Friday, September 29, 2006

We Protestants understand saints quite differently than do our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. For us, saints are believers not special or distinctive and so we believers are saints. None of us is worthy of adoration (..."only God is good").

I live in a Roman Catholic area so I've become interested in Roman saints and the practices I see here. One of my fascinations is reading about Roman saints. The various names fascinate me: Anne, Expeditus, Perrigrine...

I purchased three saint gizmos at a charity shop on my trip. All three are the same and picture a tonsored robed man holding a cross and a skull. I don't know his identity but he must have significance to someone and I'll find out.

Some of you who know me have seen my collection of religious piety items. I collect broadly so I have Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim items. I refer to my collection as "Piety items" because each is a way for seekers to attempt contact with God as they understand this process. For the one who spins a prayer wheel, or touches a mezzuah or wears a scapula to the hospital for comfort, all these things are contact points for piety.

As a Presbyterian, I've determined that we have only two piety items and would NEVER refer to these as items of worship. They are our Bibles and casserole dishes. Bibliolatry is making the Bible more significant than it's contents, false God thinking that we apprehend or capture God for ourselves when we handle and read a Bible. The casserole dish as symbol pokes fun at our constant eating at church. Hence, my name, "St. Casserole".

Having said all this, (I do blather on), I'm thinking this morning of which saints I'd include if I built shrines to hold Protestant saints. Please don't mention this to M. John Calvin. I don't want to find out he's spinning in his grave.

I'd have Calvin, Knox, Bill Cashatt, my Mother, John Leith, Lillian, Margaret Townsend, Wendell Berry. Several are living, most are dead. I'll be adding to this mental list.

What about you? Who would be on your saint list of those whose influence on you is immeasurable?


St. Casserole


ppolarbear said...

You are correct in thinking JC would not like being made into a saint. There would be something a little fun about insisting on doing that, anyway.

I think I'd put Beuchner, and Sloan Coffin in there, too.

St. Casserole said...

PPB, I meant to have Coffin and Buechner on my list. Thanks for the reminder.

revabi said...

This is a good question, I'll have to think. Let me get back to you.

I think of Mrs. Woodward from my home church, my mom, my grandma.

Questing Parson said...

Okay, finally I found an expert on the saints and the various saint items one can purchase. So, tell me, when you have one of those saints on the dashboard of the car, is it supposed to face the driver or the traffic out the front window?

Mary Beth said...

My Gramma Beth. My Aunt Etta Jane. (for the saint corps).

Cathy said...

Wendell Berry is definitely a good one. Kathleen Norris too.
However, Maria (pronounced Mariah) is a saint who attended "the church with the red doors" and was as close to perfection and saintliness as I have ever seen. If I could only be a little like her...

Um St. Cassie, don't think you Presbies have a corner on the market with casseroles. 'palians ain't too shabby with the food either.

St. Casserole said...

Dear My Favorite Questing Pastor:
I know people like to use those dashboard saints but I would find them distracting. Down here, the comparable is hanging Mardi Gras beads on your rear view mirror. I don't do that, either.
Could you just put some coupons from Wendy's on the dashboard?

The Expert

St. Casserole said...

I forgot to put Will Campbell on my list! Add him!

towanda said...

As a former Presby, I'd add John Fife (who would decline such an honor), Jane Parker Huber, and all the cool Presby women who inspired me to become a cool woman myself.

Songbird said...

I'd like to nominate:
My paternal grandmother and godmother, who should be the first Methodist saints, Saint Emily and Saint Maggie;
The old white guy founders of the United Church of Christ who looked like all the other old white guys of their day but totally got inclusivity before it was a word;
Madeleine L'Engle;
and C.S. Lewis.

Cathy said...

St. Casserole,
I am glad you don't hang those beads up - those beads are earned down in these here parts.
Songbird - oh yes, L'Engle and C.S. Lewis are definitely saints too.

nightwoodkitty said...

St. Casserole, would you please explain Calvinism to an interested layperson? Hey ...where are you going! Don't leave the room...

Jorge Sanchez said...

St. Casserole,

Nice blog, nice post.

I firmly adhere to the Lutheran idea that we are all simultaneously saints and sinners. We are/ all saints.

That said, I like the tradition of saints' legends and keeping the memory of certain believers alive, especialy if they lived a particularly heroic Christian life or if their biography seems to speak to a lot of people.

Nominated saints (not already mentioned): Nathan Soderblom and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Becky Ardell Downs said...

Oh, how can any Presbyterian leave out Shirley Guthrie? Not only made it possible for several generations of pastors to pass ordination exams, but in reality was one of the nicest, most approachable, genuinely pastoral academics around.
Also I'd like to nominate Sylvia Washer, lifelong DCE and long-time Exec of Mission Presbytery.