Emma did a speech



Emma Watson Speech

Today I watched Emma Watson’s speech about feminism. Well, I listened to it while I did other stuff at work.

I quite liked it. She said good things and said them well. I’m not sure she said anything new, or mind blowing (as the internet has loudly proclaimed). Vanity Fair said her speech was a “game-changer”. It wasn’t really. Or if it is a game changer it’s not because she has said things which change the game, but because she’s Emma Watson and people listen to her.

That said, hyperbole aside, I’m glad we’re paying attention. More and more these days people seem to be talking about gender equality. I feel like I have been exposed to this stuff more and more since dating Em. I feel like I spend more time noticing how women’s roles are represented in the media and how we respond to men and women differently.

One thing I’ve been thinking for a while is that maybe feminism needs a new name. Feminists stand up and say “Feminism is about the equality of men and women”, which is an excellent thing to be about. But when many people hear the word feminism (me included) you hear “feminine”, and think “Oh that must be all about women.” It’s not as if you could call feminism “masculinism” and still represent the same values. One thing that the “feminists” of the church have done which I think has worked well is calling themselves “egalitarian”, which pretty much means what it sounds like. If the feminist movement were to call themselves “egalitarians” people might have a better idea that it isn’t about women taking over.

Of course feminism is called feminism because the balance of power has always been firmly on the side of the men. Feminism is about redressing past and current injustice on behalf of girls and women everywhere. What’s not to like about that? I guess I’m just concerned with the feminist PR problem, especially when it comes to getting men on board. Having Emma Watson make an excellent speech on the issue certainly will help things along. Getting men on-side might be even easier if the name didn’t stop them listening from the get-go, even if it is a result of their own fear or close-mindedness.

Anyway good work, Emma. I hope the game keeps changing.




We went to see Boyhood last night.

It’s a film that was filmed over 12 years following the life of a boy from childhood to adulthood. It has the same actors playing their roles throughout the whole film so as the actors age in real life the characters age on screen. It was a pretty fantastic movie, if only for the concept. The film itself felt like a rather real portrait of what it means for a boy to grow up. While Mason, the main character, had a life that was pretty different from mine I identified with many of the defining moments in his life as moments I remember as I grew up. Many of the conversations Mason had as a teenager, I remember having, or I have had with teenagers. This film felt real.

The film doesn’t have a spectacular plot. It just seems content to drop in once a year or so to show us significant moments in this boy’s life. It felt pretty special to see him grow and progress in such a condensed period of time. Usually we drop in on people’s lives for short periods of time, and hour, a day, a week, a year. A few people we have the privleged of knowing for many years. But over that time as they grow and change, you grow and change with them. In this film we get to be part of one boy’s life and see it all play out in about 165 minutes. It’s long for a film. Short for a life.

You should go see it. It won’t make you want to rush back to the cinema and watch it again, but if you’re like me, you’ll like you got let in on something special for a few hours, a little bit of everyday time travel, before you go back to your old life progressing at 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day. When you’ve seen one boy’s future play out, it might make you more hopeful for the future in general. It did for me.

Dem Priorities



Going into this wedding Em and I were trying to sort out what kind of event we wanted. There are so many options, giant and traditional, small and intimate, eloping. You can get married in a church, on a beach, in a backyard, in a registry. You can have big reception, a small reception, no reception. Extremely formal, fantastically casual or wonderfully fancy dressed. To sort through all our options we seem to have made ourselves an unwritten list of priorities. Talking Em about it this seems to be what our default list of priorities are. So far they’ve served us pretty well.


We see marriage, ultimately, as a reflection of God’s love and commitment to his people in his son, Jesus. So if marriage is ultimately about pointing to Jesus then we wanted to make sure our wedding did the same. Mainly this will be expressed through how we do the ceremony, but hopefully it’ll be clear throughout the whole event.

Each Other

We want to make sure that at our wedding we marry each other. That’s crazy and innovative, but that’s important to us. It may seem obvious, but what it has meant is that we’ve cut out stuff that we’ve felt was unnecessary because we didn’t connect with it and it wasn’t really important to getting married. It’s been freeing, if there’s a tradition we felt was irrelevant, or unhelpful we could just toss it, if there’s something we like, we get to keep it. There’s a lot less that we’re doing just because “that’s what you do”, I’m happy about that.

