. He just blows stuff up. Yeah!

Yesterday at work things were rather quiet and then my friend Graham turned up randomly after he had a meeting in the area, so we got to have a quick soda together. It was swell. I need more random drop-ins.

Oh and I did my tax return today. $604. That doesn't upset me too much.

Posted by Tom French |

Who are they to protest me? - John Rambo

10/29/2007 04:35:00 pm

Bad Preaching

Posted by Tom French |

As I promised yesterday, here is my preaching blunder from last night.

I don't know if anyone was as worried about this as I was. But I was pretty embarrassed. I was preaching about how it's better to go with God's plan rather than work against it. We can either live like Jonathan or we can live like Saul. The actual line in my manuscript was:

Better to accept it and make the most of it than spending our lives pretending we can avoid and outwit God. Better to be like Jonathan who ended up happy and looked after than like Saul who fought it and ended up dying by his own sword. God’s plan needs to be our plan.


And as soon as I'd said it I remembered that I had meant to look up what actually happened to Jonathan. But I hadn't. I forgot. I knew that David looked after Jonathan's family at times. But I didn't know what happened to Jonathan. I realised that I may have just lied to the congregation while preaching. That's bad. Very bad.

So I stopped and tried to fix it but I don't think I did a very good job. You can listen if you want.

Saul and Jonathan.mp3

What I have done is look up what actually happened to Jonathan. He died in the same battle that Saul died at. He was killed by the Philistines. But what is good is that he fought well and didn't kill himself. What is disappointing is that I wasn't supernaturally right.

Oh well. It's a little embarrassing. I guess it serves me right for forgetting to check that fact.

I'll post the full sermon on the preaching blog some time in the next few days.

10/29/2007 04:33:00 pm

3001

Posted by Tom French |

This is post 3001 for my blog.

The last post was post 3000 (obviously) and what a magnificent post to have for such an auspicious occasion.

10/29/2007 12:35:00 am

Inspirational Dancer

Posted by Tom French |

One Legged.jpg

From news.com.au.

It's good to see there's someone doing something for the disabled.

10/29/2007 12:25:00 am

The Voice of Reason

Posted by Tom French |

Family First Senator Steve Fielding - facing defeat without Labor preferences - screamed louder, slamming the "grubby deal" that would deliver "drug shooting galleries in your street".

From today's SMH after Labor made a Senate preference deal with the Greens.

10/28/2007 11:57:00 pm

My Eyes

Posted by Tom French |

My eyes are sore. I'm sleepy.

I preached tonight and made rather a fool of myself. Which I will be sure to post the audio soon so you can all have a good laugh.

Yesterday before I sat down to write the sermon (I really did try to start early this time, it just didn't work again) Mil and I went to visit the neighbours for their Oktoberfest party. It was a rather scary thing to do seeing as we knew no-one except for the neighbours. But we did it, and we met a few friendlies.

When I arrived I was handed a beer, which I drank, slowly. As soon as I finished I was handed a cup of more beer. Which I drank too. I managed to make it through, but me being the lightweight that I am, came home, sat down to right the sermon, but it was all too hard. My eyes couldn't stay open. I had to have a sleep for an hour to sleep the Oktoberfest off. Only the could I rip into the sermon.

Can I just clear up for the sake of all those worried about my soul and integrity because of my drunken exploits, I was not drunk. Just sleepy. Alcohol can do that sometimes.

10/27/2007 08:37:00 pm

Dreams

Posted by Tom French |

Between our dreams and actions lie this world. - Bruce Springsteen

10/27/2007 02:05:00 pm

Salsa King

Posted by Tom French |

After youth group last night I had a birthday party to attend in Darling Harbour, a salsa party. It was, I have to say, one of the scariest prospects I could think of. Having to dress up then stand in a room full of talented people salsaing their booties on the dance floor. Just getting dressed to go out is a scary prospect. Since Kenya it seems that I only own one collared shirt. So every time I rock up to a party I expect everyone to look at me and think "Tom's wearing his only collared shirt again." Which would be true. Happily only one person abused me for my shirt.

I wore a jacket (Ryan's) and put product in my hair. I felt most self-conscious.

Getting home from Youth Group then heading out into the city at 11pm is a bit of a novelty for me. I felt like one of those people who go clubbing late at night. I couldn't work out whether it made me feel young or grown up.

Anyway, I arrived at the place and my name was on the door so I got in for free. It's because I'm famous.

After getting inside I made a bee-line for my male, non-dancing friends, and set myself up with a beer and a leaning spot on the wall, hoping that I might be able to stay there all night.

