Category Archives: Miscellany

On Cheating in Baseball and Marriage

I watched last fall with some fascination the scandal that engulfed the Houston Astros after their sign-stealing scheme was exposed.

My fascination arose not from the fact they cheated at baseball but the public’s reaction to their cheating.

I didn’t realize we held such high standards.

In the kingdom of God–that is to say, when the world functions as it was created to function, and does so under voluntary submission to King Jesus–baseball is a form of entertainment. That’s it.

That is not to diminish baseball. I’ve come to love Major League Baseball. But notwithstanding the salaries of the athletes, the merchandising and commercialization of the sport, ultimately it is merely a form of entertainment, not unlike a Bruno Mars or Beyonce concert. Continue reading

Viking Travel Journal––Day 15

Lava fields in Iceland

Reykjavik is a genuine city.

Unfortunately we only had one day here.

Our excursion was well-chosen.

So many had signed up for the Blue Lagoon excursion so early that it was booked before the cruise began. After we got on the ship we learned the hot water doesn’t come directly out of the ground into the lagoon but runs through the geothermal plant before being dumped into the lagoon. Then they mentioned repeatedly that one had to get fully naked and shower before getting in the lagoon. On top of that it was cold again today. Bottom line: people lined up to drop out of the Blue Lagoon excursion today. Continue reading

Viking Travel Journal––Day 14

Our ship docked in Isafjordur

Paradise started in a garden (Genesis 1-3), but it end in a city (Revelation 21:2).

Maybe that’s why I am a city boy.

Because I am a city boy I keep hoping to find something interesting in the towns where we dock, and I keep coming up empty.

This is the primary difference between a European river or sea cruise and one to Iceland or Alaska. In Europe, each town has layers of history; Iceland and Alaska are about beautiful scenery.

Isafjordur was much like Flam, Geiranger, and Seydisfjordur, except it was 39 degrees Fahrenheit…yes, 39 degrees in the middle of summer. It’s hard to appreciate the scenery when your teeth are chattering. And did I mention it was windy?

I had prodded Ann at one of our earlier cold and windy towns to say to our tour guide who lived there, “No offense but why would anyone want to live here?” I stressed to Ann the importance of the “No offense” part (I had seen The Ballad of Ricky Bobby). Ann, who is normally game for a good dare declined. Continue reading

Viking Travel Journal––Day 12

Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Not every swing is a hit.

Some are strikes.

Seydisfjordur, Iceland was a complete whiff…at least for me.

The length of the offered excursions should have been a clue; they were mostly between 4 hours and 7 hours long by bus.

If you have to drive that far away to find something worth seeing or doing, that might be an indication that where you are is not exactly a destination.

I opted for the self-guided tour of the town, and besides the natural beauty of the surroundings there was nothing to see. Nada. The highlight for me was when I sat down when I was about to collapse from sheer boredom and was approached by a local cat—I assume he was local, I hadn’t seen him on the ship—who let me pet him. Continue reading

Viking Travel Journal—Day 10

Mulafossur waterfall, Isle of Vágar, Foroe Islands

The Faroe Islands are located halfway between Norway and Iceland in the Norwegian Sea.

The islands were first discovered, according the locals, in the early 6th century by an Irish monk known as Brendan the Navigator.

Brendan set out on a voyage to discover the Garden of Eden, and instead he discovered the Faroe Islands.

Brendan is not fictional character. He is one of the most significant early Irish Christians.  His discovery of the Faroes was not without consequence; he got the islands off to a good start.

After the original Irish settlement died out, the Faroe Islands were settled by the Vikings—the pagan version. Then, when our hero, Olaf Tryggvason, became a Christian, he summoned a local leader, Sigmundur Brestisson (961-1005 A.D.), from the Faroe Islands back to Norway. Olaf preached the gospel to Sigmundur and he became Christian. Olaf then sent Sigmundur back to the Faroe Islands as a missionary.

Sigmundur’s evangelistic methods were crude in keeping with the Viking way but ultimately successful, although not necessarily to be commended. One has to appreciate the aggressiveness of the Vikings in spreading the gospel but not their methods. It is one of the greats ironies of the Great Commission that one must be bold enough to share the gospel but gentle enough to be willing to die before harming another in the effort. It’s a combination only found in proper balance by the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading