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Posts Tagged ‘Middle Ages’


Jousting is a sport that evolved out of heavy ...

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The West Coast Ultimate Jousting Championship is coming to my little rural, off-the-beaten-track,  neck of the woods very soon.

The California Mother Lode whose history is intertwined with the Gold Rush may seem like a strange place for knights to compete. Yet, thanks to one  modern-day Renaissance man, Patrick Michael Karnahan, who started a small celebration of the Celts and their culture 25-years ago, we are now the home to one of the most unique sports of the modern era.

Jousting had its heyday in the late Middle Ages into the Renaissance, and the sport has always fascinated me. I readily admit this has a lot to do with the fact that I’m an unabashed Tudorite and the Golden Prince himself,  Henry the VIII, was a ferocious competitor on the jousting field.

Armor of Henry VIII and his horse.

The modern-day knights who compete in this arena, train hard, compete hard and after you’ve seen them, you come away knowing why they were the rock stars of the Middle Ages. All this is set to be the focus of a reality show called the “Knights of Mayhem” that the National Geographic Channel is producing with the first episode slated to be shot in just a couple of weeks at the Sonora Celtic Faire.

Yet, the modern-day knights, through no fault of their own, do not have the benefit of the extensive training that their historical counterparts did. This is primarily because years ago, the training began when they were young boys. For many of them, by the time they were in their early teens, they were able to run and jump on to their horses when they were in full armor, something that would be unthinkable in today’s day and age. Because they were so young when they began their training their muscles and ligaments weren’t fully developed allowing their bodes to accommodate the strain the armor put on them and adjust its growth accordingly.

The armor of King Henry VIII and his horse at the Tower of London.

Even though many of those historical knights may not have seen combat, they were still trained as if they would. Not only that,  but for most of them being trained in combat was a way to stay close to the king, because whatever the king did, as a courtier you would want to do too.

This was especially true in the court of Henry VIII where the active and extremely athletic king had his fair share of courtiers who pursued the same activities he did. If you aligned yourself with the king and what he did, the better chance you had to get to know him.

Many of the courtiers gave up a lot in order to stay as close to the king as possible. They chose to live with him wherever he was, and, in doing so, they gave up their own wants and desires.  They gave up chances to spend time with their families at their own estates. Many times they gave up lucrative, profit-making ventures, giving them to the king as gifts. Basically they gave up their lives in order to have a relationship with the king. Of course, they then had the benefit of being close to the king and having him know who they were, something that others who lived in the kingdom didn’t have, and then, as now, it all comes down to who you know and who knows you.

And, this is what all of us believers in Jesus/Yeshua as the Messiah are called to do too. We are called to train hard just like the knights did, to align ourselves with the desires and activities of our king, and if that involves giving up everything that we may want in the process, then that is what we must do. Because at the end of the day, we are no different from those courtiers from long ago, even though we have had our price paid to enter the kingdom, we still must decide if we are willing to give up everything we may want and have to live at court with the king.

“In the same way, none of you can be my disciples unless you give up everything.”

Luke 14:33

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For those of you who have children, and even those of you that don’t, you have probably figured out by now that kids say weird stuff.

I’m sure most of us are aware of the old Bill Cosby TV show, “Kids Say the Darndest Things”, but I’m not talking about the cute things that some children say. Like at the age of 3 seeing a picture of their mother when she was pregnant with them and blurting out “Mommy ate me!”  No,  I’m talking about the just plain no-other-word-for-it-weird stuff they say.

My son, who is 12-year’s old as some of you already know, has always said weird stuff. It’s not so much the content that’s a little different, it’s the phraseology. I’d like to think that his somewhat archaic way of phrasing things is because of my own job as a wordsmith. But I have to be honest with myself, I deal in the vernacular of the bland, while what rolls out of his mouth seems to come straight out of the Middle Ages.

The other day we were yet again sitting in our big blue beast of a truck, going from here to there, which is where a lot of our conversations take place, when he started on a talking jag.

As we where driving down the same road for what felt like the 10th time that day, he started angling. Now, by angling I mean that he was angling for something, which all children at any age do at some point. Because quite frankly, they always want something.

This time, he was starting his Christmas angling early.  I imagine it was in order to give me time to save up for the one and only gift he will get, but it was when he started to tell me what he wanted from his father that my ears pricked up at his phrasing. Until that point he sounded like a typical pre-teenger. But, then somehow mixed in with the normal teenager wording was a sentence that made him sound like a Catholic monk straight out of the Medieval period.

He was talking about Halo 5, I think that’s the number but not being up on these things it could have been Halo whatever number and I wouldn’t have a clue. We don’t have game systems in our house, on my basic premise that it turns your grey matter to mush, but my son does have them at his father’s house. So, it’s from that source that his games come.

So, I’m asking him about the game, what it’s about, why he wants, etc. etc. etc. when Mr. Medieval steps in.

“I can see it in my eyes,” he says to me when he’s explaining asking his dad for it.

See it in his eyes? That draws a picture doesn’t it? Not see it with his eyes. Not see it in his mind’s eye. Not see it in the future. Not see it in his imagination. No, he could see it in his eyes. He himself could see it in his own eyes, and, I got the feeling that if I could have looked into his eyes at that moment, I would have seen it too.

Now, it all sounds a bit strange, but he phrases things like this more often than not. So, I have had some time to reflect on this phraseology that he uses.

That night I asked him what he meant by ‘seeing it in his eyes’ and he said he see’s it like he hopes it will be, even though he knows it hasn’t happened yet.

And isn’t this what God does with us? He see’s us in His eyes the way we will be.  The way we are in Him.  Not the way we see ourselves. And one of the most amazing things about Him is He has the ability to make that picture a reality.

“Guard me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”

Psalm 17:8

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