"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Favorite Saints (moved)

One of my friends emailed me last night, asking me to list for him a number of my "favorite" saints. An unusual request, but it turned out to be a fun one. Here was my reply:
*Athanasius-- Contra mundum! Athanasius was willing to fight for the orthodox faith when it seemed nobody else would, hence the phrase "Athanasius against the world." His short but heafty book "On the Incarnation" is a foundational read in Christian formation.
*Benedict-- we named our homeschool after him. He was the recluse turned abbot, thrice the victim of an attempted murder, dreadfully strict and I am not sure I would like him for my abbot, but his rule of "prayer work and study" is the foundation of a healthy Christian life.
*Hilda of Whitby-- abbess in the right place at the right time and knew how to use it. She was abbess over both a men's monastery and a women's convent. She convened the council that reconciled Celtic Christianity to Roman Christianity, however awkwardly that was acheived.
*Stephen-- my brother deacon! Stephen delivered such a rousing sermon that the enemies of the Gospel rose up and murdered him!
*Nicholas-- Everyone knows him as Santa Claus. Bah! I know and love him as the bishop of Myra who at the Council of Nicea got up and slapped Arius for his stubborn heresy.
*Ephraim the Syrian--another brother deacon, poet, theologian. Ephraim was the deacon of deacons. He died of illness contracted while caring for victims of a local epidemic.
*Anselm of Canterbury-- Anselm's poetry is at times a total trip: "Adam was so full he belched" but Adam's children are starving. His theological thought was beautiful. Anselm definitely wins the entertainment award as well as the serious theologian award.
*Nicodemus, though I'm not sure he was ever officially made a saint. Nicodemus was the inquirer who approached Jesus by night, seemed to go away with no response to the answers he got... but he comes back later and offers seventy-five pounds of burial spices when Jesus is removed from the cross. That's over the top love!
*Ansgar-- missionary to the vikings... and the more I read about the vikings, the less I want that job.
*the Uganda Martyrs-- who were murdered for their refusal to have a homosexual relationship with their king because their faith forbade it. And one wonders why the Ugandan church is appalled at the current state of the Episcopal Church, USA.
*John the Evangelist-- who wrote that we might believe


There were a few others, but those were the ones I find most endearing. What does this combination mean about me? Perhaps that I value spunk... and an offbeat, unusual story. I like the guys that seem like real people to me.

But it does make me wonder who other people like best...

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