Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Warrior-Poets....

"Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, 'Aha!' He catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry." -Job 39:19-25

I watched Braveheart last night with Destiny and Micah last night. I had to edit some for Micah but decided to let him get a bit more reality to sword play than Oblivion or "Runescape" gives. They both had reactions that I didn't expect. Destiny said she felt the "love story" was underdeveloped, leaving her feeling like that plot line didn't give much energy to the motive of the movie. Micah said he thought William Wallace was too much of a murderer.

I can see their points and have pondered the truth in Micah's perception of the man, William Wallace. I was tender towards his innocence at seeing the movie in light of his child heart and mind. Kids have a gift at seeing issues more simply and often more truthfully. Having a childlike heart is representative of Kingdom life...but so is learning to leave childish thinking and things behind. It's a path of maturing that hopefully produces a man with a good heart, a wise mind and hands of action.
But I imagine that fine line of solider and murderer is hard to define in battle...a fact, that often leads to so much Post Traumatic Stress for warriors. The glamorization of war is a fixation in our culture. There is a tough line between gladiatorial blood lust and the value of upholding heroes, patriots and men and women of valor who have fought for justice, truth and righteousness. Instilling a proper value for defending the weak, standing up for the oppressed and fighting for good is a challenge as a Christian father.

I saw this video the other day, that shows a bully provoking a kid who didn't want to fight and tried to get out of it but ends up having to deal with the situation. It's a scene I've seen countless times and been in myself, more than once.
Kid Teaches Shirtless Bully a Lesson

I've thought a lot about the process of raising young men and where the line is between being a battle thirsty warmonger or a spineless, cowering pacifist. Outworking the obvious masculine propensity for strength, action, risk and a deep inner sense of justice...the whole cocktail of traits common to a bloodstream coursing with testosterone.

At the end of the movie, Gibson, quotes these words in reflecting on the journey of his people and their battle against the English:

"In the year of our Lord 1314, patriots of Scotland, starving and outnumbered, charged the fields of Bannockburn. They fought like warrior poets. They fought like Scotsmen and won their freedom." ~Braveheart

I looked up that phrase: Warrior-Poet, because it captured a tension that I thought represented what I was struggling with. Here is the definition:

"The Warrior-Poet is the several thousand-year-old tradition of dedication to developing the body and the mind as one. The bushido warrior code of ancient Japan, the Shambhala teachings of Tibet, the chivalrous knights of medievil Europe, and the ancient Greek warriors are all examples of this proud tradition. The Warrior-Poet retains a myeriously ancient auora, a member of the leadership class who guides with wisdom and courage. They are defined by their dedication to their crafts of warfare, and intellectual study and reflection. The Warrior-Poet learns to develop the mind and the body as one, using each to guide the other. The Warrior-Poet is also a spiritual warrior. The warrior-poet understands their true relationship to the heaven and the earth. They understand that they embody the heavenly representation to the earth, and the earthly representation to the heavens. In other words, it is up to the warrior-poet to balance the cruel realities of the earth, while living by the standards of the heavens." (from: wiki.answers.com)

The other day, i was faced with a situation where I had to go talk to someone and I knew the subject matter was probably volatile. I didn't want confrontation or drama but I knew that I had to face the person for the benefit of others. I found myself praying for grace as I attempted to deal with the injustice of the situation. I swallowed my fear of the unknown outcome and moved forward in the same posture of a warrior...no bloodshed but a victory was one and it required courage. It was no epic Braveheart battle but it was a situation that required a brave heart.

"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from My sight cease to do evil,
Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless,
defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
-Isaiah 1:16-17
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