Family and Friends

We also believe marriage is a commitment made within your community, you cannot do marriage alone. This means that we wanted our wedding to be something that celebrated that community. Certainly things would have been easier if we did it with a lot less people around, but we wanted to honour the fact that we don’t go through life alone, and marriages don’t succeed without the love and support of your friends and family. We’ve seen our wedding as a celebration with our friends and family, and hopefully in a small way, a gift to them.


Part of making our wedding a gift to others is these last two priorities. We want it to be fun. Weddings can sometimes be boring, tedious affairs. Ours may be too, but we want to do our best to make sure it’s as fun as possible. So the band, the sleepover, the bonfire, the flying fox, these are all part our commitment to fun.

Tasty Food

We love to eat. We love our food to be tasty. We love eating tasty food with others. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but happy tastebuds make for happy parties.

So when you put all those priorities into the mix, hopefully what comes out is our wedding. We’ll see. It may be a disaster, but we’ve given it a good shot to make a tasty, fun, friends and family filled, Frendrussi making, Jesus loving wedding. If you’re coming, you can judge for yourself. But if we fail, that’s ok.

As I’ve been saying all along, if by the end of the weekend we’re married and no-one has died, it’ll be a success. I’m hoping we can at least achieve that.

Photo by Averie Harvey (who is also our wedding photograher, that was probably priority 6, awesome photos)

5 Tips for the Perfect Wedding


Hipster Wedding Better

I am right in the middle of wedding planning, so I thought I might share with you a few of the tips I’ve picked up along the way.

1. Find someone good-looking to marry

The most important thing of any wedding is having great photos, therefore you will want your photos to be as beautiful as possible. You probably can’t do too much about how attractive you are (you can only do so much with raw materials), but you can do something about who you have by your side. So choose someone attractive. You won’t regret it when you have that giant, canvas print of the both of you on your wall in you newlyweds’ pad.

Plan what type of wedding you want – hipster, down-to-earth, fairytale – then choose your partner accordingly. It is important to do this as you may pick someone who is thematically wrong for your wedding. Imagine going for the princess wedding and then finding yourself walking down the aisle towards a devastatingly handsome, but bearded, tattooed and bow-tied hipster? A mish-mash, wedding disaster! Choose early and choose right. I suggest not even getting engaged until you know what the meta-narrative of your wedding will be, just in case your prospective spouse will won’t gel with your artistic vision.

2. Plan your wedding budget around your prospective gift intake

Many couples planning a wedding fail to make an adequate assessment of the financial means of their guests and end up running their wedding at a loss. My suggestion is that you plan your wedding budget after first assessing your guestlist and how much each guest is likely to spend on you. Only after you have done this can you plan the budget. I always suggest planning for a profit of no-less that 20%, this gives room if things go wrong like going over budget or having stingy guests.

Here’s a sample calculation:

Number of guests: 100
Estimated average gift value or amount put in wishing well: $150
Net intake: $15,000
Total Budget ($15,000-20%): $12,000

Now you might feel that this doesn’t give you a lot to work with. But if you are feeling the strain you may like to raise revenue in a number of other ways, invite more guests particularly rich ones, or perhaps consider doing a deal with the venue to charge for parking and split the profits, or charge guests with varied dietary needs a fee. Don’t worry about upsetting them, it’s the most special day of your life, they’ll understand.

3. Plan your ceremony to highlight the “magic moments”

The are many great moments in any ceremony, the arrival of the bride, the teary groom, the handcrafted vows, the first kiss. These are what I like to call the “magic moments”. Many couples think these will just happen but in fact they are best achieved through well planned spontaneity. For instance when the bride arrives sometimes there is a collective gasp among the congregation. This is rarely an unrehearsed moment. Like it or not, pretty much everyone in the building has seen a bride before, they’re not going to gasp in delight at the sight of another bride. Face it, a bride is a bride is a bride. However if you line up a few friends and family beforehand to gasp at first bride-sight, perhaps at a particular cue in the processional music, others will get swept up in the moment and they will think that truly this is the most beautiful bride they have ever seen.

