1/31/2008 11:37:00 pm

Homeless

Posted by Tom French |

I was over at Kemp's house tonight eating steak when I got a phone call from my house. While I wasn't home our land lady turned up and gave as a termination notice. We have to move out of our house in 60 days. The land lady always turns up and tells us mean things when I'm not there. I think maybe my aura of protection over the house prevents her from approaching when I'm home.

Anyway, so we're being kicked out. Potentially homeless.

But the depression didn't last long. Matt (who lives with us and is a real estate agent) has a place lined up for us that we can probably move into. So I got another phone call asking if I wanted to go there. It's pretty swanky. It has the advantages of being swish, new, cockroach free (we think). The disadvantages of being expensive, not as close to Thai food and will be incongruous with our image of hippy simplicity. If the projector, four computers and high speed internet hadn't been a clue before, the spa bath and high-tech security will probably give the game away.

Anyway, so I'll be sad to leave this house with its wonderful location and ghost on the toilet but I'll look forward to living in luxury in our new place. Which will be good because the extra expense means I won't be able to afford to go out, so I'll spend all my time at home pretending I'm in a hotel. I'll make Ryan stand at the front door and play concierge.

1/30/2008 11:25:00 pm

24

Posted by Tom French |

We've been working our way through 24. While Jack Bower annoys me to no end, I do like it when there is lots of shooting.

1/29/2008 02:46:00 pm

Wider Mercy

Posted by Tom French |

I've been reading a biography on Billy Graham at the moment. I'm enjoying it. I wanted to watch a video of Billy preaching, so I jumped on YouTube. YouTube was kind enough to give me a bunch of videos made by people declaiming that Billy Graham is going to hell because he believes in salvation apart for Jesus Christ (such as here and here).

They quote an interview Billy Graham gave to Robert Schuller where Graham was asked about the future of the Christian Church. Graham replied:

"Well, Christianity and being a true believer--you know, I think there's the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of Christ. And I don't think that we're going to see a great sweeping revival, that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said that God's purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name. And that's what God is doing today, He's calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don't have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they're going to be with us in heaven."

When Schuller asks Graham to clarify he replies:

"I've met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they've believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they've tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived."

(I got the quotes from here)

Now people get entirely upset that Graham is saying that people can be saved apart from Jesus. I think perhaps that's a rather far leap to make considering that Graham spent the entirety of his ministry calling people to faith in Jesus Christ. He didn't call people to morality, to belief in God, any God, but to Jesus and only Jesus.

What Graham seems to be saying to me, is that ignorance of Christ doesn't necessarily mean that a person cannot be saved by Christ. I think this is part of what Paul talks about in the early chapters of Romans. First he says that creation testifies to the existence and character of God so that humanity cannot deny God's existence (Romans 1:20). Later he talks about how it is that Gentiles will be judged even though they do not have the law. Saying that they will be judged by their conscience apart from the law, and so also will be found guilty by their own consciences (Romans 2:14-15).

The whole thrust of Romans 1-5 is that righteousness comes not through obedience but through faith. Faith in Jesus. No one can be good enough for God, but a righteousness comes apart from the law and that is in Jesus. In chapter 4 Paul uses the example of Abraham who was saved not by works, but by faith. "Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness." (Romans 4:3). "It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith." (Romans 4:13)

Abraham did not know Jesus Christ. He did know the God of Jesus Christ, but he did not know of Jesus the Man/God, born thousands of years later. He did not know that Jesus would die on the cross for his sins, nor did he know that Jesus would rise again. In fact no-one before Jesus came knew exactly how God was going to save them. But Abraham, along with others, believed God and it was credited to them as righteousness. They knew that righteousness cannot come through good behaviour, because everyone is sinful. But righteous must come through some other form. And they believed God to supply this righteousness, which he did in Jesus.

So if a person believes that they cannot be saved apart from the mercy of God, the God of creation, yet they have not heard of Jesus, could they not too believe on the mercy of the God they do know, and be saved? Could they not have faith that is credited to them as righteousness?

If it was good enough for Abraham surely it's good enough for the lost tribes who have not had a chance to be presented with the person of Jesus.

