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I had a good day today

If I had to sum up my day in three words: Hooligans, Scientology, Oscars

The peaceful serenity of my morning quiet time (actually I think it was early afternoon) was disturbed today by a bunch of hooligans in my neighbour's tennis court. They were graffiting my neighbour's tennis hut (a brick building next to the tennis court). I heard this as I prayed and thought "Oh dear here's trouble. I should do something about this...No I'm praying, that's more important. Maybe when I finish praying they'll have gone away... No, that's bad, you better do something... What am I going to do? Ask your mother, Mother knows best". So I scampered up stairs and said "Mum, there are people on the neighbour's tennis court graffiting. What do you think I should do?" I was hoping desperately that she didn't say "Go and tell them to go away" lest they get angry at my request and stab me with a flick knife, hidden in their baggy pants. She suggested the police, then decided that was a bad idea and told me to ring TAFE security. That was also decided against because we were just assuming they were TAFE students. Then she got up and said she'd go talk to them. "I better talk to them. You can't. You're just a boy like they are, they won't respect you." I wondered whether I should be offended by that comment, but then decided as long as I was safe from the hooligans with knives and stolen guns, I was happy. I figured they wouldn't shoot Mum. You're not allowed to shoot mothers. Especially when you're a boy-hooligan.

Mum went outside and said: "Excuse me, that's my neighbour's property"

"She doesn't mind" one of them replied, while I hid and watched from the safety of the kitchen.

"Have you asked her?" said my fearless mother

"We're making it look better" and then they grabbed their stuff and climbed the fence.

Mum came back inside and there were congratulations all round. I went into my room and noticed they were still there, but inside the hut. I dobbed on them to Mum again and she went out and said "I think you better go, really". Then they grabbed their stuff again, and she watched as they really did leave this time.

My Mum should join Neighbourhood Watch.

After this excitement I packed my bag and headed to the city with the vague idea that I might either watch a movie, buy some new shoes, or read a book in Hyde Park. The only thing I knew I wanted to do for sure was have a large McOz meal for breakfast, with a Coke.

This I did, and it was good. The chips were cold.

Once I'd finished, I visited Dirt Cheap CDs and had to convince myself that I really didn't need another Michael Franti cd this week. Once I'd done this it was about 4:30. I headed for Hyde Park figuring that home was a long, crowded, seatless, train trip away, so I thought I'd kill the time till peak hour finished in the park, reading. But I never made it to the park. I found a bookmark thing on the ground inviting me to see a free Scientology exhibition at the Church of Scientology in Castlereagh St. I visited and was shown into a room with a short display of pictures and plastic plaques on the wall, explaining all about Scientology.

I wandered for a bit and was soon joined by a women who must have noticed me looking quite perplexed trying to work out one of their charts to spiritual enlightenment. She offered to explain all the stuff to me. I've forgotten her name. She was nice. She took me around, and answered my questions. She found out that I was a theology student, I'm not sure what she thought of that.

When she'd finished taking me through the exhibition she gave me some reading material, and introduced me to a trainee Scientologist who is planning on setting up a Scientology base in Tasmainia. She offered to answer anymore questions I had. Her first question was something like "How did you find it?" I think I must have said something non-committal like "It was interesting", because her next question was, "What are your reservations?" I told her it seemed like a bit of a selfish religion. Everything that one did, was for one's gain. You learnt so that things go better in life, you obey the moral code for your own survival, you help people because it makes you feel good. She told me that it wasn't selfish, but it was for your benefit. Or something like that. I failed to grasp how it wasn't selfish.

I asked her what the eternal significance of all the learning and helping was. I said, because I believe that whatever we gain in this life, our money, jobs, careers, knowledge, all that stuff, will be of no significance when we die. She said that I had to make up my own mind about what happened when we died. I asked her what she thought happened. She refused to tell me, and that I should buy L. Ron Hubbard's book Dianetics. I didn't really want to do this, I was looking for a straight answer. They (my old guide joined the conversation again, as did another lady) told me I wouldn't get one, because I had to decide for myself what was true. And that then, what was true for me, was true for me. What was true for them, was true for them.

It was at this point that we hit the crux of the argument, and why it was going to be impossible for us to agree. I told them that I didn't see how it could work, for me to believe that what's true for me is my truth. I didn't think that subjective truth worked if one believed in absolute truth. I suggested that if I believe in absolute truth and that the Bible is the word of God, and they didn't, they couldn't both be right. Either there was absolute truth or their wasn't. Either my beliefs that cover the whole of humanity are right, or they are wrong. They can't be just right for me, and not right for anyone else or they would be wrong for me, and my truth couldn't be true for anyone. 2+2 cannot equal both 4 and 6 at the same time. Absolute truth, and subjective, personal truth are, in essence, mutually exclusive. But they wouldn't accept that. Their absolute truth was that what's true for the individual is true only for them and each person decided their own truth.

One of the other women took me around the exhibition again, and we continued to talk. It was a good conversation. I did a bit more explaining of where I'm coming from. She explained a bit more. We kept coming back to the problem of truth. In the end we decided that they were never going to answer the question to my satisfaction and that we would have to end the conversation, disagreeing.

I must say, that as negative as I'm sounding, they were all very nice people. I was impressed with their desire to see good things done in the world. I was inspired by their selflessness. It seems to me that I met selfless people in a selfish religion*.

The women that talked to me at the end asked me if I was from Hillsong. I laughed and said "No". She said she wanted to come and visit my church. I told her where it was and gave her the address and my work number. I got invited go to L. Ron Hubbard's Birthday Party. They asked me to do their personality test, but I declined because I didn't have time. I'd spent about an hour and a half there. I had a nice time, and the woman told me she had enjoyed our conversation. I hope that was true. I was trying hard to be a nice, respectful person. I left saying lots of Thank-yous to the many people who had talked to me over the course of the afternoon.

On the way home I sent out many sms-s inviting people to my Oscar party tonight (I'm never sure who to invite to things, I'm never sure how wide to spread my invite net. I guess that's the problem with never minding who turns up to my events, I always want everyone there.)

I got home, checked the blogs, got myself a packet of chips and a Coke, and sat down to watch the Oscars. Only two people had replied to my sms, and they were both to say they weren't coming. I thought it was a little funny that no-one turned up to my party and I started composing blog posts in my head about it. Mum and Hannah arrived home and Hannah joined me for a while finding Billy Crystal hilarious. So I wasn't alone for my party, just no-one I had invited turned up.

And then lo and behold, I got and sms from Sal saying she would be there soon. I started composing my reply when there was a knock at the door and there she was. Suddenly I had a party happening, a massive two people (not including my mother and Hannah who didn't really join in). I started eating my dinner and we watched some awards. Soon Jemma also arrived. And then Chris and Howie. Amazing. What a party. And the Oscars were fun (although they didn't need to show us the Libra ad so often).

After the delayed telecast was over, we had a special Oscar party photo on my new phone, and everyone went home. And although it wasn't nearly as blog worthy, it was a grand evening, almost glamorous, without the glamour.

I also did the washing up and debriefed my afternoon with the Scientologists some more.

*The whole other question that goes with this for myself is, "Is Christianity a selfish religion, if our end goal is to go to heaven?" While the answer is, I believe, "No" because that shouldn't be the end goal, perhaps the better question is, "If I believe that Christianity is not a selfish religion, would I still be a Christian if there was no eternal life?"