5/30/2010 02:08:00 pm

Melbs

Posted by Tom French |

Howie Plane.jpg

Currently in The Melbourne. I'm sitting in the airport with Howie we're about to catch the plane home. We were down here for David and Andreana's Engagement party.

It's been pleasant, catching planes, and trams and stuff. Sleeping on David's futon.

This morning we had a super-good breakfast in one of Melbourne's faux-European cafes. They think they're so good down here here their swanky lane-way cafes. Swankers.

It was a good party. I played dinosaurs with a three year old. I met Kate who stalks my blog. Howie and I looked up rude words in the thesaurus (which is a type of dinosaur), but there were none. It was probably written by evangelicals.

I realised again how inappropriate my jokes get when I'm with Howie. Not that I mind, inappropriate is my favourite. Except when I accidentally implied that I'd sexually harassed David's fiance. That one fell a little flat. Can't imagine why.

Must go catch a plane.

5/26/2010 11:27:00 pm

Blue

Posted by Tom French |

Hayne.jpg

One day we'll get there.

5/25/2010 10:34:00 pm

Joy

Posted by Tom French |

5/24/2010 11:34:00 pm

Bait and Switch

Posted by Tom French |

I was asked after church on Sunday if I was going to "the young adults thing downstairs".

There's been discussion over the past few months about starting a young adults hangout time downstairs after church. So I asked "Is this the new hangout thing?" To which my friend Gough, who was inviting me, responded in the affirmative.

After I had been talking upstairs for a while, Gough said to me "It's just started, are you coming?" So I trotted on down.

When I went in there wasn't the buzz of hanging out young people I expected. There were just a few people sitting in a circle with one person reading the Bible. I thought "Wow, this is pretty intense for a post church hangout."

Then the Bible reading kept going. And going. We read almost the whole of Colossians. I thought, "This is going to be a full on Bible Study, I don't know if I'm up for this every week. I'm pretty tired from church." Then I noticed everyone was holding Bibles and photocopied pieces of paper. "How did they know to be prepared, and not me?"

Then I realised there must have been an email sent out and everyone here was invited, except me. I started to feel a little miffed that I'd been left off the invitation. I also worried a little bit that so few people had turned up to the first young adults hangout. It didn't look like it wasn't going to be very popular. I felt bad for Tamie who has been organising the young adults stuff.

Then Tamie, started by saying "So I wanted us to read and think about this passage before we plan what's happening with the young adults."

I realised then that this wasn't a young adults hangout, it was a meeting about the young adults ministry. I had been asked if I wanted to be in this group a few weeks before and I had said "No" and now here I was in a meeting for it. I realised that that was why I never got the email about it, I was never meant to get an email about it. This wasn't my group.

I started to feel really bad. I had turned up to a meeting uninvited, and just sat myself down like I belonged there. I was sure everyone was thinking "What's Tom doing here? We didn't invite him. How do we tell him he wasn't invited?" It was like a bad dream, thinking you're one place then realising you're somewhere totally different...and you're wearing no pants.

Thankfully I was wearing pants, I checked.

Then Tamie said something about how she wanted to check with us if we were still committed to working to make the young adults thing happen. I didn't want to seem rude and say "No" but seeing as I had said I didn't want to be in the planning group, I wanted to say "No". Plus I didn't know if they would want me to say "No" because I had turned up uninvited. Perhaps they would be relieved if I said "No".

Then Chris, the Associate Pastor, piped up and said something like "I think we can assume we're all happy to help make this thing happen. None of us are here under duress. Except perhaps Tom." To which everyone laughed.

I thought, "Is that a joke because I'm not meant to be here? Or does he think I'm meant to be here and he just made a joke and unwittingly hit the nail on the head?"

He went on to say "So if no one has any questions we can probably move on."

