9/27/2009 11:04:00 pm

Neither Height nor Depth

Posted by Tom French |

I'm preaching on Romans 8 in church next Sunday. I'm excited because it's my first time preaching at my new church. The passage Romans 8:28-39 which it very cool. It's like preaching one of the Bible's greatest hits.

I'm looking forward to spending this week writing the sermon. Though I'm sure I'll be up late on Saturday night writing as usual.

The two service leaders have both asked me if I want anything for next week. I told both I wanted fireworks to go off and then I appear on stage. They both said no. Then I said I wanted to come down from the ceiling on wires like that guy came in with the cup at the Grand Final yesterday. They said this was a possibility. I'm hoping they rig it up for me.

I'm going to spend the week trying to work out what outfit to wear when I preach. I need to look hot but not too hot. Like not sexy. Holy hot.

I'm also going to try and figure out what jokes are going work on the new crowd. They're a mixed bunch, with a very broad age range. You've gotta know your crowd otherwise you'll just bomb.

At some point I may also consider what God wants to say through the passage. But that will be secondary to the fireworks, clothes and jokes. You've got to make sure the main thing is the main thing.

9/27/2009 10:51:00 pm

Work Fail

Posted by Tom French |

Yesterday was my worst day at work so far. It wasn't that bad, just my worst so far.

I turned up at 5:10pm and went to the staff entrance which was closed and the security person who checks you off gone. I asked an usher who was standing outside smoking where the staff entrance went. He said it had moved to a new door. But it hadn't. It had been closed because the shift that I thought started at 5:30 started at 5:00. I convinced one of the ticket people to let me in through their door. They didn't recognise me. No one really recognises me when I'm not in uniform there. I'm a nobody.

I rushed in, got changed. Saw a supervisor and apologised for being late. He didn't seem to care. That was good. He briefed me on the event, and told me there were relocations. Everyone had been moved from the top tier of seating to the middle tier. Although only to sections 8, 10 and 12. I was working sections 9, 10 and 11.

Unfortunately the performers (a symphony orchestra playing hit music from video games and anime) took a long time to get through sound check. So by the time we got to open the arena doors, I forgot I was meant to be putting the relocates in section 10 and started putting them in section 11. It was only about 20 minutes after opening, when a bunch of people with tickets for section 11 turned up and I found I'd put people in their seats that I realised I'd been doing it wrong. So I then had to move all the people I'd put in section 11 across to section 10. And then suddenly everyone thought that it'd be a good idea to move to empty seats that looked better. So I had to keep moving people back to where they should be. It was rather a mess.

But once the show started things calmed down. The only incident I had to attend to was a man in full US Army combat fatigues who was taking photos with an SLR camera. I told him to put it away because you're only allowed little digital cameras. He gave me a greasy and stopped taking photos.

My favourite bit of the night was when the compere, while interviewing one of the visiting conductors from overseas who express a wish to see a koala, said "I'm sure you can find somewhere to touch a koala." That and when they played the Astro-Boy theme.

At the end of the night I was given the job of standing in a deserted area of the venue to in case any lost famous Japanese composers wandered by trying to get out. My job was to send them backstage. No one came by for half an hour, and then I was allowed to go home. I enjoyed that half-hour. I'm pretty sure I didn't stuff up once.

So there you go. Worst shift so far but not really that bad at all.

9/25/2009 11:25:00 pm

Light and Gravity

Posted by Tom French |

"But now she seemed different to me. I became aware of her special powers. How she seemed to pull light and gravity to the place where she stood. I noticed as I never had before, the way her toes pointed slightly inward. The dirt on her bare knees. The way her coat fit neatly across her narrow shoulders. As if my eyes had been given magnifying powers, I saw her more closely yet. The black beauty mark, like a fleck of ink above her lip. The pink, translucent shell of her ear. The blond down on her cheeks. Inch by inch she revealed herself to me. I half expected that in another moment I'd able to make out the cells in her skin as if under a microscope, and a thought crossed my mind that had to do with the familiar worry that maybe I'd inherited too much from my father. But it didn't last long, because at the same time I was becoming conscious of her body, I was becoming aware for my own. The sensation almost knocked the breath out of me. A tingling feeling caught fire in my nerves and spread. The whole thing must have happened in less that thirty seconds. And yet. When it was over, I'd been initiated into the mystery that stands at the beginning of the end of childhood. It was years before I'd spent all the joy and pain born in me in that less than half a minute." - Nicole Krauss - The History of Love

9/25/2009 10:45:00 pm

25-09

Posted by Tom French |

So today was a rather enjoyable day.

