A limited appreciation of non-Jesus icons

I have to wonder:  could iconic art reinvigorate a culture?  I ask my Protestant friends:  if you take away the bowing down to images and the making of hypostases of the Logos outside of the hypostasis of the Logos, what exactly is the problem with icons?  Nothing really.  Nothing that wouldn’t apply to art in general.  Orthodox iconography is beautiful.  It is infinitely superior to Roman Catholic art.   Indeed, my favorite icon is of the Norwegian king, Olav Ogre-Bane.

St Olaf of Norway_b

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On writing my Christian Viking Fiction Book

I’ve always wanted to write a historical fiction book on Christianity in Scandinavia.  Pride of place goes to Lars Walker.  I cannot imitate his ability. I do think he has captured a fundamental idea that most bourgeois Christians gloss over:  pagan gods are actually demons and demons exist.     I do think that this is one area where new ideas are actually possible.  I had wanted to write a biography on Olaf II Haraldsson, since nothing exists on him exact historians’ sneering (and undocumented) slams.  I still plan to do that, but while there is good scholarship on this aspect of Norway, it’s out of my price-range for the moment.

Viking fiction remains one of those anomalies in Western culture.  It is a beautiful setting, a heroic people, and a glorious legacy.  Yet few fictional works, whether in film or in print, are actually any good.   To make it worse, the best Viking “re-telling” is the video game Skyrim!

But I don’t have the ability to write 500 pages of narrative at the moment.  And then I realized, “I don’t have to.”   This one Christian guy wrote a 90 page narrative and it was endorsed by Gene Veith.  Start small, I suppose.

Olav II: Our Template in the War Against Paganism

A few years ago I came across the life and story of Saint-King Olav II of Norway.  His life gripped me in many ways, for many of my intellectual struggles and concerns about my own life and where I am looking into how to express one’s Christianity coincided around St Olav’s life (and legacy).    Several points about Olav before I elaborate on his and our war against paganism:

  1. He demonstrates that many Northern European countries, even until the time of the Schism, held to a form of Christianity that shared similarities with both Romanism and Eastern Orthodoxy, yet were markedly different from both.
  2. Even though they were Orthodox, they were distinctively Western cultures and countries.
  3. Thus, Germanic and Scandinavian Orthodoxy was a specifically incarnational Orthodoxy, an Orthodoxy that took root in society’s most basic levels.
  4. Thus, those of us from Northern European stock have precedents, sometimes unknown to us, in Western Orthodoxy.  This is not to say that Western Orthodoxy is the ideal.  In many ways it is lacking.  However, we in the West are Reforming Catholics, and we draw from the heritage available to us.
Olav died in battle defending Christian Norway against those who would return it to Paganism.  While America is not Christian (and even by the most vague standards, it’s debatable if she ever were), America, too, faces an onslaught of paganism.    And perhaps even more than Olav’s Norway, this paganism has governmental and institutional authority.
“God is not separate from the Earth,”
Which means “God = Earth = Earth is God.”
Lest I am misunderstanding him, the pagan groups responded,
“We are Neo-Pagans — implying an eclectic reconstruction of ancient Nature religions, and combining archetypes of many cultures with other mystic and spiritual disciplines — and our beliefs and values are no different from those you describe as your own. Your book, Earth in Balance, is heralded by our People as a manifesto for all we hold dear…Know that there are half million NeoPagans out here who support you, and who voted for you, and who will rally to the aid of your policies for the salvation of the Earth and the reunification of the Great Family”

This was spoken almost fifteen years ago.  No doubt the impetus is stronger.  Let’s ponder St Olav’s last words before leaving,
“Fram, Fram, Kristmen, Korsmen, Kongsmen.”  Forward, Forward, Christ-Men, Cross-Men, King’s-Men

May we, too, have a similar end.

St Olav II: A Template for our War Against Paganism

Last year I came across the life and story of Saint-King Olav II of Norway.  His life gripped me in many ways, for many of my intellectual struggles and concerns about my own life and where I am looking into Orthodoxy coincided around St Olav’s life (and legacy).    Several points about Olav before I elaborate on his and our war against paganism:

  1. He demonstrates that many Northern European countries, even until the time of the Schism, were quite Orthodox.
  2. Even though they were Orthodox, they were distinctively Western cultures and countries.
  3. Thus, Germanic and Scandinavian Orthodoxy was a specifically incarnational Orthodoxy, an Orthodoxy that took root in society’s most basic levels.
  4. Thus, those of us from Northern European stock have precedents, sometimes unknown to us, in Western Orthodoxy.
Olav died in battle defending Christian Norway against those who would return it to Paganism.  While America is not Christian (and even by the most vague standards, it’s debatable if she ever were), America, too, faces an onslaught of paganism.    And perhaps even more than Olav’s Norway, this paganism has governmental and institutional authority.
“God is not separate from the Earth,”
Which means “God = Earth = Earth is God.”
Lest I am misunderstanding him, the pagan groups responded,
“We are Neo-Pagans — implying an eclectic reconstruction of ancient Nature religions, and combining archetypes of many cultures with other mystic and spiritual disciplines — and our beliefs and values are no different from those you describe as your own. Your book, Earth in Balance, is heralded by our People as a manifesto for all we hold dear…Know that there are half million NeoPagans out here who support you, and who voted for you, and who will rally to the aid of your policies for the salvation of the Earth and the reunification of the Great Family”

This was spoken almost fifteen years ago.  No doubt the impetus is stronger.  Let’s ponder St Olav’s last words before leaving,
“Fram, Fram, Kristmen, Korsmen, Kongsmen.”  Forward, Forward, Christ-Men, Cross-Men, King’s-Men
May we, too, have a similar end.