And what about the person who comes from the Muslim background who knows only a distorted view of Jesus? If they reject the false-Jesus can you blame them? If they believe in the mercy of God, but have not heard of the true Jesus, one who is God, the one who died and rose again, cannot their faith be credited to them as righteousness?

So perhaps I am going out on a theological limb here. But I think that people who have not heard of Jesus can still be saved by Jesus. And I think Billy Graham believes that too.

On the other hand those who have not heard of Jesus can still be judged by Jesus, if they fail to have faith in the mercy of God.

And those who have heard of the true Jesus, but have rejected the true Jesus cannot be saved by Jesus.

That's what I think. Jesus is the only way to salvation but knowledge of Jesus is not necessarily a pre-requisite.

1/28/2008 01:37:00 pm

Tired much?

Posted by Tom French |

I went to bed at 2am last night and woke up at 12:30pm. I haven't slept that late in years. I guess I was tireder than I thought.

Feeling pretty happy now though.

1/26/2008 11:53:00 pm

Day of Australia

Posted by Tom French |

Australia Day it has been. The day to celebrate being Australian by eating barbecued stuff and dressing for a riot.

I never get all that moved by Australia Day. I mean I love Australia. There is no place I'd rather live. But patriotism is a little embarrassing. It's silly to pretend we live in the best country in the world. Because we don't. It's probably some Scandinavian country or Canada or something.

Then again, now that I think about it, maybe I should do a bit of self-congratulating on Australia Day. After all, if it wasn't for us Aussies we wouldn't have such a wonderfully large rock in the middle of our country to show tourists. And we wouldn't have the most beautiful beaches in the world. If it wasn't for the fact that I was born here, I doubt we'd have such a fantastic climate.

And I'll be damned, if there is another country in the world that knows the meanings of the words "mateship" and "fair-go" like we do. Plus tell me one other culture that understands how to have a good time like Australia. None. No-one really. We're the best.

Isn't it obvious how good we are? No other country has progressed as fantastically as we have in such a short time. In 1788 we started out as just a bunch of English criminals and soldiers, willing to behave like criminals and invade and massacre like soldiers. But now, we're rich, fat, and good at cricket and yet we still succeed in remaining true to our forefathers roots and use our military to deal with the natives. How good are we?

So I'm going to give myself a pat on the back because I am pretty good.


That said, I do love Australia. But probably like I love my car. It may not be the best there is and often it's a little bit embarrassing but it works for me and it warms my heart with familiarity.

So I enjoyed celebrating Australia today. I went and ate steak at a barbecue party of joy. And I ate Asian take away from Chef's Lucky Noodle (cooked by an Australian who looked like a Chinese) with my family while I drank that great Australian drink, Coke.

Happy Australia Day Australia. Sucked in rest of the world, you have to work on Monday. Which is just one more indicator that we are the best country in the world.

1/24/2008 10:20:00 pm

Rambo the Man

Posted by Tom French |

"Rambo taps into something I believe all men harbour inside, which is a sense of indignation and isolation that usually has to be resolved through physical endeavours but in the end there is no satisfaction because the price that is paid is too intense and destructive." - Sylvester Stallone

I read that quote and it got me thiking. Stallone sounds a bit like a pessimistic John Eldredge. Which is perhaps something to do with the purpose Rambo serves. He validates men's feelings of need for violence. Except when it all pans out the violence only ever leaves Rambo betrayed by the system that created him. (Actually I haven't watched Rambo 3 for a while. Maybe it ends differently in that one.)

I'm sure there are lots of men who identify with Rambo's indignation at the world, yet they can't find a worthy enemy to blow up. So they do it vicariously by watching movies, and they act out as best they can by abusing their photocopier and yelling at their kids. Neither of which are satisfying. But when has Rambo been satisfied either?

Rambo always pays a high price, yet he never seeks an alternative.

I guess that's where Eldredge and his cohorts comes in handy. Strength becomes more valuable than violence, character more important than power, and change more desired than destruction.

Stallone and Eldredge both recognise man's desire to blow stuff up. Eldredge just wants us do it well.

1/23/2008 04:00:00 pm

500 Pages Free

Posted by Tom French |

So it turns out that I've been given cross credit for the Theology subject, so I don't have to do it at all. Which does make my life easier. That's Godly provision for you.

I would say that's the best solution. But I was looking forward to a bit of theology. I guess I'll just have to wait till the Winter Intensive.