Unfortunately Louise had just been to a salsa lesson before the party with many of the people in our crew. So she decided to teach me to salsa. I learnt to do the three moves she knew, and we were set. I was pretty much the Salsa King after that. We ripped it up on the dance floor for a good three songs. While everyone else was trying to impress everyone with their spins, and dips, and legs over the shoulder, we wowed the crowd with the simplicity and beauty of pure, unadulterated, basic salsa. It's like while everyone else wanted to be a fantastic light show, we were just sunlight. We give the salsa world life.

At one point Louise commanded me to go save one of our friends from an overly friendly man on the dance floor with the whole "Now I'm dancing with you" move. This would have been a wonderful idea, except that I wasn't sure I had the moves to pull off a complicated manoeuvre like that. It's like the man's job to save the girls from other men but you have to save them with your dancing skills. It's kinda like you're in a real like West Side Story. And in a salsa club you have to save them with your salsa skills. As I had only been a salsa practitioner for about 7 minutes I wasn't quite sure I was up Salsa Saviour status yet. So we sent Curt in, who valiantly pulled some moves and saved her. It was rather a blow to my masculinity. Not that Curt did it, but that I chickened out. However had we been in a youth ministry club, boy-oh-boy, no sleazy man would be safe from my moves. I'll have to go to salsa classes so I have some Latin girl-extraction moves up my collared shirt-sleeve for next time.

At 1:30am people decided to go home, so I left too. I had actually had a good time. So that was most definitely a plus. We wandered back to Town Hall where the Northern Beachesers left me for a bus, and I went looking for mine. I managed to catch the last bus home at 2:15. I didn't know there was a last bus home till then. I thought they ran all night. But now I know. Must be at Central Station by 2:15am.

And so I arrived home from my salsa spectacular a little bit late and I couldn't work out if it made me feel young or grown up. But I did feel thirsty, so I drank some water.

10/25/2007 01:39:00 pm

There's No Place Like Home

Posted by Tom French |

Some SMH photographer as done a "walking tour" of the street art in Sydney's Inner West and made it into a slide show. Really they've gone to Enmore Road and walked around a little and taken some photos. But happily the places they walked were all close to our house. I see lots of these artworks most days. So if you want to know what the art of our place looks like, here it is. I quite like it myself.

10/24/2007 07:02:00 pm

Workplace Relations

Posted by Tom French |

Just made myself some ultra garlicy pasta here at work only to discover someone had thrown out my cheese. It had months till it went off.

I'm very upset. Now I won't have the cheese smell on my breath to offset the garlic smell. I guess I won't be kissing anyone tonight.

10/21/2007 11:55:00 pm

Occupational Hazards

Posted by Tom French |

So youth group today involved me getting my sunnies trodden on, my clothes covered in raw egg, and getting smashed in the nose by a big knot of rope (my teeth still hurt).

Curt kindly went home and got me some of his clothes for church. Now I smell like Curt. I haven't smelt this clean in years.

10/21/2007 11:49:00 pm

Somebody Wants Me

Posted by Tom French |

I got this email today:

Hi, my friend!

I have always dreamt of being a housewife. I think that it is the highest level of the comfort a woman can give to her man: Just imagine yourself coming home from work, and the supper is ready, the house is clean, kids are tidy and ready for school, and you can take your dearest family out for a picnic for weekends and also to the entertainment park. Or watch football with your son, while I will be enjoying just seeing two of you cheering for your favorite team. And all the neighbors will be saying: "it is a wonderful family" about us: I don't give promises which I can't prove, so I promise that when we like each other I will give to you all my love. You can share your thoughts with me at http://russianbrideonline.info/ and tell me that you with to continue our acquaintance.

Kiss-kiss

Marinka


I was most amused. She really does know exactly what I want in a woman. I can't think of anything more fulfilling in a relationship than someone who is there purely to make me happy. I would be hoping she has absolutely no personality at all. That would be best.

10/20/2007 10:29:00 am

Kicking

Posted by Tom French |

Last night for a youth group social we took the year 6-8 boys to Zone 3 the laser tag place. When we arrived there were about 20 boys aged about 9-10 running around. We were put in a game with them. The ten of us aged 11-13 and Curt and I (18 and 24) verses two teams of 9 and 10 year-olds. We walloped them.

While it's may seem like it shouldn't be fun, walking into a maze full of kids and shooting six of them then walking walking away unharmed really does feel pretty satisfying. Something like how Jason Bourne might feel if he actually enjoyed what he did.

