Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Back in the eighties Riane Eisler authored The Chalice and the Blade exploring what she saw at the tensions between the “feminine” goddess beliefs and the “masculine” patriarchal beliefs. There are plusses and minuses about the book but that’s not what caught my attention today.

I was reading up on the Orkney Islands (located to the north of Scotland) and came across this little titbit. Sort of the chalice and the blade on steroids. Traditional stories “credit” Norwegian king Olav Tryggvasson with Christianizing the islands around the year 995. Stopping at the island now known as South Walls he summoned the local lord Sigurd the Stout and supposedly made the following announcement “I order you and all your subjects to be baptized. I you refuse, I’ll have you killed on the spot and I swear I will ravage every island with fire and steel.” The good islander submitted to baptism becoming “official” Christians. Surprise. Surprise. Imagine a really strong tone of sarcasm here.

Funny how all the forced conversions through history never made it into my sunny, cheerful, often boring, definitely irrelevant Sunday School classes. 

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