Sunday, December 16, 2007

Why St. Lee

When I first started this blog nearly a year ago, my wife Jane pointed out that I really needed to do a post explaining why I go by the pen name "St. Lee" in my posts. She pointed out that anyone seeing it might get the wrong impression. After all, many would think that you must have a pretty big head to assign the title "Saint" to your name. I agreed that it did warrant an explanation, but I am only now getting around to it.

If you have read any of my posts having to do with Christianity, I trust you will not have gotten the impression that I feel I have anything to boast of in either the fact of my being a Christian, or the life I live in regards to that Christianity. Any glory that is due is due only to God!

Quite the contrary, the moniker St. Lee came about as a result of a bit of satire that I had engaged in. Well before I started this blog, I was in the habit of following a number of other blogs regularly. One of my favorites was the now "retired" Purgatorio which managed to add a little humor to many people's day by bringing attention to some of the strange things done in the name of Christianity. Fairly early on, I read a post there about praying to Saints. I couldn't help responding to a comment by a lady who was obviously Catholic and wanted to explain the practice of praying to Saints. I have copied her comment here:

"Why? Because God has given his saints certain areas of expertise and dominion so that we here on earth can go to them for specific requests. It’s divine delegation, like the CEO of a large company. For instance, if someone wants to pray for protection during a long journey, he could pray to St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. His request goes straight to St. Christopher who has been given authority to answer that prayer (or not).It’s similar to the apostles ability to heal and cast out demons which was given to them by Jesus when he sent them out to preach the good news.It’s not mandatory that we pray to saints, but the option is open to us if we choose to do so.Please feel free to throw your stones now. "

My "tongue in cheek" response to her was as follows:

"Ok, I get it. In God’s business plan, he has delegated saints (like me) to answer the prayers of non saints. Wow, that’s quite a big responsibility. Kind of makes you wish the overworked CEO could find the time to deal with each of the non saints personally. "

And I signed my response "St. Lee"

Of course this nice lady's comment was based on her Roman Catholic understanding of the term Saint. If I am not mistaken, the Catholic faith has to officially declare a person a Saint, based on their good works leading to sanctification. My comment was based on the Baptist (and biblical I believe) understanding of the term; that is one who has been born again and declared righteous and holy due to the work of Christ completely separate from our own good works (or lack thereof).

Incidentally, I recall being taught as a young teen in the Lutheran Church something just about half way in between these two extremes. During a class we were told that a saint was not someone declared such by the Catholic Church, but actually any Christian who lived a very, very good life. When the class was asked to give examples of people they knew who qualified for the title saint, several of the other students agreed that my own mother fit the bill. I remember having somewhat mixed emotions at the time. Delight that my peers would see her in that light, but a bit wary because I knew she was not as perfect as they might think (though she really was a sweetheart). I still have somewhat mixed emotions, but I now have the clear realization that no matter how others may have seen of my mother, what matters is whether or not God saw her through the blood of Christ!

That is the story of how I became St. Lee on the blogosphere. It started as a bit of satire, but I decided to keep it since it fits only by the grace of God and the sacrifice of Christ. It was not until I had been using the pen name for some time that it even dawned on me that it could also be seen as a play on words ...Saintly ...St. Lee. As an adjective, saintly really does not fit, though by the grace of God that is slowly changing and some day will be an accurate description!

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