Here is an interesting story about history, technology, and Christianity. It seems that these days every device uses a technology called “Bluetooth.” Our phones, computers, tablets, sound systems, drones and security systems use Bluetooth to communicate with headphones, speakers, keyboards, mice, printers, and controllers. To most people, Bluetooth is a mystery, but it works amazingly well. What many people don’t know is the connection between the name Bluetooth and Christianity.
Bluetooth technology gets its name from Danish King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson. Before I get to why his name got connected to the technology, or how he got his nickname, let me tell you about King Harald’s life.
King Harald’s reign lasted from about 958 to 986. He built fortification and the first bridge in Scandinavia. He brought together the people of Scandinavia in a way that they had never been connected before. He united areas that are now Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and Norway. King Harald converted to Christianity in the 960s and brought that faith to the people of Denmark for the first time. In honor of his parents, he erected a monument known as Jelling Stone in the Danish town of Jelling. The inscription on the stone (shown in the picture) says:
“King Harald bade these memorials to be made after Gorm, his father, and Thyra, his mother. The Harald who won the whole of Denmark and Norway and turned the Danes to Christianity.”
How did King Harald get the nickname Bluetooth? It was probably because he had an obvious discolored tooth. Why was the modern technology named after a tenth-century Danish king? In 1997 Jim Kardach of the technology company Intel needed a name for a new technology that could unify communications protocols. He had been reading a book that told about the way King Harald Bluetooth had unified Scandinavia. Kardach decided that Bluetooth would be a good name for the technology. The Bluetooth logo consists of a combination of Harald Bluetooth’s initials H and B from the Scandinavian alphabet of his day.
I like to think of the fact that Bluetooth brought Christian faith to a pagan land. Perhaps that helped him to bring diverse people together. I think we can learn something from that. Every time we use a Bluetooth device (which is perhaps every day) let’s remember King Harald with the blue tooth and see what we can do to bring people together by sharing the message of Christ. Bluetooth and Christianity can go together. Bluetooth technology and the devices using it can help us to spread the message of Christ’s love.
–Roland Earnst © 2018