Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

By John Ruberry

Within the last month two new seasons of Viking-themed series began streaming on Netflix, Vikings: Valhalla and Season Five of The Last Kingdom. The former is a sequel to another Netflix series, Vikings, which I have not seen, but as the action of Valhalla occurs about 100 years after the first batch of shows, viewers need not have tuned in to Vikings to follow the new action.

The Last Kingdom and Vikings: Valhalla have much in common, besides Scandinavians battling the English. A main plot driver in both shows is the conflict between Christians and followers of the Norse gods. Presumably Valhalla begins the same year, 1016, when Canute the Great seized the crown of England. Ironically, only two English kings, Alfred, who is played by David Dawson in the first three seasons of The Last Kingdom, and Canute, gained the epithet “the Great.” Oh, when Canute was crowned, this Viking, who later became king of Norway and Denmark, was a Christian.

Both shows attempt to be even-handed between the two cultures, but they leave out one very nasty part of Viking life, slavery. Yes, there was slavery among Christian Europeans, but slaves–thralls are what the Norse called them–were an essential part of the spoils of Viking raids. However, both series portray human sacrifice by the Scandinavians.

Vikings: Valhalla, which consists of eight episodes, is the inferior of the two shows, so let’s get that one out of our way. Its central character is Leif Erikson (Sam Corlett). Yeah, he’s the same man who journeyed to North America around 1000. While there is no historical record that says Erikson participated in wars with the English, there’s no proof that he didn’t. It’s believed around the time of his journey to North America he converted to Christianity, but he’s a follower of the Norse gods here, although he dabbles with the Christian religion. His sister, Freydís Eiríksdóttir (Frida Gustavsson), is a devout follower of the Norse faith. Freydís is romantically involved with Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter), who history tells us was a newborn at the time of they were “getting it on” in the show.

The main action of Vikings: Valhalla originates in the Norwegian town of Kattegat, which is ruled by Jarl Haakon (Caroline Henderson), who history tells us was a white man, but here Haakon is a black woman.

I could go on for quite much longer on the many historical anomalies, but I will conclude here that had Vikings: Valhalla had an intriguing story line, if the performances were compelling–Henderson’s overacting is particularly annoying–and hey, if the CG was believable, then I’d say, “tune in.”

But don’t.

The Last Kingdom’s fifth last season takes place around 920. Its lead character, the fictional Uhtred, whose birthright as lord of Bebbanburg in Northumbia, England was usurped by the Danes in the first episode of Season One. He was raised by Danes, during that time he abandoned Christianity for the Norse gods, although he’s not very devout. When Uhtred reaches adulthood, he’s a skilled fighter and a ladies’ man, a James Bond of the Middle Ages.

The Last Kingdom is based on Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories series of books.

Alfred the Great’s goal was not only to defeat the Danes–the word “Viking” is never uttered during The Last Kingdom–but also to create from his small kingdom of Wessex a unified England. It’s up to his son, King Edward, to complete the task, with Uhtred’s assistance of course.

All the while Uhtred is forced to confront a onetime romantic interest, fellow-Saxon and abductee, Brida (Emily Cox), whose faith in the Norse religion is strong.

Edward meanwhile has to confront betrayal within his court as a unified England seems within grasp.

While a bit wooden at times, the acting in The Last Kingdom is generally quite good. The battle scenes are intense, and the plotlines are strong enough to keep watching. But to figure out what is happening here, you absolutely have to watch the first four seasons beforehand. One flaw of The Last Kingdom, as with Ozark, which also took a year off from filming, presumably because of the COVID outbreak, is that it is need of very strong recaps at the beginning of each episode, of which there a ten this season. Hey, people forget things two years later. Another challenge in keeping the storyline straight is that many of the characters’ names, all based on historical figures, are similar; they incorporate the Old English prefix “Æthel,” which translates into modern English as “noble,” or Ælf. Had they asked me, I would have for starters changed the name of a duplicitous rat, Æthelhelm (Adrian Schiller), a character whose historical standing is foggy. In The Last Kingdom he’s the father of Edward’s second wife, Ælflæd (Amelia Clarkson). One son of Edward is Æthelstan (Harry Kilby) another is his half-brother Ælfweard (Ewan Horrocks), he’s the son of Ælflæd.

A spin-off of The Last Kingdom is in the works, a movie titled Seven Kings Must Die.

There are two more seasons of Vikings coming. I probably won’t be watching.

Both programs are rated TV-MA for violence, nudity, and sex.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I wrote a while back about the conflict about being Sicilian and being Catholic plays out on occasion and the more I see of the left lately the stronger that conflict becomes.

That’s when I remember the parable of the workers in the Vineyard and remember those who were hired with one hour to go in the day and a sermon that my priest gave reminding us that if we met Matthew the Tax Collector, Mary Magdalene or Saul of Tarsus the day before they encountered Christ we would not like what we saw.

We are dealing with a lot of really bad people right now but they are one encounter with Christ from change. If God’s willing to wait on them who am I not to?


One of the single hardest things about Christianity is the idea of loving your enemies, particularly when they don’t feel that obligation.

We’ve seen a lot of that lately from our friends on the left, a lot of it on the assumption that the good Christian folks on the right will just keep taking it.

They should be aware that Christians sometime slip, after all that’s what confession is for. So I’d be wary of pushing people to that point.


Nobody is going to convince me that all of the “don’t get together for Christmas” and “Cancel Christmas” for your own safety is about the virus.

