Voices of BattleOnward!
There is a long tradition of Christian poetry and song that emphasizes a more martial march of believers. It's far older than "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," of Luther's writing. We can see it in the Children's Crusade and perhaps even as far back as the Song of Hannah (a prayer for a most militaristic Messiah) and Miriam's Song in Exodus.
The trouble with writing such poetry is that one needs an authentic problem. That's tough to come up with if you believe that the most important thing is believing God is the all-powerful Creator. If Doubt is the enemy, then it's hard to come up with a serious villain. And the villainy of evil in the abstract seems way too weak. Last I checked, Kony was still butchering in Africa, North Korea was still around, and the moral decisions heroes have to make always have serious complexity surrounding them. It's like the good we can choose, as an everyday matter, comes mixed with evil. I remember a Pentecostal minister telling me that choosing good was simple. I asked him why his flock was so racked with problems. He was speechless. At some point, you either believe in people - as Christ did - or you believe that you have a solution to everything.
I obviously think the real problem with this poem is a lack of conflict. No amount of learning meter or copying the Charge of the Light Brigade will fix that. Traditionally, Christian poetry that is good - including the Psalms - makes sure that human doubt is given its due. Believing in God is a matter of belief. It can't be knowledge. When it pretends to be knowledge, it turns cultish fast. When it stays belief, we get the drama at Gethsemane - no less than God has worries about His identity - and we see that doubt isn't a problem. It's actually the precondition for faith.
A look at Hopkins' "As Kingfishers Catch Fire" and Milton's "On His Blindness" should suffice to explore the depth of theme necessary. Hopkins is a Jesuit - Catholic - priest. In Kingfishers, he's wondering about human nature and what makes us truly human. Our motion can't be like animals or inanimate objects. "Grace" and "justice" are intrinsic to us. God, at some point, watches us be Him (St. Paul: "Christ shall be all in all"). Milton, a Protestant who was very supportive of the Puritan overthrow of the King, wonders not about faith vs. works, but over the more basic problem that he literally cannot see. It's not so easy to talk about moving gracefully in the world when it feels like no less than God has robbed you of what you need. He still finds a way to serve.
The beauty of faith is its universality. You can't write about your faith without appreciating why others believe or don't believe. Milton and Hopkins complement each other and make it clear that at times, you can't really just thank God or say everything's okay. The conflict is not of faith in the world, it's just being the best you can be in the world. We hope faith of all sorts - Christian or not - will support us as we try.
Hopkins - [link]
Paul Hoover, "To the Choirmaster" - [link]
Maimonides, "Letter to Obadiah the Proselyte" - [link]
I agree. I do know it was missing something substantial. It was written in a once-pass and posted.
Mainly, I was aiming for the Christian life in general. It's a constant battle, some misunderstand a command or get deceived into hearing one that's not, but there's always the Victor their to have their back. I wanted to go deeper into it but it was already "really long" for what I wanted to post anyway.
How about the structure? Do you have any thoughts there?
I got the sense you were talking about that ( "life of a Christian" ) although I have nothing else of value to say like akarra did, just wanted to let you know that part was conveyed well enough especially the deceiving cry and the wounded soldiers that had their backs turned
I'll think about it. I wanna get you the best examples of how this sort of material could be structured.