It's much more fun than when I play my youth group and all the 16 year-olds wallop me.

Sadly I only got to play one game because I had another social to go to. But I always do worse in the second game so maybe it's better that I didn't stay.

10/20/2007 10:28:00 am

The Man

Posted by Tom French |

Van Morrison now has his entire back catalogue on iTunes. I've been waiting for this for a while. Yeah!

10/19/2007 01:36:00 pm

Election Time

Posted by Tom French |

I haven't said anything about the upcoming election yet. But I'm pretty excited. Although I'm getting nervous now. It's like when you spend ages waiting for a sporting match to start, sure that your team is going to win, and the when it begins you start to get nervous that maybe you were wrong.

I'm not a big fan of election campaigns. I get bored of everyone parading around and trying to bribe us. How rude of Howard to kick off the election campaign with a promise of $34 Billion dollars in tax cuts. How rude of we Australians that we're selfish enough to go for it.

Rudd has been impressing me less and less these past few weeks. His swing to the right (which has been inevitable) has been disappointing. He started so strong, and so different. Now he looks like John Howard but with a tad more compassion. But just a tad.

Labor's policy section of their website is a little light on the ground. And their climate change ideas, while ok, aren't really inspiring.

I would love it if Rudd had continued to own the campaign and Howard had to try and look like Rudd and Rudd got to set the agenda. But I fear it's going the other way.

Still I've got a lot more hope for a new Government on November 25 than I've had for a long time.

Yeehaa. Bring on the voting.

10/19/2007 01:03:00 pm

Eye Contact

Posted by Tom French |

I noticed the other day that I often go through whole interactions with shop assistants and checkout people and I don't once make eye contact with them. I decided this is a little rude because it feels like I'm treating them like inferior service people who don't deserve my acknowledgment.

So I decided to start trying to make eye contact with all the people who serve me in shops and stuff. It's pretty confronting. It's like when you make eye contact you make a connection. It feels a little too intimate for a supermarket setting. I tried it with one guy and he wouldn't look at me. He looked everywhere but my eyes. He probably thought I was rather creepy seeing as I spent most of the time staring at his eyes. But still I guess it's a lot easier if we don't make eye contact with people. We don't have to care so much then.

But I'll keep trying and see if I get better at it. And hopefully I don't creep too many people out.

10/17/2007 11:51:00 pm

Running Up That Hill

Posted by Tom French |

I've changed my running route this week and I discovered, as I explored a new route, that running while listening to a sermon is not very motivational. You may be inspired to live for Jesus, but it doesn't make you run any faster.

10/15/2007 03:31:00 pm

Fatherhood

Posted by Tom French |

I just did this "Compare People" thing on Facebook. It's a bit silly because I keep having to skip questions, because I don't want to compare which of my friends have the hottest body, and which of my friends I'd rather sleep with.

But at the end of my time of comparing it gave me a read out of how I rank among my friends. This is what I got:

Where Do I Fit.jpg

Judging by that I think it tells me that I'm going to be good father, but one who is a little insane with really bad fashion sense.

That sounds like many fathers to me. In fact I'm not sure you can be a good father without being daggy and a little bit crazy. But I could be wrong on that one.

The rest of the things it says about me? Well not much really. But I'm real flattered that I'm a better friend to one person than the other person I was compared with, though I'm not quite sure who that was. Probably Kevin Rudd or something.

10/14/2007 04:49:00 pm

Eating

Posted by Tom French |

Max Barry writes a good but rare blog. He has some good insights from the mind of a writer into the horror novelist who ate his girlfriend. It's quite well thought out and definitely worth a read.

10/14/2007 12:24:00 am

Late Night Madness

Posted by Tom French |

It's past midnight on a Saturday night (Sunday Morning really) and I've just come in from hanging my dripping wet washing on the line because our washing machine has stopped pumping water. It's rather sad. Now it's kinda just a big tub with lights. It's also kinda sad that I spend my Saturday nights hanging out washing. Where are all the parties I used to go to?

But don't worry, now I'm off to bed! So that'll be fun!

10/11/2007 07:53:00 pm

Taking One for the Team

Posted by Tom French |

I've been watching The West Wing a lot lately, and I always like it when politicians go and do what the President wants even though it's not what they want. The White House crew keep convincing people (and each other) with lines like "We serve the President of the United States of America!" Usually I like it when people stand up for what they believe in. But I like it more when they stand up for a higher cause even if it's hard for them.

One day I want people to ask me why I've done what I've done and I will say quietly "Because I serve the Lord of Heaven and Earth" and then music will swell, and the credits will appear but not before there is a final shot of me sitting in my office chair staring out my window with a melancholy but satisfied look on my face.

10/09/2007 12:05:00 pm

Pulpit Rocking Beats

Posted by Tom French |

So I found a new function on my computer yesterday. It's an add-on to Adobe Audition called "Loopology".

I was so excited I remixed a sermon by Tony Campolo. I had heaps of fun. This is going to be the new dance-floor phenomena.

Wanna listen?

Get it here.

The original sermon is the 1997 Inauguration Day sermon he preached for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. You can get the full thing here, which is where I got it from.

10/07/2007 11:50:00 pm

Serm

Posted by Tom French |

I spent lots of my weekend writing a sermon. It was quite a hard one to write. I spent many hours writing, deleting, re-writing. It was tough. I found it hard to figure out what God was wanting to say.

I had to go to bed last night without a fully written sermon, so I spent most of today still working on it.

I finally finished it at about 4:30pm.

I got to church tonight and God did stuff, lots of people shared, and we sang, and the Spirit moved, and I didn't preach. No wonder I couldn't figure out what God wanted to say, he didn't have anything to say through me.

But still, now I've got a spare sermon. Sweet.

10/05/2007 10:35:00 pm

Toothbrush

Posted by Tom French |

I bought a new toothbrush today. It was a cheap one without 360 degree, 24-hour, electronic cleaning. But my teeth still feel pretty clean so that's good.

I went out buy some dinner tonight and Enmore was full of bikies who had decided to hang at the local. They looked scarier than they were because none of them tried to kill me. I decided to look at a new cafe to see if they had good food and when I walked in this Greek lady said "You've come to buy food! Here's a menu. Eat in or take away?" She was so expectant that I was going to buy food that I felt like I had to (it may also have been partly due to the fact that she was rather attractive and attractive women have a way of forcing you to do things you don't want to, especially if they're older than you but that's a whole other story). So I ended up buying an over-priced burger on Turkish bread (do Greek people do Turkish bread?) which I didn't really enjoy (too much pesto and sundried tomato, who puts pesto on a burger?)

I made a mental note not to step into that cafe again lest the Greek (or maybe Turkish) siren of the eatery forces me to consume another pesto laden pseudo-burger. That would be bad.

This post didn't have much to do with toothbrushes.

10/04/2007 10:38:00 am

Boobies

Posted by Tom French |

Last night Howie accused me of having man boobs. Heh. If I've got man boobs he's got udders.

10/03/2007 10:29:00 pm

Waffle

Posted by Tom French |

I went out to a birthday dinner last night at Dee Why RSL. It's pretty posh for an RSL now. I couldn't find ugly carpet anywhere. I think that might be against RSL law.

Anwyay, I had myself a t-bone steak, and it was good. Then it was off to Max Brenner's for chocolate face stuffing. I got myself two Belgium waffles with melted chocolate, ice cream and strawberries. I thought about just having one waffle but I had just enough money for two so I saw it as a sign from God. I left feeling mighty stuffed.

This morning I woke up for my run still feeling stuffed. But I thought "I'll run anyway". Bad move. I felt like I was going to vomit the whole way. I had to sit down when I got back and just wait for the feeling to disappear.

Perhaps it was God's discipline for my gluttony.

Note for next time: No waffles before running.

10/02/2007 04:51:00 pm

Setting Awesome Free

Posted by Tom French |

Over the past few years I've heard quite a few people complaining that the word "awesome" has lost its meaning. The last person I heard was talking about it was John Smith at Black Stump. We had a discussion about it at our camp site. But there have been many others talking about it and I regularly seem to be having conversations about the matter. Awesome, they say, should only be used for God. Awesome means "inspiring awe". When we look at someone's shirt and say "That's awesome" we're not actually filled with awe. When we eat a meal and say "That was awesome" we're lying because awe is not the feeling we feel. When we see a band and say "They were awesome" either we're easily impressed or we don't actually know what awe actually feels like.

Awesome, they say, should be reserved for God. Only God is truly awesome.

This view however is not one that I hold. Awesome, in my view, should be allowed to be used however we want to use it. Language is not static and concrete it is fluid and dynamic. Saying that word's meanings should only have one meaning, their original meaning, is like saying that candles should only be used for light and never for birthday cakes. Language is a tool be used, not a bunch of rules to submit our communication to.

If people decided to use the word awesome to describe things which don't actually fill them with awe, yet everyone understands what they mean, they aren't wrong, nor have they used the word wrong. They have communicated their feelings and their hearers have understood, language has done its job.

