Right now I am going through a mid-week series with a group of men at Church. We are talking about what it takes to be a “man of honor.”
Last week we spoke about what a code of conduct is and how to develop it. It was implied that many of us either don’t have one, or don’t know how to develop one. As a member of a prominent medieval recreation society, and as a member of the gentry in that society, I do have and live by one. This is not a new thing for me, but something I work through daily.
I thought it might be interesting to do a series here at Christian Warrior using the tenet set forth in the “Song of Roland.”
They are as follows:
- To fear God and maintain His Church
- To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
- To protect the weak and defenceless
- To give succour to widows and orphans
- To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
- To live by honour and for glory
- To despise pecuniary reward
- To fight for the welfare of all
- To obey those placed in authority
- To guard the honour of fellow knights
- To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
- To keep faith
- At all times to speak the truth
- To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
- To respect the honour of women
- Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
- Never to turn the back upon a foe
I think I am going to start with something that is not in the list; the idea of Ransom. We are somewhat unfamiliar with this concept, yet we engage in it frequently. When we enter any sort of contest there is an entrance fee, we make wagers on various things; all these are types of ransom. The same was true of the members of the Chivalry, those we call knights. They would enter into competition and battle at great personal cost, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. There was much at stake. If one looks at the tenets set out above, most of them have little to do with battle, and more to do with proper behavior. The knight was a member of the king’s court, and as such he was, in fact, often the only hand and face of the king that the people saw. He knew that the king valued him and as such would ransom him if need be, at least this was true if the knight followed the rules and pleased the king.
To a Christian the concept is the same. We are often the only Christ someone may see, and we can be fearless in our pursuit of the lost, because we know we are ransomed already. Note, I said fearless not reckless. This is an important distinction, since fearless enables one to live in the moment and succeed, while recklessness will eventually cause one’s demise. Another distinction to be made comes with the idea of training for the martial arts and sanctification. In many ways they are the same, both take time, effort and singular resolve.
We will get to that next time…..until then, Fight the Good Fight, Fairly.