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Today's Challenges

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Today's Challenges

Post by dean jacques on Thu Dec 10, 2015 5:23 am

Today's Challenges

King Arthur had no idea how good he had it.
He certainly faced many dangers. Foreign armies, traitors, giants, dragons, the occasional magician. The risks never ended, but he overcame them all.
How? He enjoyed certain advantages.

First of all, Arthur earned the love of his people through the goodness of his heart and generosity. His reputation attracted the finest warriors into service. His mercy regularly turned fallen enemies into friends.
On top of those personal attributes, he had Merlin's sage advice, an enchanted sword and a magic scabbard that protected him from harm.
He had the elite Companions of the Round Table, strong and true and devoted to chivalry. Each was his own man, following his personal quest, yet dedicated to justice and the creation of a better world.
He had Camelot, a golden city that flourished under his rule, and was the envy of the world.
For spiritual inspiration, he had nothing less than the Holy Grail.

Quite an ensemble! Where does that leave us, as twenty-first century champions of Chivalry-Now?
We have no Arthur to lead us. But we have his inspiration.
We have no Merlin. But we have knowledge at our disposal that dwarfs the sum of knowledge from all previous centuries combined. We not only have some of Merlin's legacy, we have that of Freud and Einstein, and Jung and thousands of others. We don't need a crystal ball. The Internet has replaced it.
We have no magical sword or scabbard. But we have the pen, which is reckoned mightier than the sword. We also have millions of people hungry for change, despite the never-ending promises of the status quo.
Arthur had some of the greatest heroes that chivalry ever produced. We have Companions as well, summoned not by the reputation of some hero-king, but by the light of chivalry radiating from their own souls.
We have no Camelot, but neither did Arthur when he started. The new Camelot is something we can build, something greater than the original, because our combined potential is as great as our dream.
In certain respects, we are inspired by the same Holy Grail.
How is that possible?
The Grail we search for, the Grail we follow, the Grail we see in glimpses everywhere we go, is the same attraction to Goodness, Life and Truth that Arthur's Grail represented.
The absence of Arthur himself presents a huge deficit. How much greater our chivalry would be if he were leading the charge.
But what if his grandeur and leadership were ill-matched for the democratic challenges we face today? What if the answers we seek have to come not from a leader, but from us, as individuals, facing personal and global challenges on our own? A new age brings new challenges. The challenges of today cannot be met with a sword and shield and shirt of mail.
Our enemies are not other men, but the illusions that most of us buy into. The magicians we face deal more with marketing and political strategy than herbs and incantations. Dragons are nothing more than false ideals that push aside what is true.
Whereas Arthur held the line against hordes of invaders, our challenges are different. We need to learn why a young man rampages through a college campus and kills over 30 innocent people. Could a world built on more consistent ideals have prevented this tragedy?
The gravest threats we face have to do with a clash of ideologies, failed political systems, ethics based on greed, business and entertainment industries that will do anything to dominate our values, and a culture that fails to teach us anything better.
Bombs and bullets and economic pressures will not heal these wounds. Only the energies and best intentions of us all can really change things for the better.
There is an insanity we face almost everywhere we look, an insanity trying to convince us that good is bad, and bad is good — and being a man means very little other than being a gullible consumer.
Brothers and sisters of Chivalry-Now, we are all Knights-in-Training, building ourselves to challenge those who would rob us of our autonomy. Chivalry does not call us from over that hill, or from the speech at some podium, but irresistibly from inside our hearts. Our numbers may yet be small, but the courage in our hearts is immense. The odds don't matter, so much as our tenacity and dedication. That's what provides the raw material of Knighthood.
We have no Arthur to lead us — and yet we march in step to the same beat. That's because the cadence of chivalry springs from the commonality of our souls.
So live rightly. Follow your informed conscience. Learn and study. When the time comes, speak the truth and let it be heard. Let all our voices be heard. Softly. Firmly. Convincingly. Unafraid. Let compassion for all people and the world we live in guide our every word and step. Let's raise our children to be honorable men and women.
If we do this, King Arthur and the Round Table Knights will truly live again, through us.
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