1/29/2010 11:52:00 pm

Consider the Birds

Posted by Tom French |

“You see, He is making the birds our schoolmasters and teachers. It is a great and abiding disgrace to us that in the Gospel a helpless sparrow should become a theologian and a preacher to the wisest of men...Whenever you listen to a nightingale, therefore, you are listening to an excellent preacher...It is as if he were saying, ‘I prefer to be in the Lord’s kitchen. He has made heaven and earth, and He Himself is the cook and the host.’ Every day He feeds and nourishes innumerable little birds out of His hand.” - Martin Luther on Matthew 6:26

1/28/2010 02:17:00 pm

Office Life

Posted by Tom French |

It's day three in the office at my new job. I'm learning stuff all the time. We are in an open plan office. I've never worked in one of these before. Perhaps the most useful thing I have learnt is that one must be careful. People can creep up on you and arrive in your cubicle with no warning. As a result I can't behave like I used to when I had my own office. I now must be very sneeky when picking my nose, I must hold my farts till they can't be blamed on me and I must always wear pants when at my desk. This is going to be tough.

1/24/2010 12:19:00 am

Topic

Posted by Tom French |

I heard today on the Church rumour vine that I'm going to be asked to preach in the next few months on any topic I want. I have no idea what I'd do. Anyone got any requests? Suggestions? Words from the Lord?

Of course I'll think and pray about it, but I'd love a bit of guidance, people. And if your suggestion gets picked, then you can feel content in the knowledge that you dictated what I was going to spend 15-20 hours of my life preparing. That's power.

1/22/2010 11:49:00 pm

Killing in the Name of...

Posted by Tom French |

Trijicon sight.jpg

I just read that a US gun sight manufacturer has gotten into trouble for putting Bible references on its gun sights. People are concerned that if US military personnel, who use the sights, are captured, the reference will be seen and their captors will think the US is on a Christian crusade against the Muslim hordes.

So the US, as well as Australia and New Zealand, are looking at ways of getting rid of the Bible references off the sights.

It seems that they want to get rid of it because of what is essentially a PR problem for them if someone gets captured. I don't know, but I'm guessing, that if your soldier is getting captured by an enemy fighter, you already have a PR problem and no amount of scripture reference removal is going to solve that.

What no one has mentioned in any of the articles that I have read (though someone may have mentioned it somewhere), is that the bigger issue shouldn't be that it'll offend Muslims, but that you'll offend Christians. I'm pretty sure the Muslims are already offended. You're in their lands bringing "freedom" to their people, appropriating their resources for your own wealth and bombing their children. Scripture reference or no scripture reference, that's pretty offensive.

I, however, find it terribly offensive that you would take the words of my Lord, the Prince of Peace, and brand them on weapons used to perpetrate evil. I think guns are as cool as the next guy, but the only weapons I will trust are those that are in the hands of Jesus. Anything else is in the hands of a sinful human for, most probably, evil purposes.

Now there may or may not be a place for force in the scheme of things. And there may be times when violence is appropriate for the protection of the innocent and the combating of injustice. But I cannot for the life of me see how it honours Jesus to put a Bible reference on a gun which is primarily designed to take the life of a person created in God's image, who is so precious to him that he gave up his life for them.

Whether they think that any of these wars that we are fighting are just or not (and you can probably tell that I don't think they are), I cannot see how anyone could think they could spiritualise and sanctify something that is one of the most horrific outworkings of our fallen and evil nature with a few Bible verses. That is disgusting and offensive.

If you're wondering the Bible references were these:

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
- Psalm 27:1

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. - 2 Cor 4:6


Perhaps if they liked their references to light so much, they should have mediated on this one for a while:

He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Come, O house of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the LORD.
- Isaiah 2:4-5

1/22/2010 11:34:00 pm

Things Not to Say Around the New Boss

Posted by Tom French |

I was on camp last week with a bunch of Christian teenagers from around NSW and we were playing that old card game "Mafia". The way it works is people get given cards saying whether they're in the Mafia or not. Then the players vote to kill off other players who they think might be Mafia.

A campaign was started to vote me off as Mafia. To which I responded: "You can't kill me, that would be wrong. Killing me would be like killing Jesus, cause I'm innocent!"

Turns out I was lying, and my new boss was sitting just behind us watching the game. I bet he was glad he hired me to be their new ambassador for Christ to the students of NSW.

1/22/2010 11:45:00 am

Making a Pact with a Devil

Posted by Tom French |

I'm currently researching credit cards. Not because I want one, but because it may be the most effective way with my new job to do money stuff. I've never wanted a credit card, the lure of having the ability to spend $5000 I don't have is not one I really want to have to deal with.