1/23/2008 03:31:00 pm

500 Pages of Theology - Or Not

Posted by Tom French |

I just sat down to organise my enrollment in the Summer Intensive at College. It starts in a week and I only discovered this when looking at my diary for the first time this year a few days ago. I had no reason to look at my diary till then I knew what was on.

Anyway, it turns out enrollment for the subject closed on the 11th because there is 500 pages of pre-reading and an assessment to do. But far be it from me to let something as small as hard work get in the way of my education, I called the college and asked if they could let me enroll anyway. They're thinking about it, going to talk to people and figuring it out.

I'm in two minds as to whether I want them to say yes or not. If they say "Yes" I will have to go and read, and read, and read. And then write. And basically ruin my next week with theology.

If they say "No". I'm stuck having to find another time to do this class, and I'm not sure when it'll come back. Or I have to do it on my day off and find a new day off this year.

But I'll leave it up to other people to decide. I wonder what 500 pages I'm actually meant to read. Maybe they have the readings on audio and I can listen in the car. I doubt it.

1/22/2008 10:49:00 pm

Gone West

Posted by Tom French |

We finished The West Wing tonight. All seven seasons, finished. Helen and Jon came over to join Mil and I for the final episode. We ate Thai beforehand and reminisced about the good times we'd had.

It's very sad. All my good friends are gone. Josh, Donna, Toby, CJ, Santos, Jed, Charlie. I will miss them all. It was nice to have Sam back for the end. Sam was special. I wish the show didn't end, but I guess they had to end sometime.

Sadly I'm never going to be the President, so I guess I'll never get to live my own West Wing. I doubt I'll even become the Australian PM. And that doesn't seem nearly as exciting. If I ever get rich though I might get a full size replica of the Oval Office made in my house and just pretend to order nuclear strikes on tiny countries and stuff. That'd be pretty fun.

1/22/2008 11:39:00 am

Kung Fu Fighting

Posted by Tom French |

Last night Mil, Martin, Matt and I went to our first Kung Fu class. I think we were all a little scared going in. Before we went in I kept turning to Matt and saying "I'm so glad you're with me." I was feeling a little intimidated.

We arrived and everyone was pretty friendly. We had to fill medical forms and were taught to bow-in when we step on to the training floor (I don't know what it's official name is). We were told we were welcoming the room. I'm not sure what that means but seeing as I'm not entirely sure who or what I'm bowing to until I figure it out I might bow and welcome Jesus to the room. I'm sure no one would mind if Jesus came to Kung Fu.

We were put through half an hour of exercises at the beginning. I discovered that rapidly punching a bag for a minute hurts a lot. As does trying to touch your toes when your toes rarely come anywhere near your hands.

After exercises, us noobs were taken to the side and taught the 9 weapons of kung fu. Now I know how to punch a person in the throat, poke them in the eyes, kick them in the goolies and break they're knee caps. Yep. I'm pretty lethal.

Then we went home. Next time we go they've promised to teach us how to defend ourselves against an attacker brandishing a pool noodle. Should be useful.

We're kinda a big deal.

1/20/2008 11:57:00 pm

Basking in My Own Amazingness

Posted by Tom French |

Do you remember when you were a teenager and you used to sit down with people and say "Let's talk about something deep?" and you could never think of something deep to talk about. Usually when you did that, in my experience, it was all about just feeling good about yourself because you had the ability to think profound thoughts and say smart things.

But I'm not sure I ever managed to have anything impressive to say at all when I planned too.

And now for something completely different. I went to church tonight and talked to a heap of people. Sometimes church is a little overwhelming. You look around the room and know the issues of half the people in the room and you don't feel like you can help any of them. I wish I had magic cures.

Rach, who is home, reminded me that I'm turning 25 in a few weeks. I think that 25 would probably be officially adulthood. I'm not sure how to feel about this.

On the one hand I feel like 25 means I should have achieved something with my life. I should own some kind of substantial asset and be in some kind of large, respectable debt. Or I should be married. Or I should have a job with prospects for upward mobility.

Yet I'm no where near those things. I rent. Have no savings. I have no credit cards and I have no bank loans. I'm no where near having a girlfriend let alone getting married. I feel like I'm in the process of dismantling my career. My job won't lead to better pay. And there are no options of being promoted. And I have less of an idea about what I want to do with my life now than when I was twenty one.

