"Today's the Day!!!" – Mel Fisher
Developing a Team Culture, much like any significant adventure, is benefited by a good understanding of its history.
So who were the Crusaders for whom we are named?
Thomas Madden, author of “A Concise History of the Crusades”, and Chair of the History Department at St. Louis University, tells about the Crusaders in detail. I’ve paraphrased some of his explanation below.
Crusaders sacrificed their own wealth and security on the altar of their beliefs.
In the times of landed nobility, the land that a family owned would be passed to the first son of the family. It was for this reason that many second, third, or fourth sons would leave home for war and the hope of fame and riches brought from far off lands to secure their financial and social future back home. But this was not the case for the Crusaders. They were often the first sons of their families. In other words, they could sit back on their inheritances and conveniences and wait until they became comfortable, powerful nobles, but instead, they went off to war because they felt that it was their duty. In fact, going out into the Crusades was expensive! These first sons of nobility often had to sell their lands and riches just to go out and fight for what they believed in! They gave up convenience for their purpose.
Crusaders fought for freedom.
While Dr. Madden notes that there are very limited connections between the modern Christian West and the modern Muslim Middle East, it is important to remember the historical context of the Crusades. At the time of the Crusades (starting in the mid-11th century), the West was not a major world power. In fact, the East, and the Muslim nations that ruled it, were far more wealthy, sophisticated, and advanced in their technologies and practices. By comparison, the West was relatively backward and weak. At the time of the First Crusades, the Muslim powers in the East had been expanding their territory and conquering lands to the West for hundreds of years. Once they reached Jerusalem, it became unsafe for Christians to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In response to their loss of their freedom of travel, freedom of worship, and freedom to live without fear of their homes being attacked, the Crusades were launched to secure the Holy Land as a safe space for religious pilgrimage. The Crusaders fought to protect the freedoms of their fellow men and women.
Crusaders were innovators.
The Crusaders were the first to pioneer many technological and social advancements in the area surrounding the Holy Land, many of which for the purpose of making life safer and more equal for those who lived there. In other words, when the Crusaders saw a system that didn’t work, they fought the tide and became Rascals in their own right!
Crusaders had critics.
In fact, this is largely what led to the decline of the Knights Templar (an organization with all sorts of mythology around it that was really just a group of knights commissioned to protect travelers and pilgrims in the area surrounding the Holy Land, who happened to be based near the are believed to be above the ruins of King Solomon’s Temple, hence their name). King Philip IV of France was deeply indebted to the Crusaders for their financial assistance during his war with England in the 13th century, so when popularity for the Crusades began to decline, he seized upon the rumors for his own purposes and used them to disband the entire Knights Templar, simply to free himself from his debts. Thank goodness any critics we have to deal with aren’t 13th century French kings with poor financial management principles! But the point is, the Crusaders had critics. Big time.
The Crusaders had character.
Orrin Woodward says that people of character expect to be believed, and when they’re not, they let time prove them right. Remember how we just talked about how King Philip IV was a dastardly critic who used false rumors to ruin the reputation of the Crusaders? Well, in September of 2001, parchment files were found in the Vatican Secret Archives that stated the results of the trials of many Crusaders and members of the Knights Templar. They were found completely innocent of any of the charges that had been levied against them, and the parchments went on to state that any Crusaders who had falsely confessed to any crimes (because interrogation techniques back then were slightly worse than they are today) were completely absolved of those charges as well. The Crusaders were not believed, but because they had character, they let time prove them right.
The Crusaders had a reputation for being the best.
The culture developed by the medieval Crusaders was impressive to everyone who knew them. They were known for intense, intentional training, preparation, and discipline. They believed strongly in embodying honor, valor, and humility as their three greatest virtues. They were known to have great courage, and did not surrender on the battlefield. The Crusaders pins that we wear at our events are the equivalent of the white mantle taken up by the medieval Crusaders. Each individual took great pride in representing the Crusaders as a whole, and they had strict guidelines for decorum and behavior while wearing their uniforms. The Crusaders set the example of the best, most courageous, most well-prepared people of their time.
The Crusaders left a legacy.
While many of them could have sat back and done nothing to stem the tide of violence and conquering that was threatening the freedoms of good, innocent people, the Crusaders chose to look beyond themselves and risk death to protect the freedoms of their people. In addition to protecting those freedoms, the Crusaders also funded and worked on many public works projects, built buildings, and improved the cities they inhabited. Because they weren’t working 9-5 desk jobs, they were able to do these things and leave a lasting legacy that still persists today. The rigors of history may have temporarily muddied some of the waters surrounding who the Crusaders really were, but thanks to this research like Dr. Madden’s, we know.
The Crusaders were willing to sacrifice everything they had for their beliefs. They fought for freedom. They were on the cutting edge of innovation for their time. They had critics, but they also had incredible character. They were known for being the best because of how well they trained and prepared and their great courage. And the Crusaders left a legacy that still echoes in history today.
These are the giants whose shoulders we stand on as we build our Team culture. Our Team has a rich history of significance, excellence, and courage. Of honor, valor, and humility.
The medieval Crusaders were known for being the best, and the Team Crusaders will be known for being the best. With honor, valor, and humility: Today’s the Day!!!
(This post written by Jared.)