At that point I was confused enough that I thought I should speak up. "Sorry, but I don't really know what I'm doing here." Everyone just laughed at me, like they all just thought I'd made a good existentialist joke, and didn't realise that I really was confused. I didn't know how to make them understand that I had no idea what was going on.

Then Tamie said "This is the group you told me you didn't want to be part of, but Gough invited you anyway, because he thought you should be part of it."

And then everyone laughed a little bit more and moved on with the meeting. It seems that everyone knew I'd been asked to come even though I had said "No" to joining the group. Gough had asked me to come because he thought I should be there, and I thought it was the hangout that was planned, so I went. He maintains that he didn't trick me into going there, but I'm not so sure.

Anyway, if you want to play a good practical joke on someone ask them to come to a fun, relaxed hangout and then surprise them with a church meeting. It really is like a bad dream in real life. Hell is probably an eternal, unnecessary, church meeting.

That said, sometimes a meeting is necessary even if they're hard to endure. And this one wasn't too bad, it wasn't too long, things moved fast, and I'm excited about the young adults ministry. Seeing as I realised everyone knew I was uncommitted I decided I'd just say what I thought and remain uncommitted. I managed not to pick up any new commitments all meeting. Win!

So it should be a good young adults ministry, they were a good team I met with, it's in capable hands. I'm looking forward to being a part it as a young adult and not running it as a young adult. I run enough.

And Gough is still one of my favourite people even if he did promise fun times and give me a church meeting. He gave me spaghetti bolognese tonight which turned out to be spaghetti bolognese. Excellent.

5/21/2010 05:19:00 pm

Big Day

Posted by Tom French |

I handed in the last assesment my life and we finally got our internets working.

Hola Chicas.jpg

Woo!

5/20/2010 08:11:00 pm

The End Really Is Nigh

Posted by Tom French |

I blogged last August saying I was writing my last essay for college. But it turned out to be a fallacy.

But tonight, I think I really am writing my last ever essay for my Batchelor of Theology. I know it's not that exciting for anyone but me, but 8 and a half years after beginning this darn thing, I might be about to end it.

This last essay is on "Can a Christian lose their salvation?" It'd be an interesting topic if I wasn't writing an essay on it.

5/19/2010 11:16:00 pm

When In Rome

Posted by Tom French |

I went to see When in Rome a few weeks ago with the parents. It was pretty embarrassingly bad most of the time.

The film is full of people who are funny. Almost every supporting character was played by someone with real comic talent. There was Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez from Napoleon Dynamite, Dax Shepard from something, Will Arnett from Arrested Development among other things, Danny Divito from lots of stuff, that Chick from Flight of the Conchords and Jack Black even made a cameo. But sadly none of them could save the film. I probably laughed about five times, and that's five times I was very thankful for, because the rest of the film was like having to watch a car accident in slow motion, without any of the novelty factor of getting to watch a car accident in slow motion.

The film was the same old romantic comedy that we keep getting put through, but with terrible acting and an absurd premise. At the beginning of the film Kristen Bell is shown as this girl who is so obsessed with her work that she can't keep a long term relationship. She is given an assignment at work which, if it doesn't work out, will mean she'll lose her job. Right in the middle of this she has to fly to Rome for her sisters' wedding. This is about five minutes in. At this point I turned to Dad and said "She's going to meet a man, fall in love, and need blow off her work for true love. Ask Mum what she thinks." So Dad turned to Mum and asked. Mum responded by saying that she agreed, and the guy the girl was going to fall in love with would be the best man at the wedding.

As it turned out, we were almost exactly right, she did fall in love and it was with the best man, and she did blow off her work for true love. Or at least as a result of lost true love, which is an indication of love for man more than love for job.

As you can see it's more predictable than Avatar but without the naked blue computer people. And that's about all I have to say about the film. Let me just encourage you never to bother watching it, because it's dumb.

5/18/2010 08:42:00 pm

Photo Log

Posted by Tom French |

I thought I might clean out the photos on the iPhone. All the photos I take and think "I'll blog that." So here they all are.

