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Dead Hyperlinks

All of this material you see on my blog archive has been moved from its original place. This means that whilst I have preserved the old blog, many of the links have been broken. In the course of time, these will be repaired. However, you will most likely be able to find articles that are linked by using the search function – since most of the broken links are internal links to Yorkshire Viking. So if you find, for example, that a link to the logo does not work, write “logo” in the search field. That may be a good temporary fix until the old links can be updated.

A Sensational Cruise

The common theme in the televising of the Norwegian Coastal Cruise has been that nobody ever thought  there would be so much interest. I cannot help wondering what that firstly says about those who make their living entertaining us.The Norwegian Crews

I have about twenty or so television channels on my TV. I watch them so rarely that, since I still have to pay my license and will still get the NRK stately broadcasts whatever I do, I seriously am considering ending my subscription to Riks TV. Some people wonder why I don’t rather install a satellite dish instead of my old fashioned antenna that I inherited from the previous house owner, and the days of analogue TV. My answer is that if I am utterly bored by a choice of twenty channels, why should I fork out for a hundred or so more that frankly don’t interest me?

On a typical evening I shall go through the TV channels one by one, and find – no thank you and turn the TV off altogether. I think the banality offered is one of the reasons the Internet has begun to take over. On a so-called educational channel there will be – for the many gods know even how many more times – a program about “hard time” in prisons abroad, there will be for just as many times repeated “Count down to Catastrophe”, there will be boring music videos on the one channel, boring American talk shows on the other, and you get the drift. I’m just not interested.

Now that we are entering the Summer holiday season, I can’t help but wonder whether the programmers thought that putting cameras aboard a ship would be some “in between” solution – the bane of the time slot between the late night and early morning that I quite forgot to mention above. If ever you are unfortunate enough to get indigestion in the night, and decide to get yourself a cup of tea to settle your poor tummy down, don’t think of turning on the TV then. There will be some youth sitting in some make do studio who “chats” SMS with you, preferably with some (in my opinion, understood) idiotic banter while even more idiotic people actually pay the TV company NOT to be doing anything at all – in a constant stream of very expensive SMS messages.

However, the Norwegian Cruise has surprised everybody. It is, without question, a form of “reality TV” – and yet this particular Norwegian brand is very different. It is addictive, it cultivates something quintessentially Norwegian, and it has got an entire nation glued to the TV on a channel that normally is the “little brother” of the bigger players. Everywhere the ship has come in land, it has been greeted by enthusiastic crowds, and followed in its journey on the shorelines by young and old waving flags.

Perhaps all this has something to say about those “bigger players”, and what people are really interested in? Perhaps we are NOT interested in the “culture” constantly dished out at us.

The Norwegian Cruise Minute for Minute may still be reality TV, but at least it’s not a rehashed template like “X’s got talent”, where “X” is the country you are pushing your product! Do the programmers really have contempt for the world’s public, that they are able to serve basically the same thing from country to country, just in order to build their big media empires? I think this is why the “choice” we have is so terribly limited!

Thank you NRK for giving us something completely different… even if it wasn’t what you planned!

Tilbake!

Nå er ikke bare sola tilbake. Vi har like mye dagslys som alle andre.

Nå er ikke bare sola tilbake. Vi har like mye dagslys som alle andre.

Etter jeg søkte norsk statsborgerskap i fjor valgte jeg å ta en pause med denne bloggen. Nå starter jeg opp igjen… på norsk!

Watch this space!

note: this article has been placed in the archive. Subsequent developments in the blog resulted in the ultimate development of a brand new blog in Norwegian. At the time this was written, orglet.wordpress.com was hosted on a completely different web page…. hence there was no contradiction in the language of the title as now. This blog was namely called “The Muse”, and was hosted on the VG server. Later in 2011 that service closed, requiring the blog to be transferred. At the time, I was thinking of writing in Norwegian…. however, the cruise ship changed all that! In November 2011, I began the CQD blog in connection with my new position as church musician in Lødingen. That is now the sister blog to this, in Norwegian.

The Climate of Idolatry

Today I listened to the church service broadcast on national radio. It struck me that the doctrines of anthropological climate change are beginning to acquire the characteristics of religion.

Given that the service focused on our responsibility for the climate, it was evidently a given to the Church that we actually have such a responsibility. However, that nevertheless remains a theory. I object to the Church preaching it as though it were fact, and to the composition of prayers on this subject.

