Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Kingdom of Heaven

I recently watched the movie “Kingdom of Heaven”. In the movie, the main character is a young man named Balian. He is the illegitimate son of a Knight. His father, Godfrey comes to him to offer him his “blessing” as his son. He declines at first but soon pursues him and embraces his identity as the son of Godfrey. In a subsequent battle Godfrey is mortally wounded and before his death makes his son a Knight instructing him with these words,

“Be without fear in the face of your enemies.

Be brave and upright that God may love thee.

Speak the truth – always, even if it leads to your death.

Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.

That is your oath.”

The King of Israel, whom Balian serves, is stricken with leprosy and has no heir except his sister. She is trapped in an arranged marriage to an evil man named Guy De Lusignan who is intent on making war with the Muslims when the king dies. Lusignan will become king because of the arranged marriage. Before his death, the King asks Balian if he will marry his sister, (and thus become king) because he knows the evil that is in Lusignan. Balian asks what is to become of Lusignan and the King says he will be put to death. Balian, true to his oath will not participate in this plan. The King dies and Lusignan does become king. He immediately provokes a war and is soundly crushed.

The Muslim army proceeds to take Jerusalem and this leaves Balian to defend it without an army. Facing a huge army of more than 200,000 he inspires the men of Jerusalem to fight with these words. “It has fallen to us to defend this city… not to protect these stones but the people living within these walls.” Just before the attack of the foreign army Balian encounters a teenage boy and sensing the fear of the people instructs all the men capable of making war to kneel. He then recites the oath of the Knight to all of them and makes them all Knights. One of the impudent (and spineless) religious leaders says to him, “And does it make a man a better warrior if you make him a Knight?” Balian turns and responds emphatically, “Yes!” In the battle, Balian preserved the lives of his people but lost the city. Many would call that failure, but Balian kept his oath.

There are three things I want us to consider from this story. First, the oath that Balian takes as a Knight is a good oath. We would all do well to heed these words. Second, it DOES make a man a better warrior to make him a Knight. Being in Christ we are of noble birth and as such we are Knights in the service of our King. Finally, I think Balian understood something we often miss; the Kingdom of Heaven is people. I know that’s simplistic and it is much more than that. And yet, it was Jesus who said, “the Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) We are called to nobility, not for our glory, but for Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven. So, “Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth – always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath.”

Michael Taylor

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Copyright Info

All the material on The Telemicus Files is written by and the property of Michael L. Taylor.

I read a lot and when I am using someone elses ideas or words I will cite them in the body or as a footnote.

When quoting scripture I use the New International Version, unless noted otherwise.

Please remember that is great to quote and cite the sources that support our ideas. It is right to cite material that contradicts our ideas for the sake of argument. It is wrong to use other peoples material as your own. Just so we are clear.

Michael L. Taylor

The Story of Telemicus

William Barclay tells the story of Telemicus, a monk who lived outside the city of Rome. He was a man of the country and lived a quiet life but something, maybe the call of God, brought him to Rome, which was for the most part considered a Christian city. Yet thousands of people still attended the games in the Coliseum watching the fights of the gladiators.

Telemicus was carried along by the crowd to the Coliseum, where perhaps 80,000 people gathered, looking for the weekly bloodletting. Telemicus was horrified. "Are we not all men created in God's image? These who were fighting must stop." Telemicus left the stands, leaped from his seat, sprung to the arena, and thrust himself between the two gladiators. His word cried out "in the name of Christ forebear"! They cast him aside. He came back; he cried out again and again "in the name of Christ forebear" they cast him aside. He came back; they cast him aside "in the name of Christ forebear".

Finally, the commander's order rang out. A sword flashed and Telemicus was dead. A hush fell upon the people in the arena. Gradually, the people began to realize what had happened and slowly, one by one, they began to leave. A holy man had given his life to affirm the worth of every human being. The usual blood was not seen that day for something truly ramarkable had happened to the city of Rome, for there was never another gladiatorial contest held in Rome because one man, Telemicus.


Michael L. Taylor

Important Quotes

  • "God can't guide your footsteps if you're sitting on your butt!" Rick Odell (the greatness)
  • I don't think Lazarus dug being dead, but rising and chillin with Jesus again, I say is definitely worth the down time. Rob Guild (my padawan learner)

  • "We have been too long engaged with defending ourselves, rather than the truth as it is in Jesus. Let us trust our little selves with the Lord; and rest not, till by faith in the promised Spirit and by incessant prayer we receive and be filled with it, like they were of old in the ancient order of things." Barton W. Stone (January 1844)

  • "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt

  • "Well, I've wrestled with reality for thirty-five years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it." Jimmy Stewart from "Harvey"

  • "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs - "Almost Famous"

  • "Whatever is right... thats what I meant to say." My daughter - "Hope"

  • "No matter how fast I run I can never seem to get away from me." Jackson Browne - "Your Bright Baby Blues"

  • "Do every act of your life as if it were your last." Marcus Aurelius