Photo One

Ever wondered what Time Crisis 2 was all about? Well the secret is on the side of the machine:

Time Crisis 2.jpg

This is what it says "Time Crisis 2

There's another plot for the world in 1998

Mission: Prevent the launch of and enemy military satellite!

We have no time to be lost!

With your partner, shoot all enemies!

Is the evil "Wild Dog" still alive?"

I'm so glad we made it through 1998 ok. A better video game blurb I have never heard.


Photo Two

The other day my work mate when out to buy us all crazy Asian ice creams. She asked what we'd like. I asked for something crazy. So she came back with this:

Polar Bear Blood.jpg

I can only guess that the Korean says something like "Frozen Polar Bear Blood"

Turns out polar bear blood tastes a lot like chocolate. There's a survival tip for when you get lost in the Arctic.

Photo Three

I injured my nose trying on a jacket at SDS the other day. I had trouble working the zipper and it got me on the nose. Most people were too polite to ask what happened. I had to wear the scratch to the wedding. It looked much worse in real life.

Nose Scratch.jpg


Photo Four

I was on my way to the cinema the other day and discovered this piece of culturally relevant advertising by Sultana Bran:

Saltana Bran.jpg

As you can tell they have their finger on the teen pulse.

Photo Five

I was setting my alarm the other night, looked at all the various times stored in my phone, and noticed this:

Alarms.jpg

I really do value that extra few minutes sleep.


Photo Six

One day, before the Witteveens left the country, they peer-pressured me into sticking pegs on my lip. Then they they went to Europe to peer pressure French women to hang coat hangers from their underarm hair. Now they're back and I'm not getting attached to any handy, household implements no matter what they say.

Peg Lips.jpg


And thems are the photos.

5/17/2010 05:51:00 pm

Three Movie Weekend

Posted by Tom French |

I started writing this a while ago. In fact I think I started on the Anzac day long weekend. So it's taken a while to finish. But I didn't want to let all these keystrokes go to waste.

It was a long weekend recently and I decided to go to the movies as much as possible. I got there three times.

Seeing as I haven't reviewed a movie once this year, I thought it might be time to do three in one hit.

Movie One: Avatar

Avatar.jpg

This wasn't the first time I'd seen the film. But my Dad wanted to see it and he was paying, so I was there. Oh, and I got to hang out with my Dad.

Watching it a second time was enjoyable. I was still struck by the visuals but not as impressed by the battle the second time around. It was kinda just that the humans got beaten by the shear numbers of the Navi and friends, rather than being out witted. It was like nature won in the end because it bashed the humans with a bigger stick. That doesn't really say much for Eiya (or however you spell Mother Nature in Navi), just that she's happy to sacrifice a bunch of rhino things, dinosaur birds and Navi to protect the glowing tree.

I also spent more time paying attention to the spiritual themes of the movie. This is what Mark Driscoll had this to say about Avatar:



Now that just makes him sound like a grumpy, old fundamentalist who thinks everything but Narnia and McGee and Me is from Satan.

He does have a pretty good analysis of the film. It is full of new age, pantheism. It's totally at odds with the Christian gospel. But so are most films. Driscoll picks on Avatar because its worldview is so clearly presented. But it's clarity of presentation, also makes it easy to debunk.

Much more important is that most films present a worldview at odds with the gospel which is a whole lot more subtle. We need to interact with all of it. And if you're going to call Avatar demonic you should probably call almost everything demonic.

Or you can enjoy the story and the critique the worldview, as you need to do with every message that is presented to us in our culture.

I vote for option two, funnily enough.

Movie Two: The Book of Eli

Book of Eli.jpg

I think this must have been the weekend of spiritually themed movies, because this one is about one man (Denzel Washington), in a post-apocalyptic world, on a mission to save last copy of the Bible from the hands of bad men.

