“Starting in verse 7, (Ecc. 8) “For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.”…Here’s what I love about Solomon. He’s always going to take it right back down to the grittiest level possible. He says this, “Even if you’re careful who you submit to and you know exactly who God’s commanded you to be, sometimes it’s still going to go bad.”
I’m so grateful that he does this. This is the exact opposite of most of what we hear in church, isn’t it? He’s like, “Listen, do what you know is right, submit and be obedient to Christ, be careful who you hitch your wagon to, but in the end, it’s a lot like war.”
And here’s what he means. If you’ve ever watched anything on television where they’re training soldiers to go fight, they’ll say, “Okay, you need to get your head down. You need to swing your gun around like this. You need to enter a room like this. You need to do this. You need to watch this…” And they’ll train them, and if that soldier follows every piece of training, do they all make it home alive? Is it possible that a young man could do everything he was trained to do and still get killed? Absolutely.
And this is what he’s talking about when he says, “Hey man, no man controls the power of life and death. No man can decide to retain his own spirit. In the end, be obedient to Christ and trust that God is in control.”

Matt Chandler sermon on Ecclesiastes 8 called “Occupied territory”.


Life goes on

WELL it’s certainly been a while. It’s been a couple of months since I posted last and it’s also been a couple of months since I went back to university for second semester. This kind of makes it sound like I was too busy to blog, but in all honesty I haven’t really had that much to share. Life goes on and nothing much has changed recently, which, considering my life is pretty cruisy and I’m satisfied with where I’m at, is a good thing.

The main thing I want to share tonight is that teaching has found me out. I was at my second placement school, basically where you visit a high school for an extended period of time and practice teaching, and it dawned on me that my weaknesses relating to masculinity have entered the classroom. For example I’m not very initiating. Or not initiating enough. Sometimes instead of engaging with students I wait for them to engage with me or I let a few things slide on the classroom management side because I can’t be bothered making a fuss. It’s been a while since I have felt weak in this area, but I guess old habits die hard. In some ways I’m really glad that I’m going to become a teacher and be forced to man up every working day and hopefully this will change me from a sometimes passive man into a leader and initiator. Also sometimes I’m scared to speak to the older students. I know it sounds silly, but I am. It’s another good reason to get out there and work hard and let me weaknesses become my strengths.

Another thing that has happened is I quit the gym. Some of my clothes weren’t fitting very well due to my new muscles, so it was either keep paying a membership and buy new clothes or save money two ways. (I’m joking, but some of my clothes I basically can’t wear, though I think my washing machine also shrinks them as well.) The real reason I left is because it was too nice outside to be inside exercising looking outside at the nice weather. Also I will have to move in mid-November anyway. I’m super glad I went to the gym and learned a lot and felt more manly because I was there.

Speaking of moving…I have to apply for teaching jobs next year. And that will mean a new location. I’ve only applied for one so far; mainly because I can’t decide where I want to teach and live. I have really loved living in the inner suburbs of Melbourne and would like to keep living here, but next year I am going to be so busy it might be better to move to the middle of nowhere for cheap rent and no life and then come back in when I don’t have to spend three hours a night doing lesson preparation. I do know that I either want to work at a private school (35% of high school students in my state go to public schools, so it’s not as hard as it sounds) or a public school in a nice suburb. You won’t see me going to some dodgy suburb to get eaten alive by 15-year-olds.

One thing that really encouraged me last night was talking to a good mate from high school. He has battled pornography pretty badly for years and has never really seemed that keen to take strong steps to fight it. We’ve attempted to do accountability with each other a couple of times, but both times he just gave up and went back to an almost daily look on the internet. But now, but now, he is allowing one of his mates to call him morning and night to check on him and even better…he has handed over his internet cables for two weeks. I’m super glad he’s finally making it a fight. It really encourages me when people take strong stands like this or they commit to only using their laptop in public places or whatever.

The last thing I want to mention is that the guy who was giving my emotions grief a couple of months ago is no longer affecting them. I hadn’t seen him for a few weeks, because we were on placement full time, and when I rode the train home with him on Wednesday it was like he was a normal guy friend. That was exciting. I had decided to start keeping a record of my thoughts and actions with him to analyse myself, which I reproduce here;
“July 27
I feel like I want to impress you. To make you think I am more popular or friendly or known than I am. To see me talking to other people etc.
Aug 3
I imagine we are way more alike than we are. It’s funny what you can see when you want to see something.
I don’t initiate as much with you. I relax into your talking and leading and so on. You’re actually the man.
I pick on you. You don’t like it. Sometimes I think I’m doing it because I’m more hurt by you than I feel on the surface. I’m so into you and whatever you do and it’s not reciprocated, but the fault is my self-created expectation not you.
Aug 8
You are flighty and” (well I just ended it there for some reason.) Reading it brings to mind a line from Macbeth “To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.” I haven’t crossed checked it with an modern version, so I’m not entirely sure if it’s relevant, but I’m hoping it is, haha.