Nathan was coming over so I got excited. I got so excited that went on a housework/gardening frenzy.

Originally, as per Nathan's suggestion, I made my list of things to do it like this:

Things to Ninja Do:

1. Eat my breakfast with no lights on
2. Do the washing up without touching the ground
3. Clean the bathroom without being seen
4. Bring in your washing, like a ninja
5. Sweep the balcony without making a noise
6. Mow the lawn with a ninja sword
7. Read Romans commentaries upside down


I even planned on doing it all, like a ninja. And I was going to take photos and stick it up here on the blog. You would all have been impressed.

I did number one easy. But number two, not so much. I was going to do the washing up sitting on a stool so I didn't have to touch the ground. Ingenious. However it was too uncomfortable and I was too far away from the sink so I gave up on ninja housework and just did the rest like a normal person.

When Nathan came I had been dozing on the couch pretending to read about Romans 8. I hadn't mown the lawn.

Nathan (I've mentioned him 4 times now. Lucky he's not a girl or you'd think I'd have a crush on him. He's married so I'm not allowed to have a crush on him, even if he was a girl.) and I watched Bender's Game and ate wedges. The movie was not very good. There were funny jokes but it was just like 4 mediocre Futurama episodes stuck together. I think I slept through some of it.

When Nathan left I got into mowing the lawn. Actually I got out the mower then sat on the front lawn and pulled out weeds while Mark Driscoll shouted at me. I took over an hour and only managed to do a third of the lawn. I don't know if that's normal. I think we may have an abundance of weeds. Still I do love gardening. I have no idea about plants and stuff. But looking after the garden feels good. I think it feels similar to the feeling you get when you chop down a tree. Only chopping down a tree feels better because it's a lot more manly.

Tonight I tagged along with my church's youth group to Alive. I'm not part of the youth group, but I wanted to go to Alive, so I was allowed to tag along so I didn't just look like a creepy random guy there.

It was an odd experience. My old youth group was there, and it's the first time I've seen the youth group since I left. I was happy to see them. Especially happy to see young people there I didn't recognise. That's what I like to see.

Seeing as it was a big Christian event on the North Shore, I spent all night seeing people I know. There were people there from all three churches I've attended, people from camps I've spoken on, conferences I've been to, colleges I've attended, and people who I know but I don't know where from. It was pretty intense.

I sat in the meeting tonight and missed being a youth minister. I missed having the young people to look after. And the many moments of silliness. And the chance to disciple young people in Jesus. As my life is shaping up I probably will never be a youth minister again. That's sad. I did love it. But there will still be teenagers around, and I'll keep doing ministry with them. I'll keep doing camps, and youth group, and church. And I'll still do ministry. But things will never be how they were and I'll miss that.

However the future is coming (isn't it always?), and I'm excited about that.

Like tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm going to do more weeding.

And that was today. I thought you all might want one of those "Day in the life" blog posts. And if you didn't, I don't care.

Oh and after Alive I went to Maccas with my church crew. Just in case you were wondering.

9/24/2009 12:40:00 pm

Pastor

Posted by Tom French |

I have a meeting with one of my Pastors in 20 minutes. Since going to church as a civilian this year I've always gotten excited when I get to go have coffee with my Pastor. I think because I've never had a Pastor who wants to go out and have a coffee with me. In the last church if a minister wanted to have coffee with me it was because they were my boss. And in the church before that, well, no one ever took anyone out for coffee, especially not as part of ministry.

So now I get excited. I tell people "I'm having coffee with my pastor" just because I like saying it. I feel like I'm name dropping. I'm not just an employee any more, I'm a congregant, I have needs!

I look forward to the day when a Pastor takes me out to coffee and tells me to stop sinning, then I'll know I've really made it as a civilian. I can't wait.

9/21/2009 12:58:00 pm

Thank You Jesus

Posted by Tom French |

The Jesus: All About Life campaign has a website where you can upload a picture where you thank Jesus for things. It's pretty special.

Jaal Jacob Black.jpg

9/20/2009 11:51:00 pm

Summer Lovin'

Posted by Tom French |

500 Days of Summer.jpg

Lesley, Jem and I went to see (500) Days of Summer this afternoon to celebrate Lesley's 40th birthday.

