Which are you primarily—a Knight or a Gardener? Which have you been? Which do you aspire to be?
What you perceive as heroic or virtuous behavior influences how you form and maintain your love relationships, which in turn affects how you behave during conflict situations. All of these influence how you approach matters of the soul.
Holding the Knight’s or the Gardener’s worldview shapes how you believe heroes are supposed to behave, and what virtue is.
In Western culture, our heroic ideals are drawn primarily from three sources—the Bible, stories about the quest for the Holy Grail, and pop culture.
Knights find warriors—literal or spiritual—heroic. In the Bible, Knights find their greatest heroic inspirations in the God-as-“Yahweh” stories in the early Old Testament, and the apocalyptic stories in Daniel and Revelation. These stories depict the people of God succeeding or failing in great spiritual showdowns with the forces of evil. Knights aspire to serve in God’s army against the Devil.
Knights’ imaginations are often sparked by Revelation’s depictions of a sword-wielding Christ leading God’s army against Satan and his forces. For Knights, there are only two camps in Creation—good and evil—that struggle for victory in the world. Knights idolize the champions of good, and want to become one. Knights believe that siding with the right pleases God, and refusal to do so displeases God.
Knights use Revelation to interpret the rest of the Bible as an epic story of conflict in which great champions are required. Seen in this light, Jesus serves as the Great Commander or Great Redeemer who returns souls home from the outland of sin—Satan’s realm—to God’s arms and God’s service. And Jesus’ miracles are proof of his authority and strength.
Knights’ primarily ask Who should be combated? Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? Am I worthy to serve in God’s army—or how can I become so? What degree of force does God say is warranted to overcome this foe?
Gardeners find healers—literal or spiritual—heroic. Gardeners find their inspiring hero role models in the biblical stories about wholeness and spiritual growth or progress. Gardeners admire, and seek to emulate Adam tending the Garden of Eden, Moses leading the Israelites to the Promised Land (a new Garden), the prophets working to renew the nation to its creative purposes, Jesus healing wounds and reconciling people with God and each other, and Paul establishing churches.
Gardeners idolize healers and view atonement not as a process of penance, but as “at-one-ment”—the process of reconciliation, of merging split parts back together. For Gardeners, the seven sacraments of the church are acts of at-one-ment with God or each other—baptism (a ritual of dispensing of a past life, and giving birth to a new spiritual life within the Spirit of God), the Eucharist (a ritual of infusing one’s physical body with the Spirit of the divine), confirmation (affirmation of one’s belief in God), ordination (commission of clergy), confession of sins, anointing (healing) the sick, and matrimony (uniting two separate people into the one-ness of marriage).
Knights believe the world consists of two camps—and that those camps should remain separate.
Gardeners believe there should be only one.