On Monday I'm doing a Bible Study on Matt 6:19-24. Verse 24 says: "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

I feel like, for me, getting a credit card just excites too many feelings of "Oh my goodness I could buy so much stuff!" in me. I'm already feeling that with the reality of a full time salary looming.

Happily at the moment, I'm hating the credit card, so I'm hoping that I'm loving God. I'll see if I can find a way to continue my hostility and make any credit card I have serve my good Master.

Or perhaps I just won't get a credit card. That'd be nice.

1/22/2010 01:46:00 am

Question

Posted by Tom French |

What's the film, set during a war, Vietnam perhaps, where there are dancing Nurses? Or perhaps just one dancing nurse. But I think multiple.

1/21/2010 12:52:00 am

Blind Guides

Posted by Tom French |

Today I saw a blind person being led by another blind person who was being led by another blind person. It was the blind leading the blind leading the blind. They almost walked into a pole while at the same time almost careening off the foot path. Their stick skills seemed to be a little lacking. While you shouldn't really find these things funny it brought a certain amount of slapstick glee to my callous heart. Can you call that black slapstick? Who would have ever thought you could call slapstick black?

Anyway, I was pretty pleased to see a re-life enactment of Jesus' parable.

But the fun didn't last all that long because a friendly man was condescending enough to go and help the three blind humans and direct them away from the pole and minor precipice. I thought it was very brave of him to acknowledge their disability and help in such an un-PC way. Generally I'm too scared to help people with a disability who I don't know. I think they'll probably get offended that I think they can't help themselves. So I leave them to walk into parked cars or get stuck at the bottom of ditches safe in the knowledge that though they may get a little injured they still have their dignity intact.

1/19/2010 11:15:00 am

Former Christian Youth Minister!

Posted by Tom French |

The other night I was about to go to bed when I found myself watching a quick YouTube video that went for an hour and twenty minutes.

It's billed as an Ex-Christian Youth Minister talking about how he was led to Islam by the Bible. Seeing as Islam rather fascinates me, I was quite happy to watch this video.

The sad thing is, I don't think this guy was ever a Christian. And when he had problems with the Bible and asked questions, he was given terrible answers. Answers like "Oh you shouldn't be asking questions, our belief in the Bible is based on faith." Most of his issues with the Bible are simple issues which could easily have been answered but he was told not to ask questions. Bah!

It was a good watch though. The guy has no appreciation of grace and it's interesting to see how he responds to the issues in the Bible that can only be understood in the light of grace. It's also interesting to hear what he has to say about Islam where grace is not an option. Plus some of what he says is quite funny. Like actually funny, you don't laugh at him but with him. Islam needs more funny preachers.

1/18/2010 09:27:00 am

Driscoll on the Driscollites

Posted by Tom French |

After my post on the Driscollites a while ago I found a quote by Driscoll, which could easily sum up the negative extreme of the Driscollite movement. I wrote it down and never blogged it. So now I'm blogging it. I think it's from one of his sermons on 1 Corinthians.

"Some of us however are just absolute jerks and pit-bulls and self-appointed little neat nicks and nit-picking theologians for Christ. And we're over on the religious right just looking for someone to chew on. We're over on the theological right just looking for someone to bite. And I'm not saying that you don't contend for the gospel of Jesus Christ but if all you do is contend, you're a sinner. You're a Pharisee, you're a self-righteous hypocrite. Because you don't love anybody, you just love to bite people and that's not the same as loving them. And so some of you today who are those hard core, doctrinaire, theologians, 20-year-old Calvinists with a blog at your mom's house, in your bedroom, on the computer that she bought because you're unemployed, you need to repent of everything, including the things you argue about with other 20-year old guys who know jack squat and are over at their mom's house blogging about your blog. You all need to repent. Right? You're a great theologian but a bad missionary. You've memorised the words of Paul but you have not followed in the example of Paul." - Mark Driscoll

1/17/2010 11:59:00 pm

Facial Landscaping

Posted by Tom French |

I noticed yesterday that I had one sideburn that was significantly longer than the other. It's not like I really have sideburns, but the right hand side was certainly making a run for achieving sideburn status. This morning I realigned my facial hair with impunity. Cheeky cheek follicles thinking they could make a run for it.

Ever since the restorative shave, I've been walking with a much more balanced gait.