I for my part do not recognize anthropological climate change. I view it as a lie constructed for political reasons. Yet in this Church service, I am expected to say “Amen” to what I do not agree with. One cannot put one’s hand up in a church service, and say that one does not agree with what is being prayed for!

Moreover this new manmade religion is replacing what the Church is supposed to be. It is indeed a matter of religion and faith, because even now at the time of my writing it has been acknowledged that the basis for this belief (that humans are changing the climate) is fraudulent. That is now admitted! However, clergymen and environmental activists clearly have not registered that what they believe in is compromised. Thanks to the constant climate coverage in our media, if you keep saying it long enough people think it must be true!

Therefore there really is no point in pointing out that there is no consensus on the theory of anthropological climate change. There is no point in discussing the science. Neither is there anything to be gained by pointing out that, in fact, the earth has been cooling and there has been no warming at all since 1998 – a fact that even the normally climate change biased BBC has admitted. Given that there are political conferences coming up in Copenhagen, the inconvenient truth is being positively suppressed.

Facts do not matter because the Church now proclaims that anthropological climate change is true. That is the religious dogma; nobody is really interested in the truth. It will one day be seen that the Church hopped on a political bandwagon – and as people come to see that for the political scam it is, the Church will be seen as an accomplice to the higher taxation and costs that politicians really wanted all along.

Let us be clear, the whole question of anthropological climate change is already compromised; most people just have not registered this. Furthermore, the belief is arrogant and idolatrous.

One day church people will hopefully see how incredibly arrogant it is, that human beings should have the power to change the climate and even to “fix” it after breaking the natural system. These are things that only God Himself can do. If you do not believe in God, then at least see how insignificant we are in comparison to the power of the sun and nature!

The manmade religion of climate change has subtly replaced much of Divine Worship, and is as such idolatry. The ingenuity of this is that we are made to feel guilty. Yet this is the mask for the conceit that makes anthropological climate change such a popular belief. In order to feel guilty in the first place we must also have grandiose ideas about our own importance in creation.

I am compelled to confess that not only is the sky not falling, but that the we would be better doing according to the closing words of the Norwegian confession – grant that we may fear and love but You alone.

Anything else is idolatry. We do not go to church in order to join various causes, however just we may think these are. We go there to be in fellowship with Jesus Christ. When we begin to project our guilt on to things that are not real, like the absurd notion that we have or are about to ruin earth’s climate, we have less focus on the areas in our personal lives that we know come short of what God wants.

Jesus died for what is very, very real. That is the purpose of our fellowship: to meet Him, and remember His sacrifice made once and for all. Manmade climate change is a belief, and I submit not real at all.

Political Correctness Gone Mad!

I wasn’t going to blog just now. I have really a lot to do. We have the bishop visiting us.

However, I just had to comment on the sheer stupidity of political correctness. In order to protect minors, people are now resorting to blurring out the faces of children on websites. As always, when somebody wants to bring in restrictions and force everybody else to abide by them, there is an explanation that you cannot argue against. After all, who would want to defend pedophiles who just might want to take the photograph you have posted – and misuse it?

The fact is that the sanctimonious legislators who want to make sure that you have to have permission before posting a picture that includes a minor, and the idiots who make school web pages defeating the whole point of the website (to tell about the people on the website) by blurring out faces or putting in stupid cartoon faces placed where the child’s face would otherwise be…. clearly don’t understand the Internet, and just want to spoil it for those who do. As for the fear of misusing an image, surely the simple solution is to post images that are of so small resolution that they would be useless to a pedophile who wanted to manipulate them. A smaller image is actually better for a website anyway.

However, it is the stupidity of this political correctness that provoked my muse today. An excellent example of this stupidity is this story by NRK, the Norwegian broadcaster. A boy of thirteen has been seriously injured on a school outing, when a rock fell on his leg – and lo and behold the political correctness dictates naturally that the boy’s face be blurred, so that his privacy is maintained. Yet then they go and place a portrait of the same child in the corner of the photograph where his face is blurred out!

What an idiotic world we live in! If you are going to publish the boy’s face in the portrait, what on earth is the point of blanking out the face in the other photograph? Stupid! NRK could at least be consistent, and blur the portrait:) !

It’s All About You, Jesus!

