Sunday, February 10, 2013

China and Japan. Boy Scouts. Mardi Gras. 666 and You! Midway. Kasparov Loses Chess to Computer


For “Scripture Sunday”:

High Cost of Miscalculation

“China and Japan's dispute over little known islands could create bigger problems if not handled wisely.”

Transcript at:


Holding the Moral Line

Part 2 of an analysis of the decision to openly allow gays in membership and leadership.

Transcript at:

Part One:


Mardi Gras: Should It Be on the Christian Calendar?

Mardi GrasMardi Gras is marked by wild parades and raucous parties in places like New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro. So in what way is it connected to Christianity?

How much do you know about all the various holidays and celebrations throughout the year? If you study into them, you’ll find a lot of them have religious roots in the ancient pagan world and several more have a circuitous connection to paganism.  One of the holidays we are fast approaching is Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras, which falls on Feb. 12, 2013, is considered to be the culmination of a festive season leading up to what the mainline Christian community refers to as Lent. Mardi Gras is purposely designed to commemorate frivolity, carousing and sin, but is considered in many quarters to be part of the Christian calendar.

History of Mardi Gras and its pagan roots

Most historians believe Mardi Gras was brought to the Americas by the French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville in 1699, but the origins of Mardi Gras go back much farther. According to, the day was celebrated in some fashion from ancient times:

“According to historians, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.”

So we begin to see that this raucous celebration has its rudimentary foundation in the pagan world of old.

What is Carnival?

Literally, Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” which is celebrated to signify the last day of eating meat and, on a larger scale, of partaking of life’s joviality prior to Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday begins the Lent season, which ostensibly leads to what is known as Holy Week, culminating in Good Friday and then Easter Sunday.

Mardi Gras is closely related to the celebration of Carnival. All Ah We, a Caribbean-based website, has this to say about the origins of Carnival:

“Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, the followers of the Catholic religion in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent. Because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent, they called their festival, carnevale—which means ‘to put away the meat.’ As time passed, carnivals in Italy became quite famous; and in fact the practice spread to France, Spain, and all the Catholic countries in Europe. Then as the French, Spanish, and Portuguese began to take control of the Americas and other parts of the world, they brought with them their tradition of celebrating carnival.”

To the average person celebrating Mardi Gras, such disorderliness may appear not only harmless but quite enticing.

What does God say?

What does God have to say about such matters, or does He even care what Christians do in celebrations? Notice just a few scriptures to guide us in the direction of God’s thinking.

The Bible instructs us in Deuteronomy 12:29-31 and 18:9-14 not to adopt practices steeped in paganism. God means what He says. Even celebrations that remotely reflect some of the ancient practices are geared toward lowering a person’s inhibitions and toward increasing acceptance of immorality.

Earlier it was noted that Mardi Gras was linked to the Roman celebration Lupercalia. An Internet search quickly ties the god Lupercus back to Tammuz (and eventually Nimrod). In discussing false worship, the Bible calls the sight of women weeping for Tammuz an abomination. Please take note of what the Scriptures reveal about God’s anger about Tammuz celebrations in Ezekiel 8:13-18.

In the New Testament, Christ set a ground rule for worshipping God in a righteous way in John 4:22-24. If one were to do a simple word search in an online Bible search engine, typing in “revelry” or “carouse”—two words frequently used in correlation to Mardi Gras—you would pull up quite a number of scriptures telling us not to conduct ourselves in such a manner. The apostle Peter gives one such powerful observation in 2 Peter 2:13-15 where we read of God’s condemnation of those who find pleasure in carousing in daytime and have “eyes full of adultery.”  More at:


This morning on WGN TV:    666 and You!

“This infamous prophetic number involves not only one's freedom to buy and sell but much more. Discover the important biblical facts.”

Transcript at:


On This Day:

Japanese sub bombards Midway, Feb 10, 1942:

“On this day, a Japanese submarine launches a brutal attack on Midway, a coral atoll used as a U.S. Navy base. It was the fourth bombing of the atoll by Japanese ships since December 7.

The capture of Midway was an important part of the broader Japanese strategy of trying to create a defensive line that would stretch from the western Aleutian Islands in the north to the Midway, Wake, Marshall, and Gilbert Islands in the south, then west to the Dutch West Indies. Occupying Midway would also mean depriving the United States of a submarine base and would provide the perfect launching pad for an all-out assault on Hawaii.

Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack and commander in chief of the Japanese combined fleet, knew that only the utter destruction of U.S. naval capacity would ensure Japanese free reign in the Pacific. Japanese bombing of the atoll by ship and submarine failed to break through the extraordinary defense put up by Adm. Chester Nimitz, commander of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, who used every resource available to protect Midway and, by extension, Hawaii. Yamamoto persevered with an elaborate warship operation, called Mi, launched in June, but the Battle of Midway was a disaster for Japan, and was the turning point for ultimate American victory in the Pacific.”


Kasparov loses chess game to computer, Feb 10, 1996:

“On this day in 1996, after three hours, world chess champion Gary Kasparov loses the first game of a six-game match against Deep Blue, an IBM computer capable of evaluating 200 million moves per second.  Man was ultimately victorious over machine, however, as Kasparov bested Deep Blue in the match with three wins and two ties and took home the $400,000 prize. An estimated 6 million people worldwide followed the action on the Internet.

Kasparov, who was born in 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan, became the Soviet Union's junior chess champion at age 13 and in 1985, at age 22, the youngest world champ ever when he beat legendary Soviet player Anatoly Karpov. Considered by many to be the greatest chess player in the history of the game, Kasparov was known for his swashbuckling style of play and his ability to switch tactics mid-game.

In 1997, a rematch took place between Kasparov and an enhanced Deep Blue. Kasparov won the first game, the computer the second, with the next three games a draw. On May 11, 1997, Deep Blue came out on top with a surprising sixth game win--and the $700,000 match prize.

In 2003, Kasparov battled another computer program, "Deep Junior." The match ended in a tie. Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005.”



After Wendy’s Saturday phone call,  I took care of the animals and leisurely got ready for church. 

This being the second Sabbath of the month,  we played ‘Bible Trivia’ instead of having Bible Study.  It is something like Jeopardy where the answer has to be in the form of a question. It is played with 2 teams of couples answering each question after they have chosen their category and question number off the screen. If that couple needs help from the rest of their team, they only get half the points.  Usually the teams are divided by under 30’s and over 30’s. And so each team moves to opposite sides of the church.  The smaller children have bible study teachers to help them.  Some of the questions really make you search your cranium for Bible knowledge.  The under 30’s got all the double jeopardy questions, so they won this time.

The pastor is up in Michigan this week, so one of the elders gave the sermon which was about John 8:32 “ The truth shall set you free”.  He mentioned how some laws are circumvented by renaming an activity like gambling.  Louisiana re-packaged it into ‘gaming’, and now has gambling all over the state.  Satan will make things look great, and rename them to make them look legal and enticing.  So don’t re-package things in your head to excuse why you are doing it. Stick to the truth.

It was a chilly, windy day and even though I was wearing several layers of clothes, I couldn’t keep warm in church.  Some people like the cold, but I sure don’t, as I have low blood pressure.  The air conditioning was on in the church, so I didn’t stay for the pot luck yesterday.

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