Archive for May 2010

Honour and reputation

A little while ago I posted this video on youtube:

And I got many interesting responses including this insightful comment from my friend and mentor Colin:

This is the difference between honour and reputation. A traitor knight has a fine reputation but he has no honour. He cultivates his reputation, which governs all of his actions, which are driven by pride and selfishness. He is secretly wicked, and also godless, since when he performs his wicked acts in secret he believes that no one witnesses them or knows of them. His “chivalry” is a pretense because it is based upon pride and selfishness. A true knight on the other hand has honour, which governs his actions at all times, even when he is alone. For him he walks always in the eyes of God, in service to his King. A true knight cares not for reputation since his honour is paramount. He pursues honour selflessly with humility, courtesy and generosity in his conduct towards others. Stand them side by side, this traitor knight and this true knight, and they look alike. The difference is in the heart. Only the true knight knows he is true. Only the traitor knight knows he is false. The outside world cannot tell the difference. Therefore, to walk the path of the true knight, cultivate honour, not reputation.

It seems to me that Colin has nailed the issue and defined the poser in chivalric terms. So the question becomes why am I doing this? Because it is right or because I want a good reputation?

What's in a name?

Names are powerful things especially when they describe you well. In the Bible names where given to reflect the parents hope or their expectations. In all sorts of warrior cultures names where given to describe a warriors prowess and aptitude or a name was given for the warrior to grow into.

In the Guardian Angels I was called “Harlequin”, no put aside all those sleazy images of romance books, Harlequin was from the elite elven warriors of Warhammer 40k, performers and formidable warriors, spinning and somersaulting over the battlefield with deadly grace. The name was chosen by me, I was an actor (a poser) wishing to be a warrior, what name would fit better? I also had the tagline that went with my name: The dancer of death, the weaver of shadows and the great avatar of the laughing god.

If we disregard the links to a non-existent fictional religion I wanted to be the dancer of death, deadly and graceful in battle. The weaver of shadows was a tip of the hat to the ninja warriors I was so taken by as a boy but also a hint that I was a master of deception, I had everybody fooled (or so I thought). The laughing god was my tribute to my subversive view of the god of Christianity, that God was indeed a God with humour, a God for whom Joy and freedom was paramount.

At Bootcamp in Wales Craig held a session on the “new name”, the white stone given to all believers in Revelation 12. We where asked to ask God what is my new name? Apart from the fact that I was sure that God would not answer this, I was also concerned that any voice I would hear would just be my own….

Before Craig had finished talking I asked the question: Lord what is my new name, what do you think of me? Immediately I had a word come to the forefront of my mind.

Faithful, you are Faithful!

Yea right!? God do you know me? I spent the next thirty minutes arguing the point. To be honest I am anything but… To start with, I have left God and the faith several times. I have been unfaithful in all my relations and would never ever use that word to describe myself. I have also spent years battling an addiction to internet porn and lust. Yet here I was trying to convince myself that this was not God but my own idea, I had just come up with this word by myself, but how could I?

And God speaks:

Faithful, you are faithful. That is What I made you, this is your strength and your glory. Pursue this.

Back home battered with assaults on this one conviction I look up the hebrew word for faithful (allready know the greek pistos, to believe to have faith) and I am blown away by what I find. The most common hebrew word for faithful is ‘aman:

539. ‘aman, aw-man´; a primitive root; properly, to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain; once (Isa. 30:21; interchangeable with 541) to go to the right hand:—hence, assurance, believe, bring up, establish, + fail, be faithful (of long continuance, stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurse, (-ing father), (put), trust, turn to the right.

In this little word, I find the sum of all things I want to be. True, I want to be a true knight, full of truth (the hebrew for truth is emunnah derived from ‘aman). I want to be steadfast, loyal. I want to be a nursing father, to build others up. But more than anything I want to live the life where I trust God! Where I am full of faith, faithful.

No longer the dancer of death or the weaver of shadows, no longer the incarnation of a false god. I am faithful!

What is your name? Go ahead ask him, he wants you to know!

