Friday, December 30, 2016

Preparing lemon myrtle

A surprise Christmas Eve find of locally situated lemon myrtle occurred during a rainstorm.  The sunny days that followed Christmas Eve allowed for drying of the leaves.  Atmospheric temperatures reached a top of 34 degrees Celsius.  In the herb dryer that I use – a handmade aluminium foil-lined rectangular timber box that hangs in full sun on my clotheslines – temperatures tend to be 5 to 6 degrees more than atmospheric conditions so it is fair to say that the leaves baked at 40 degrees Celsius for some period of time. 

Authors' own home-made herb dryer
After a few days the leaves had largely lost their original green lustre.  The leaves had taken on a slightly brown colour.
Dried lemon myrtle leaves
After removing the woody stalk from the leaf, the leaves were placed in a Thermomix bowl.  Using the highest setting, the leaves were pulverised.  I ran the Thermomix for only ten seconds and left it for another ten seconds to let the dust settle at the base of the bowl.  On opening the Thermomix the lemon scent was very evident.  The crushed leave was sealed into a zip lock back for later use.  Lemon myrtle is best used sparingly with only one teaspoon needed in most dishes.  It serves as a fantastic sprinkle over yoghurts or a bowl of ice-cream.  Our household adds lemon myrtle to coconut as a topping on home-made marshmallows.  The leaves can also be added to tea to give a lemon flavour to the brew.  The uncrushed leaves can be used in stews similar to how one would use a bay leaf.  Lemon myrtle gives all the taste of lemon without any of the bitterness of lemon.
Crushed lemon myrtle
If you have access to a lemon myrtle tree approximately five leaves makes the same amount of product that you would pay $6 to $8 for commercially.  Pick leaves that are young, fully lustred and undamaged.  As immature trees usually have leaves skirted around their base it is best to pick leaves at arm’s level (to avoid any canine urine). Wash the leaves before drying to remove any dirt.

Note: links good at 30 December 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A healing without barriers

For three months I've been contemplating Biblical text that is unique to Luke.  The text; Luke 13:10-17, identifies a healing.  The healing occurs on a Sabbath, in a synagogue, and at Jesus Christ's own initiation.  It is perhaps unique amongst other healing stories for that combination of characteristics.  The healing is also special in that both voice and touch are used by Jesus.

free and unattributable

One puzzling aspect of the text had me searching for answers.

I was puzzled in that the separations of persons male/female, jew/gentile etc within the Jewish Temple were well identified in both Old Testament and new Testament.  However, such custom of separation of persons within a synagogue is not communicated within the Bible.  Indeed, the design of the Temple lent itself to separations of persons as the temple is a building that is compartmentalised.

The questions roaming around my head were:

What was the custom of separation of persons within synagogues?  What do we understand of the break in custom of the woman approaching Jesus and men who would be seated while Jesus teaches?   

The answer to those questions informs an understanding of the element of faith that the woman exhibited.  Did the woman, for instance, break custom in crossing a barrier to respond to Jesus.  By 'barrier' I was not imagining a physical one - as would exist within the Temple - but instead, a customary one.

Luke's account seems indifferent to place and time so it would possibly be quite difficult for scholars to identify exactly which synagogue Jesus was in.

A fellow dinner guest at a year-end dinner party, a highly regarded Biblical scholar at a nearby university, provided the answers.  The answers in point form are:

  • While much is known of the Temple design, and of Temple use, relatively little is known of synagogue design and use,
  • It is highly unlikely that the separation of persons, that is identified to the Temple, is identified to synagogues,
  • While it was known that some synagogues were enclosed buildings, some synagogues were perhaps in open air (or often had enclosed open air spaces such as gardens),
  • While the Temple dates to many hundred years before Christ, synagogues only date to about 300  years before Christ,
  • Teaching and worship in synagogue's probably adopted less formal structures than seen in the Temple.    The synagogue probably had a multiple number of uses throughout a week and on the Sabbath, and, 
  • While the Temple was a national building, synagogues were purpose built to serve the local community. 