1/15/2010 08:20:00 pm

Confrontation

Posted by Tom French |

I arrived at my ushering work on Monday evening thinking I was going to be working a concert from a rather famous Welsh singer with a hairy chest. As it happened I got my dates wrong and I found out that I was working a boxing match. I had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I was much more interested in seeing the boxing than the hairy Welshman, on the other I was pretty sure the boxing fans would be harder to control than the singer's generally middle-aged, female fans.

As it turned out I was on the glass doors which meant I wasn't inside the arena to see the fight. I thought that would be ok until one of the other ushers said to me "Oh you get to turn away the Hell's Angels when they want to get in without a ticket."

This seemed not such a good plan.

Still, no Hell's Angel's turned up without a ticket. And everyone who came through my door was very friendly.

I think at least 50% of the people who came through my door were big, scary looking blokes, who looked like they could handle themselves in the event of an apocalyptic looting and random bashings riot rather well. Unless of course you need speed to handle yourself in such a riot, in which case these guys may have been a little slow. It's hard to run fast when your torso weighs the same as a large fridge.

I did enjoy letting these guys in, because they all smiled at me when they arrived and said "Thanks mate" when I let them in. I generally feel pretty good when I have about a thousand "mates" who could knock out a rhino with one punch. It makes you feel like if you get into trouble they'll be there for you. Though I'm pretty sure Aussie mateship doesn't extend that far except for really exceptional ushers.

Which is a shame because when trouble came I would have liked to have had my muscle bound mates around.

I was standing on the door telling people the usual info "Sorry, there are no pass outs, but if you want to smoke, there are smoking areas over there and down there."

I generally get into the argument about there being no pass-outs about 10 times a night despite the fact that there is a sign on every door at every point of entry saying "NO PASS OUTS". On Monday night I seemed to have it every 10 minutes, and everyone was a little more hostile about it. It may have been something to do with the copious amounts of beer and punching that was being enjoyed within the building.

Still everyone obeyed my "no pass outs" policy, except one.

This guy came up to me while he was on the phone and said he needed to leave.

I asked him if he needed to smoke, because we have smoking areas. He replied that he did but he also needed to do something else. I said that he couldn't leave because there are no pass outs.

"Are you telling me that I can't leave?" he asked.

"I'm saying you can't leave and come back in because there are no pass outs." I replied.

"What do you mean I can't leave and come back? I'm just going to be outside and then come back in. I'm going to be 5 minutes."

"Yeah, I'm sure you are, but I can't let you out and let back in, because we don't give pass outs. But if you need to smoke, there are smoking areas, and we have places to get food and drink inside. If you really need to get out you can go downstairs to information and see if they'll give you a pass out."

"I don't want go downstairs, I want to go out here."

"If you go out here, I can't let you back in."

"If I want to come back in, I'm coming back in." Then he comes closer to me and says "Are you trying to to make a fool of me in front of all these people? Is that what you you're trying to do? Are you trying to make me look bad in front of everyone?"

I looked around the empty foyer and really wanted to say "There's no one around. It's just you and me here." But I said "No, all I'm saying is that there aren't any pass outs, once you're in you're in, once you're out you're out. If you really need to leave you can go and try and get a pass out down stairs, they're your options."

"Do you want me to give you another option?" By this stage he was right up in my face. And I'm thinking "Damn, I'm about to get punched in the mouth" and I was pretty sure he could handle me quite well.

I said "You can leave but there are a whole lot of security and police here who will stop you from coming back in."

He looked at me for a bit then said "I need to go and then I'm coming back." And with that he walked outside.

I walked outside too, down the stairs to the smoking section outside my door, and said to the security guard "There's a guy who just left who is coming back, and he threatened me when I told him there were no pass outs." I pointed the guy out. "Can you keep an eye on him and stop him from coming back if he tries to come in."

The security guy looked at the guy and assured me he'd keep an eye on him. I went back inside and walked about 5 metres away from my door looking for some other security guards seeing as the one I talked to was manning his section alone and didn't have a radio. I figured it might be better to have more people seeing as they, very reasonably, tend to like to handle matters in groups.

While I was away from my door, the guy walked straight past the security guard, straight through my door and up to me and said "Thanks mate, I just really needed to sort some stuff out. I'm having some personal issues. Where can I smoke?"

I pointed him to the smoking section, knowing I'd lost. There was going to be no security or police to back me up, and I wasn't about to take this guy on, it's not my job, and I couldn't do it even if it was my job. I walked back to my door and the security guard was standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up at me. He'd seen the guy go in. He looked up at me and said: "He can't go in."

Yeah well he did, thanks security man.

