Spiritual Warfare Insights: Embracing the Right Kind of Warrior Mentality

Jonathan Doyle Global Catholic Speaker

Welcome back to the Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast! I’m Jonathan Doyle, and we’re wrapping up “John Piper Week” with a reflection on spiritual warfare. In this episode, inspired by Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life” and the wisdom of philosopher Paul Kingsnorth, we delve into the notion of becoming the right kind of warrior in today’s world. Join me as we explore the shift from social justice battles to spiritual warfare and the call to embrace a deeper, more grounded faith. Let’s equip ourselves with the armor of God and engage in the true battle for souls.

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    Welcome Aboard

    Hey there, my friend Jonathan Doyle with you once again. Welcome aboard to the Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. This is the end of “John Piper Week.” If you haven’t heard any of this week’s episodes, I went deep into a fantastic book by John Piper called Don’t Waste Your Life. Some great quotes come out of that book. The last previous four episodes to this one are short, but there’s some really good stuff in there. So I hope you can check them out.

    The Spiritual Battle: Reflection on Paul Kingsnorth's Quote

    The battle rages beyond the surface: a spiritual conflict between light and darkness
    The battle rages beyond the surface: a spiritual conflict between light and darkness

    Today I’m just following up on some of what we covered. I want to share with you a great quote from one of my absolute favorite contemporary philosophers, Paul Kingsnorth. I really love his stuff. And I just think he’s doing great stuff. So let me share with you. He’s interesting to me because he was a rabid environmental activist who chained himself to bulldozers and became a Buddhist, then he became a pagan, then he became a borderline practitioner. Then he had a massive Christian conversion, and now he is an Orthodox Christian. It was just an interesting life and a brilliant philosopher and a great writer. But now he is a man of deep Christian faith, and he says this:

    "But if what we are witnessing is not, at heart, a political or cultural battle, but some manifestation of a spiritual war - well, then perhaps our time should be spent becoming the right kind of warrior."

    Friends, there are a lot of keyboard warriors and a lot of social justice warriors. I’ve been saying for years that at least in my country, I’ll be really direct. I think about what happened from the 1970s onwards. There was a quiet consensus that evangelization and piety, liturgy, sacramentality  were all a bit in the too-hard basket, and young people wouldn’t go for it. So we went screaming down the social justice path. We replaced the gospel of Christ with the gospel of social justice. That’s what I think has happened.

    The Call to Spiritual Warriors

    Group of Diverse Individual kneeling in prayer
    Becoming the right kind of warrior: rooted in faith, prayer, and sacramental living

    It’s been created in this current generation. Many young people are really affected by that social justice warrior, the keyboard warrior. It’s interesting when you look at the data on fear in young people’s lives, in Gen Z particularly. How they’ve become really fearful and angry in some sense. Can we not agree together if you spend more than about 30 seconds on I guess with any form of social media or news media, you just see a world tearing itself to pieces, right?  You just see factionalism and tribalism and left versus right. And liberal versus progressive, and Republican versus Democrat.

    What Kingsnorth is saying is what all of this might be, is not so much a cultural or political battle as a spiritual battle. I’m not going to tell you which particular political body falls into what category that’s on you.

    Embracing a Deeper Faith

    Living deeply grounded in Catholic faith: embracing a wider horizon of purpose and meaning
    Living deeply grounded in Catholic faith: embracing a wider horizon of purpose and meaning

    But I like his idea that all of it isn’t really about politics or culture per se. Whatever it’s about, a spiritual battle between light and dark. It’s both good and evil. And then he says, If that’s true, which I think it  is, then he said that we would want to spend time becoming the right kind of warrior. Not the kind of warrior that just screams louder or sends nastier tweets.

    What if we become the saints of the new millennium, what if we become men and women deeply grounded in faith, as Benedict said, men and women whose lives embrace a much wider horizon. What if we took prayer seriously, what if we lived the sacraments more passionately and more consistently, what if  we become the right kind of warrior?

    Because he said, of course, that the weapons that we fight with are not the weapons of the world,  what the world around us is all about divide, division, dividing people, fractiousness, screaming louder, threatening more, censoring more. We don’t fight with the weapons of the world.  We fight with different weapons. And we put on the full armor of God, right? We use different weapons and different armor. I just don’t fight on that battlefield anymore. I fight as best I could on a spiritual battlefield. Because I just think God’s power is inestimable.

    The Weaponry of God

    Armor of God - Armed with the weapons of faith: confronting spiritual battles with divine strength and wisdom
    Armed with the weapons of faith: confronting spiritual battles with divine strength and wisdom

    I think his power and his wisdom are just so much greater than anything that I’ve ever come up with. So let’s become the right kind of warriors. Let’s become deep, radical men and women of Catholic faith. Let’s become men and women completely given over to the purposes of Christ in the world, the redemption of souls, and the proclamation of the gospel to the whole world, the making of disciples.

    What else are you going to do with your life? You got something better than that.  You got something that’s going to trump that?  I don’t. Maybe I should get out more. I don’t think so. This life’s brief and it’s going to end. I want to make sure that I’ve lived it in congruence with what is true, good and beautiful. That’s the purpose of Christ.

    So, friends, what have we not seen of all that we are witnessing in the world? Gosh, at the time of recording this, I could list all the problems in the world, all the particular conflicts, battles, and problems. But by the time you hear it, there’s going to be different ones. They just keep cropping up, but what if they are not about politics and culture? What if they’re about Satan’s hatred for humanity. His rage against God and awareness that he’s lost any final battle and all he can do now is steal individual human souls from their eternal relationship with the heavenly father. What if it’s about that? Then we’d want to be the right kind of warriors fighting with the right kind of weapons.

    Conclusion and Call to Action

    My friend, please come and say hi on the website, jonathandoyle.co. You can find out about everything I do. You can book me to speak. It is all there. I hope that’s a blessing to you. If you’re on Instagram, you can find me at @jdoylespeaks.

    God bless you. My friends, thank you for what you’re doing in Catholic education. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. The smallest things that you are doing for young people. The holiness that you seek to leave, the kindness, the words of encouragement—it’s changing the world. Don’t stop. He’s got you. You’re in the right place. My name’s Jonathan Doyle. This has been the Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. And you and I are going to talk again tomorrow.

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    Jonathan Doyle


    I’m on a mission to liberate the potential of the incredible people that make up your organisation, school, or business.

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