12/31/2010 09:55:00 pm

Home Alone

Posted by Tom French |

It's New Year's Eve.

And where am I?

I'm at home.

And I'm happy.

No, really, I am.


I spent a lot of time trying to work out what to do this evening. I had a few options. Parties, gatherings, fireworks. The problem with New Years Eve is that it's always so full of expectation of having an excellent night. And sometimes it is excellent but sometimes it's a real disappointment. Usually though, it has to do with expectations. If things go better than you expect, your NYE rocks. If they don't, it doesn't. If you want a quiet one and it's not quiet enough, or it's too quiet, your NYE sucks. If you want an awesome night out at a party or on the harbour but your friends are less fun than you hoped or your friends are having heaps of fun but they are somewhere else, you're let down.

Tomorrow my house mates come home. I've had the house to myself the past few days and it's been great. I've done a lot of sitting around, watching DVDs, sleeping and playing Xbox. I figured, I can just do more of that tonight. And it'll probably be exactly what I expect. The company probably won't do anything surprising, and I really do love having the house to myself. Expectations won't let me down.

So that's what I'm doing. I've watched a DVD, eaten butter chicken, read my Bible and prayed. Now I'm blogging (obviously), I might read soon, watch a DVD, who knows. I know it all sounds old and dull but so far it's been fun. I'm on holidays, so I'm gonna do what I want, and this is great.

On Wednesday I was talking to Lesley about what she was doing and she said she might just stay home. At the time the idea sounded appalling. However, it grew on me. Not that I don't like going out. But I don't like being let down, and for a night so full of expectation as NYE, I'm going to expect nothing, do not much, and probably come out on top. On the other hand, the flat could burn down, I could have a terrible accident and have my arm amputated by the DVD player and then the New Year's Eve will be a let down. So far, however, it's going well. Thanks Lesley.

Introverts unite (alone)!

12/31/2010 06:43:00 pm

Opened

Posted by Tom French |

Opening HSC.jpg

Opening my HSC with my Dad - Photo by Helen, stolen from Facebook

In the year 2000, I did my HSC. When I did it, I vowed not to open my HSC for 10 years.

17th December 2010 was exactly 10 years after my results came out. So I had a party.

I had been planning to have a party for, well, 10 years. Everytime I told someone that I hadn't opened my HSC and I was opening them in December 2010 people said "Oh can I come to your party?" If everyone who said that came to my party, there'd be thousands of people there. So I booked the Entertainment Centre.

Unfortunately that fell through so I had to book somewhere smaller.

We ended up at the Asquith Community Centre, which was an excellent venue even if we were double booked with the Zumba crew.

The night was good fun, I had 81 of my closest friends there. I was also missing about about 514 of my other closest friends according to Facebook, but that's ok, I had fun anyway.

There was a guessing competition for people to enter and see what I got. Your entry cost the amount that you thought I got. So if you thought I got 45.65 you had to pay $45.65. All the money raised went to World Vision's education projects.

People were very generous. They gave $2209 on the night. I have very wonderful, big hearted, deep pocked friends and family. My uncle had the highest guess of 98.6, which was silly, but very kind of him.

When it came to opening time, I had hoped my old year advisor would do it but failed to appear on the night. So I got my Dad up to do it. My grandfather, Dad's dad, had been the person most interested in what I got. So I got my Dad to get up as a representative, being his eldest son and my father I thought it was fitting. I know my Grandfather wouldn't have really approved of the whole silly event, but still wanted to give him a not. Plus, I found it pretty special doing it with my Dad, just cause I love my Dad.

Once we announced the mark, Howie won the guessing competition with a guess .15 off what I got, which people found suspicious. However he won a whole bunch of stuff he won't use, so I think it's safe to say he didn't rig it.

We finished off the night with The Outback Hippies, who played their old school rock and roll late into the night. We danced, and sang and had excellent times. At times they made everyone dance with or sing to me, which was embarrassing and unnecessary, but I guess I am an excellent dancer, so it's understandable.