Still I think it was the best outcome. I'm not that keen to see people get thrown out or into fights, and I'm not that keen to get beaten up, because of a rule that seems to be made to reduce administrative hassle. Plus I got a new mate.

So in the end everyone won. I stayed intact, the security guard didn't have to do his job, and the bully got to make his phone call and sort out his personal issues. The only losers on the day were the pass-out rule and anyone else who may have upset my angry friend that night. I say we ended on top.

1/15/2010 07:03:00 pm

Breaking News

Posted by Tom French |

I've been on camp with the new job since Tuesday (it went well thanks), and I've come back and heard a rumour that 100,000 people have been killed in Haiti. I'd like to know more. I check SMH. There's nothing there but a few dodgy videos.

I can however find out about Lindsay Lohan's sex tape.

Does massive-scale tragedy get old that quickly these days?

1/11/2010 12:06:00 am

Year

Posted by Tom French |

I'm coming along real good, but I still can't do most of the things I should. - Counting Crows


It's a year today since I left my old job as Youth Minister and headed out of the Christian bubble to see what life was like on the other side.

My year of "non-Christian" work has come to an end, and tomorrow I will begin my entirely unsecular job.

With that in mind, these are some of the things I've learnt and been thinking about in the past 12 months.

Plans

The plan was the leave my job as Youth Minister, get work in a full time secular job, save money then go to the US for a year in 2010. That was my plan. But I knew going in that is was just my plan. Ringing in my mind was James 4:13-15:

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

I have certainly found it to be true.

I never got my full time work in a secular organisation. For most of the year I was technically unemployed. I got a small amount of work ushering at a concert venue, and for the majority of the year, that was it. It was secular, most of my colleagues (perhaps all) aren't Christian, nor do they seem that keen on Christianity. But it's a small job, one or two shifts a month on average.

I ended the year working 1-3 days a week with my friend John the Painter. John is a Baptist pastor who paints houses, one of the guys I spent much of the time working with was around my age and a very strong Christian, the other guy who paints with John is not a Christian, as far as I can tell, though he doesn't talk much. It wasn't really the great secular work I had planned.

I spent 7 months of the year collecting unemployment benefits. I had been wanting to avoid that fate, but it's a little difficult when no one will hire you. Perhaps Centrelink was my great secular experience.

As a result I won't make it to the US for a year, for a few months, maybe not at all in 2010. That plan has been a complete failure.

But I'm not upset. My plans are not God's plans. This year I have had to submit myself to God's plans, whether I have wanted to or not, and his plans are better.

Identity

Quitting my job as a Youth Minister, I knew I was going to have issues with identity. I talked about it at the end of 2008. I knew that I defined myself by my job. As much as I wanted to be defined by who I am in Jesus, it's easier to be defined by how you fill your days, especially when you're passionate about it.

So I knew that in 2009 I would have to learn what it meant to be something other than a Youth Minister.

And it was hard. It was hard to tell people, when asked, that I was unemployed. It was hard not to try and justify it. It was hard to not think they felt sorry for you, or thought you were a loser. It was hard not to think they were judging you.

Most of the time I tried to avoid having to say I was unemployed by listing everything I did. By the end of the year I'd say "I'm a student, an usher, a painter and I visit Centrelink twice a week."

So did I learn to find my identity in Jesus? A little. I learnt a little more that my value doesn't lie in what I do, but in who has saved me.

But I learnt more about who God has called me to be. I may have been a student, a Centrelink patron, an usher, and a brush hand. But all year I thought about ministry. I thought about preaching, and pastoring, and bringing the Bible to bear in people's lives. I'm passionate about serving Jesus in full-time ministry. That's what excites me. Stop me doing it for a year and all I want to do is get back into it. I haven't lost the passion, it's grown.

And that's good. Having spent a year being rejected for jobs because the only thing I know how to do is ministry, if ministry wasn't what I was wired for, I'd be a little stuffed. There is no turning back. My hand won't leave the plough, it's gaffa taped and nail gunned to the plough.

The Call

This year was the most significant year for me, in terms of life direction, since I was called into ministry in 2001. 2009 could end up being the most life shaping year of my life.

My year has effectively been a year of quietness, a year to reflect, a year to seek God's will for me. For the first six months I felt a call from God that had been in the back of my mind for a few years. As 2009 went on it became more and more clear, till I decided to make a decision while I was away in Guatemala and the United States. When I got back I knew for sure that God was calling me to plant a church.

