On today’s big Blogcast (listen by clicking here), Fr. Serge Veselinovich of Sts. Constantine and Helen Serbian Orthodox Church in Galveston, Texas, the oldest Orthodox parish in the state, talked about Lent and what it means to 21st century Christians.
Orthodox Christians, who go by a different calendar, started Great Lent on Monday of this week, but the entire Christian world will celebrate Easter on the same day, April 24.
Non-Orthodox Christians who observe Lent and Easter, because some Christian denominations do not, begin Lent tomorrow, making today Mardis Gras, or Fat Tuesday.
Of course, that means an opportunity to spend the two weeks or so leading up to Wednesday as a period of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, with some booze and beads thrown in for good measure.
I was coming home from church two Sundays ago and saw a vehicle stopped alongside the road with a young lady outside, bending over. I asked if everything was OK, and she looked up and said, “Yeah, just too much Mardis Gras partying last night.” Indeed.
Booze is big in the Big Easy and the rest of Louisiana, according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission that put out a news release this week to let people know that Mardi Gras is a deadly time on the Pelican State highways.
2009 was the deadliest holiday in Louisiana with 22 people killed and more than 1,000 injured in highway accidents. Last year, in 2010, alcohol played a role in 68 percent of the Mardis Gras traffic deaths, which is way more than the annual state average of 48 percent.
Let the good times roll.
To be honest, I’ve never been to any big Mardi Gras celebration, including in New Orleans when we lived in Louisiana, or in Galveston, which is just down the road from the world blogcast headquarters of ShadeyHill Ranch.
Frankly, if you really want to gorge yourself on the fleshly feasts of this festival, just jet down to Rio, my friend, and see how the big boys, and girls, Samba the nights away for Carnival.
Here’s a look at Rio’s Carnival numbers, courtesy Yahoo News.
The folks there claim their’s is the world’s largest celebration leading up to Lent, making it, in my opinion, the contender for the world championship of irony. That’s because Lent is a time of introspection, prayer, rededication, self-sacrifice, all leading up to the observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For some reason, I have a hard time seeing the Last Supper being the last meal of Mardi Gras. I mean, who at that table is going to look at one of the female disciples and offer some beads for a peek?
Anyway, those four days of Carnival will see 700 – 750 thousand tourists. US dollars changing hands will total 525 million. 70 thousand drunk and rowdy souls will cram into the Sambadrome to see the absolutely incredible floats and costumes from the thirty samba schools taking part.
This year, though, was deadly. On Monday, Feb. 28, 16 people died when a 7,000 volt power line fell onto a float in the small town of 5,000.
Earlier in the month, a young woman died when she fell off of a float during a practice run in Rio. And a fire in the Samba City complex on Feb. 7 destroyed eight months of preparation and did millions of dollars in damage.
Then, there’s Haiti, site of that devastating and deadly earthquake last year that killed about 800 thousand people. As you know, large parts of that country have not recovered.
Even so, some Haitians are partying like, well, it’s 1999.
Over in Great Britain, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales says Catholics need to get right with themselves and with God, and Lent is the perfect time to do it. So, he’s suggesting Catholics self-sacrifice by giving up meat on Fridays, or at least give up something they like to eat.
We’ll ask Fr Serge about that.
But, before we get to him, we have one last bit of news to share with you today. If you live in East Texas, or some other parts of the US, don’t be too shocked to see a RV caravan drive through your town and the folks in the caravan warning that the end of the world is coming on May 21.
They were in San Antonio a few days ago, heading toward Louisiana and Arkansas. So fair warning to our kinfolk up that way.
The London Daily Mail story says this latest group of end-timers say believers in Jesus Christ will go to Heaven on May 21 while the rest of humanity will face 153 days of horror and turmoil before the world comes to screeching halt on Oct. 21.
The ten Christians from California are known as Project Caravan, and call themselves ambassadors.
These folks seem to believe what they preach. They’ve sold all their possessions, left their homes, and some have left their spouses and families, which seems about right, considering they won’t need any of that when the world ends.
According to the Church’s website, there are two proofs that May 21,is the judgment day.
Taking literally 2 Peter 3:8, which says a day for God is like a thousand human years, these folks figure that seven ‘days’ equals 7,000 human years from the time of the flood, thereby making this the year of the apocalypse.
Their second so-called proof comes by working forward from what they reckon as the exact date of the crucifixion: April 1, 33 AD, but of course, that doesn’t take into account new historical information placing the birth of Jesus around 4 BC, and his death 33 years later at 27 AD. So, I guess we missed the end of the world as we know it.
It should be pointed out that the leader of this group, 89-year-old Harold Camping, predicted in the last century that Sept. 4, 1994, was the date for the lights to go out. He says he made a mistake then, but he’s got it all figured out now.
OK, just one more thing, a programming note. Tomorrow at 10 pm Central, that’s 11 pm Eastern and 8 pm Pacific, we’ll talk about some current controversies with homeowners associations and legislation introduced in the Texas Legislature to reform HOAs. And Thursday, we’ll take a blog talk tour of Texas Independence with Bryan Frazier of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. That will be at 2pm Central time right here on Gone To Texas.