The Warriors Path

I have long been peeking at Crazy Monkey Defence, as any faithful reader of this blog will know. I am attracted to CMD as a martial system not only due to it’s effectiveness but mostly due to its philosophy. The founder of CMD, Rodney King have just posted this article on the way of the warrior and the The Warriors Path. Although I would contend that the way and the path of a warrior are inseparable, the points he makes are well made.

I especially like the stages of the warrior

Stage 1 – Conventional Slumber: Here you have to recognize and go beyond the conventional. One is required to wake up from what is seen as the traditional. Most people are seeking some kind of experience of being ‘alive’. They may feel their life is no too dissimilar to a hamster running the wheel. Their life is in other words seen as conventional and ordinary. In seeking for what is missing in their life, they need to answer a call, that will set them on an adventure.

When we talk about martial arts, you may have decided for what ever reason, that training in it, will answer or help you capture something you feel you really need in your life.

Stage 2 – Call to Adventure: Once you begin to awaken from your Conventional Slumber you now find yourself having to either choose to go towards the change you desire (Or feel forced to embrace), which will with any risk, bring about uncertainty and fear. At this point you have to decide if you will move forward or retreat to what is seen as the familiar (Go back to what is seen as Conventional Slumber).

Stage 3 – Discipline and Training: Once you are on the road of Adventure, you begin to realize that hard work lay ahead. You now have to accept teachers of various kinds. Training and lessons are hard, requiring discipline. The training, the lessons- tests you emotionally, physically, mentally, and in social settings.

At some point when you or your teacher feels your training is complete, you now want to test those skills you have learnt.

Stage 4 – Culmination of the Quest: This is where you test yourself (Or may be forced to test yourself). This is where you step up and see if you really have what it takes to do what you trained for or have been trained for. This is not necessarily the completion of the path, but it does represents a breakthrough, and will include insight and understanding about oneself.

Anyone who understands the WAY Of The Warrior would have likely progressed through Stages 1 to 4. But just because you are on the PATH of the Warrior does not guarantee that it will be one that will positively inspire your life and those around you.No one is born a gang banger, a mercenary or a criminal. Even they have to awaken from what is seen in their environment as Conventional Slumber.The young teenage boy who has been born into a rough, impoverished neighborhood, realizes that if he just stays where he is at he will become a target and a victim to the gangs in his area. He awakens from his Conventional Slumber to the realization that he has to make a decision, to join or to live a life of subjugation.Joining the gang for better or for worse is the Call to Adventure. Adventures don’t have to be positive to be ‘Adventures’. Once this young man has decided to take up the Adventure, he is subjected to Training and Discipline. He is taught the way of the gang. How to be a gang member.Finally he has to put all that he has learnt into practice. He is required to bring his Quest to Culmination, either by stealing that car or beating, killing a rival gang member. This is his initiation into becoming a fully fledged member of the gang.
In the same way someone in the modern martial art world who seeks to compete will move through a similar path. He will answer the call, go on the adventure, be taught how to fight, and ultimately culminate the quest by fighting in the cage.

The same can be said for the mercenary and the criminal.All of these above have learnt through the Path to develop the Way. The traits necessary to use the ‘martial’ for what ever end they seek to create.But one thing separates all of the above from a true, virtues Warrior. All true Warriors after their Quest has Culminated, will Return and Contribute. In fact it is only in Returning and Contributing that he or she becomes a Warrior.

Stage 5 – Return and Contribution: The seeker, who is now the Warrior becomes the knower. In a sense the student becomes the teacher.

A Warrior returns to community. The “I” that began the Path becomes the “we.” The return shifts the individual, the Warrior from merely taking to contributing. Proceeding from this their is a loss of egocentricity. The Warrior unlike the others, the mercenary, the gang banger, the criminal, and the competitive martial artist who fights merely for his own ego, for his own glory- the Warrior brings back what he or she had learnt on the Path to POSITIVELY uplift those in his community (Or his gym).

The realization is that the journey was never about the Warrior, it was never about ‘him’, but had always been about the “we”. It was always about connection and contribution to something greater than himself. As Tick pointed out earlier, “[The] warrior [becomes] devoted to causes he judges to be more important than himself or any personal relationships or gain.”

This fits nicely into Ranger-Warrior-King that John Eldredge paints in “Fathered by God”.