As Don Surber noted: ” WHO didn’t tell the Saudis to call off the Hajj.”

Most of what the left does frankly is all about hatred of Christianity so I don’t see why this would be any different.


Speaking of tactics to hamper Christians the New DC Vaccine Passport rules go into effect two days before the March for Life.

I think with hundreds of thousands of people there it will be tough to enforce such rules but I don’t see the correlation between Christianity and not getting the vaccine, except for the fact that many Christians are able to get a religious exemption, but then again so can any other religion.

Plus I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few non-religious suddenly found religion when looking for an exemption. After all during prohibition a lot of folks suddenly starting going to mass to receive the cup.


Finally I see the the group pushing trans priests in the Lutheran Church has suspended the 1st openly trans Lutheran Bishop over unspecified: “harm done by the Sierra Pacific Synod Council and Bishop Rohrer to the Latinx community in Stockton, CA.”

Of course some Spanish speaking people might consider the term “latinx” harmful in itself but it just goes to show you that wokeness is an unforgiving God and no matter how high in the woke hierarchy you are, you’re always one step away from being cancelled.

Me I think they should have stuck with Christ myself.

I spoke to Rebeeka Hagan at the annual Real Options dinner where she was the keynote speaker on Friday Oct 22nd

You can find the abortion pill reversal network here You can find real options here

FYI: You’ll note that I start the interview in this post at the 1:00 mark because my son started the camera while we were still chatting before the interview. I didn’t cut it from the uploaded video so if you want to see how I talk about interviews before I do them feel free to go to the 1 min mark and check it out.

Christ about to deliver the Sermon on the Mount from the Chosen Season 2 finale

One of the great bits of fun about Pintastic each year is to see the new machines that are being released. Some are original, some are licensed. The question is to find a game that would not only make a good machine, but would have a good customer base to start with.

The answer of course is the Chosen. Here are five reasons why Jersey Jack Pinball should consider making a Chosen Machine.

5. Mutually beneficial to both parties

One of the goals of the folks at the Chosen is to expose this series and the message of Christ to as many people as possible, particularly those who might not be exposed to it. As a pinball company one of the goals at Jersey Jack is to expand the hobby exposing it to others. A Chosen Pinball machine would accomplish both. The message of Christ would be spread to a hobby base that while having some Christians like myself in it is not known as a faith base, while Jersey Jack with it’s line of G-PG machines would be an excellent entre to the hobby for those who would like the game.

4. Inexpensive licensing:

One of the biggest expenses for a game based on a movie or TV series is the licensing cost. The Wizard of OZ, the Hobbit and Pirates of the Caribbean all involved licensing costs.

The folks at the Chosen have been giving away the show in order to spread it to as many people as possible, that being the case it is likely that the license cost will likely be nominal for the very same reason.

3. Consistent with Jersey Jack Personal Beliefs:

Jack is known as a solid Catholic and a Knight of Columbus. In speeches at Pintastic NE he has talked about how his wife reminded him of this when deciding what games to make and use. You can’t find a product more in tune with those religious believes than a Chosen Pinball machines.

2. Ready Made Customer Base:

The first thing to consider when making a commercial product is “will it sell” “Is there a customer base for it?”

According to the Chosen website 75,346 people raised $10,000,000 to fund season one and 125,346 people (including 86% of those who funded season one) raised the ten million for season two. On the “Pay it forward” page as of this writing the first five episodes of season three are funded while 21,000+ people have kicked in to fund episode six so far. The chosen has managed to crowd fund $11.85 Million of the 18 million they’ve budgeted toward paying for season three. Over 257,000,000 people have watched the series so far and over 2000 fans showed up from all over the country to be part of the “Sermon on the Mount” scene that ended season 2 and will begin season three.

That’s what I call a customer base.

and finally the #1 reason why the Chosen should be Jersey Jack’s next machine.

  1. It’s practically designed for a Pinball machine!

Pinball machines these days are all about progress toward goals. The chosen is made for it.

Imagine a goal of collecting 12 apostles plus Mary Magdalene (most with video clips for them).

Progressive increases for bumpers are there like the size of crowds in Sychar or for the sermon on the mount, the lines in Syria, the fish in Simon’s boat) and we they haven’t even gotten to the potential stuff in season three like multiplication of the loaves and the fishes Those are made for the bumpers to increase.

Point to point goals. From miracles (Driving the demons from Mary, Simon getting the fish, curing the leper, healing Simon the Zealots’ brother) to meetings (Nicodemus meeting Jesus, getting through the crowd to the roof) traveling from city to city Capernaum, Cana, Syria, Caesar Philippi etc etc etc

Several potential mini-games (making Abagail’s toys,, Simon in a fight, preparing Shabbat dinner, finding Jesus in the crowd at Sychar or as a child in Jerusalem, escorting the taxes, plowing the field, even fixing the axel or fishing for food in season two ).

There’s even potential penalties (Roman taxes that subtract point) or arrests (John the Baptist or Jesus) and ducking the Pharisees.

Moreover there is potential for growth. A game that encompasses the first three seasons can potentially be followed by a 2nd doing seasons four and five as the really heavy stuff that might be tougher for such a game (the final arrest, scourging and Crucifixion are many year away.

The chosen is , as of now, the finest example of an excellent television with small non-cooperate control, combine that with Jersey Jack, the best new pinball makers also with the same small non-cooperate model and you have potential for a winner that will sell long after both men are gone.

It would be educational, inspiring, and most of all for a pinball game, fun!