For many of those of you who know me in real life, you already know about this, but some of you won't. But sometime in the next few years I will plant a church. Not by myself, God isn't calling me to go it alone. But God is calling me to church planting. I'm a little disappointed that church planting is the "in" thing at the moment. But I guess that's what God is doing at the moment. Whatever the case, I'm excited.

There's a lot more to say on the subject. Like answering the big question I get asked every time I tell someone I'm planting, "Why do we need more churches?" But for now I'll just say that I know what I'm doing for the rest of my life. Unless I'm completely mistaken, everything from here on in is heading for church planting.

Working for Jesus

When I was trying to figure out whether to leave my old job or not, I was on the bus on the way to meet my minister to tell him my final decision about whether to stay or go. I was doing my daily reading and it was this verse that made up my mind for me:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men - Col 3:23

It was then I felt God say I could make my own decision, but whatever I did I should do as one working for Jesus. I chose to leave because it made the most sense.

That decision being made it meant that every time I did something I needed to do it as one working for the Lord. Whoever my boss is or is not, my ultimate boss is Jesus, and everything I do I must do as if he was in charge.

So the question was, how do you be unemployed for Jesus? How do you apply for 10 jobs a fortnight for Jesus? How to you spend days and days with nothing you have to be doing for Jesus? How do you usher for Jesus? How do you check tickets for Jesus? How do you open doors for patrons for Jesus? How do you paint for Jesus? How get up at 5:30am for Jesus? How do you strip wallpaper for Jesus? How do you paint a fence for Jesus?

I can't say I always was as diligent as I should have been all year. I can't say I never wasted any time, or always applied for jobs to the best of my ability. But it was a good challenge to have.

2009 wasn't a year off. It was a year with the challenge to serve Jesus in everything I put my hand to. It was a year to learn that I can honour Jesus when I have no job or when I'm cleaning a wall or when I'm standing in an auditorium during a boring seminar, as much as I can honour Jesus when I'm preaching the gospel.

Wealth and Provision, Grace and Self-Sufficiency

I didn't earn much money this year. I've got a lot less money now than when I went in. I owe a lot more money that when I started the year. I spent probably a third of the year with $0 in my bank account.

I know that God provides. I know that God provides through money that comes via unexpected routes. He provides via Centrelink and unemployment benefits. He provides through friends and family who shout you meals and movie tickets and miscellaneous items. He provides through house mates who pay bills and don't break your legs when you can't pay them back straight away. He provides through eating Corn Thins for $1.96 rather than Thai food for $7.90. He provides through parents who give you money when you run out. He provides through friends who give you money when God tells them to. He provides through friends who lend you their car and who lend you money while cavorting overseas.

I know that God provides even when I'm probably about as dumb with money now as I was when I started the year.

And God's provision isn't always easy. It takes humility to accept help when you can't help yourself. It batters your pride to know that the only way you're paying your rent is because the Government is paying it for you.

It's hard to know that you can't do it on your own.

But that's what grace is about. You can't do it on your own. You can't provide for yourself. Grace and pride cannot live together.

Having a lack of funds, has taught me about spiritual poverty. Having friends and family provide for me when I can't provide for myself has taught me about my God who provides himself for me when I have only my sin to offer in return. Having to ask for help has taught me about what it really means to come to God and say to him, "I need you because I can't do this."

I have had a year what I have never gone without. I have been abundantly provided for. I'm so very thankful for my God who provides for all my needs. My daily bread and my eternal life. I have a good God.

* * *

Everything else, I probably can't or don't want to categorise. I've learnt so much more. It's been a big year. Any year where your sister gets married three times in one year is a big year. It's certainly been a big year for my family.

2009 was the year I left my church and job of 6 years. The year found a new church and a whole new bunch of friends. It was the year I had more free time, more jobs and more hours spent in the library than in the previous 7 years. It was the year I finally made it to the US properly. It was the year came close to crying almost once a week because I'm becoming a big sook.

And while it's been a pretty stress free year, in other ways I've been faced with things this year bigger and closer to home than any I had faced before. It's been a year when I've been angrier, more confused, more helpless than I ever have. I've learnt more about sin, my own and other peoples', than perhaps I ever have. And I've learnt more about forgiveness, both being forgiven and forgiving, than I have before.

It's been an excellent 12 months. I have seen God again this past year. Once more he has been faithful beyond all reason and expectation. I can't put into words the goodness I see in Jesus. I am so abundantly blessed. Whatever happens from here on in, whatever the next year holds for me, I know I go in to it with friends and family who are more wonderful than I could ever hope for and a God who loves me more than I could ever hope to understand.

