Over the last week or so, I have been thinking about the term warrior poet. I have ideas about what it means and why it might be a good model to emulate, but I came across this definition from Urban Dictionary: "Coined at the end of the movie, 'Braveheart', warrior poet describes the most bad ass of the bad asses. The most highly skilled fighters, competitors, warriors, swordsmen, spartans [sic]. No one can trump a warrior poet. Nobody trains like them. They do not know defeat and never will. Their heart, intelligence, and determination are unmatched. Their will to triumph, persevere, and over come are the thing of legend." I am not sure how Urban Dictionary came to this definition, but I think it is incorrect, or at least incomplete.
To me, a warrior poet is a man who is strong, but not defined by his physical strength alone. He also has an appreciation for learning, a sacrificial love for others, and is awed by beauty. What do we see when we look at the men of today? Some men may be physically strong, but emotionally constricted. He works hard and plays hard. He will talk about football, perhaps even his feelings about football, but true emotional availability is often lacking. His idea of what it is to be a man is someone who is physically tough and unshakable. In the movie, we end up with the king, Edward Longshanks.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the man who lacks any sense of toughness. He falters in the face of challenge. He may be emotional, even to a fault, yet he lacks fortitude and toughness. He may also be vain. He lets others lead so he does not have to even when he needs to. An example from the movie would be Prince Edward.
Although the term warrior poet appears after the death of William Wallace and is applied to the rest of the Scots, he was the consummate example. He was physically tough in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. He fought for the honor of his bride. He was fully devoted to her. He was uncompromisingly committed to the principles of justice, truth, and honor. He loved his fellow clansman, he valued education, and he spoke freely of beauty.
Contrary to the perspective of Urban Dictionary, a warrior poet is not a man who is a "bad ass" at least in the way they describe him. He is much more than just a warrior or swordsman. A warrior poet gives of himself physically, he loves beauty, he is free with his emotions, and he pursues wisdom with all that he is.
Today, we don't need more men who live for football or ultimate fighting. The world doesn't need more men who play video games in their mother's basement for 6 hours a day while their wife goes off to her job. The world doesn't need more men who are addicted to pornography. The world doesn't need more men who leave their families when the going gets tough. The world doesn't need more men who sit at home while their wives bring the kids to church. The world doesn't need more men who fail to step up and lead.
Rather, we need men who are willing to stand up in the face of challenge and criticism and who are ardent defenders of the truth. We need men who can weep over the brokenness in the world. We need men who speak out against the injustices and the slavery of pornography. We need men who love their wives and their children with unswerving passion and who will stand in the gap for them. We need men who own up to their faults and are willing to lean on others for strength. We need men who desire to grow in wisdom and stature.
We need men who are warrior poets.