Saturday, June 23, 2018

Warrior, Poet, and King (synopsis)

This last Father’s Day I did a sermon called Warrior, Poet, and King: the three dimensions of manhood. Unfortunately, it was to a rather small audience. While many people “liked” the message drawing I did for it on my Facebook page, nobody took the time to watch the live stream of it. So I got to wonder who really understood what I meant by man being made in the image of warrior, poet, and king. I can understand how watching an hour long sermon may seem intimidating. So I will do my best to summarize the concept here.

I first became aware of the concept during a group study on Song of Solomon. In this very poetic work, the male figure who was literally a king, is portrayed as strong and virile like a warrior. Yet, he is also portrayed as a sensitive and tender, like a poet. Ever since then I have been noticing this same patten in other prominent figures of the Bible like Solomon’s father David, God the father, and Jesus as well. Yet, in the world we live in, we seldom see this dynamic, but a very slanted and unbalanced version. Which may be why our culture portrays men as Homer Simpson; a self centered, hotheaded fool. Which is precisely why I see this teaching as an important one that we should look at closely.

Warrior (not always literal)
Our current culture has a love hate relationship with the image of a warrior in the male gender. But the fact of the matter is men need a battle to fight, he will not feel whole without something just and noble to fight for. The more our culture takes this away from him, the more he will try to scratch this itch in misguided and self-serving ways. As well as lack the passion and strength to do what is expected of him. Which is precisely what we do see.

Poet (I use the term broadly)
Men are made in the image of a creator, so it makes sense that we can honor that image by creating beauty, or at least admiring the beauty of God’s creation. For God is the original creator of beauty, poet, and artist. His son Jesus spoke his father’s truth in beautiful and poetic parables. Even David who was a fierce warrior with a reputation for conquest wrote such beautiful, poetic, and heart-wrenching psalms. Unfortunately, our society does not allow men to explore this side of himself. But with beauty lying at the heart of what drives a man, and what shapes his notions of just and noble, he will not have much to fight for without a heart of a poet.

The image of God as king is an obvious one, yet in this image we see both the warrior and the poet. God is often portrayed as a stern disciplinarian in the Bible, much like we associate with a warrior. Yet, he is also portrayed as loving and forgiving, like we often see with poets. If God were not both he would be unjust, he would either be so hard and strict we could never live up to his standards. Or he would be so permissive he would never right wrongs or punish evil. Which is often just what we see with our male leaders, one of these two unjust extremes. So if you haven’t figured it out yet, this point is not so much a separate and independent one, but what happens when these two other sides find balance in a man.

If by chance this has peaked your curiosity enough, you can watch the full message here. FB Video

The Visual PARABLEist

God confronting an unarmed warrior
click to enlarge