It's good. It is a refreshing take on love from Hollywood. It seems pitched at the late-Gen X/early-Gen Y crew. The ones who are jaded, and self-aware, and pop-culture savvy. And the ones who believe in love because they've believed the Hollywood story that true love is out there, you just have to find the one.

There was lots of good film making. Inventive ways to tell a conventional story. Good mixing of reality and character's imagination. There was a wonderful scene where the main character's (Tom's) expectations of an upcoming party were played along side the reality as it happened. It was for me, so real. I'm always making up stories about how things are going to go, how they might go, and how I'd like them to go, especially when it comes to girls, and it never happens that way I plan, want or expect. Reality is too good at throwing unforeseen dimensions into the mix.

Usually at the end of films about love they make me want to be in love. Especially films with good sound tracks and quirky female leads like Garden State. But this film, I'm not so sure. It had the sound track and the quirky female lead. Admittedly, it's not a love story, just a film about love. But it was optimistic enough that it wasn't trying to turn you off trying to find your true love. But the film didn't leave me feeling like that. It left me feeling like I had watched something real. Perhaps not real in that relationships happen in quite the way the film portrayed, but the film certainly had an emotional authenticity that resonated with me.

It did leave me thinking "Who would bother having a relationship?" Tom, the main character said at one point "Loneliness is underrated" which totally made sense to me. Maybe I'm just coming from a perspective where relationships are all effort and no pay off, but if there is anything all my many years of unrequited love and singleness have taught me, it's that being alone doesn't kill you. And in fact, as long as there's no-one you want to be with, being alone is perfectly enjoyable. That said, I've seen enough good relationships, watched enough movies, read enough books and had enough crushes to know that I probably am missing out on something. But whatever it is, it's elusive and I'm happy, so I shan't stress too much.

At least I shan't stress until I watch Garden State again. Bloody Natalie Portman!

9/20/2009 10:38:00 pm

Funny People

Posted by Tom French |

Funny People.jpg

I went to see Funny People on Friday night with Howie. Howie doesn't get out much so sometimes I have to take him on outings so his social interaction skills don't get too rusty.

The film itself was very funny. Many a rude joke. I must say, this current trend of rude joked movies doesn't upset me at all. The 13-year-old in me is delighted.

But the film isn't really a comedy. I'd call it a drama that's funny. It's look at the sad lives of funny people. Comedians who work so hard to make people laugh and become the most insecure people. The most successful comedian is also the saddest.

Often the funniest people in life seem to be the saddest. I makes me think that if ever I plan on being a stand-up, I should wait till I have clinical depression first. I don't know if I want to make those sort of sacrifices for my art. I'll stick with Christian comedy where you don't have to be depressed because depression is a sin. As is just being sad actually. Which is why Christians don't have anything really good to make jokes about.

The romance subplot in the film looked similar to the one I blogged about, but it actually threw the bad husband/poor wife thing on it's head, which was a little disappointing, but only because it wasn't the film I'm looking for. Otherwise I quite enjoyed it. I'm happy when the conventions are broken.

The pacing of the film is odd, with the two halves seeming rather disconnected to each other. Some of the film really slows down just to watch people interacting with each other. It should have been boring, but I was interested in the characters. It felt very un-rude-comedy. The focus of the film is a little eclectic shifting around from the young comedians, to the star's sickness, to his redemption, to his love life. I guess the whole thing is really a look at the relationship between Adam Sandler's character and his PA (Seth Rogan) and their power plays and inability to relate properly as friends.

Were I writing a Christian review I would comment on the fact that the main character was searching for fulfilment that can only be found in Jesus. The depression and insecurity of Sandler's character is just crying out for a Christian to say "He needs Jesus because Jesus is all about life!"

But Christians will probably stay away from the film publicly. It won't get many reviews in Christian publications, certainly not good reviews. And I can promise you it won't get any sermon illustrations, because there are too many jokes about genitalia. Personally I'm immature enough to find genitalia jokes very funny. I still won't do a sermon illustration on it.

So I liked the film. I liked that it made me laugh. And I enjoyed that it was interested enough in characters and relationships that it would drop the laughs if it needed to go for substance.

9/19/2009 01:47:00 pm

Peas

Posted by Tom French |

"If I'm calling at two in the morning it only means one thing, baby!" - Black Eyed Peas

When people call me at 2am I'm usually pretty confident that it doesn't "only mean one thing, baby."

9/18/2009 06:06:00 pm

International Preaching

Posted by Tom French |

I stuck up the sermon I did at CrossWay Church when I preached in there in June.

If you're interested, you can get it here.