1/10/2010 11:45:00 pm

Telly

Posted by Tom French |

I have two TV shows that I am much in love with at the moment:

Friday Night Lights

FNL.jpg

I was talking to some people from my old Church about this show the other night. I felt all original because I've "discovered" a TV show that no-one knows about. And then one of them said "Is that the show about teenagers and quarter-backs?" I was so disappointed, because it's been advertised all over Foxtel, I'm totally unoriginal.

Still, I can't let unoriginality stop me.

I also found out that it's a show for women.

I can't let that stop me either.

It's a good show. Well acted, well shot, good story, well written, rather believable. It's show about a Texan high school football team. The town is obsessed with football. The politics that surround it, and the pressure that is put on the players and coaches to win every game is phenomenal.

The football coach is kinda like a Jed Bartlett for teenagers. He keeps being inspiring and kind hearted, though he acts all tough. I want to be like the coach. I think he should be model for youth ministers every where. Plus he has a really good relationship with his wife.

I've been eating the show up, even though it's for women.

The Wire

omar.jpg

I had been hanging out to watch this show for a while. Ryan had convinced me that it was meant to be excellent. I had been resisting him because when he said The Wire I thought of The Shield and that guy with the bald head doesn't look like someone I'd want to watch a TV show about. He looks too much like B-Grade School Principal. But, funnily enough The Shield is not The Wire so the small eyed, bald guy isn't in it.

What is in the show is excellent. The show is about a police task force investigating a drug dealing operation in Baltimore. The whole show is just focusing on this one case. I love that, while most shows deal with one case per episode, this one takes a whole season for one case and doesn't even wrap things up in that. It's like real police work, I'm guessing. But I'm not real police.

The show is rather depressing in it's depiction of the cops. Everyone is corrupt. Even the heroes are liable to break the rules to get the job done. People just want to clear cases and look good rather than actually do real police work.

The drug dealers on the other hand often have friendlier characters, until they shoot their cousin in the head or something.

It's the script, characters, acting, plot are all amazing. Plus it's about cops and robbers. I think this show could be the best television show ever made.

You really should watch it.

1/10/2010 12:24:00 pm

On the QT

Posted by Tom French |

When I had my Quiet Time this morning, this is what I saw.

QT View Small.jpg

As you may have noticed, things at our place are a little disjointed.

I may have to do a little more work on my iPhone panoramic photography skills.

See it very large.

1/08/2010 10:44:00 am

Committed

Posted by Tom French |

For those who are wondering, I decided to take the job.

For someone who is wary of commitment I just committed three years of my life in one day.

If I was to do it again, I'd slow the process down. I'd say something like "Can you give me the weekend to think about it?" But yesterday I talked to everyone I needed to talk to (including and foremost being Jesus).

The day before I had this verse in my quiet time:

"For lack of guidance a nation falls,
but many advisers make victory sure." - Prov 11:14

That kept running around my head and I didn't want Australia to fall because I didn't get guidance. So I talked to the people I hadn't already talked to, and now I think victory is sure.

Who knew taking a job could have such huge consequences?

Now I'm planning on how I'll spend the money. Grills, definitely, grills.

1/07/2010 03:30:00 pm

Things Move Quickly

Posted by Tom French |

On Monday I got a phone call from a place I got interviewed at a few months ago saying they wanted me back in for another interview. They had initially told me they weren't going to employ me, but on Monday things had changed.

So this morning I went in for an interview.

This afternoon they rang me to tell me they were going to offer me the job. They want my answer ASAP.

That was very quick I haven't really had time to get my head around it all. It's a full time job working for a Christian organisation.

I'm in the process of talking to the people I need to talk to, to make sure it's all going to work.

Sometimes I dislike making quick decisions, though I reckon I'd like the job.

1/04/2010 06:42:00 pm

Happy Party and Snap Holiday

Posted by Tom French |

I seem to have found myself in Canberra, on holiday with my parents, older sister, her husband and his family. I wasn't planning on coming to Canberra but I found out last week that my painting boss is on holidays for the next two weeks, so I have forced leave. But you won't hear me complaining. A year of minimal employment has taught me the many skills necessary for enjoying free time. And I really enjoy free time.

Before we came on the holiday we had Jo and Victor's (Sister and Brother-in-Law's) Happy Party (that is the wedding that wasn't a wedding but just looked like a wedding). It was a very happy party. Hannah, my little sister, who named the Happy Party, was very happy. She loved being surrounded by so many people. And when it came time to dance to the killer play list that Victor and I made, she was conga lining all over the place with any one who took her fancy.