Be sure to think through other ways to make the most of these “magic moments” perhaps eye drops for the groom, professional writers to make your vows pop, tips on kissing from stage directors. Every little bit can make your wedding the perfect wedding.

4. Book your venue for its look not its food

Many couples book a reception venue for the friendly staff, comfy seats, perks like attached hotel rooms, and worst of all, good food. These are unimportant. Don’t think with your stomach. You want a venue that looks amazing. Like we said before your photos are the thing that will actually last from the wedding day. For many couples the photos of their wedding will last longer than the actual marriage, so make sure it looks spectacular. One massive trap is to pick a venue with great food. Venues with great food usually charge through the roof, or skimp in other ways (like shabby carpets and worn furniture – both of which look terrible on camera). You will not eat on your wedding day anyway, so who cares if the guests have a bad time. In fact the worse the food is, the less they will eat, the quicker they’ll get drunk, the less you have to spend on alcohol. However you can never skimp on what looks good. Pay for that hipster delight, rustic community hall, or that dining room looking over the ocean, or the reception inside the aquarium. If it looks good, get it. Don’t ruin your eternal memories with something as fleeting as comfort and taste.

5. Finish your wedding as late as possible

Finally, your wedding is the one day that is all about you. It’s the one day of your life when everyone you know has to give up a whole day to celebrate you (especially if it’s your first wedding). So make the most of it, start your ceremony early, and leave your reception late. You’ll love every minute of the attention. You’ll love the chance to listen to speeches about you. You’ll love having everyone eat a meal in your honour. Don’t cheat yourself and wrap everything up by 5pm. You’ll regret it later. This is your day, that means the whole day is yours, your guests can have suck it up and love you, it’s your wedding, damn it!

Photo by Ryan Polei

Goodbye Edi


My Compassion child graduated a few weeks ago. His name is Edi. We’d been solid buddies for about 10 years or more I reckon. I’m not sure what he’s graduated on to, hopefully my support has given him the start he needed to become a stunt driver for the local film industry. I really hope that was his dream.

Now that Edi is gone, Compassion wanted to seemlessly move me onto another sponsor child, but I’ve decided to change sponsor child providers. Maybe one closer to home, I might sponsor a child from Waitara, it’s tough growing up on the wrong side of Wahroonga.

Whatever the case, I emailed Compassion today saying that I wasn’t going keep sponsoring children with them. I was a bit worried about how they’d take it. I got a phone call later in the day from one of their workers. I thought “Here we go, they’re going to make this a messy break-up.” As it turns out however, they were excellent. The worker was just ringing me to let me know that they have cancelled my sponsorship payments, I might get one more thing from them in the post but I can ignore that, and that I am also giving them some money in another program too, and would I like to stop giving to that also?” I indicated I would and she very politely said she’d stop that payment too. It was great. The first time I’ve ever been rung by a charity asking me if I want to stop giving money.

Good work, Compassion. Thanks for taking the break-up so well. You can keep wearing my t-shirt around if you want to.

You’re Not Actually Single




So, as you may have noticed, I’m blogging for the 50 days leading up to getting married. I’m calling it 50 Days of Singleness.

Howie mentioned to me that I’m not actually single. Which is true, I’m not. I’m just not married, so if we were to measure relationships in binary form, I’m single.

I had thought about calling it “The Last 50 days of a Virgin” or something like that, but I don’t want to declare to the entire internet that I’m a virgin. That’d be 100% embarrassing.

It’s a bit odd that we call unmarried life singleness, it’s not like I’m out cruising for ladies till I get married. I could try that, but it wouldn’t end well for anyone, especially for me when I lost my fiancé and discovered I have no skills in picking-up women whatsoever. I guess that “singleness” just means that I’m not locked in for life just yet. I could still get out of this without the legal complications. However, there would be plenty of complications, we now own couches together. A 3.5 seater, a 2.5 seater and an ottoman. I can imagine even if we broke up now we’d get into a pretty messy court battle over those couches. We’d both want the 3.5 seater, one of us would have to settle for the 2.5 seater and neither of us would want the ottoman. At least you can split up a set of couches, unlike children. It’s not like if you have multiple kids you can just fight for custody of the good looking ones.