9/18/2009 05:21:00 pm

House Keeping

Posted by Tom French |

So you may have noticed that I've started using tags on my posts. I'm now going back through my archives adding tags to my posts. I'm also going back to the early days of the blog and adding titles to the posts so they display correctly. As there are over 3,500 posts to deal with I expect to be doing this for the next three years.

Joy.

9/18/2009 04:39:00 pm

Rejected: Update

Posted by Tom French |

For all those of you who were worried about my self-esteem, I talked to the guy who was in charge of hiring for the position. He said they interviewed two people who knew the organisation better than me first, and one of them had everything they needed, which makes sense. But he said my application was good. He didn't mention my awesome customer service skills.

I got nervous on this phone call too (like when I withdrew from the application process on the other job). But this time I didn't sound like I was going to cry, I think I sounded angry. Which I didn't mean to at all. I hope the man doesn't think I hate him.

So there you go. Matt was right. Much ado about nothing. Or nothing for me at least.

Thanks for letting me mope.

9/17/2009 09:26:00 pm

Rejected

Posted by Tom French |

I got rejected for a job today. That's not really anything new.

However this was the first job all year I've applied for which I actually thought I had a really good chance of getting, at very least getting an interview. It was to be a Youth Ministry advisor-type two days a week for a denomination. I thought a job like that would allow me to maybe spend another three days a week doing the secular work I'd been wanting to do this year and I could still do youth ministry stuff.

But alas, they sent me an email today saying I was unsuccessful.

I rang the number they gave me to find out why I got turned down, but the guy didn't answer so I left a voice mail.

So I'm not sure why I didn't get an interview. I did notice that on the resume I sent them, while I had updated the details of my employment to make it more church friendly, I had forgotten to change my "Key Strengths" from my last application. So my very top key strength was "Excellent Customer Service". That was a little embarrassing. I'm pretty sure most denominations aren't looking for Youth Ministry Advisors who have excellent customer service. Plus it looks pretty bad that the person applying has put in so little effort into their application that they didn't even bother tailoring their key strengths to the role.

Now that I think about it, the day I wrote I was excellent at customer service I must have been feeling pretty cocky, because I wouldn't even list customer service in my top 20 strengths. I'd probably list it somewhere around the same place as "Pretty Good at Handball" and "Has all 10 fingers and toes".

If I got rejected for something other than my "key strengths", I don't know what it was. I felt like I addressed all the key criteria for the role. I thought my cover letter was pretty freaking awesome. I figured I'd at least get an interview.

It turns out to get rejected for this job without even getting an interview, that hurt. Every other job I haven't really worried about. Every other job I've known I probably haven't been that qualified for. But this one, well, Youth Ministry is what I do. If there is anything I should be qualified for and good at it's youth ministry. And so for someone to say "Nope, you're not even good enough for an interview", I've taken it a little personally.

But, as I said when I applied, it's up to God. I just figured if God didn't want me to have the job, he'd close things down after the interview. Not before, that's pretty harsh.

So today I've felt humbled. And today I felt stupid for thinking I'd be good enough to get an interview. And today I tried to remind myself that my qualifications and experience are not where my value lies. And today I moped because I was in the mood to mope before I got rejected anyway.

I'm hoping the guy calls me back tomorrow and tells me I got rejected because I have excellent customer service. That would make me feel better about myself.

In the end the lessons for me to learn are:
1 - Read your full resume before you send it
2 - You may not be as good as you think you are
3 - If you believe it's up to God, then you actually have to let it be up to God

9/15/2009 11:16:00 am

I agree with Kanye

Posted by Tom French |

Beyoncé had one of the best music videos of all time.

Still you shouldn't steal the poor girl's award moment, that's just mean.

9/14/2009 02:42:00 pm

Half a dozen of the other

Posted by Tom French |

From the PM's blog:

"One in four young Australians aged between 16 and 24 have experienced mental health disorders in the previous 12 months, yet only a quarter of young people receive professional help."

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't one in four, one quarter? So it seems to me that every young person who experiences a mental health disorder receives professional help.

I think they mean that only a quarter of the one in four (one in sixteen if I'm not mistaken) receive professional help but it's not very clear.

9/14/2009 12:28:00 am

To Teach or to Have Authority

Posted by Tom French |

I've been writing this post for a few days now. I'm posting it even though I think it's still a bit of a mess. If I've ever wanted an editor for my blog, it's now. But I'm sure if you guys can't handle it, you'll just stop reading, and that won't offend me in the slightest, especially as you probably won't tell me.