I find life is inherently ironic. The relationship I had with my father was at times “strained”. Yet now I find myself more and more like him every passing day! My father’s mannerisms are now mirrored in me – the very ones that used to vex me most!

When I think of my teenage years, indeed, there was a certain priest – whom since he yet lives I shall refrain from naming – who really got my goat. Today (and now I am almost cringing with the admission) I sound just like the man! Behind what I now see were superficial matters of disagreement, what troubled me most about that priest was that he raised one essential question. That was a sore point.

I was brought up in a tradition of boys’ choirs, and fine church music. We used to culture this, as indeed the language in which our rituals were written. Ironically (yet another irony!) we had a fast prayer that ought to have reminded us of the reason for our tradition, but this was just another ritual in the life of a chorister. That prayer, like the priest, raised the question of why one was in church in the first place.

Bless O Lord, us Thy servants who minister in Thy temple. Grant that what we sing with our lips we may believe in our hearts, and what we believe in our hearts we may show forth in our daily lives; through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Now in those days there were many church choirs. As many of you here in Norway know, Britain had a tradition for them. The problem was that that same tradition had itself become our god: the music, the special language, the rituals and the culture were the most important thing to us if we had asked ourselves why we went to church.

I shall balance what I say by adding that in getting rid of choirs, and the tradition that used to exist, many “threw the baby out with the bathwater“. I personally regret that the boys’ choir (boys singing with men) is now almost an endangered species. Even so, at the heart of the processes of change, which unfortunately did see the loss of many a choral institution, was the desire to explore what being church is all about.

If our churchgoing was “vanity of vanities“, because we never asked ourselves truthful questions about why we were doing what we did, then it is perhaps the irony of ironies – life is so ironical – that the “worship groups” sometimes ended up doing exactly what the robed choirs and traditions they replaced had done before them. That is to say that now you had people enjoying the modern pop songs instead, but they still would not ask themselves why they otherwise went to church…

The beautiful song “When the Music Fades” by Matt Redman speaks of just this matter. The story of this song’s conception is well worth reading, because it very much sums up what has been written so far. As a church musician I am moved by the touching honesty of the words “I’m sorry for the thing I made it”. That “thing” of course is what we do in church, the music, the rituals, and this applies just as much to the modern choruses and songs as it did when I was a boy to the older hymns. “It’s all about You Jesus”, ought to be cry that compels itself out from our innermost being if we really are worshipping.

We ought all to reflect upon this worship song’s profound message. I have sometimes despaired that so-called “church choirs” do not sing in church, save for concerts and an occasional church service. Likewise it has saddened me to see that many church musicians seem to treat their work as a simple job. They plan out a series of events in the year, that mainly follows the school year, and those are the things they and their choirs/music groups then work towards. That is not “what it’s all about”!

A comment on my facebook wall set me off on this article. What, I was asked, did I think about Ris Church in Oslo that had replaced all its hymns for the music of U2? Well, if you have read my article, you will already know. I find it very sad that when people talk about making church less boring and instead wish to appeal to the masses (who not usually going to church certainly have not asked why they want to be there), and have not rather asked themselves “what it’s all about”. We are not talking about entertainment, but as Matt Redman so eloquently puts it “The Heart of Worship”.

I need say no more about Ris Church’s sorry experiment. In the long run it will fail, because even if the place is full to bursting point, the most they have achieved is an alternative venue for entertainment – a par with a concert hall or theatre. You do not bring growth to the Church by anything other than the Word of Jesus Himself.

This goes to the heart of what it means to be His follower. We who call ourselves Christians are expected to be doers, not merely hearers of what Jesus says. Going to church, or rather being church – it is we in fact who are the Church – is about meeting Jesus. It is about letting Him become the most important “be all and end all” in our life.

It is about a fellowship where – exactly as He Himself commanded His followers to do – we constantly remember how Jesus, the Lord we love, once had to die for us. Likewise in the Communion, we also are reminded that His death is what allows us to have a relationship with God Himself. We believe that through the mystery that is the Holy Communion, Jesus Himself does indeed come into us.

As for me, the prayer that once was a mere ritual is now very central to my work, “Bless O Lord us Thy Servants who minister in Thy temple: grant that what we sing with our lips, we may believe in our hearts, and what we believe in our hearts, we may show forth in our daily lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”. That prayer brings me therefore full circle: life as said is ironic!