The Game of Kubb (pronounced ‘koob’) is a great game for youth and adults. It’s origins are believed to be the PlayKubbVikings. It is fairly popular various places around the US and world. It can be played 1 v 1 or teams of about any size.

In the game, players throw (underhand required), and knock over, wooden blocks. It’s usually played outdoors, but can be played indoors–in a fellowship hall, for example with tile or carpet floor. There is strategy and skill.

The game was recommended to me by Chris at CF Youth Hope in the Quad Cities. The youth there love playing it.

Game sets (made of wood) can be purchased or made (#4H-Project).

Written directions are here.

Video is here.


USAkubb.org (also has a rules video)

The next (2017) U.S. NATIONAL KUBB CHAMPIONSHIP  (the 11th Annual!), which is held in Eau Claire, WI, will be JULY 7-9, 2017.

kubb-setPersonal Note: At the time of this initial post, I have not yet played this, so I can’t personally vouch for it. I’m pretty sure I would like it. I’m considering making a set. I think we can make the King using the table saw the same way we made the king for the backyard chess set we made for 4H a few years back.

Jim Olsen, 8/8/2016


Church of Satan, Satanic Temple, and Theistic Satanism

I did some looking around this afternoon and wanted to write down what I found. I was prompted to do this research after an article appeared in the Washington Post titled, “An After School Satan Club could be coming to your kid’s elementary school.” I’ll comment on the article at the bottom.

I am a practicing Christian. (I am also a mathematician, so reason plays a key role for me.) I believe that faith in Jesus Christ is the way to eternal salvation and a fulfilling life on earth. Satan is working against us. Satan uses various (often indirect) means (c.f. C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters). I believe that all three of the the following (even though the first two claim to not worship Satan) are the work of Satan.

Some statements taken from Wikipedia.
I intend to be intentionally brief. Follow the links for more.

Church of Satan

Started in 1966, by Anton Szandor LaVey.  Church of Satan is dedicated to the religion of LaVeyan Satanism as codified in The Satanic Bible, which was written by LaVey. The church does not believe in or worship the Devil or a Christian notion of Satan.[2] High priest Peter Gilmore describes its members as “skeptical atheists.” The Church of Satan does do some good things, and they want outsiders to believe that.

Wikipedia article.


While they say they do not worship ‘satan’ or the devil, their website has numerous images of, for lack of a better term, evil looking beings and images associated with satan. What one focuses on is what one pays attention to and what one often comes to worship.  To say the Church of Satan is ‘inherently evil,’ would be an exaggeration (and something a mathematician wouldn’t say), and therefore I am not saying that. I do conclude that the Church of Satan is on the wrong track and should be avoided by children and adults.

The Satanic Temple

(According to Wikipedia, was founded in 2014) Both atheistic and humanist, their stated mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people”. The group was co-founded by Lucien Greaves, the organization’s spokesperson, and Malcolm Jarry. As above, The Satanic Temple does do some good things, and they want outsiders to believe that.

Satan is thus used as a symbol representing “the eternal rebel” against arbitrary authority and social norms.

Their beliefs appear to be quite close to LaVeyan Satanism.

Wikipedia article.


[Similar comment:] While they say they do not worship ‘satan’ or the devil, their website has numerous images of, for lack of a better term, evil looking beings and images associated with satan. What one focuses on is what one pays attention to and what one often comes to worship.  To say the Church of Satan is ‘inherently evil,’ would be an exaggeration (and something a mathematician wouldn’t say), and therefore I am not saying that. I do conclude that the Satanic Temple is on the wrong track and should be avoided by children and adults.

Theistic Satanism

This is ‘full-blown’ satan worship. Joy-of-Satan.org says, “We know Satan/Lucifer as a real being,” and “True Satanism is about elevating and empowering humanity, which was our True Creator (Satan’s) intention.”

A common theme of Church of Satan, Satanic Temple, and Theistic Satanism is self-centeredness (humanism) and the importance of me, myself, and I. Christianity has as it’s #2 great commandment to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.

Wikipedia article.

I couldn’t find an official website, but here is www.joyofsatan.org

Clearly, Satan-worship (Theistic Satanism) should be avoided by children and adults.

Washington Post Article

Article: An After School Satan Club could be coming to your kid’s elementary school

The Satanic Temple is offering their After School Satan Club as an alternative to Christian after-school programs.

While one might think that I (as a Christian) would say, “Oh, we need to fight to get the After School Satan Club out of our schools,” I’m not going to say that (at least in those terms).

Here’s my reaction:

