Friday, 12 February 2010

special book offer

Hear and Be Wise: Becoming a Teacher and Preacher of Wisdom
By: Alyce M. McKenzie
Abingdon Press / 2004 / Paperback

the reb managed to get 18 copies of the above book as part of the course books for second semester stm course on wisdom literature. the above is cheap... CHEAP!! only RM 15.00 per book (after including postage). get your copy before it is all sold.

the book basically shows what are the 4 pillars of wisdom drawing on principles from the OT wisdom literature and relating them to modern pastoral responsibilities. a very useful book to see how OT can be relevant as well as how the pastor/teacher today can model OT principles in their lives and in their teaching.


Latest: Only 1 left! 18/2/2010. if others still want, the reb may have to place another order again.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Frankincense: Could it be a cure for cancer?

The gift given by the wise men to the baby Jesus probably came across the deserts from Oman. The BBC's Jeremy Howell visits the country to ask whether a commodity that was once worth its weight in gold could be reborn as a treatment for cancer.
Oman's Land of Frankincense is an 11-hour drive southwards from the capital, Muscat.
Most of the journey is through Arabia's Empty Quarter - hundreds of kilometres of flat, dun-coloured desert. Just when you are starting to think this is the only scenery you will ever see again, the Dhofar mountains appear in the distance.

On the other side are green valleys, with cows grazing in them. The Dhofar region catches the tail-end of India's summer monsoons, and they make this the most verdant place on the Arabian peninsula.

Warm winters and showery summers are the perfect conditions for the Boswellia sacra tree to produce the sap called frankincense. These trees grow wild in Dhofar. A tour guide, Mohammed Al-Shahri took me to Wadi Dawkah, a valley 20 km inland from the main city of Salalah, to see a forest of them.
"The records show that frankincense was produced here as far back as 7,000 BCE," he says. He produces an army knife. He used to be a member of the Sultan's Special Forces. With a practised flick, he cuts a strip of bark from the trunk of one of the Boswellia sacra trees. Pinpricks of milky-white sap appear on the wood and, very slowly, start to ooze out.

Boswellia sacra produces the highest-quality frankincense

"This is the first cut. But you don't gather this sap," he says. "It releases whatever impurities are in the wood. The farmers return after two or three weeks and make a second, and a third, cut. Then the sap comes out yellow, or bright green, or brown or even black. They take this."

Shortly afterwards, a frankincense farmer arrives in a pick-up truck. He is white-bearded, wearing a brown thobe and the traditional Omani, paisley-patterned turban.
He is 67-year-old Salem Mohammed from the Gidad family. Most of the Boswellia sacra trees grow on public land, but custom dictates that each forest is given to one of the local families to farm, and Wadi Dawkah is his turf.
Camel train

He has an old, black, iron chisel with which he gouges out clumps of dried frankincense.

"We learnt about frankincense from our forefathers and they learnt it from theirs" he says. "The practice has been passed down through the generations. We exported the frankincense, and that's how the families in Dhofar made their livings."

for the rest of the article, read the link below:

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

a day to remember or not to remember

it's 9th feb, the reb' birthday. supposed to be a good day to remember.

but with this piece of news (which the reb already expected), there's nothing much to rejoice in malaysia or perak (the reb's home state) but to soldier on, continue to remind the people of malaysia of what is justice and righteousness, pray that God's will be done on earth as in heaven, and take it to the polls during the next general elections to restore what is rightfully the people's choice of government.

Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong. ~Richard Armour

All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field. ~Albert Einstein


Note: for those who argue that politics is dirty and therefore christians should not get themselves into it, re-read plato's quote below -

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ~Plato

eisenbrauns' valentine day contest is back

The 2010 Eisenbrauns
Ancient Near Eastern Valentine Contest

If you'd like to link to this page, please use this URL:

How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince's daughter!
The curves of your hips are like jewels,
The work of the hands of an artist.
Your navel is like a round goblet
Which never lacks mixed wine;
Your belly is like a heap of wheat
Fenced about with lilies.
—Song of Solomon 7:1–2
Love is in the air! We are once again looking for a few good scholars to display both love and linguistics in our third Ancient Near Eastern Valentines contest.

We're asking for no more than three original compositions in any ancient Near Eastern language (or Greek), accompanied by an English translation. Music and artwork were similarly welcome.

Please note that we're looking for platonic passion, rather than erotic erudition. Americans tend to be a bit of a prudish lot, and having one's website classified as "explicit" by search engines tends to kill business, so please, keep the entries non-sexual.

Entries should be sent by e-mail to AKerr(at) no later than noon on February 12, 2010. If your entry requires special fonts to display correctly, please either include them, or send your entry as a PDF that we can convert into an image.

The judging is extremely arbitrary, and the the prizes are thus:

1st Place: $75 Eisenbrauns Gift Certificate
2nd Place: $50 Eisenbrauns Gift Certificate
3rd Place: $25 Eisenbrauns Gift Certificate
Honorable Mentions: Fame and glory.

The results of the 2008 and 2009 are available here for your reference and enjoyment.

Monday, 8 February 2010

are we really powerless?

True, we are often too weak to stop injustices; but the least we can do is protest against them.

True, we are too poor to eliminate hunger; but in feeding one child, we protest against hunger.

True, we are too timid and powerless to take on all the guards of all the political prisons in the world; but in offering our solidarity to one prisoner, we denounce all the tormentors.

True, we are powerless against death; but as long as we help one man, one woman, one child live one hour longer in safety and dignity, we affirm a human's right to live.

Elie Wiesel
Sages and Dreamers