What's been interesting is that since the party I've had heaps of people congratulating me on my mark. They come and ask what I got, and then say "Well done". Then they'll talk about what they got, or what their brother or sister, or son or daughter got. Suddenly 10 years after doing my HSC, everyone cares about what I got.

The whole point was that what I got doesn't matter - you are not your mark. And for 10 years my mark has meant nothing. Now that its out people are talking about it like it matters. It doesn't. It's as significant known as it was when it was unknown, there is no congratulations necessary.

Plus I feel bad being congratulated on my mark, because I didn't put any work in and I feel bad because I beat some people who worked hard. Had I worked hard, maybe a "Good work" 10 years ago wouldn't have gone astray, whatever I got. Seeing as a I didn't "You're a lazy bum" would have been appropriate, then and now.

However I am happy that I did what I set out to do, I showed that you are not your mark, and you can do fine in life without it. You can get work, live a happy life, get a degree and not be a homeless alcoholic all without your HSC mark. In some ways I wish I never opened it because then it still wouldn't matter what I got. But I guess if I have to put up with a bit of congratulation and silliness but people around the world get $2000 worth of better education, then it's worth it.

And the party was pretty pretty awesome too. Thanks friends.


If you're wondering, I got 63.15, which makes no difference to anything. Unless your Howie. Well done, Howie. Congratulations.

12/28/2010 11:51:00 pm

Heartbreak

Posted by Tom French |

Natalie-Portman 1.jpg

I found out today that your friend and mine, Natalie Portman is engaged and pregnant.

While I wish her all the best, it's hard when all the people you've been holding a flame for fall for other people, and get on with life. First it was Winnie from The Wonder Years and now Natalie.

What's a man to do?

It's times like this when we need James Blunt to sing for our hearts. Sing it for me tonight Blunty:

12/28/2010 11:25:00 pm

Tron Legacy

Posted by Tom French |

Tron Legacy.jpg

I went to see Tron Legacy today with my Auntie. It was pretty awesome. It looked great. The 3D was as good as or better than Avatar. It wasn't obtrusive at all.

The opening credits were almost worth the price of the ticket along. But I love good opening credits. And what totally was worth the price of the ticket was the music by Daft Punk. It was great. The film could be an extended Daft Punk film clip. Plus it was nice to see their cameo.

The story was pretty silly. But it wasn't pretentious (unlike Avatar), it was just trying to be a whole lot of fun with a lot of cool stuff. And that it was.

You should probably go see Tron.

12/21/2010 12:22:00 am

Sin?

Posted by Tom French |

Here's my theological question for the week:

If Jesus decided not to die on the cross, would it have been a sin?

Someone on camp asked me and I'm still thinking it through.

12/20/2010 01:08:00 pm

I'm off a boat

Posted by Tom French |

Last year I went on Sailing Camp and if you believe the revisionist history I'm currently revisionising, I became an expert sailor.

This year I went to speak on the same camp again. And despite my brilliant skills of sailing, I didn't manage to sail once. Which seems a little like going to Africa and not going on safari, which I also did. I did want to go sailing, but things got in the way. Like on the first day I canoed because there wasn't enough room on the boats. The second day I was doing canoeing again, but then a kid cut his finger on an oyster. I was tasked with ambulance driving, so another leader and I spent 4 hours in Wyong hospital with him. In the end he didn't even get a stitch, it was a little disappointing. We did get to eat McDonalds though, so we'll call it even.

The next day I took a girl to the medical centre to get a tetanus shot after she was also attacked by an oyster, which meant I didn't sail that day either. On the last two days of sailing, I stayed on land because they needed extra leaders there. So the lack of sailing was a little sad, I enjoy sitting out on those boats. Especially on the hot days.

Despite the lack of nautical adventures, I did have a pretty good camp. There were almost 70 kids on the camp which made it almost at capacity. I had trouble getting to meet all the kids. Still they all met me. One of the things about being speaker is that everyone feels like they know you better than you feel like you know them and it's probably true. So hopefully people felt like I had interacted with them even if I hadn't got to do it much face to face.

