Summary of Chapter 2: CHRISTENDOM STRIKES BACK (Pgs.36-54)

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In this chapter Stark notes that the defeat in 672 of Muslim attacers on Constantinople occurred for two reasons.  First, Byzantium had made tools sophisticated enough to best Muslim forces.  The Western technology of impenetrable fortifications, along with natural sea barriers contributed to Muslim defeat.  Second, “Greek fire” a catapult with pumps acting as flame throwers could not be matched by Muslim armies.

The Battle of Tours/Poitiers was a fierce engagement where Muslim troops drove deep into Gaul not far from Paris and advanced to victory over the city of Bordeaux and plundered it.  Again, a small Christian army could not stay their own slaughter by the Muslim army at the Battle of the River Garonne.  It wasn’t until the Muslim army met Charles Martel, the ruler of Gaul, that the tables began to turn against the Muslim’s conquest of Europe.

Here, Martel the powerful battle hardened leader led his troops in battle and conquered the Muslims for several reasons according to Stark, the following of which are notable; the Gaul’s were heavily geared as opposed to Arabs lightly geared, the Frankish soldiers were disciplined, Arabs fled because they sensed they were outmatched.

Many historians see this battle as monumental between having an Arab vs. a Western civilization.  Others make little of this battle and Arabs see it as no big deal (Pg.43).  What is certain is that Spanish Muslims understood that their defeat by Charles Martel was had through an empire building people, not mercenaries or a barbarian horde.  The countries of Spain, Italy and Sicily had to also be reconquered.

All these victories preceded the First Crusade.  This means that when the armies and knights of Western Europe marched or navigated to the Holy Land, they were very familiar with their Muslim opponents and knew they could take them.

Reflections From 1 CHRONICLES 11-15 “MIGHTY MEN WORTHY OF NOTE—REMEMBERED”

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          Reading the accounts of David’s mighty men is fascinating to me.  These are the ones who are named by clan, country, father and brother, men skilled in tactical warfare.  Some are ambidextrous with the bow, sling and sword, others were adroit with spears, ran like gazelles but all were amazing warriors.  Among these special mighty men of valor was Uzziah whom David betrayed.

These men had names and are forever memorialized in the annals of heaven.  In a dark world, the need for valiant warriors doing righteousness is necessary and thus sanctioned by the LORD.  War reminds us of how chaotic things have always been since the fall of man, and how it will continue to be with us until the consummation.

I’m not surprised at the commercial that says, “make love not war,” seeing how gruesome it is, while not understanding the horrors humans are capable of performing against one another.  Moreover, a relativistic society has nothing to say about this matter if it’s going to be consistent with its worldview…but it can’t be.  But is war ever warranted?  The views on this issue are nuanced and deeply affected by one’s understanding of humanity (i.e., are people basically good or bad, is there real evil in the world or not?)

People once lived in fortified cities, had watchmen on the walls protecting their citizens, and would sound the alarm if invaders were approaching.  In America today we live in huge cities, towns and suburbs protected by unseen agents, military and para-military units.  For the most part, our protectors go unnoticed to us (depending on our neighborhoods).  The irony is so many people disparage our modern day “watchmen” who truly keep law and order, who provide us the ability to make a life for ourselves, who even protect our freedom to speak against them.  Many laud their execution.  Such a position is deplorable.

What would happen if our “watchmen” (i.e., law enforcement agents, police) did not exist?  Do you really think things would be better?  Are you trained in tactical warfare, hand to hand combat, or have skills with weapons?  If not, and the real bad guys came knocking at your door, what would transpire?  Would you feel safe or threatened?  Remember, there’s no one to call for aid, no 911 or police or militia, nothing to rely on except “your” abilities to protect “your” loved ones, what would you do, how would you feel?

I think considering the abovementioned scenario is essential to get in touch with a stark reality too many anti-law, anti-police, anti-military people have not considered—those you tend to despise are the very ones protecting your ability to speak against them.  Do that in Castro’s Cuba and they won’t put you into the Holiday Inn, do that in an Arab Islamic State and they’ll relieve you of any headaches, do that in Hitler’s Germany and you’d partake in “The Final Solution”.

David’s men of valor are memorialized because with skill they fought real evil in the land, they were God’s hand of wrath in a very real way and these provided safety for those who could not provide it for themselves.  In a similar way our military and para-military “watchmen” should be appreciated and remembered for putting their lives on the line for people that hate them.  They with great skill fight real evil in the land; they are God’s hands of wrath against evil doers (Romans 13); they protect those who can’t protect themselves.  These people should be appreciated not disparaged, lauded not berated, welcomed not shunned.

(SDG)