What was stolen.

It is Saturday night, I am standing at the camp fire talking to some men about how it came to be that I went to Bootcamp. I tell the story of how I came by the book (“Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul” (John Eldredge)) quite by accident and how God had told me to set up a mens ministry to heal and recover broken hearts.

Wait a minute “God told me”!!??

The minute I get home to Malmö again I look up my old Journal and read the following under July 30 2008:

This is it! On the train this morning I believe God called me, he called me out specifically to raise up a ministry for men, healing and recovering their broken hearts

Everything I have lived through in my life has primed me for this one task. My childhood, the angels, my preaching ministry (Beauty, Warriors, Joy). Even the trouble and miserable failings we have had in our marriage.

All this is qualifying me uniquely to embark on this mission.

Ande the upside is that it does not matter where they put me, it does not matter if we plant or lead a corps, city or countryside or even what country. I can do this anywhere.

Hanna said: “And it will heal you on the way” How true! She is a gift from God.

As of today I am no longer a youth worker or a youth minister (I will minister to youth still) I am a Pastor on a mission to rescue mens hearts.

How did this get lost, I mean, it is still on the agenda, it is still on the list of things to do. But how did this go from being the call of God and my primary mission to a thing that I will get to whenever I find the time?

Could it be that the enemy fears this mission and would have me put it of as long as possible, de-prioritise and most of all forget that it is God that commissioned me, commissioned this work.

Wild at heart: Bootcamp UK 2010

IMG_1190 I was just a little bit nervous as I set out on the journey to Wales. I was not prepared, I hadn’t prayed much leading up to this trip, I hadn’t read anything to prepare me. I was a mess.

At the same time I knew that whatever I was in for I already knew what was going to be said, I had read all the books (several times), I had lived and preached the message… I was going just to scout out the formula … how do I put on one of these things myself, so that I can grow my church and win men for the kingdom.

Well I told myself that I would at least get some work done, and maybe I could spend an evening online gaming if I got bored……

Little did I know that God had other plans.

Unplugging and releasing control

Arriving at Cefn Lea we where told to shut of our phones and not to use computers until the camp was over. Furthermore we where told that we would not receive any schedule and information would be given on a need to know basis.

In the first session John Eldredge told us to dive in, go for it and to be wary of all those negative and destructive thoughts, that the gloves where of and that this was war. The cynic in me wanted to retort how convenient that every criticism now has been labeled a move of the enemy. John went on to say that if we where leaders and just here to observe, to let go of that and to realise that this camp was for us. Again the head of cynicism rears to bite back at the control being exerted here.

But I have travelled all this way, and I know no other way than 100%. My agreements kick in full throttle “It’s not going to happen to me anyways, God may touch every man here but he wont touch me”. I am untouchable, besides, I already know all the teaching what can you possibly throw at me?IMG_1222

The design of the whole camp was disrupting my carefully guarded life and the open spaces and nature around us conspired with God to break through every barrier. Yes, I knew all the teaching but I had not counted on the intervention of God. I had no idea what was waiting on the road ahead.

Some on broken pieces

Its Friday afternoon, I am sitting in my chair, paralysed by the torrents of emotion and raw pain tearing through my body. I had known what was coming, I had known every word before spoken, I knew the lines in the video clips; But I had not counted on God showing up. God gently exposing my posing, my intellectual hypocrisy my fear and my deeply and carefully buried pain.

The sorrow, pain and anger has me in a tight grip as my body is violently shook by the deluge of tears that I am totally unable to keep in check.

God is speaking, God is moving, God is healing.

Softly and gently I am being deconstructed by truth that I already had, but had not let in all the way. By a God I have kept at arms length. Assuring others of his love and care, not believing myself worthy or capable of experiencing it first hand.

During this weekend God has spoken, to me, about me, about my ministry and about what I need to do now. It will be a long and perilous road but I have embarked on the journey!

A dangerous man!

The Warrior, the lover, the king in me has been awakened and with all the passion I have I will throw myself at the enemy and engage in this fierce battle. I will not fade quietly in the night, I will not forfeit my freedom. I will take up arms against the forces of darkness. I will tilt even when all in me is screaming for withdrawal.

Watch out!

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