We’re Talking VIKINGS: The Deceased

Sandi Layne

Today is #FaveDeadViking Friday! So we’re going to look at two of the dead characters who left their marks on us.


Okay, so he’s my favorite.  I’ve studied the monks and written of the Viking raids on the monasteries and was all kinds of sympathetic to Athelstan from the moment I learned of his existence.

Courtesy of vikingsinuppsala on Tumblr

As soon as we were introduced to the “Tiny Viking,” fans all over the world fell in love with Athelstan, and with the “bromance” that grew between him Ragnar.

When we met, he was an Englishman who could speak the language of the Northmen, thus making himself valuable to Ragnar immediately. He was then enslaved and taken far from his home monastery in Lindesfarne to serve the Lo∂brok family.

Courtesy of vikingsinuppsala on Tumblr

Unexpectedly, he and Ragnar hit up a solid friendship that weathered many situations over several…

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Silence (2016)

Oliver Hackett-Watson

I’ve always been fascinated by religion, more so now in my early twenties than I have been previously. I grew up reading condensed forms of passages from The Bible, reciting the lord’s prayer each morning at my primary school. When I transitioned to my secondary school I attended weekly chapel services, singing hymns and sitting once a week in the crypt to listen to sermons from the school Chaplin. I find Cathedrals and Churches to be some of the more beautiful and fascinating pieces of architecture, as they serve as a testament of the faith that others have to a deity, and I have been fortunate enough to visit many Cathedrals such as the one in Durham, as well as those in Italy and France.

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I couldn’t help but grimace as I read the headline from Douglas Todd’s recent article in the Vancouver Sun (“Evangelicals Mostly Alone in Believing God Punishes with Earthquakes“).  It highlighted, once again, the lengths we will go to to find (or manufacture) moral meaning in times of chaos and suffering. Combined with news of some painful things happening in the lives of various people in the various domains of my life and work, I have been thinking a lot about the silence of God these days, and how we are to live and think and speak about God as people of faith in a broken world.

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Beautiful Quotes: ‘Silence’ by Shūsaku Endō


This novel by the phenominal Japanese writer, Shūsaku Endō, is by far one of the greatest books I have come across.

Inscribed on the pages of the book is a thought-provoking fictional journey of a Jesuit missionary sent to Japan during the time of Christian persecution. As the reader journeys with the missionary, both the character’s and the reader’s perspectives on Christ, and Judas the betrayer, transforms.

Let me share with you one of my favourite quotes from the Endo’s breathtaking novel. Most of my favourite lines from the book can’t be shared without giving spoilers, thus this is the best quote I could portion without giving too much away.

“Christ did not die for the good and beautiful. It is easy enough to die for the good and beautiful; the hard thing is to die for the miserable and corrupt.”

-Shusaku Endo

The novel is currently in the process of being translated onto…

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An Irish Virgin


The Book of Kells’ miniature  folio 7 verso is the oldest image of the madonna in Western manuscript art. It is also one of the most complex. But while where see a simple picture of the Virgin and Child, its creators would understand the image as cosmopolitan, syncretic and deeply symbolic.

Painted by one of three artists who illuminated the Gospels codex around 800 AD, the full-page miniature depicts the Virgin enthroned with the infant Christ and attended by angels. The Virgin dominates the composition, her importance denoted by her large size and central placement. She is shown in the native Irish saffron veil and mantle rather than the more usual Byzantine maphorion, and the cross commonly found on the shoulder in Eastern depictions of the Virgin is stylised here as an Insular cruciform brooch. This is not mere culture-specific ornament: the Imperial purple mantle and the veil and brooch indicates her universality by referencing the…

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Rollo, Viking Count of Normandy

The Freelance History Writer

Fourteenth century depiction of Charles the Simple giving his daughter to Rollo Fourteenth century depiction of Charles the Simple giving his daughter to Rollo

As I wrote in an earlier post about testing my family DNA, it was revealed that on the patrilineal side, my ancestry was about ninety percent Nordic Viking. This was a bit of a shock as the family history always stressed our ancestors were from Ireland and therefore we thought we were of Celtic background. In addition to this revelation, a new television series has aired on the History Channel called “Vikings”. The Vikings were starting to creep into my consciousness. So I began reading “A Brief History of the Vikings” by Jonathan Clements. In recounting what is known of Viking history and the sagas which were written about in the Middle Ages, Clements tells the story of Hrolf the Walker, otherwise known as Rollo or Rolf.

Now this is a Viking I knew something about. He…

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The Christus Victor Theory of the Atonement

The Gospel According to Erik

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In my last post I gave a quick outline on the nature of the atonement, particularly highlighting Robin Collins’ “Incarnational View”, which has its roots in Eastern Orthodox theology of theosis. Another view that I find particularly helpful is the Christus Victor model, which also has its roots in the E.O.C. and the early church fathers. Before we look at the Christus Victor model, I think it’s important to contrast it against the main model over the past few centuries, and that is the Satisfaction or Penal Substitution model.

Penal Substitution

For the sake of space I’ll present a rough sketch of this view and point out some of its deficiencies. Developed by St. Anselm in the 11th century, the picture is that Christ paid the debt of obedience that we owe God for our sins.  Out of this evolved the Penal theory by the Protestant Reformers, and it’s basically…

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