“Erwin” or “A barbarian…or an artist?”

Maybe this is the right context for the term “warrior poet.” I see it thrown around here and there, but I’ve never been sure exactly what it means. If I were to ever guess the type of person a “warrior poet” was, it would be Erwin McManus.

I have only two things to go from on this: what friends have said about his book The Barbarian Way, and the interview I just read between him and Relevant Magazine.

Key passage:

…In the modern world a great preacher was a person who could teach you the information of the Bible. Now people want to know, has that book taken you anywhere where you’ve met and experienced God? It’s different. It’s really sharing your life through the Scriptures that becomes a part of what people hunger for–and people do hunger for it.

RM: The only reason I learned how to play jazz music is because one of my teachers actually took me to experience it live in a smoky jazz club. After that, I was hungry to learn more and practice.

EM: That’s exactly the point. People are coming, and they learn how to hear from God and how to access the Scriptures by being in that–if you could say that–in that smoky room. It’s a great analogy. That’s the way I learned how to water-ski. They tried to teach me how by putting me in the back of a boat, and I almost drowned. I couldn’t quite understand what they were saying while drinking water at 50 mph.

Then I worked SeaWorld–at the ski show–selling Coke, and every day I watched these professional skiers. The next time I tried it–two months later–I could slalom, simply from watching them all summer long. I somehow learned the rhythms and movements of what was going on, and I absorbed it into my being more than I even knew.

This is SO what I believe. I’m fine and dandy with good solid truth and believe it goes a long way in transforming a person’s life. But  I also think you can drown a person in it–just like Erwin water skiing. It has to be combined with something practical, something tangible, something that supports its authenticity.

Top on my list: living the life before them like the jazz musicians and the slalom skiers. And for this very reason, I often find my own life personally devastating because I repeatedly don’t offer the enticing mystery of the smoky jazz club. I more often resemble a rouge cigarette in a non-smoking section–where someone thinks the situation is great until her or she sniffs the smoke and eventually starts gagging on its disgust and toxicity.

Read the whole article here: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god_article.php?id=6989

By Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a marketer, blogger and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

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