Of course, the Happy Party wasn't really for Hannah. It was for all the Australians who didn't make it to Guatemala for the two ceremonies there. It was a highly chaotic event with the ceremony once again moved indoors due to masses of rain. Although the rain was only the icing on the cake for an event that seemed destined to be delayed and diverted and every opportunity. Still these hiccups didn't really seem like problems, they just made the day all the more amusing and endearing.

I was happy to be there. In some ways I found the ceremony more meaningful six months in to the marriage. Perhaps because you know they know what marriage is now. Marriage vows can sometimes seem like simple idealism when you hear them from two people who have never been married before (as they will probably sound from me if I ever say them). But when you hear them from two people who know what it means to be married to each other, even just 6 months in, it seems to mean more. They've become a more practical reality and need to be a commitment made out of, and in the face of, experience. Perhaps we should have Happy Parties more regularly for experienced couples who now know what their vows mean in practice not just in theory.

I didn't have much of a role in this ceremony. I did, however get asked to pray. In continuation of my slide down the slippery slope of unbidden expressions of emotion, I felt choked up the whole prayer. The people I asked said they didn't notice, but I did. I knew that I was on the verge of having my voice crack at any time, that getting the words out without a quiver in my speech was hard going. The problem was that I love Jo and Victor, I love marriage, and I love Jesus, and I was praying about all three, it was a convergence to make a perfect storm of sentiment to turn me into a blubbering mass of love and emotion. But I held strong and resisted all urges to shed tears. I think my well honed image of insensitivity has been kept intact for just a little longer.

When the ceremony was done, it was a night of speeches, polite portions of food, and large helpings of dancing. It was a very enjoyable night even if I do like to avoid being in large crowds of people I may have to make small talk with.

In the morning we all gathered for a breakfast with the friends and family who had stayed in the area. It was a like a post-wedding gathering of the relationally elite. I was happy to have been invited.

From there my family (minus Hannah) and the Guatemalans all piled into the specially hired chicken bus, and headed off for Canberra. We stopped at a genuine Australian farm where we were treated to some genuine Australian drought, a genuine Australian tractor ride, and some genuine Australian annoyance at wild Kangaroos. However the Guatemalans were very happy to see kangaroos ("kan-gooo-roos") in the wild as was I. I'm not a farmer, therefore I like kangaroos, especially when they're alive.

Since being in Canberra (we've been here a day now) we've been to dinner, a tourist centre, the National Museum and the National Botanic Gardens. Tonight we filled up on Middle Eastern food, had a serendipitous rendezvous with Jess and her Mum, and went up Black Mountain to see the view (of which there was very little).

It's a good life.

1/02/2010 11:11:00 am

Going to the Chapel Chapel Chapel

Posted by Tom French |

My sister is getting married today...again. Three weddings for one girl in seven months. Does anyone else think that's just a little excessive? There are single women in the world who haven't even been married once. Share the love around, I say.

Still, at least there'll be food. Probably hippy food, but food none the less.

I wish Jo and Victor all the best, and may their marriage be three times as good as it otherwise would have been had they only been married once.


For those of you who don't get it, in Guatemala my sister married her husband in a civil ceremony, then they had a religious ceremony a week later, and today they're having an Australian one. It's actually perfectly reasonable when you think about it.

1/01/2010 11:51:00 pm

Movies 09

Posted by Tom French |

District 9 2.jpg

Warning: There may be a few minor spoilers

It's the first day of the year, which means it's time for my top and bottom ten movies of 2009. I only made it to the cinema 43 times this year. You can tell it was lean year, I'm 15 films down on last year. But it was a good year for movies. Getting the top 10 has been tough. It's certainly been a good year for film in my books.

This year I've decided to include any film that was on in an Australian cinema in 2009. That means that films like The Wrestler which was technically a 2008 release can be a 2009 movie because it was in Australian cinemas then. Alternatively films like The Hurt Locker haven't been released in Australia yet, but if it was, there's a good chance I've had seen it and it'd be on my top 10.

There are some movies which I haven't seen though I probably should have (Such as A Serious Man, Zombieland and An Education) so I can't include them.

Lastly, as before the worst films of the year take into account not just the quality of the film but the disappointment associated with the film. So it could be not a terrible movie, but it should have been brilliant (I'm looking at you McG and Michael Bay).

Anyway, here they are the top and bottom 10 for 2009:

Bottom 10

10. 12 Rounds

This movie was pretty dumb. But it was good fun. So it shouldn't really be in the bottom 10, I didn't have much else to put in.

