Eleazar, my pen name
Pseudonyms are not a new thing. For a long time now, many have used one so they could practice an activity–like writing or acting, for example–and keep their privacy or avoid prejudice or controversy. Nowadays, the Internet with its social networks, online games, and discussion forums has made it rather common. Positively, it helps users to protect themselves against the usurpation of their real identity. But on the other hand, it also allows some others to build a virtual personality for themselves, and to hide behind it, sometimes for less than praiseworthy purposes.
As for me, I don't necessarily want to remain anonymous. However, having a pen name allows me to put some distance between me and my writings, and gives me the freedom to explore ideas outside the conventional boundaries of my denomination.
Moreover, I like role playing games, and I enjoy the opportunity to create a character for myself. 🙂
Why the name Eleazar?
Eleazar is the transliteration of a Hebrew name that means "God has helped". (1)
There are many Eleazars in the Old Testament, but one in particular just fascinates me. That fascination is not the fruit of the abundant words said about him. Quite the contrary, in fact. It comes from an image left by rather few words.
"These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. [...] Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!" (2)
That's about it.
So I imagine that valiant warrior, alone in the middle of a barley field (3), surrounded by defeated enemies, maybe staggering but still standing, his hand clutched to his sword... God has helped!
I want to be an Eleazar in the spiritual world. I want to stay there, even when everybody is gone. I want to be standing, even when my strength fails me. I want to clutch to my sword at all costs. May God help me!
I'm Eleazar, the bellicose monk.
All excerpts are from The Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013).
(1) Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988).
(2) Second Book of Samuel, chapter 23, verses 8 to 10; bold-italic added.
(3) See the First Book of Chronicles, chapter 11, verses 12 to 14.