Sunday, March 9, 2014

Borgund Stave Church: Exterior Glory and the Autodidact

Compare Borgund Stave Church here, with Kaupanger (previous post) or Ringebu (the first stave church we saw, many posts ago, after landing in Oslo). Now, this  is a church. To me, this Borgund structure is the essence of the less-sullied Christian church -- along with others that retain the original, pre-dogma, pre-institution energy related to a founder's message, not the interests of the later folk cashing in and controlling in order to increase their own turf. David Brooks and others who venerate the old traditions because they are old and venerable, would disagree. See view at htttp://


Borgund Stave Church. Just look at the joy in reaching upwards in the architecture, the combining of older traditions with a new angle -- coexistence, mutual enrichment. Inclusion, not austerity and exclusion.

Borgund Stave Church, and other Norwegian stave churches that are more off the beaten path (even if now heavily touristed), remain inspiring, not truncated. 

Visit. Go where the pursed-lip institutional ideologues and reformers and crusaders (as recur in any religious and political hierarchy) ignored rural areas so that the original energy remains.  Enjoy that they could not whack off the dragons and anything that did not serve dogma of control and rules benefiting the self-appointed. What describes people who get repelled by ideological controls?  Autodidacts.

Autodidacts.  Study the issue yourself.  Teach yourself by learning all you can.  Is that the deity, or are those the deities, cheering?  I think so. Point to truth.  In many directions. Then change your mind.  Yes. See

Perhaps here at Borgund the glorious dragons were too high for the wimpy ones to whack off, and they only got the lowers. Or this place was too rural to count.The wealthy ones with new European mainland ties were elsewhere.

Steeple comparisons.  Juxtapose this fine 5-tiered roof-line reaching up, up,  that culminates in a little cross 'way on top, with stave churches closer to power points of the hierarchy: where this architecture is squashed down to a dumb mass-produced Reformation steeple.  See Ringebu Stave Church at

These oldest untainted stave churches, like Borgund, boast an outside gallery, for air, access above a snow line for walking about.  There is a surprisingly dark interior where the worshipers stood, as in earliest mainland European churches.  No wonder the inside is dark, with the gallery outside.

No wonder these outlier churches survived.  Any prince of the church or the crown, would live elsewhere.  So glad they did.

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