It’s not a list of rules. It’s a code of honor, calling men and women to higher standards. It’s about being more. And if we live it, it will transform us – and the world.
Or at least that’s what the book claims. It also claims that author Hunter unites teachings of ancient knights with the teachings of Jesus. Thus, the book claims to be Christian.
The book has some great stuff in it. Great advice. And the ten principles to live by aren’t bad by any means!
For instance, the first principle, “I will not go on this journey alone” encourages the reader to find mentors and friends who are not afraid to correct them. It urges us to find people from many walks of life to encourage us, so that we don’t “lean one direction” too much. Use people of different ages – both older and younger! One great observation said, “By now, I know that if my phone rings and I’m hoping their names don’t show up on my caller ID, I’m probably going through something I really need them for.” The closing line of that chapter says, “Chivalrous people aren’t foolishly confident, believing they don’t need anyone else on this journey. They realize they are human, weak, and vulnerable.” This is fantastic advice.
Other principles include “I will practice self control and selflessness,” “I will fight only for the sake of those who are unable to defend themselves, or in the defense of justice,” and “I will honor truth and always keep my promises.” Ten principles in all unfold through the book. The volume ends with questions to dig deeper into each principle as well as a pledge to “live the code” for each principle.
I said it before: This is fantastic advice. The book stirs up that desire to be more and to do more. It gives solid application for the advice and stories fill the book with great readable examples.
But… despite all that, I don’t know if I can really recommend this book as-is.
You see, it claims to be Christian… but for nearly all the book, Jesus is used as merely example. “Jesus did this, so you should do it, too.” Jesus becomes one more person to try to emulate, right along with Confucius (I kid you not) and Audrey Hepburn. Granted, Jesus is used far more often than either of the other two, but an example he is.
To be fair, Hunter does talk about Jesus being our Savior. Briefly. About halfway into the book. But in the same token, he talks about hating the word sin and prefers thinking about it as “missing the mark,” which just encourages him to try harder. He talks about how we don’t need more rules… and then lays out ten principles to live by.
The thing is… this book could be fantastic. Talk about the principles and how we don’t live by them. Show how miserably we fail, even though the principles are good (and they are good). And then point to Jesus who did keep the principles… and now, because he has died for us, our failures are gone. Because he have been given his righteousness, in God’s eyes we are already chivalrous. We are knights. So now, be what we have been given credit for being already. You have Christ’s chivalry… so be chivalrous!
Such a book wouldn’t just lay out principles, but also give the power to do them. It wouldn’t be a pep talk pumping us up to try and then fail, but a way to point to Christ and live out his grace every day. Honestly, I’m considering taking these “ten principles” and trying to work them into a teen Bible study (or a sermon series? Maybe. Not sure on that.). However, they need to be shown that sanctification flows from justification – that Christian life flows from the Life that was given for us. This book by itself… it’s good advice, but it ignores the source of our ability to do anything.
So, can I recommend the book? Alas, not as a Christian book. Good advice? Absolutely. Well-written? You got that right.
But it needs a lot more Jesus to make it a good Christian book.