Hey, that’s my great, great, something great grandfather…

fowler-crest

This is our family crest… the one received by my distant ancestor, Richard, on the 3rd crusade in 1191. ( and he said that all successive generations of Fowlers could use it.) Apparently Richard and his skilled bowmen were keeping watch one night at Acre, near Jerusalem, when a Muslim force attacked the camp. His company was able to keep the enemy at bay until the army woke up and defeated the enemy. Richard was credited with saving the forces of Richard Coeur-de-leon from certain death and so was created a nobleman and given this coat of arms. The motto is “He is wise who watches.”

Recently, President Obama, after denouncing the ISIL as “a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism”   went on to say “lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

And they did! The Muslims had started their crusades in 630 AD.  The English forces justified their own war making by seeing it as a way to stop Muslim aggression against Eastern Christianity. Then the English pushed it one step further and made their actions a crusade, a pilgrimage made holy by the crusader’s sacrifice. By such self-sacrifice your sins would be forgiven. But these were bloody days and no quarter was given, on either side of the battles. After the capture of Jerusalem the English crusaders set out to establish control over Cyprus, the Baltic and the Balkans, complete with feudal and canon law.

Wow!… I’m not like that. Those were medieval times and we’ve come a long way since then.  Things have changed and we have seen the error of forcing change with the uncontrolled use of violence. We have put the words of our religious leaders into the hands of the people and we have discovered the oneness of human-kind and the law of love. We have seen the fragility of this shrinking spaceship : earth, on which we live and realized that corrective action must be taken.

Sadly, not everyone would agree with me and it still seems necessary to have a military…  because not everyone gets it.  But, the more money we put into weapons of destruction, the less we have for educating people and for protecting our environment. Every rocket that flies, every bomb that explodes puts more carbon into the air.

Having a family crest, complete with motto, is kind of neat. However, the crest is from the past and this is the present.  I wonder:  Will we ever learn to leave our violent ways and open our hearts to the LOVE that is the very ground of our being? Do we have that much time?