Plus my room is still a mess. I still have Thomas the Tank Engine bedsheets and I don't even own a long-sleeved collared shirt.

But some of these things I'm pretty pleased with. I'll make it to twenty-five and my lack of achievements will comfort me. I've managed to get this far without becoming bored, maybe I'll make it through the rest of my life. I've managed to make it this far without taking myself too seriously, so maybe I'll make it further. I've managed to still like skate shoes, actions movies and stupid t-shirts. Maybe being an adult isn't too bad at all.

I've yet to decide at what point in my life I'll stop hoping to get famous.

Probably when I'm 80.

1/20/2008 10:30:00 am

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Posted by Tom French |

It's 10:30am on a Sunday and I'm not at church. Yeah. I'm not going till this evening. This is one of the benefits of post-camp time-in-lieu.

I'll probably eat steak and go to the movies today. Then I'll preach tonight. Lovely.

1/18/2008 11:33:00 pm

Returning to the World

Posted by Tom French |

I'm back from camp. And the world doesn't seem much different. Except some dude in Melbourne had a big party and India are kicking Australia's butt. But I knew about the cricket a bit anyway, sneaking a look here and there during camp.

I might camp debrief tomorrow. Now I would like to sleep. I have a Church Planning Day tomorrow. I love planning churches (kinda, actually not really, planning isn't my thing, but it's important) but not the day after camp. No, the day after camp should be used for sleeping, eating, reading and going to the cinema. Oh well. Chances are I'll have an unavoidable kip during the prayer times anyway. I'll have to pray in the morning before I go to make up for all the prayer I'll accidentally snooze through.

Well, I'm off to bed. 7:30am get up. That's at least a one hour sleep in from the rest of the week. Yes!

1/13/2008 09:18:00 pm

Gone Bush

Posted by Tom French |

I'm at Camp. Not right now. I'm at church now. I had to pop back to church to preach and be an official presence at the service. Now I'm going back to camp again.

I got all my talks done. Well, I have two illustrations to insert if I can find them. But pretty much, I'm done. This is good. Now I can just spend a week talking, rather than a week stressing.

Anyway, I'm off.

See you in a week.

1/11/2008 12:56:00 pm

I'm a little sick of typing

Posted by Tom French |

I'm preparing for going on camp tomorrow. I'm speaking on the camp and silly me thought it'd be a good idea to write a whole new set of talks for this camp. No re-hash for me, I was going to do a five talk series on Identity in Christ from Romans.

This has meant that pretty much the past week has just been me typing. I had been thinking and working on these talks for a while, but the last minute always comes sooner than you think. So all I feel like I've done is type. By the end of this I will have written close to 20,000 words. I'm thinking I'll publish a small book, because I'll tell you what, everyone of those words is gold!

Oh summer, why have I not been there for you?

I'm going to take a day or two off when this camp is over. That'll be nice I think.

1/08/2008 12:47:00 am

No-more USA

Posted by Tom French |

Alas, as it says in James we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves in making plans. And it looks like I won't be going to the US after all. Sadly monsoon season in Mexico means Ryan won't make it to the US. And I'm not really keen on another holiday overseas by my self. But that's ok, I'm still planning on going to the US in 2010 if the Lord wills it, so that will be fun. Disneyland, you'll just have to wait a little longer.

In other news, actually I have no other news. All I do these days is write talks and sermons. I'm in the middle of prime preaching season it seems. And yesterday I was silly enough to volunteer to do another mini-sermon on Wednesday morning. But I guess when you're the closest thing to clergy a church has (the Revs are either out of the country or attending funerals), you need to do it.

Tomorrow (today) I have off though. Hooray for Re Lax and his good friends Sleep In.

1/06/2008 11:43:00 pm

USA USA

Posted by Tom French |

Today Ryan made our plans for our trip to the US this year. I'm very excited.

I'm going with my family to Guatemala to visit my sister. And then, if everything works out, Ryan is going to meet me in New York and we're going to spend a week and a half hanging out with George, Obama, Ronald, Bill Gates and fat people.

So far on the plans are to visit New York and look for zombies. Visit a few East Coasted friends. We might pop in on DC to say "Hello" to Jed, Josh, CJ, Santos, and the gang. I'll see if I can find Ainsley because she's the best.

