Viking Travel Journal––Epilogue

Replica Viking longship at Reykjavik museum

On the plane on the way back home, I watched the movie,Tolkien.

I enjoyed the movie, and highly recommend it.

But the movie failed to demonstrate the influence of Christianity in Tolkien’s life and his writing.

It was a fitting end to our Viking Travel Journal.

It reminded me of the uniqueness of the perspective of the GSB blog in general and the GSB travel journals specifically.

Historians write to impress other secular historians.

The travel industry is motivated to entertain the general public.

Neither are interested in showing how King Jesus has transformed and is transforming the world into the place He originally intended.

So, historians delve into Norse mythology hoping to find some nuance others have missed. Tourist guides,seeking to entertain their guests, tell their silly folk legends about trolls and elves. And, as a result, people miss out on the evidence of the most important event that has been in process for the last 2,000 years––the redemption of the planet by Jesus of Nazareth.

Continue reading “Viking Travel Journal––Epilogue”

Viking Travel Journal––Day 13

Godafoss, a fulcrum of history

Yesterday I wrote about the pagan chieftain who was instrumental in Iceland adopting Christianity.

His name is Thorgeir Ljosvetningagodi.

If you are wondering, his last name is spelled just like it sounds.

As I mentioned yesterday, after a a day and nights’ contemplation Thorgeir recommended to all the leaders at the assembly that Christianity be adopted and that those who wanted to could continue to practice paganism privately.

When Thorgeir returned to his village after the assembly, he gathered all his pagan idols, walked over to the waterfalls near his village, and threw the idols into the falls, hence the name Godafoss (“Waterfall of the gods”). Continue reading “Viking Travel Journal––Day 13”

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 12”

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 11”

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 10”