If I say a meal is awesome and I say God is awesome, I obviously mean two different things. I do not worship the meal, nor do I find God tasty. If I call a person violent and I call a storm violent that doesn't mean I think the person is going to blow down trees and destroy houses, nor do I think the storm is going to kick someone's head in.

My issue with people's insistence that awesome should only be used for God isn't really a linguistic one. I don't care too much if language purists want to try and preserve English in its "unadulterated" state, safe from the grotty hands of popular culture. They're fighting a losing a battle to preserve a way of speaking that's only as "true" as when they first learnt to speak, read and write. People have been using and abusing language for as long as they've been talking. You're not going to save language from the mischievous minds of those who want to use it to speak easily if not always eloquently. Let the people have their language, and the purists have their trivial arguments. I have bigger fish to fry. (That's a turn of phrase by the way, I don't think I've ever fried a fish in my life, let alone fish of varying sizes.)

My issue with the argument is that people seem to think that if we don't keep the word awesome for God, somehow God will diminish in his awe-inspiring qualities. As if God's formidable and breathtaking nature is under threat if we use a word once used to describe him to describe things which have very little resemblance to the divine being.

By saying that awesome should only be used to describe God we are not reserving a word for God but reducing God to an adjective. God's awesome nature will never be under threat whether we describe him as such or not. God is not awesome, awesome doesn't do God justice, he is beyond awesome, he is beyond terrifying, he is beyond majestic, he is beyond magnificent, he is beyond great, he is beyond gracious, he is beyond loving. Language wilts in the face of an ineffable God. Descriptions of God do not make God any greater, they just allow us to perhaps grasp a little of what the true character of God is. It is God condescending himself to allow us to describe him rather than our descriptions displaying our understanding of what is infinite.

So I say we should set awesome free. Let people use it how they want to use it. Our worship of God will not diminish if we have one less word to use for God. We can always find a new word or perhaps just share an old one. Our worship is not about our words anyway. Our true descriptions of the character of God will not come out of our mouths but out of our hearts and out of our lives. As we understand better the nature of God our words may not become more eloquent but our lives will become more beautiful as we more truly reflect who God is.

And I reckon that's fully sick.

10/01/2007 11:04:00 pm

Stumped

Posted by Tom French |

I'm now returned from that great festival of liberal, drug taking, debauchery indulging Christians, Black Stump. And I did have a good time. Though I didn't involve myself in any of the above mentioned activities (except maybe a dash of liberalism here and there) nor did I see anyone else indulge in the above mentioned activities, except liberalness which often gets a bit of a workout at Black Stump.

It was well fun to be at Stump. I didn't go to one Bible Study, and I only made it to one main meeting.

One afternoon I did try to go to a workshop on "Can Christians and Muslims live together in Community?" but I fell asleep three times in the first ten minutes so I left to have a snooze. Turns out we were camping next to a band called Playjerise who were practicing their set for the night with a string quartet. So I woke up to a string quartet wafting through my tent. It was one of the most wonderful ways I could think to wake up.

I went and saw them that night and I think they were the find of Stump. I didn't get around to buying their album, but I reckon they're on the list. Maybe I'm of to JB tomorrow to buy.

I saw my friends Revive, who did a good set.

I did manage to see the Breakthru' show twice (because that's how many shows we did) and I did enjoy that. Show one didn't go nearly as well as show two. I always love when the show gets to the stomp piece. I like drums and taping and people banging stuff. 'Tis cool.

Sadly on show two the sound guy stole my job of pressing play on the DVD. He just took the remote off me and pressed play. It was most sad. I have very few things to do at Black Stump, and the sound guy stole a big part of my job. It was most depressing.

Tony Campolo spoke on Sunday night. He did the only teaching that I actually heard. I enjoyed listening to him. He told us to sponsor a Child, as he tends to do. And while I sat there thinking that you pretty much know what Campolo is going to say when he talks (Jesus says "Help the poor"), it occurred to me his persistence and courage to sound like broken record has changed thousands, perhaps millions of lives. So I reckon I'll let him keep going.

The Outback Hippies were masses of fun, as usual. 2:20am they finished this year. Not a record sadly. Maybe next year. 3:20am. That would have been awesome.

But really I spent most of my long weekend sitting around our campsite. And that was good too. As Howie said, Stump now is about the community and the friends rather than the music. And it really is. I love having the option to go to whatever I want if I want to, and the freedom to just sit at my campsite and chat if that seems best.