I reckon if you didn't care about the Bible you wouldn't really care about this film. But I care about the Bible, so I cared about this film. I was gunning for Denzel the whole way.

People have said the film is boring, which it probably could be. There's a lot of walking, talking, hiding and sitting around and then suddenly there's 10-seconds of ultra-violence with Denzel left at the standing over pile of dead bodies.

I thought it was a pretty cool film. Good fighting, cool guns, and it looked great.

The opening scene was one of the most atmospheric openings I've seen in a long time. It set the tone for the rest of the film. I'd describe it but I can't. I reckon it'd be worth watching the film just for that opening scene. It's not thrilling, it's just a great post-apocalyptic image.

As far as faith goes for a film with the Bible as a central piece of the plot, it's not very Biblical. That is, it is the expected sanitised version of the Bible that Hollywood gives to keep everyone happy.

What's interesting though is that the Bible is blamed for the war that destroyed the world, the Bible is sought after by the bad guy so he can control people, the Bible is protected by Denzel's character because he believes it can bring hope back to the world, and the Bible is given to Denzel by God so he can take it on pilgrimage to get it into safe hands. The other sacred texts of the world are around, but only the Bible is given such power. It is a pretty loud affirmation of the unique power of the Bible. I'm not going to trumpet this as a victory for the Christian faith, it's just interesting to me that Hollywood would allow such an overtly narrow presentation of the Bible be an overtone of the whole film. However...

***SPOILER ALERT***

Right at the end, when the book has been saved, and printed, it is put on a shelf in a secure facility right next to the Koran and the Torah. When I saw that the Bible nerd in me wondered why they go to work straight away on getting Genesis printed when they already had a Torah sitting around. But it is also a moment right at the end, when the filmmakers decided to bring the Bible down to being just one of the sacred texts. It's not lifting the other up to the level of the Bible, because the whole film isn't about keeping the Koran or the Torah safe. It's saying that in the end the Bible is just like these other books, which pretty much weakens the rest of the film. Plus it kinda saddened me that the last time we saw the Bible it was getting placed on a shelf, not given to the people who were supposed to gain hope from it.

But that's the Christian, Bible lover in me coming out.

***SPOILERS OVER***

All that said, I had a good time. It's definitely worth watching if only for the imagery. It's one good looking movie. Plus it's got Bible love, cool fighting, and Denzel playing a bad ass rather than an inspiring black coach, so it's hard for it not to be good fun. In fact don't watch it just for the imagery. It's a whole lot more than cool looking shots.


Movie Three: Clash of Titans

Clash of the Titan.jpg

The third movie of spiritual themes was Clash of the Titans. If you know the story, it's about a guy whose family is killed by Hades the God of the Underworld, so he teams up with a city living under the threat of Hades' giant, angry monster to fight the gods who are out to teach the humans a lesson for refusing to pray to them and grant them eternal life. He goes on a fighting odyssey to gain the power to beat Hades' sea monster and along the way manages to forge a friendship with a desert wizard, ride an over sized scorpion and fall in love with a beautiful, immortal beauty. It's quite an adventure.

The main character, Perseus, played by our Sam Worthington, is a demigod, half-man/half-god. He was conceived when Zeus snuck into some Queen's chamber disguised as her husband and slept with her to punish her husband for something.

There is a point in the film where it is mentioned that Perseus, being a demigod, has the best of the gods and of humanity in him. The implication is that he has the strength and fighting talent of the gods, but the compassion, love and honesty of humanity.

It's interesting that the gods are portrayed as being capricious and powerful, and it's the humans who have the monopoly on goodness. It's this worldview where the humans are pit against the gods. It's us or them and, happily, in the end the humans triumph over the gods. And as Perseus embraces his humanity, he is encouraged to lead the people well, unlike the gods. The gods have failed, now it's up to humanity to save themselves.