Therefore, it is plausible that the woman crossed no physical or customary boundaries within the synagogue.  It is an answer that is very neat.  It is neat as it plays well with the whole of the text in that Jesus is challenged for healing on the Sabbath.  In this, the women did cross a barrier - a religious one - for a person was not to heal on the Sabbath.   The woman crossed the religious barrier in faith.  She crossed it to Lord of All.

And to God's glory the woman was healed.


Note: All links good at 26 December 2016

Note: The text internally has a clue to use of the synagogue.  The synagogue leader, by his rebuke, indicates that the people may come to the synagogue for healing on other days of the week (verse 14).  It is plausible that the synagogue was thus used for prayer and supplication on the non-Sabbath days.

Note: It is a true delight of the Bible that one can return to it again and again and ask questions of it.  The Bible makes for a seven course degustation meal where one may chew on every bone and suck every bit of marrow all while letting juices run down the chin!

Monday, December 26, 2016

There is a flavoursome tree in Lane Cove

There is a tree,
a flavoursome tree
Discovered by scent and flower on Christmas Eve
While running through a rainstorm, A delightful herb
Amongst shops where you'd pay to taste,
an excellent accompaniment
 to curries and

There is a tree,
a flavoursome tree
Attended with friends 6pm Christmas Eve
A delightful message of a present God gave
freely and to every person, everywhere in the world, forever after
In a manger by a teenage girl.
An excellent path
 to eternal  life


Note: all links good at 26 December 2016
Note: this continues a study of locally available plants, see this post for example.
Note: this post is a form of concrete poetry.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Brand damage?

There seems no better way  to damage the 'Sydney Anglican' brand.  

An article in the December 2016 Anglican Diocese of Sydney Southern Cross magazine identifies the historic effort of a Sydney Anglican who was in Boston in USA. The hero is identified as attending a Anglican Diocese of Sydney church yet attending a church and being a Christian are two distinct things.  Nowhere in the article is the same person identified as a Christian.  

One could read the article and deduce that Sydney Anglicans are simply good deed doers.

Earlier, the Southern Cross carried an article that spoke of Sydney Anglicans at Gallipoli. We've asked a lot of those diggers over the years - must they also be Sydney Anglicans? (the phrase Sydney Anglicans has origins in the 1950s well after Anzac).

Wouldn't it be better to identify the hero who acted quickly that day in Boston as:
               - a Christian,
                            - who is a Sydney Anglican?


Of similar theme is this post

Note: all links good as at 11 December 2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

They just don't give up

Working from home recently I took one of those pesky telephone calls. 

The caller sounded like they were in a crowded working environment with little sound insulation.  They insisted that malware had downloaded onto my computer.  The caller was eager to assist me in removing the malware. She identified herself as a representative of my Internet Service Provider - but did not name the provider.  The call was received over my landline and the operator required that I go to the computer so that she may talk me through a remedy process.

While I do not understand the full nature of the caller's game, there is irony in that in all likelihood she was endeavouring to produce harm (not remedy harm).

I've offered a paraphrased version of the later part of the call....

Caller: What is showing on your computer's screen now Sir?

Me: It is still booting.

Caller: Let me know when it has loaded.

Me: The login screen is showing.

Caller: Please login sir.


Caller: Have you now logged in Sir? What is showing on the screen?

Me: The games menu.

Caller: That is good sir, now could you please go to your internet settings.  I first need you to open your browser.

Me: What is an internet browser?

Caller: It is used when you search the internet Sir.

Me: I do not search the internet on this computer.

Caller: What do you use the computer for Sir?

Me: Retro-1980s computer games.  I wrote themselves in Fortran.  You should see the version of Space Invaders that I have!  We all gather around the computer with a few beers every Saturday afternoon and play two person games.  It is the best fun.  I hold the Galaga record.  I hope to beat Steve next week at Pacman.

Caller: But our records show that you access the internet.

Me: Exactly which Internet Service Provider are you ringing from?

Caller: If you could just open your Internet browser Sir?

Me: Goodbye, hangs up.


Note: all links good at 7 December 2016

Note: When you get a phone call like this, think of it in a positive light.  You are wealthy and blessed firstly to have a telephone.  You are wealthy and blessed to have a computer.  You are wealthy and blessed to have the knowledge to say no.