And that, was Stump for another. My last Stump at Cataract Park. That place is so full of memories. It's sad I will probably never go there again. But I guess I won't really notice till many years have gone by, and by then, I'll probably have gotten over it.

Hooray for Black Stump.

9/28/2007 12:13:00 pm

Stumping

Posted by Tom French |

I'm off to Stump.

And I'm wearing a red t-shirt and red undies in solidarity with our Burmese friends.

9/27/2007 08:45:00 pm

Money Trouble

Posted by Tom French |

I found this envelope on our notice board.

Lucky my sister doesn't charge interest. Or maybe she does.

Money Envelope.jpg

9/26/2007 11:41:00 pm

Facepoop

Posted by Tom French |

I think Facebook might be ruining my Blog life. Like porn ruins a couple's sex life.

Not that I'd know, that's just what I've heard.

But gosh, Facebook is so stupid, why does it take up so much of my time?

Then again, I'm pretty pleased with Ryan and my new cause to save the Bottle-Nosed Hamster. It brings a smile to my face every time.

9/26/2007 11:29:00 pm

Bad

Posted by Tom French |

I went and saw Superbad with Ryan and Tom-Who-Sleeps-On-Our-Couch yesterday.

It was pretty bad.

There were some funny moments. But mainly it was just humour that was made as crass as possible as if that would make it funny. And the main character was an idiot so it made the film difficult to watch.

We did however all go out for Doy Tao and that was good.

9/25/2007 01:41:00 pm

Shorts

Posted by Tom French |

Today is the first day of shorts.

Happy.

9/22/2007 04:58:00 pm

Tabitha's Back!

Posted by Tom French |

Wisdom with Tabitha makes a rather quiet return to our computer screens.

Here she is:



And for all your Tabitha needs, go here.

Plus, I did stick up the Tim Hughes' video from Donny Jaffa a few years ago as it was requested. So that can be watched too.

9/22/2007 03:43:00 pm

ISTJ

Posted by Tom French |

For those of you who were wondering what the Myers-Briggs judgment of me is:

Introverted (I) 75% Extraverted (E) 25%
Sensing (S) 55% Intuitive (N) 45%
Thinking (T) 70% Feeling (F) 30%
Judging (J) 50% Perceiving (P) 50%


Ryan did the test as if he was me , I'm not sure what he got. But I reckon I'll find out once I go downstairs and ask.

I did the test before once. But I'm not sure what I got.

You'll notice that I'm 50% J and 50% P which probably means I'm an ISTJ/P. I'm not really sure what the letters mean. Maybe I should go read. Right at this point in time though, I don't really care.

9/20/2007 11:14:00 pm

Procrasty

Posted by Tom French |

Today was mostly spent procrastinating. I felt like sleeping most of the day, but I had a Bible Study to write so I couldn't sleep. But I was feeling too tired to write it, so I procrastinated all day. It was rather fun.

Some of the highlights included cooking gnocchi for lunch with Nathan, the Student-in-Ministry, hearing our Acting Senior Minister's testimony (he became a Christian in his first year of Bible College) while asking him if it was ok to kiss your girlfriend (he deems it is), having an extended lunch break with Nathan and Kathy, picking honeymoon destinations for Nathan and Courtney, arguing with Helen about business card design (for old time's sake), watching Ricky Gervais on YouTube, and talking to Pip about grape juice and to Jon about, um, sport maybe.

It really was a productive day at the office of procrastination. Though I did manage some serious thought about where I will go when I die (I think I will die, leave the time space continuum and pop back in on Judgment Day to pick up my new body).

By about 5:45pm, because I wanted to go home, I started work on the Bible Study. I eventually finished it too. So things are good.

However don't ever let me encourage you procrastinate like that. It's bad, and you have to repent, and work late. Procrastination is for chumps!


It offends me when people say youth ministers don't ever do any work.

9/20/2007 05:51:00 pm

Big Ball Footy

Posted by Tom French |

Jon and I were talking about doing some regular sporting thing in Newtown. We were thinking maybe Big Ball Footy on a Saturday arvo. Anyone interested?

9/19/2007 11:39:00 pm

Darkness

Posted by Tom French |

It's one of those nights when I am baffled by the problems and pain of this world. Why can't someone just fix it?

9/18/2007 12:11:00 am

Lost Causes

Posted by Tom French |

We're not questioning God.
Just those he chose to carry on His cross.
We're no better, you'll see.
Just all of us, the lost causes. - Anberlin

9/17/2007 11:33:00 pm

Stronger

Posted by Tom French |

I'm really enjoying Stronger by our friend Kanye West at the moment. I think I would have to say Kayne is my favourite Hip-Hop artist. He just seems to be a lot more interesting than anyone else.