9. Watchmen

Screwed up superheros is a good idea, but this was a mess: too long, the story was all over the place and confusing, the villain explained his diabolical plot at the end and there was a naked glowing man on screen half the movie.

8. Couple's Retreat

It wasn't terrible, it just wasn't very good.

7. Terminator Salvation

I have something against this movie because I have something against McG. Why didn't they get Christopher Nolan to direct this? Killer robots should be cool, but as 2009 has proven, they don't save a film. McG you take something which should be awesome, lose any sense of fun, and then make dumb things happen. Bring back James Cameron.

6. Knowing

What started off a bit intriguing, ended up being some kinda Christian thriller, where God saves the world using space ships and little kids as Adam and Eve. Not so cool.

5. GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra

I don't know if I had high hopes for this film, but I really wanted it to be great. Alas, it was just silly.

4. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

I was so bored.

3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Michael Bay what have you done? You lured us in with giant robots fighting and then forced us to perve on teenage girls, racist charactered robots, incomprehensible plots, and just general stupidity. The fighting may have been cool, but this film was the biggest disappointment of the year.

2. New Moon

This would have been the worst film of the year if it wasn't for the giant, dancing penis in Bruno. When you need a giant dancing penis to beat you for the position of worst film of the year, you know you've made a bad film. Ella is dumb. Edward's an idiot. Jacob should put a shirt on. Stephanie Meyer needs to apologise to the world.

1. BrĂ¼no

Borat was inappropriate, but rather funny. This film was not funny, offensive, homophobic and dumb. It's like Cohen was just trying to be as offensive as possible. But offensiveness is only worthwhile if it's got a point. This seemed rather pointless. Let's make fun of gay people and celebrities who adopt babies, as if these are the two greatest evils in the world to poke fun at. Useless.

Oh and did I mention the giant dancing penis?


Top 10

Honourable Mentions: Drag Me to Hell, Funny People, Public Enemies, Red Cliff, The Hangover, Revolutionary Road


10. (500) Days of Summer

This film was smart, poignant, self-aware, funny, and well made. It was only really let down by its self-betrayal of an ending.

9. Observe and Report

This rather dark comedy was Paul Blart for grown ups. I'd rather be a grown up.

8. State of Play

A good old, political thriller about private security companies. I love it when journalists go investigating stuff especially when they're being chased by a creepy sniper dude.

7. Avatar

James Cameron has made something pretty amazing here. While the story is nothing all that ground breaking, this is can be easily overlooked because of the amazing beauty of the world they've created. The depth of imagination and the execution of the imagery is phenomenal. This is a game changer for 3D and CGI. Plus the battle at the end is pretty awesome.

6. Where the Wild Things Are

It's like the whole film just ached with the loneliness and impotence of childhood, a broken hallelujah for doing life together. And it all just looked so good. Spike Jonze kicks ass.

5. Up

Story is king. Pixar never fail.

4. Star Trek

It's Star Trek for non-nerds. J.J. Abrams going where many have gone before, but going better. This was a very cool movie. Good fun, good action, exciting, and just sci-fi enough to hurt your brain as you tried to figure out how that whole wormhole thing worked.

3. The Wrestler

This is a movie that stays with you. Mickey Rourke owned his sad, broke down wrestler. It was a thoughtful mediation on loss and identity. Perhaps poignant for me in the year I stopped being a Youth Minister.

2. Inglorious Basterds

Who hasn't wanted to machine gun Hitler in the face? Excellent.

1. District 9

Message. Aliens. Gore. Cool Guns. Action. Yeehaa! I loved all of this film. I want to watch it again and again. So much fun, yet it still managed to rebuke your inner-racist at the same time. Thank you South Africa for giving us cinematic brilliance.

1/01/2010 11:22:00 pm

New Comments

Posted by Tom French |

If you try and comment you'll notice there's a whole new format for comments. It lets you add photos, link to your Google account or whatever, embed YouTube and all sorts of other stuff. It's a whole new era for interactivity that seems a bit overly engineered to me. It's Facebook/Twitterising my comments. I would have rather kept them old and boring, but Haloscan forced me to upgrade or get lost. So as you can see, I upgraded.

Still I do think it looks a little nicer.

1/01/2010 05:17:00 pm

Fireworks

Posted by Tom French |

I went and watched some fireworks down by the harbour last night with a bunch of Australians and Guatemalans. It was nice to be back watching the fireworks.

I didn't take any photos of the fireworks. But I did take a photo of Anmol, so that'll have to do.

Anmol NYE.jpg

Happy New Year

Subscribe