Mark v Joyce.jpg

I've been reading a book for a little too long now called Two Views of Women in Ministry. I've also been looking at issues of women in ministry in class at college. It means that I've spent the last month or so thinking about gender roles in the church.

I decided I wanted to make my mind up on the issue, because I've generally just coasted along happy to let everyone else worry about it, but I knew that some day I'd have to pin my colours to the mast or at very least have my colours ready to be pinned when the time came.

I haven't yet made up my mind, but I'm working on it.

What I have been thinking about is that the debate is about more that just what women can and cannot do in a church. It's about Gender Roles and Biblical Authority. I say this because the way Christians make up their mind on the issue of gender roles will reflect their view of the Bible.

Part of the reason that people get so worked up on the issue is that if people reject the complementarian perspective (women can't do everything) it seems to be flying in the face of clear biblical teaching. So rejecting complimentarianism is rejecting biblical authority. Unfortunately the debate about the issue is muddied by the implications that are suggested by some positions within the debate. It's hard to say you're an egalitarian (woman can do everything) when you might get your commitment to the Word of God questioned.

However I'm not sure that the Bible is as clear on the subject as some people say it is. I am sure though that how we go about making up our mind on the issue of gender roles in the church will clarify where were stand on the issue of biblical authority.

For instance for some it's not really a matter of biblical authority at all. For them men and women are equal so they should be able to have equal roles. If the Bible says different then the Bible is wrong. It's easy enough.

Others who feel they owe a bit of allegiance to the Bible will read 1 Tim 2:12 ("I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent") and decide that Paul was wise in some cases but misled in this one and just expressing the culture of the day. So we should interpret Paul in light of his obvious cultural prejudices and dismiss anything that doesn't allow for the equality of the sexes.

The problem I see with this that while is seems more thoughtful, it's merely just cultural arrogance, or to use C.S. Lewis' term, "chronological snobbery"; the belief that because Paul lived in another time and in another culture then he's obviously wrong when he disagrees with us. It neglects the fact that the values of gender equality, and the expressions of that equality that we take for granted now have been established only fairly recently, and they fly in the face of the majority the church's history of interpreting the Bible. To declare, without serious thought, that 1900 years of Biblical scholarship is wrong because it disagrees with your cultural values is, like I say, arrogance.

I am not saying that the end position is wrong, just the process of getting there.

However, in contrast to this, others who believe the Bible and view it as perfect inerrant, aren't willing to view the Bible as flawed so they see 1 Tim 2:12 and the response is obvious: don't let a woman be a leader, don't let a woman preach, no debate.

The problem with this is that it fails to take into account the weight of biblical evidence for authoritative women's ministry within the Bible. And where the previous view assumes cultural inferiority, this one fails to think about cultural and biblical context entirely.

All these approaches fail to take the authority and/or nature of the Bible seriously.

The only way to appropriately deal with the issue while maintaining biblical authority is to look carefully at all the biblical evidence for and against women in ministry and then make your decision based on what you think the Bible is saying. You can't base your decision on just one or two proof-texts that support your argument, you can't just make up your mind without the Bible, because this isn't an issue the Bible is silent on, and you can't just make up your mind on a cursory reading of the Bible, because the issue is too complex. It needs thought, prayer, diligence and an openness to be change your mind.

As this is such a volatile issue, and but not really that important in the scheme of things (i.e. it's not a salvation issue), I reckon most people should deliberately not make up their minds. Unless you're going to put in the effort to decide on what you actually think the Bible is saying, perhaps it's better to just sit on the fence. It's not as if your indecision is going to stop people hearing about Jesus. And if you don't make a decision it saves you getting into fights and alienating people who disagree with you and it frees you up to get on with the more important things Christ calls us too.*

If you do want to have the debate then do the work to take the Bible seriously and work out what God has to say on the issue. To take the authority of the Bible seriously will mean that those who are for allowing women to do all types of ministry need to be willing to change their view if they find that the Bible states otherwise. For those who are holding on to male only eldership in the church also need to be willing to change their mind if they find their views are inconsistent with the Bible.

Too often we are holding our views because of something other than the Bible. We use the Bible to prop up their own ideas of equality or our own chauvinist values. When we are willing to ignore the teaching of the Bible because it clashes with our own ideas of what is right and wrong, then the Bible has ceased to be authoritative in our life.