  • We have freedom of religion in this country. The first amendment of the Bill of Rights says so.
  • This is our society. We love to let people do whatever they want to (‘especially if it doesn’t hurt someone else’).
  • I actually agree with the courts, The Satanic Temple should  be allowed to have their own after-school program (as do the Boy Scouts, Awanas, and the Good News Club).
  • Free will is not just a decision made by the United States, but a decision God made. Each person is given the choice to believe in Jesus Christ or not believe. (I would say there are many reasons and proofs why one should, but that’s for another day.) Philip Yancey, in his book The Jesus I Never Knew, has a wonderful chapter on the temptations of Christ. He extends the temptations to shed light on God’s logic of allowing free will (in particular, what God decides not to do, to get us to believe).
  • Satan is always working to disrupt and distract us from God (try running the PowerPoint for a church service some time). The After School Satan Club is just one more example.
  • We, as Christians (and those who believe children should be playing soccer after school for that matter), need to offer something better. We must work hard to help people believe in the truth of Christ.
  • The Satanic Temple is ‘selling’ humanism. This is pretty easy to sell and has been followed since ancient times. Humanism is our natural tendency. We’d rather be comfortable than get blisters raking someone else’s yard for them.
  • A primary message of Christianity (Christ) is service before self (to use the US Air Force’s words). To minister means to give aid or service. Serving others (ministry) is a harder sell than humanism, but one we need to help people understand. It is our #2 great commandment and ties to our first great commandment, because as Matthew 25:40 says, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did [fed, clothed, visited, etc.] for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Once understood ministry become a joy for Christians.


In divisive times, who will lead? Who will Heal?

Very nice piece by @MJGerson 


Gerson gives a good analysis of the current (decisive) political situation. 

He sees a need (as do I) for politicians who do not “immediately fall into partisan ruts, or post Facebook banalities.” 

Another good quote is:

In fact, there are people on the left and right who benefit from encouraging just enough division, just enough fear, to motivate their supporters, without tipping them over into violence. They are playing with fire in a parched and withered land.

Near the end of the piece, looking for potential solutions, Gerson points out that an important foundation of the civil rights movements of the 60’s was the church (MLK was a pastor – and scholar I might add). 

[My comment: the slogans of ‘Make America great again’ and ‘Stronger together’ are nice platitudes, but we are not going to have one America again (like, for example, WW II when every 5th grader saved the foil from a Juicy Fruit wrapper for the war effort).]

There is hope (for leadership and healing) in medium-sized* institutions, such as the church. (*’medium-sized’ is my word).


Even if we cannot, as individuals, hope to change systemic racism, most of us have the ability to defy our times and reach out across lines of race and religion. And religious people have a particular calling in this area. 

While Hillary or Trump probably will not be able to do much for our divided country or the disadvantaged of Detroit, MI or Macomb, IL, for me and my house I believe that churches, such at Wesley UMC and Walnut Creek, can make a positive difference in this parched and withering land.

Four Alls of the Great Commission



Matthew takes us from the particular to the universal (Jewish disciples to disciples from all nations

The Four “Alls” of a Truly Comprehensive Vision

The Four “Alls” of a Truly Comprehensive Vision

7 Free Online Tools for Sermon Writing


6th one is Christian Classics Ethereal Library  – The mission of the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) is to build up the church by making classic Christian literature widely available and promoting its use for edification and study by interested Christians, seekers and scholars. The CCEL accomplishes this by selecting, collecting, distributing, and promoting valuable literature through the World Wide Web and other media.

Today’s thinking

from Stuart Briscoe’s message. 2-23-16 on WDLM-QC (original date unknown). “The Church’s Responsibility, Part 2”

People think and act differently.  This needs to impact that way we communicate and minister.  The problem of secularization: People are turning from a concept of transcendence and find meaning in the immediate and the material.

ideas from Alex Guinness…

We (people) are turning from:

  • Word to image
  • Action to spectacle
  • Truth to feeling
  • Conviction to sentiment


Disciples bear

Day 9 of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s 40 Day Journey

Bonhoeffer says disciples..

Instead, they bear what is laid upon them and what happens to them in discipleship for the sake of Jesus Christ. Finally, disciples will not be weakened by suffering, worn down, and embittered until they are broken. Instead, they bear suffering, by the power of him who supports them. The disciples bear the suffering laid on them only by the power of him who bears all suffering on the cross. As bearers of suffering, they stand in communion with the Crucified. They stand as strangers in the power of him who was so alien to the world that it crucified him.


Ekklesia, church, religion

Sermon idea.

talk about the progression Ekklesia > church > religion

assembly of believers is the foundation (and this should always be remembered-keeping the main thing the main thing). (see also http://faith.drjimo.net/ekklesia/)

talk about the pros and cons of each (especially church, religion).

Jesus at 2 am has a good podcast Turning Theology into Church 03: Embracing Conflict, 1/27/15.

how deacons were appointed


Ekklesia is used in the NT 115 times (actually only a few/couple times in the gospels, so mostly in the epistles). In the Tindale translation (1524) it was translated “congregation.” In the King James it was translated “church.” ’assembly’ is a good translation.

Very interesting word.  Various references below. According to the acu link below, it means called to assembly, but ‘called out,’ in the sense of being called to be different, is not accurate (but preachers may like to say that).

See http://www.hisholychurch.net/ekklesia.php



Definition of “Ekklesia”


Dare to be Great

Pastor Howard White’s January (2016) sermon series is title Dare to be Great.

The Dare to be Great Challenge is:

A Great Commitment to the Great Commandments and the Great Commission done with Great Compassion will grow a Great Church (and a great Christian).

The 5 sermons in the series are

  • Dare to Follow
    • Matt 22: 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it:Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
      • Heart is the center. God is at the center and the thing at the center is the thing we worship. Rom 12:1-2 offering. Jonathan Edwards wrote down 70 resolutions and read them each week.
      • Soul – obedience
      • Mind – focus on God’s will
  • Dare to Care
  • Dare to Serve
  • Dare to Grow
  • Dare to Go