Perhaps I'll buy the new album when it arrives.

Good on you Kanye.

9/16/2007 11:02:00 pm

Camped

Posted by Tom French |

I'm back.

I do enjoy camp. For some reason camps are the times when people sustain an unusually high number of injuries. I felt like I was constantly handing out ice packs. That's pretty much the extent of my First Aid practise. Perhaps being in-charge of camp you get to see all the injuries rather than just the ones that you might see or sustain when you're a usual camper.

Still, camp isn't really all about injuries. God did good stuff this camp. Mitch came and spoke and did well. The youth folk really liked him, so that made me happy. We had some creative worship times which involved everything from dancing, to foot washing, painting and playing music. All sounds rather vibey like that, but it didn't worry me at all. Perhaps the vibers of my church have infected me. You didn't have to participate in everything, so it wasn't confronting at all really.

One of the activities was for people to nail their sins and troubles to a cross. As it was promised that no-one would look at them, I took the cross back to church with me and had my own little pyro-session in the back yard burning all the sins, so no one could ever find out what was written. It was pretty fun, I like fire.

I ran communion with the youth group this morning. I've never really run communion before (except sortof at Soul) and I really enjoyed it. Perhaps not because I was running it, but because I got to run it for my youth group who I really love. So it was special getting to lead them through such a special moment.

Last night was the night of wide games and camp fires. The wide game was pretty wicked, involving party poppers, trip wires and booby-traps. I did have fun watching that unfold. And campfires are just good fun. All the wood the camp site gave us was full of nails, so I didn't let any of the youth build the fire as I didn't want to have to take anyone to hospital for tetanus shots at 11pm. The young people didn't like it much, but Curt and I then had responsibility of building the fire, and I can't say I was upset with the task of burning stuff. I've decided I want to run a themed camp for pyro-maniacs full of blowing stuff up and burning stuff. I reckon it'd be pretty popular too. I'll just have to find someone with the gift of administration to look after the insurance.

And that I think it my camp run down.

Now I shall recover with some sleep.

9/14/2007 02:16:00 pm

Stump has Sprung

Posted by Tom French |

About this time every year (like here and here) Spring makes it's happy presence felt and I think "It's Black Stump weather."

Oh how I love Black Stump. It's not really the actual festival I love. That's seems to hold less appeal every year. But I've been doing Stump ever since I was 5. And it was always the happiest time of the year. It brings back memories of years of excitement, fun and flirting. And I don't think I've ever had a bad Stump. So I'm excited. I've even dreamt about being at Stump 3 times in the past two weeks. I sat in class this morning day dreaming about when lectures finish in two weeks time and I'll be able to go to my car, hop in, and drive to Black Stump. Oh what joy it will bring.

But there's still two weeks between now and then and lots to do. I have a camp today and I'm pretty excited about that too. I have sermons to write and preach, essays tow write and hand in.

Still, the sun is out and t-shirts are beginning to make a comeback. So hooray for Spring I say.

9/13/2007 11:04:00 pm

Going Again

Posted by Tom French |

We're off on Youth Group camp again tomorrow. I feel like I'm always going on camps.

I think I counted this year and I'll only go on seven camps this year. But it feels like I do it more regularly than that.

We have less people than usual going on this camp. In some ways it's nice because we'll get to hang out with the ones that come more. In other ways it's kinda frustrating because I'd love to have more people. Camps are always way fun and good chances to connect with the youth. But we managed to pick a week in the middle of many people's exams, overseas trips and other things. So that was a bit of a whoops.

Still, it'll be fun to do the camp because I like youth group camp. And for some reason I'm feeling really relaxed about this one, sweet.

In other news, Sal came over to dinner tonight and that was fun, because we all like Sal. She brought Oreos so I mashed them into my ice cream and put Milo on top. It was pretty special. The great thing about being an Adult is you can do the things you wanted to do when you were a kid but your parents wouldn't only let you do as a treat. Now I can have treat whenever I want. Sick!

9/12/2007 11:50:00 pm

Amazing Me

Posted by Tom French |

I think blog worthy is the news that I have been running 4 times in the past eight days.

I finally got around to getting myself fully kitted out for my Nike+ iPod kit last week and now I go running. The kit is really fun. It measures how far I run, how fast, it plays me music, tells me how I'm doing, and graphs it all on the internet. It's lots of fun.

It's the gadget incentive to make me become fit. I'm having a good time.

