Awakening the Warrior Poet
What does a spiritually enlightened man look like? Nurturing and compassionate? Fierce and uncompromising? Idealistic and visionary? History provides us with many different examples—from the sacrifice of Jesus and the compassion of the Buddha to the bold, nonviolent leadership of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, do we need new expressions of masculine spiritual development or are the old ones sufficient?
In preparation for our issue on men and masculinity, we asked this question to a broad range of philosophers, spiritual teachers, and cultural pioneers. One of our favorite responses came from Erwin McManus, an innovative Christian minister, activist, filmmaker, and leader of a unique Los Angeles spiritual community called Mosaic.
In this WIE Unbound interview with Carter Phipps, McManus explains why he thinks a truly spiritual man must become a “warrior poet.” Using biblical stories (Christ and the money lenders, David and Goliath) as well as stories from his own work as a mentor to thousands of men in his own spiritual community, he paints the picture of a new, more complex man than we’ve seen before—one who has the ability to stand up to the lower parts of himself and society with the determination of a warrior while at the same time maintaining the sensitivity and artistry of a poet.