However there are some things which I am free to do now in my single state which I cannot do when I get married. Like fart in bed and congratulate myself when it’s particularly good. While I know that once I get a wife sharing my bed I’ll still be able to fart, I’m pretty sure that any good fart in bed won’t come without a price. Probably the level of enjoyment I get from any particular bed-based flatulence will have a corresponding level of disapproval and/or punishment from my life-partner. With each fart I’ll have to do a cost/benefit analysis, and sometimes I may just have to choose to let it go quietly with only a small, internal celebration of my external brilliance.

So perhaps I should have called this blog series 50 Days of Fart Freedom. However I wanted this series to have a sense of gravitas, which now that I’ve started, I’m well on my way to achieving it.

Photo by Haldane Martin

The Lost Photos of the Road Trip


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We made it back to Sydney. Today was an epic day of driving. Here are the photos you didn’t see because I was unable to get them off my camera till now. Some of these photos have been lost for up to three days old. This is historic. Also in chronological order.

2014 Road Trip-1

Bega Downs Motel – Totes awesome.

2014 Road Trip-2

Somewehere just over the Victorian border.

2014 Road Trip-4


2014 Road Trip-3

My finals campaign didn’t go as well as I’d hoped.

2014 Road Trip-5

2014 Road Trip-6

What!?! A Submarine in rural NSW?

Turtle Power



Howie and I have a habit of going somewhere different and finding the closest shopping centre, eating in the food court and seeing a movie. Today, being in Melbourne, was no different. After checking out of our hotel and doing a tour of the MCG (which was oddly touristy of us but also pretty fun) we found a shopping centre ate some lunch then went to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I wanted it to be awesome but when it wasn’t I had to remember that it was a kids’ movie I was watching. I loved TMNT when I was a kid. I remember shouting the catchphrases, owning a turtles jumper (which got mildew on it) and really, really wanting to be as cool as Michelangelo. Now I’m an adult, I want my action heroes to be a little more believable than ninja turtles. But for kids, this movie seems pretty exciting. I would have loved it. There are guns, and ninja fighting, and chase sequences and (kid) funny jokes. I can’t remember if it’s “appropriate” for kids, probably, but when I was 7, the more “inappropriate” for kids the film was, the more I was interested, at least in terms of violence. James Bond movies were fantastic. As far as the rest goes, it never phased me the James Bond had sex with multiple women in every film. That didn’t even seem to register as significant as a kid. So when Wil Arnett makes a joke about Megan Fox’s bum in this movie, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it at all or realised what was going on. So when comes to this film, I would have had a great time.

Anyway, the film was pretty bad. The story was predictable, the action was dull, the characters were underdeveloped, everything was preposterous. Adult Tom gives it 2 stars. But kid Tom gives it 5 stars, he would have had the time of his life, and he’s who matters here.

A Post of Some Photos from Some Road Trip



Today was day two of the road trip. It’s been a thrilling trip of driving and talking and taking photos with our phones.

I didn’t sleep that well last night. I spent most of the night dreaming about chaplaincy in the mines. This got me ready to wake up looking hot.

2014-09-13 07.32.44

We ate an expensive and bland breakfast delivered through the little breakfast delivery door in our motel room, then headed off for the next leg of our adventure.

Driving Happy

Our first stop was a beautiful powernap site just over the Victorian border. I liked it so much, I went there twice.


We arrived in Orbost, a town with a Petrol Station/Drive-thru bottle shop, a combination which is both convenient and responsible.

Howie took a photo of himself eating a neenish tart. Young people these days are obsessed with themselves.

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We saw a lookout which was hard to find because it has rather ambiguous signage.

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Kept driving.

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We arrived in Melbourne for tonight and are staying in the Hilton, because we are the posh. We can see the MCG from our room.

2014-09-13 21.55.49

We met our friend David for dinner, and then had drinks in the hotel lobby like people do in the movies. Actually people usually pick up women when they’re in lobbies in movies I think. We didn’t because a) all of us have partners b) even if we didn’t have partners we’d have no idea how to pick up a woman anyway.

The End.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for more magnificent photos!

Fifty Days of Singleness


I know you’ve all been missing my blogging.

I have fifty days left as a single man. I’m planning blogging on all of them.

I know, it’ll be crazy!

