Viking Travel Journal––Day 11

In the lounge, at sea heading toward Iceland

Today was another day at sea as we travelled from the Faroe Islands toward Iceland.

There were three lectures today.

I had picked up on the biases of one of the lecturers in his previous lectures and it was even more conspicuous today in his talk on the Vikings.

If I had known nothing about the Vikings or Christianity, it would have been easy to conclude from the lecture today that the Vikings were a relatively peaceful, enlightened, and technologically advanced people forced at the point of a sword to convert to a barbarian religion (Christianity).

This is why it is so important we have Christian historians who have an obligation to God to recount history honestly. Without a fear of God to be honest, every self-interested motive has the opportunity to currupt a faithful retelling of what has been. 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…

Viking Travel Journal––Day 9

The vastness of the sea

It’s hard to appreciate the vastness and loneliness of the sea unless you have been out on it.

Today was a day at sea.

It didn’t matter which part of the ship I was on, in whatever direction I looked I saw nothing but water.

In seeing this it is hard to believe the Vikings set out into this vast watery wilderness in their ships, yet it was the advancement of their shipbuilding skills that enabled them to travel such long distances and successfully raid and pillage across such a broad geographical area. If it wasn’t for their shipbuilding skills, the Vikings would have been just another lost, angry group of pagans.

The Vikings even travelled so far as Constantinople and attempted to attack an undefended city (the fleet was away), but the Christians used Greek fire, which saved the day—not for the first time—for the Christians. However, it was the gospel, not Greek fire, which finally conquered the Vikings—“civilized” them, as our RIB boat guide suggested back in Flam.  Continue reading…

Viking Travel Journal––Day 8

The Wife looking toward Geiranger

Geiranger was much like Flam.

It’s a town of 250 people whose economy depends almost entirely of tourism.

Geiranger sits on the plain between the shore of the fjord in front and mountains behind.

My pics don’t do the place credit; it’s better to look at the pic on Wikipedia here.

Teri had gone on the RIB boat excursion again in Ålesun to see birds. She said it was the third worst experience in her life. She said it was it two hours of white knuckles as she held on to the seat in front of her to keep from getting tossed out of the boat as it skipped across the waves, all to get to a place and watch birds for 20 minutes.
Continue reading…

Viking Travel Journal––Day 7

Alesund & Giske–Home of Rollo?

Alesund, Norway is one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever seen.

It sits on a peninsula among a number of islands connected by tunnels under the water.

Apparently they did not want the eyesore of bridges obscuring the natural beauty of the islands and water.

The desire for beauty above mere functionality is a Kingdom impulse.

“Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for foodGen. 2:9 (emphasis added). The place God created for Adam and Eve was beautiful first and then functional. We have it backwards. We build for functionality and beauty is often an afterthought, if even that. 

We took an excursion out to Giske island this morning in search of Rollo the Viking. Rollo (c. 860-c. 930 A.D.) , like most Vikings of his age, was a pagan raider, raiding villages in Europe and England and looting churches. He even attacked Paris via the Seine (885-886 A.D.).  Continue reading…