Best of all about the camp was that there were 12 kids who put up their hands to say they became Christians after the talks. I'm pretty sure it was a worthwhile camp.

Next year though, if I'm there, "I'm on a boat!"

12/20/2010 12:53:00 am

Awkward

Posted by Tom French |

So when I said I'd elaborate tomorrow, I may have been a little over ambitious.

I will however begin the elaboration.

One of the places I preached in the last two weeks was at a work function for a bunch of different organisations that do similar ministry to my work. My boss and some colleagues were there. I was doing an extended version of my sermon from Romans 8. Anyway I start off with some dodgy preaching about how God works everything for good. So losing a job means getting a new and better one. Having a car break down, means getting a new and better one. Divorcing a spouse means getting a new and better one. And if we are more than conquerors we can beat sickness, and financial hardship and even death!

And then I pause to say "I hope some of you are getting a little uncomfortable."

Except I paused and someone in the audience shouted "Woohoo!"

It was a little awkward, seeing as I was about to explain how everything I had just said was wrong.

Still I moved on and did what I needed to do. Hopefully the person didn't feel too jipped that I tricked them into woohooing.

12/18/2010 11:18:00 pm

Home

Posted by Tom French |

The past two weeks have been massive. I've done 10 different talks, been on a camp, hung out in a hospital, helped do some house moving, had a party, opened my HSC results and seen 12 people become Christians. Awesome, but huge.

I'll elaborate more tomorrow. But for now, just thought I'd check in.

12/08/2010 06:25:00 pm

I's a man of many learnings

Posted by Tom French |

I came home today and found a B.Th. in the post with my name on it. So I had a graduation ceremony at 5:58pm. Here's a photo:

Graduation.jpg

I wore the cardboard on my head to identify with poor students in the developing world who can't afford a mortar board.

From now on you'll call me Thomas French B.Th. Just in time to open my HSC results.

12/06/2010 11:24:00 pm

Questions

Posted by Tom French |

In Bible study tonight, while looking at Colossians 2:4 ("I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments"), we made a list of the all the different types of teachings and "fine sounding arguments" that might lead the church astray.

Of the ones I can remember, they were:

  • Jesus is not the only way to God
  • The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three separate gods
  • How can a good God exist when there is so much suffering the world?
  • Jesus is not God, God does not exist, Jesus was just a good man
  • Jesus didn't physically rise from the dead
  • God did not create the world, a big bang did
  • There is no absolute truth
  • The Bible is a book written in a specific culture and therefore not eternally relevant
  • The Bible is not God's revelation, it is not inerrant, it is just a book
  • God is unknowable
  • Religion has been the cause of too much evil in the world
  • Jesus was not the messiah
  • You can be saved through being good

We were then asked which ones we struggled with, or had struggled with. I don't know about the answers of the rest of the group, but my answer was all of them. At some stage or another I've wrestled with all of them. If I'm honest, some of them pop up regularly. I can't even say I've satisfactorally solved them all for myself. Jesus, however, is consistantly greater than any question.

If you asked me what questions I regularly ask, it'd be these:

Does God actually exist?

Was Jesus actually God?

Would God really reveal himself through the Bible?

Is Christianity the only true faith?


The rest are just sometimes questions.


What questions do you ask? How often do you find yourself asking questions? What answers have you found?

12/06/2010 11:01:00 pm

Perfect Church

Posted by Tom French |

There are many things I love about my church. But perhaps the sign that I go to the perfect church is that my church has a continuing love affair with Hornsby's most delicious eatery, Chef's Lucky Noodle.

12/06/2010 12:22:00 am

U2 and all that

Posted by Tom French |

The last that you all heard, I was on my way down to Melbourne to watch U2. I was going because I'm on camp in a week which is when U2 is in Sydney and I love U2 so much I didn't want to miss them.

It was also an excellent opportunity to hang out with David and Andreana. I was especially looking forward to hanging out with Andreana because I feel like I don't know her very well. And seeing as she's marrying one of my oldest friends, I reckon like I should at least know a little of who she is. I learnt that she works in a uni and quite likes rain coats, so I feel it was a successful fact finding mission.

I was worried it would be rainy, and Melbourne did its best to meet expectations. I arrived in wet Melbourne after a reasonably normal plane flight. I did sit next to a girl on the plane and I thought "Maybe we will have a conversation and fall in love", but then I found out she lived in Melbourne and wasn't that keen on U2 - two strikes, she's out.

I met David once I hopped off the airport bus, we checked the line at Etihad Stadium and decided it'd be too hard to sneak Andreana in, plus we'd get wet and miserable, so we left to watch a movie. We watched Due Date which was funny, but not amazing. It won't change your life.

Soon it was time to get Andreana from her work that the cathedral of learnings, so we bought some creepy $9 raincoats and went and found her.

We lined up at the stadium for about 45 minutes I reckon, and then we were let in. It was pretty easy. Once in, we got ourselves a spot about 10 meters from the stage's second catwalk. Not bad for turning up at 4:30pm. I reckon it was around then the rain let up, and we were dry for the rest of the night.

Bored at U2 360.jpg

Bored at U2 in our dooby $9 raincoats

Inside the stadium there was just a lot more waiting to be done. Eventually we were given a countdown till Jay-Z, the support act. That was a nice touch. Everyone loves an over sized clock.

Jay-Z was superb. I've never been a big fan, but I always knew he had talent. Watching him and his band was pretty awesome. His band were tight, and brought the funk, and he knew how to engage the crowd. He was massively better than Kanye supporting U2 in '06. I reckon I might even get an album. If you're going to see U2 in Sydney, get his best of before you go, you'll thank yourself.

Once he was done it was back to more waiting.

360 Countdown.jpg

Counting down

Finally the second countdown clock we were shown dramatically fell apart, Bowie got piped though the stadium and U2 arrived on stage to masses of sound and lights. The stage is huge. They call it the claw. It is quite impressive. It's looking a little tired, like it's been around the world, which it has. But they utilise the space well, every part of it plays a function throughout the show. Lights, smoke, tv, everywhere. Special.

U2 Start.jpg

The band were in good form. Although, I am such a fan, I'd probably always think they played well. They did many of the classics you'd expect from a U2 concert. Until the End of the World was fantastic, with it's usual sense of theatrics, which also made me wonder about whether or not U2 think Judas was saved. They did a fantastic rearrangement of I'll go Crazy if I don't go Crazy Tonight. Plenty of drums and bass. Jay-z was brought out for Sunday Bloody Sunday, who added a nice rap interlude, but meant that we couldn't pump out fists and shout "No more!". Bono did talk to us about AIDS and Burma but the show was pretty light on for politics, compared to say, the Vertigo tour.

Adam and Larry 360.jpg

I think my favourite moment of the night was I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. People have often said going to a U2 concert is a spiritual experience, and it is. In this song I had one of the most significant musical worship moments I've had this year, certainly the most significant I've ever had at a concert. I was there, arm outstretched, eyes closed, singing loud. It feels a little odd singing a gospel song with thousands of others knowing that most people are not singing to Jesus, but it still feels good. I was quite happily then more in awe of Jesus than I was of any rock band, even if I was watching the greatest rock band in the world.

It certainly was a concert worth going to. And going to Melbourne and hanging out with David and Andreana was a trip worth doing. Hooray for being rich and being able to enjoy these many undeserved blessings.

City of Blinding Lights.jpg

I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well yes I'm still running

You broke the bonds and you
Loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Of my shame
You know I believed it

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

12/01/2010 06:35:00 am

Wet

Posted by Tom French |

I'm about to get on a plane to go to Melbourne to see U2. Who goes to an outdoor concert in Melbourne? Seriously. I'm gonna be wet as.

Still, who goes to an outdoor concert in Sydney this December? All I've seen of it is rain so far.

Woot for U2 though!



It did just occur to me that we're going to see U2 on World AIDS Day. I can't see Bono letting us get out of that too easily.

Subscribe