Of course the problem is that if we base our decisions on the Bible we are in danger of offending people and/or being culturally insensitive, but if we base our decisions on something other than the Bible we are in danger of allowing God's revealed truth be be of secondary importance to accepted cultural truth. It will mean that the gospel can only be truthful if it fits in with cultural norms and the gospel will never fit in with the norms of any culture.

The greatness of what God has done in the gospel will always fly in the face of culture because universal human sinfulness and helplessness, and divine wrath, favour and forgiveness will never find a comfortable fit with any group of people in any time of history. The very fact that the Gospel transforms culture means that it must always be regarded as being above culture. We need to interpret culture in light of the Gospel not the Gospel in light of culture.

When we erode the authority of the Bible, we erode the authority of the gospel and we limit the chance it has to transform culture and transform lives.**

As far as I know of all those of you who read my blog your views on gender roles and biblical authority will stretch right across the spectrum, from conservative to liberal to the people who aren't Christians and consequently don't care at all. So for some of you biblical authority is a non-issue, you've never claimed to have the Bible as a guiding authority in your life. For others you like the Bible and see it as containing truth about God but you aren't willing to view it all as authoritative and inspired. Others of you are like me and you view the Bible as the inerrant word of God, authoritative because it is God's revelation of himself to us through which he uniquely helps us to understand it by the Holy Spirit.

So being who I am and having my views on the Bible I think the most helpful thing we can do for the debate on gender roles is to continually call people to have the debate in love, tolerance and openness to be wrong. We need to assess and re-assess the biblical evidence, and base our decisions on that. If we start to allow the church to make up it's mind on issues by established prejudice or by what is culturally accepted and appropriate rather than on what the Bible teaches we erode the strength our best, most reliable source of God's revelation. It'd be rather a shame, in our rush to hold on to what we think is right to ignore our best source of wisdom on what God thinks is right.


*I understand that some will view not allowing women to do every role as an injustice against women. And to do the work of Christ will be to fight against any kind of oppression of people due to their gender, race, age, looks or anything else. As far as I can tell the Bible is clear about the equal value and importance of both male and female. Both are created in God's image, both have equal access to God and his salvation, both are gifted by God to do good works and serve. Whatever the Bible teaches it does not teach that one gender is ontologically inferior to another. The debate, if had biblically, is whether equal value is equivalent to equal access to roles within the church. If that is the case and equality is firmly established how it is expressed should not a central issue to most Christians.

**Happily, it's God's gospel and not ours of even if we do manage to erode the authority of the gospel, it's going keep marching on transforming the world regardless of what we do to stop it. But the fact that God's saving transforming work is going to go on regardless of what we do is no excuse for us to neglect to protect the purity of the gospel and the authority of the Bible. Just because God will work despite us doesn't mean that's the way he wants to do it.

9/13/2009 12:31:00 am

Public Holidays

Posted by Tom French |

I read this article in SMH. For the record I like public holidays.

I think Muslims should be allowed to not work on their public holidays. I'm happy Christians don't have to work on theirs. If the Zoroastrians want a few days off too, they should get them.

I'm all up for a pluralistic society with pro-active freedom of religion. Especially if it means we all get more days off.

9/12/2009 01:57:00 am

Thinking of the Future

Posted by Tom French |

I've decided that I need to keep a journal. At least a second journal to my normal prayer journal. My prayer journal is pretty dull, and a little embarrassing. I need to keep another journal full of inspirational stuff so that if I die (probably more like when I die, if I'm being realistic) it can be published and everyone will see that my inner spiritual life was amazing and Christian youth speakers can quote me for years to come.

I'll write things like "I just want to live for you Jesus" and "I now realise that it's only through embracing brokenness that God will show us his true picture of wholeness" and "I met my greatest enemy again today, you know the guy who stabbed me in the kidney last year? I saw he was being beaten up by a gang of thugs at Hornsby Station. I ran in to help. They broke my leg and made me blind in one eye. Thank you Lord that I can share in your sufferings. I hope my enemy is ok and not too scared to go to the station in the future, he could lose his job if he's afraid of the train. Jesus bless him."

I'm pretty sure that'll be a best seller at Koorong. The only problem is that I'll be dead so I won't get any of the money. Perhaps I will have to fake my death too. That way I can funnel the money from my estate into my secret account and live happily forever.

Faking my own death also means I can plan to die in the most inspirational way possible to do maximum book sales. I think I will be tortured to death in some hard-line middle eastern country's prison for refusing to renounce my faith after being arrested giving food and the gospel of Mark in Arabic comic book form to impoverished terrorist children.

