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?

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