Not all the posts a gonna be good, that I promise. But I do plan on doing them. It’s a blogging renaissance. Just for a little while.

Right now, Howie and I are on road trip. We’re kinda recreating this one in these last days before I get married. Tonight we’re staying in Bega. Wowzers!

This is us looking totally hot in our hotel room tonight. I took it for Emily so she wouldn’t miss me too much.

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And we had a romantic dinner.


Tomorrow, we’re driving from Bega to Melbourne. I’ll be sure to give you some super photos then too.

I know after this post, you can’t wait for the next 49.

The End of Recom


Recom Location-4 cropped

On Saturday we had our last ever meeting for Reconciled Community, the church plant I’ve been working on for the last few years.

I sent out an email a few days ago to some of our supporters explaining what was happening and why we made the decision to shut it down. This is what some of it said:

It has been over five years since I first decided to set about planting a church after hearing what I felt was God’s call. Over the years this dream grew to be few families and Scott Daniels, as my co-pastor, meeting together to plan and pray to prepare to plant this church. As you probably know, we had a crazy dream to plant a church with three pastors in The Ponds and Schofields. We are very passionate about seeing church done well, people come to know Jesus and a church’s local community blessed.

Last year we decided to begin meeting weekly in the area and were blessed by the experience of gathering together and doing church together. We decided to call ourselves Reconciled Community, or Recom for short, because we wanted to be a community whose identity was firm in the reconciling work of Jesus.

Unfortunately since our initial group was fully formed in 2012, we have experienced no growth as a church planting team. We have had very few people visit us, and none of the families, couples or individuals we have invited to join us have been called or able to. In our search for the third pastor we have been entirely unable to find someone suited and able to fill the role, despite extensive searching, advertising and prayer.

This almost complete lack of success led Scotty and I to the realisation that we need to seek God’s will for our church. Last week, after much talking and prayer, we both independently came to the difficult decision that it is time to end the Recom experiment. This decision did not come easily. However both of us feel, out of our commitment to God and his kingdom, that we need to release ourselves and the others in Recom into more fruitful areas of ministry. Were we to continue with Recom out of a stubborn commitment to the vision, we both felt we would be unwisely not using our gifts and experiences to their best use in growing God’s kingdom.

It’s a strange thing, wrapping up a church that never got off the ground. I had all these ideas about how the church would happen. I had ideas about what it might become, or if it folded, why it might fold. I never envisaged that the most basic part of our plan, to have a church with three pastors, would be the biggest thing that would stop us from ever getting going. I figured we’d at least get our three pastors and after that, it would become more difficult.

But I was wrong. About many things I was wrong.

Perhaps what’s been most significant about all this is realising I’m allowed to fail, I’m allowed to be wrong. God never calls us to success, he calls us to faithfulness. Whatever God did or didn’t say to me back when I first felt called to plant, this plant is the most faithful I could be. We did what we thought God was saying and we did everything in the way we thought was most God-honouring. I am only disappointed that things didn’t go the way I had hoped.

Whether you know you’re allowed to fail or not, failing is hard. You don’t want to be the guy who turned his life upside down chasing an empty vision. After all the time I spent explaining and defending the church plant it’s now embarrassing to be proving the critics right. I’m not upset with the people who thought it was a bad idea or had criticisms, but my pride would have preferred to invite them all to our spectacular launch and then our even more spectacular 10th anniversary.

But this plant was never meant to be about my glory. It was always about God’s. And if there is anything we see with God it’s that human failure is never a barrier to his glory. In fact if he chooses to save the world through his naked and defeated Son, of course I have no right to my own success even if I have been the most faithful follower of Jesus who has ever walked the earth (I’m not).

While I never would have liked to have been defined by my success as a church planter, I now can’t allow myself to be be defined by my lack of success. I am defined as God’s servant and God’s child. As his servant I go where I’m called and I serve where I am. As his child I know that my acceptance is not based on grades, KPIs or any other measure of success, it’s based on relationship. Jesus has made me his brother, God calls me his Son. Wherever I am, I’m always home.

So as servant and child, I may go on to bigger and more spectacular failures, it’ll hurt and it’ll be confusing. But I’ll be safe, and I’ll be a success because I’ll still be with Jesus, he left failure in the grave, he’s all the success I need.


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