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”

Scotch-Irish Cruise Journal—Epilogue

Leaving the ship

We’ve been home now for a few days, and I am trying to get back into the work mindset.

I’m dealing with personnel problems in my law firm, reading through hundreds of emails that came in while I was gone, and trying to organize all that is ahead of me and needs to be done over the next thirty days.

Thoughts of the pagan Picts, Columba and St. Patrick, and marauding Vikings, which were front and center a week ago have been pushed to the background, crowded out by the ever present concerns of life.

What I love about our GSB tours, including the one we just finished, is the opportunity to study Kingdom history and its players to learn how we should live as Kingdom citizens today.

If, as Shakespeare wrote 500 years ago, the past is prologue, we have much to learn. Continue reading “Scotch-Irish Cruise Journal—Epilogue”

Scotch-Irish Cruise Journal—Day 12

Where St. Patrick baptized Celtic leader

Today we said goodbye to the ship that had been our home for the last eight days.

Our adventure in Dublin began when we boarded the cab that would take us to the hotel.

The cab driver, true to the stereotype, was very colorfull.

His favorite word was “fock,” which loosely translated into English means, well, “f**k.”

He used the word a lot.

To quote a line from a movie, I would say “he worked in profanity like an artist works in oils,” but the only color he used was “fock.”

Not that any of us were offended. He used the word so naturally it didn’t seem like profanity. It was quite entertaining. Welcome to Dublin.

From the banality of Irish profanity we were elevated to the heights of art, history, and the Word of God in the Book of Kells, located at Trinity College. However, when we arrived we learned the letters of St. Patrick were not currently on display. Fock.

The Wife asked the security guard where Patrick’s letters were kept. He said they were at his home; he said he had taken them home for some bedside reading. Funny guy. Continue reading “Scotch-Irish Cruise Journal—Day 12”

Scotch-Irish Cruise Journal—Day 11

Remains of early Christian chapel

We imposed few expectations on the Isle of Man.

This was based more on ignorance than fact or opinion.

We all later agreed Mann was one of our two favorite destinations.

Mann was home to the Celts, then early Christians, then Vikings, and now the very wealthy and the annual Isle of Man TT motorcycle race.

Our day consisted of a five-hour excursion to Castletown, which included a visit to an early Christian and thereafter a Viking settlement and burial ground, and a three mile walk along the coast back to Castletown.

We then spent the afternoon in Douglas, the island’s largest town, shopping and eating before a visit to the museum and a stroll—or was it a saunter—along the boardwalk back to the ship.

As Bede draws his Ecclesiastical History of the English People to a close in 731 A.D., he notes that the Gospel had tamed the Picts and the Irish and peace and prosperity prevailed throughout the kingdom:

As such peace and prosperity prevail in these days, many of the Northumbrians, both noble and simple, together with their children, have laid aside their weapons, preferring to receive the tonsure and take monastic vows rather than study the arts of war. What the results of this will be the future will show. Continue reading “Scotch-Irish Cruise Journal—Day 11”

Scotch-Irish Cruise Journal—Day 10

Sometimes life does not go as planned.

Today we were to anchor in Portrush in Northern Ireland.

The Wife and I planned to see the Giants Causeway and visit Royal Portrush Golf Club shop. It was not to be.

The swells were too large, and our captain determined it unsafe to attempt to tender to shore.

So, we pressed on to our next stop, the Isle of Man.

Another day at sea is not a bad thing. It’s a day to read and relax, and that is what I did. I was able to finish the book, St. Patrick of Ireland, by Philip Freeman.

Patrick was born in Britain in the late 4th century into a well-to-do family. Patrick was a Roman citizen. His family were Roman Christians, but Patrick rejected his family’s Christianity as an adolescent. Then, when he was approximately 15 years old, Irish slave traders snuck into his village one night, kidnapped him and others, and took them away to Ireland to be sold into slavery. Continue reading “Scotch-Irish Cruise Journal—Day 10”