9/12/2007 11:19:00 pm

9/11

Posted by Tom French |

I started writing this yesterday, hence all the references to yesterday, but I'll finish it now

It's September 11 and I didn't even realise. Oops.

If only that piece destruction didn't happen. This world may have felt a tad friendlier and airport security wouldn't take so long.

I'm going to go have a beer with my friend Howie soon. I'm just waiting for him to let me know he's local. I haven't seen him since we got back from Africa. Some friend I am.

I feel there are a few things I should blog about, so I'll start an see where I get to. Jenny, don't read until after I come over tonight, then we can still have conversation like people did before the internet.

APEC

I made it to a protest march. I love a good protest. It was probably one of the more tense ones I've been too. I went with Kemp and met Ryan there.

Protests are all the same in many ways. All the same people turn up. When you arrive there's a bunch of people trying to give you copies of Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly. There's always a bunch of people with signs protesting the top 5 issues of the day (Iraq, Global Warming, Work Choices, Captialism and John Howard's appearance). And there is always a group of people holding the triangular green signs for the Greens.

When people have gathered someone will stand on a stage and welcome us and tell us how many people have come and how bad John Howard is. Everyone will cheer or shout "Shame! Shame!" Then there'll be a long parade of speakers some of whom are interesting, some who are intensely boring, some who are smart lefties, some who are stupid lefties, and one of them will always be Kerry Nettle (who I don't think is stupid).

Then we'll go for a march. The police will look at us a little menacingly after which we'll all go home.

Saturday was no different in many respects. Except there was the threat of violence in the air the whole time. People were a little bit more agro. Everyone had been reading the papers and knew this day there was most likely to be violence. There were people in the crowd fully decked out in the riot gear (helmets, goggles, face mask, overalls, army boots and a tatty backpack.) Somewhere in the crowd there was meant to be a group of neo-Nazis who, we were told, may have been police in disguise.

The speeches were alright. Kerry Nettle spoke. And an ex-Marine from Iraq spoke. He was good. He didn't like the Iraqi occupation very much. It was good because I think Marines are cool. And I think Marines who think what the Marines do is bad are even cooler, so I was pretty happy.

Once we'd got the speaking over with we were off on our march. There were police everywhere. Every street heading north from Town Hall towards the APEC Exclusion Zone was blocked of by Police riot buses and masses of police.

We walked rather slowly from Town Hall to Hyde Park. It was a rather festive atmosphere, the only people who didn't seem to be having a good time were the police who were concentrating on looking like they were about to bash you. Once we got to Hyde Park we wandered around looking for a pink flag which was meant to be the signal for those people who wanted to try and force their way into the Exclusion Zone. Not that I was up for rioting, I was just interested in seeing a riot, maybe being among a riot, though not actually rioting myself. But we never found a pink flag.

Eventually we got bored, Ryan went to find his mum and Kemp and I went to find food. But when we tried to leave we found the Police were hemming us in can stopping is from leaving the park except by some convoluted route which they seemed to be doing their best not to show us. At one point everyone was waiting at traffic lights but the police wouldn't let anyone cross the road. There was nothing much on the other side, it just wasn't the protest anymore. People were getting rather upset and shouting at the police. The riot police turned up with their pepper spray in case someone made a mad dash for the other side of the road to escape the protest that the police didn't really want happening in the first place. Lots of the cops had their batons out ready to whack any peace advocate who got a little to excited by the idea of leaving their peace march. It was all very odd. I wasn't all that impressed. We saw a few people get arrested, but we weren't close enough to actually see what was happening.

The Herald had a story about people complaining about the heavy handed nature of the police. Usually I like Police. But I have to say, I didn't really like them very much on Saturday. They weren't making me feel safe on the streets of Sydney and it was only because I thought they were ready to have a go. The protesters, for the most part, were a rather friendly bunch.

Still in the end we found our escape route (just past the Federal Police's Riot Squad on Park St) and we didn't get sprayed by any water cannons.

Kemp and I managed to go find food at the Star Bar (old Planet Hollywood). The place is massive, and there were two other patrons in there when we arrived and five when we left. It was a little strange. But it was fun.

I did enjoy seeing Kemp. And the protest was fun too. So I vote for Saturday being a good day.

A Game! See if you can spot Ryan, Tom, Kemp and Janet in this photo. Try looking on the right hand side just above the middle. It's like wears Wally but it's really. I'm wearing sunnies and am the hardest to spot.


I don't think I'll say any more in this post. I'm too lazy. Dinner with the Gowies was good fun though. I do like Gowies.

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