If you follow any of the major blogs in the “Manosphere“, you might have noticed recently a bit of back and forth over the concept of Chivalry in the modern world. I’ll stay neutral on that discussion, but I want to take a moment to comment on the ten commandments of Chivalry:
- Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and shalt observe all its directions.
Claiming no creed nor doctrine outside that practiced by the first century Christians, I believe in the Gospel and the epistles, with their “primitive” form of Christianity that can be seen from the examples as recorded in the books that have been passed to us as the New Testament. I strive to “speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent“.
- Thou shalt defend the Church.
The church to which I belong claims no central authority other than Christ, thus the simple naming convention of claiming to be His church in a particular locale. Since my faith is spiritual, my battle is likewise, though I may face adversaries on the physical plane. This doesn’t mean that one sits idly by to allow others to slander the Christian faith, but it also doesn’t necessitate physical violence against the offender. Paul details our weapons as :
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. – Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV)
These are the weapons with which I defend Christ’s church.
- Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
I must be understanding of others’ shortcomings, as I hope they will be of mine.
- Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
This one is not very difficult for me. I have served in my Nation’s military and I uphold the principles of its Constitution. No matter where I may find myself in life, I will always love my homeland, where the Lord has blessed me so richly.
- Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
Looking back to verse 12 above, I see that my enemy is Satan. I must stand firm against him and those who serve him.
- Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
I see no call to a physical holy war in the teaching of Christ, though I find many examples of it in the conquest of Caanan in the Torah. YHWH commanded His people to commit violence against a people He had proscribed for their sins, and when the Israelites carried this out as commanded, they were blessed. When they showed mercy upon those to whom no mercy had been commanded, they were punished. Bearing in mind the historical context of the Crusades, I know where this command was directed, but there are may “infidels” that a Christian faces today. Given the spiritual nature of Christianity, this means, to me, engaging in intellectual warfare against doctrines contrary to those I hold as matters of faith. Following the physical example from the Old Testament, I cannot show mercy to a doctrine that is not of the Lord.
- Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
My circumstances do not place me as a vassal with feudal duties, but as a free citizen. Even so, I have certain obligations I must meet. I registered for the draft at eighteen. I pay my taxes. I obey the laws passed by those elected to office. I do not pledge featly to a president, but I uphold the portion of my oath of enlistment that still applies to me: that I affirmed “that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same… So help me God.” As long as my Country does not require me to do that which is against the will of the Lord, I will obey.
- Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
This one is simple to understand, yet so difficult sometimes to follow. We live in a time of low expectations, where one’s word often doesn’t mean a whole lot, and pages and pages of contracts have to be spelled out to do what a spoken word or handshake used to seal.
- Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
This is one that I, and I suppose many in the western world struggle with. It is very easy to pass this responsibility off to the “government” since we are taxed to pay for social programs. The scriptures are clear that each of us has some responsibility to care for the less fortunate.
- Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
In our world of moral relativism, this one might be the most maligned. No good deed goes unpunished. One must reject this abomination. A Parable of Christ makes this clear:
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)
This is what the ten commandments of chivalry mean to me. It’s not holding doors for ladies, though if a lady is to be found, that would be in line with the type of kindness that a chivalrous gentleman would do. Bear in mind that a female is not always a lady, nor is a male always a gentleman. Those designations are earned and should not be flouted about willy-nilly based on some egalitarian claptrap that passes for civility nowadays. Chivalry is an honor code to be followed by those who act honorably, and extended to those worthy of honor.