Bags of Bran

The Wisdom of the Children’s Crusade Lives On
May 5, 2012, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Destined to get me in trouble

Perhaps the reader has heard of the ill-fated Children’s Crusades of the early 13th century, when bands of literal children left their homes in droves and set out to liberate the Holy Land from the hands of infidels. Two different parties set out independent of one another, one from the Rhineland region of modern Germany, and the other from France. The Rhenish expedition of about 20,000 made it as far as Italy, where many of the girls were taken into brothels or as servants. When a fraction of the band made it as far as Rome, Pope Innocent sent them home. Only a handful made it.

The French contingency of 30,000 or so set sail by ship from Marseilles, and nothing was heard of them for the next 18 years, when a lone priest came back from Africa to tell the tale that the lot of them had either died in a shipwreck or had been captured and sold into slavery in Egypt and Algeria.

These youngsters labored under the pretense that their youth, innocence, and purity secured them a special place with God. They were unbeatable because God was with them, they thought. They were of a mind with Job’s counselors.

Now, let it not be said that they didn’t try. Let it not be said that they weren’t ready to fight some infidels. There can be no doubt that, had they made it to Jerusalem, they would have taken the enemy by surprise for at least several moments. But what kind of  authority structure would send its children to do such a thing? Who was in charge of this decision to send untrained, inept, deluded youngsters to do what trained warriors could not?

Bear this picture in mind as you watch an infinitesimal university drop a gauntlet. Apparently “worldview academy fever” has reached epidemic concentrations in the quiet woods of Northern Wisconsin.

Will this “bunch of smart, no-nonsense realists-slash-idealists” [I laughed, I cried, I…] really survive six months in a world full of things with moral teeth?


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