Then we're off to LA to visit Disneyland, some studios, and a crazy church. We don't care what church just a substantially crazy one.

It's going to cool.

Of course Guatemala is exciting too. Mostly to see Jo and a bit because it's another country. But Guatemala isn't the land of the free and the home of Hollywood. So it's understand about why I'm dreaming about Starbucks and Malls and not donkeys and beans. (I had to think for a while there to write those last two things, shows how much I know about Guatemala, I should do some research. I wonder if they eat beans.)

So Disneyland and fatty boombahs here I come, eh!

1/04/2008 11:46:00 pm

Legend

Posted by Tom French |

We went and saw I Am Legend tonight. It was cool. I love deserted city movies. I'm not so much a fan of zombie movies, but this one actually made me like them more. Though the zombies were a bit silly in this film. In fact the second half of the film was a bit silly. I wanted to see more cool zombie killing tricks and stuff, but there wasn't. Oh well.

Still I had a good time I'm glad I went, it was worth watching.

Earlier in the day the house (minus Martin) went to look at a new house we could move into. Our landlady had hiked up our rent and is refusing to return our phone calls so we're looking for somewhere that's not falling to pieces and where we can be paying what it's worth. Anyway, Matt took us to see this awesome house near-by where every bedroom had a balcony, it was three levels, modern, spacious, and alarmed. It had power points, tv sockets and LAN connections everywhere. Plus it was close to shops and food. It was really cool.

Sadly it was about $230 a week more than we're paying now, and none of us are rich enough. Oh well. But it was nice to live the dream for 15 minutes.

1/04/2008 03:22:00 pm

Birds

Posted by Tom French |

"Man is a bird without wings, and a bird is a man without sorrows" - Louis de Bernières

1/04/2008 12:38:00 am

Riots

Posted by Tom French |

I just got an email from Albert the pastor I visited in Kenya with Howie. Due to all the trouble following the election things are pretty bad there. Houses have been burned and people have been killed. He said that he and his family have had to leave their home and are living in a Hotel in Kitale. His church members are hiding out in his church and he checks on them every day bringing them the food that he can find, but he can't find much. Most only small bits of cloth for blankets. And it's not a particularly comfy church to be staying in.

I wish I could do something. I'll pray. And maybe I can find a way to help.

If you're the praying kind, you know what to do.

1/01/2008 04:59:00 pm

Neo Yearo

Posted by Tom French |

2008 has arrived and good on it for finding its way here. It came right on time.

Last night was probably the quietest New Years Eve I've had in years. It's the first time I haven't been to the harbour for 6 years. I watched the fireworks in HD on TV. They weren't spectac.

I did got to a posh house in Avalon with million dollar views of the ocean. There were about seven of us, I was the youngest, and we sat around and drank wine and played board games. We were boring but I had fun. I wasn't in the mood for parties so a couch, some ocean and plenty of cheese and biscuits did me fine.

Today, after waking up, still in Avalon, I headed off to meet Howie, Jenny, David, Debby, James, BJD and Derrick (who I don't know but he made a funny joke) for the Annual New Years Day KFC and Movie Magic!

The KFC was bad as usual but the movie was awesome. We saw No Country for Old Men which was a marvellous, unrelenting, violent, thoughtful, bloody, tragedy. The film just seemed to be this meditation on people's motivations and reactions to violence and money. I'm sure it was way to smart for me. I don't really get what it was about, probably something to do with ageing, goals, and justice and it's absence. The film ended being rather unresolved, but I guess that was the point. The film was pretty relentless in the way it dealt with characters, killing them off with no warning never really caring about who you're endeared to or not.

Most of the film had no dialogue. It was just people doing stuff. It was fascinating. Rather mesmerising you could say.

Yep, it was a pretty good film. The Cohen Brothers are special.

I'm not sure everyone liked it as much as me. As soon as the credits rolled, Derrick, who'd been quiet almost the entire day, piped up in the silent cinema "What the hell was that?" (at least I think it was him). It was pretty funny. But I thought it was great.

Tomorrow I'm back to work. Shame really. Oh well. I'll see if I can fit in a few DVDs tonight before I go to sleep, just to make the most of this special time of year.

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