Of course, the film makers aren't trying to make a statement about how we relate to Zeus and Hades. But the message is pretty clear, hope lies with us, and it's up to us to use the best of who we are to save ourselves. Looking at all three movies of the weekend, it's easy to see that Hollywood thinks that we're at crisis point in human history. It's a rather clear undertone to each of the films. Some perhaps more obvious than others. Where they look for solutions though is interesting, Avatar looks to nature, The Book of Eli looks to God's word, Clash of the Titans looks to humanity. I'm pretty sure I know which solution I'm trusting in.

But all this in Clash of the Titans is secondary to the giant computer generated monsters and sword fights. Aside from some terrible writing, and much silliness, the film was a lot of fun. Not very good, but a lot of fun. And that's good enough for me. It appeals to the best of my humanity within me.

5/16/2010 11:38:00 pm

Think of the Children

Posted by Tom French |

I went to a conference a while ago about children's ministry. Someone raised that point that we often say things like "We need to care for the children because children are our future." Or we say we need to look after kids because they're "the leaders of tomorrow." Which seems like a nice child-orientated thing to say, except that in essence it devalues children. It says that the value of a child is in their potential, not in who they are now. Really we should value children because they are our present. As much as a teenager, adult, senior citizen is valuable and important, so is a child. They are special not because of who they will become but because of who they have become, from the moment they began existing.

I've thought about that a lot. Kids are pretty awesome.

5/12/2010 11:53:00 pm

Stink

Posted by Tom French |

Today I took my car to one of those fancy hand car wash places that people with Mercs go to. It was a little sad. While they didn't manage to get rid of the bugs off the windshield they did put fragrance in the car which has the aroma of Lynx deodorant. Now my swanky Corolla doesn't smell like a new car it smells like a high school boys' change room. They managed to get rid of something I liked and leave the stuff I didn't. I think I'll write to Today/Tonight.

5/09/2010 12:30:00 am

Wedding Done

Posted by Tom French |

Well I made it to the wedding down here in Canberra. I'm currently sitting in my classy room here in Queanbeyan at the Wallaby Motel. It has free wifi. That's why I'm staying here. Down the road there's a motel advertising "video movies". I'm now disappointed that I didn't stay there. I'm intrigued by these "video movies" everyone keeps talking about.

As far as the wedding goes, I think it was a success. With weddings I usually worry a lot about making sure I dress within the dress code. I stress about looking formal or semi-formal or cocktail or whatever. It's hard for me. But this time the invitation said "Smart Casual" and I feel like a have a good grasp of that. Nice shoes, jeans, nice shirt, nice jacket. And that's exactly what Courtney told me when I happened to ask her the other day, so I felt pretty sure about my clothes. I even got myself an expensive smart casual jacket to wear.

And then I turned up at this wedding and I'm the only smart casual person there. All the guys are in suits and ties, and the girls were in nice dresses and heels. Now usually this would be my worst nightmare, turning up to a wedding underdressed. But I knew the wedding invite said smart casual, so I felt quite comfortable knowing I was the only one who actually dressed properly. It was everyone else who should have felt embarrassed in my presence. I reckon I made everyone else feel over dressed.

Apart from the clothes, it was a nice wedding. I didn't know anyone when I arrived but I got sat one a table with some friendly people so I pretty much had people to talk to all night. I even got to decorate the wedding car. So I think it was a win.

As far as the challenges from the blog world go, I only got two. I didn't get any food on my clothes, so tick that one off. But I didn't get any candid photos of people because I don't really have a camera. Just the iPhone one which is pretty useless. There were however 5 official photographers at the wedding so I hope they managed to cover something.

Oh, and it was really special to see James get married.

I should be a journalist.

5/06/2010 11:36:00 pm

Money Money Money

Posted by Tom French |

So I've just set up for Amazon Associates. I think it means that I can link to products that I talk about and then you all can click on them and buy them and I get 15% of something.