If that doesn't make you buy my journal, you've got no heart.

I'll just have to make sure I mark which journal is the inspirational one clearly. It'd be terrible to go to all the trouble to fake your own inspirational death and then people read your journal and realise you were actually pretty dull:

"Thank you God that I didn't get that job. It looked crap anyway."

"Please give me grace because I didn't study for my exam again."

"Please make my hair grow fast because this haircut looks terrible. Only on my head though. My back hair is growing fast enough."

9/10/2009 09:34:00 pm

Which Film is this?

Posted by Tom French |

So a movie plot arrived in my head tonight. I'm sure it's at least one movie. Probably many. But I can't think of any. Except maybe the trailer for Funny People (but I haven't seen the film so I don't know if this is what happens). So if you guys know a film like this let me know what it is:

Boy meets Girl.
Boy likes Girl.
Boy and Girl are friends, and do or do not get together.
Boy and Girl break up/never got together, but Boy always loves Girl.
Boy leaves Girl's life and/or Girl meets Guy who is horrible to her, but she falls in love with him.
Girl marries Idiot Man
After a few years Girl is unhappy with Idiot Man.
Boy comes back into Girl's life.
Boy and Girl have an affair.

And then obviously they are happy till Idiot Man finds out and things go pear shaped.

So what's the film? I know there are plenty of Girl is married to Idiot, Girl has affair. But I can't think of Girl marries Idiot has affair with old nice Boy who loved her.

Any thoughts?

9/10/2009 10:46:00 am

Sensitivity

Posted by Tom French |

"It's time to get real - fat people may be happier but they're also digging their graves with a fork, and we're all paying for it." - Suzie O'Brien

9/09/2009 12:17:00 am

And You Call Yourself Cultured

Posted by Tom French |

I like to think of myself as a pretty broad tasted guy when it comes to my listening habits. I pride myself on the fact that I don't listen to just Hillsong and 103.2. In fact I would say I'm a snob. I look down on people who only listen to Christian stuff and judge them for their small mindedness. (Dear Reader, I'm not talking about you, I'm talking about other people.)

Looking at my iPod here are the last ten artists I have listened to:

1. John Piper (Christian Preacher)
2. John Stott (Christian Preacher)
3. Mark Meynell (Christian Preacher)
4. Tom French (Christian Preacher)*
5. Tom Waits (Non-Christian!)
6. Tim Keller (Christian Preacher)
7. Tim Hughes (Christian Worship Artist)
8. Damien Rice (Non-Christian!)
9. Brenton Brown (Christian Worship Artist)
10. Anberlin (Christian Emo)


What a shame. Further down the list is Linkin Park, Yellowcard and The Boss. But really, my iPod is just like a regular church service in my pocket. My snobbery dictates now that I should look down on myself.

It's also interesting that right now I seem to have a preference for Johns, Toms and Tims. Who would have thought?

I promise to do better next time.


* That's a little embarrassing. I forgot I listened to myself when I started the list. Had I remembered I would have saved this post till I had dropped off the end and none of you would have been any the wiser.

9/07/2009 10:26:00 am

Withdrawal

Posted by Tom French |

I just had to make a phone call and withdraw from the application process for a job. I got so nervous I'm sure the woman on the phone thought I was about to cry. It was very embarrassing.

Breaking up is hard to do.

9/06/2009 11:04:00 pm

Hairdresser

Posted by Tom French |

I got a hair cut today. My hair is now short. My hairdresser was a from the land of Iraq. This was some of our conversation:

Him: What you want?
Me: Shorter, neater.
Him: What number?
Me: No number, just the scissors. Sometimes I get a four on the sides. I'm not very good with hair. I don't know what looks good.
Him: I know, you like zero.
Me: No. I don't like zero.
Him: You look good with zero.
Me: I'll have no hair. I'm not that brave. I'm losing my hair so I'll have a zero soon enough.
Him: You come to me in five years, you say "I want zero", I say "You don't need zero. Your hair is all gone." You married?
Me: No.
Him: Girlfriend?
Me: No.
Him: Headache?
Me: Sometimes.
Him: You get too many headaches from girlfriends?
Me: That's why I don't have one. *I think that's probably a lie.* Are you married?
Him: No.
Me: Do you have a girlfriend?
Him: Yes. But we need to break. She give me too many headaches. I don't like her. Two months I have not seen her, only talk on phone.
Me: That sounds like you should break up.
Him: Yes. You meet girls at work?
Me: Some, but they're mostly old.
Him: How old?
Me: 40.
Him: You like forty-year-olds?
Me: No, the people I work with are forty.
Him: The girls like forty-year-olds?
Me: Maybe. They're too old of me, they're forty.
Him: You like younger. 20 is good. Or 25 you like?
Me: 25 is a good age.
Him: Yes. 25 good age to sex.
Me: Laughs

Usually I don't like hairdresser talk, but this guy was more fun.