I got it mainly because I want pretty links. But I figured I might make the most of the pretty links and see if I can make a dime. I've never made a cent off this blog. In fact I'm pretty sure it's cost me at least $20 over the past 9 years or however long I've been blogging. It's hard to keep a slick operation like this going.

I've always refused to stick ads on my blog because they're ugly and I'm not a blog pimp. But I figure this is just letting you buy the stuff that I'm talking about. All I'm doing is encouraging consumerism, not making my blog look ugly. Anyway so let me see what this looks like by showing you a little of my life:

What I'm Reading:

So currently I'm working through a thousand books. But here are the more prominent ones:

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels As Eyewitness Testimony

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

Tim Keller this was going to be one of the most important books of our generation for New Testament scholarship. Or something like that. Or maybe he just said I should read it. I'm not sure.

Anyway, it's good. It's a nice look at some of the ideas about the historical Jesus that are out there from a more conservative standpoint.



Planting Missional Churches

Planting Missional Churches

This is meant to be the book to read on church planting. And it's pretty darn nice. If only he wrote an Australian edition, it's all very North American-centric.



Tomorrow, When the War Began (The Tomorrow Series #1)

Tomorrow When the War Began

I'm reading this again because the movie is coming out and I'm reliving my childhood. It's fun but the action is pretty dull compared to almost every other war book I've read.



So there you go. There's my chance to make some money. And now that I look at it, it's a rather ugly way to make money and I feel like a dirty blog pimp. So unless I find a way to make it more pretty, I probably won't do that again.

Update: Actually I've fiddled with it and it's not very intrusive at all any more. It's kinda like the sort of linkage I would do back in the old days when I didn't worship money. So maybe I'll let it stay. But except every blog post from now on to be about a product you can buy. Probably an expensive one.

5/06/2010 11:10:00 pm

UFC 2010 Undisputed

Posted by Tom French |

I've been watching a bit of UFC lately on One. It's the good thing about living in a house of guys who like watching big men punch each other in the face.

Anyway I've noticed this ad, it makes me laugh every time I see it:



Do you have what it takes to sit on your couch and push some buttons on a controller?

Hard core.

5/06/2010 05:06:00 pm

Wedding Fun

Posted by Tom French |

Wedding Old.jpg

I'm off to the wedding of my friend James on Saturday, and James has informed me that I'm not going to know anyone there.

Knowing that I'm not very good in situations like this, I just stand around and feel awkward, I thought I might ask all you folk in blog world to give me a hand. Would you be willing to set me challenges to do at the wedding. Maybe conversations to have, tasks to do, photos to take. Then I'll come back and blog how I did.

I'm not going to do everything you set me to do. And I'm not going to do anything that'll distract from the wedding. But I will try to do as much as I can. This is your chance for interactive blog fun. Woo!

Photo from: Scarlatti2004

5/03/2010 11:58:00 pm

Superprofits Comedy Hour

Posted by Tom French |

I heard the Prime Minister on breakfast radio this morning being funny and stuff. He wasn't actually that funny. In fact I was a little embarrassed for him. But I could at least tell he doesn't take himself too seriously.

He was telling us all why this new mining superprofit tax thing is a good idea.

When it was on the news tonight, I saw that the mining companies had fired 600 workers (I can't find that figure anywhere). I laughed, as did my house mate. I laughed because I thought "The mining companies are making $80 billion in profit and they're laying workers off and blaming the government." My house mate laughed and said "This tax is a joke!" I'm pretty sure we weren't laughing for the same reason.

Still I learnt about the $80 billion figure for K-Rudd, so I'm just swallowing the propaganda thank you Prime Minister.

All the resources stocks have dropped as a result of this tax. It'd be pretty amusing if their stock slumped so much the government couldn't get their planned amount of tax out of them. I don't know if that's possible, but it'd amuse me if it was.

5/02/2010 02:00:00 am

Done

Posted by Tom French |

Party's over. 'Twas good. The house feels warmer.

There are people across the road doing bad karaoke. I'm glad I'm not there.

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