9/06/2009 10:55:00 pm

Love Letter

Posted by Tom French |

Dear Internet,

You've changed my life. For the most part, thank you.

Love,

Tom

9/04/2009 11:26:00 am

Lawyers

Posted by Tom French |

Last night all my dreams were just filled with lawyers. It was wholly unsatisfying.

Sorry Victor.

9/02/2009 11:32:00 pm

Woy Woy

Posted by Tom French |

I went to college this morning despite the almost overwhelming desire to wag.

On the way home I was sleepy because I'd gotten up so early. So as usual I fell asleep on the express from Strathfield to Hornsby. As I slept I vaguely heard the guard say over the loudspeaker "Next stop Hornsby" and in my sleepy state I thought to myself "No it's not, she's got it wrong" and went back to sleep.

20 minutes later I woke up and the carriage was a lot emptier. I looked out the window and noticed a lot of bush and no houses. I was way past Hornsby. Oops.

I felt a little bit dumb and tried not to obviously react in case the whole train realised I'd overslept and also thought I was dumb.

A minute or so later the train came around a corner and I suddenly got a view out over Brooklyn, over the bridges, the water, the bush, island. It was beautiful. In that moment I felt like sleeping past my station was totally worth it just for that view. It's a good looking part of the world that.

The train's first stop was Woy Woy, so I hopped off. Another train arrived to take me back to Hornsby 2 minutes later and I was right as rain.

That is until the ticket inspectors turned up in the carriage. I stressed about not having the right ticket, planned my whole explanation and was ready when he arrived. In the end all I needed to say was "I have the wrong ticket, I slept past my station" and show him my ticket and he let me off. I was disappointed I didn't get to tell him my story.

Lucky I have a blog.

9/02/2009 11:31:00 pm

Question

Posted by Tom French |

Here's a question I was thinking about today that most of you probably won't answer:

If they were going to do a new adaptation of "Dune" for the cinema, who would you want to direct it?

I was thinking Ridley Scott, Danny Boyle or Neill Blomkamp. Thoughts?

9/02/2009 11:00:00 pm

Fighting

Posted by Tom French |

fighting.jpg

I hung out with some of the boys from Church last night. We went to the RSL, talked about manly things while drinking beer and then went to a movie. We went to see Fighting. I hadn't heard of the film till I saw it on the Greater Union session board. I figured with a name like Fighting it would be hard for the film to disappoint. (Unless it was about middle aged marriage breakdown, those movies are always depressing.)

The turned out to be about a guy who gets pulled into the underground bare-knuckle fighting scene. It's obviously cashing in on the UFC (Ultimate Fighting) craze sweeping American testosterone at the moment. It's the film that Never Back Down wanted to be but wasn't.

I was actually rather impressed. There were some solid performances from the leads. And the film seemed to be aware of subtlety (at least relative to most other films in it's genre). It had a restrained feel about it. The whole time I thought it was going to bust out into training montages, slow motion punches and girls in bikinis, to keep it's teenage male target audience happy, but it didn't. It held back. I appreciated that.

The film felt like Rocky if it had been made today. It wasn't as amazing as Rocky, but it had the messiness and some of the charm of Rocky. Often times people would have conversations that were a mess. Characters would fail to articulate their feelings properly, they'd neglect to tell each other information, they'd end up fighting and misunderstanding each other. It was nice. I didn't always know why they'd get angry at each other, but then again, we often don't quite know how we end up getting angry at each other either. Someone says something, the other person hears it wrong, and your both left to wonder what went wrong. I loved the inability of the characters to articulate what they needed to say. It felt real.

And to top it all off there was fighting. In fact the fighting was probably the most disappointing part of the film. It wasn't bad, but you missed a lot of the action because the film makers were obviously going for a more accessible rating. Still I did enjoying the fighting, I just wish I could have seen more of it.

So I reckon see Fighting. It's not going to change the world. But it's a solid little performer that's brave enough to do the youth, UFC film without resorting to hot girls and inane bad guys.

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