But no, apparently this is a riff on March Madness (which I have at least heard of), and involves something called a bracket.
But what it really is, is all about saints! Which means I’m all for it. So let’s take a look at some of the matchups…
I was delighted to see my recently-discovered friend St. Ephraim of Edessa on the list, as he and his hymns deserve to be much better known. And since he’s matched against Thomas Cranmer, that’s an easy pick for this Catholic!
Ah, did I mention this is a program organized by Episcopalians? So not everyone on the bracket is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic church, though all are certainly notable Christians worth getting to know better.
If it were organized by Catholics, I’d be confident that the unadorned name “Thomas” referred to Thomas Aquinas. But since it isn’t, I’m not sure… maybe this is meant to be the apostle Thomas, called “Doubting”?
I’m amused to see Augustine matched against his mother Monica, and tickled to see Paul of Tarsus matched against Theodore of Tarsus — who?? Well, I guess I will find out!
I don’t know who Lancelot Andrewes is either, but I’d pick Joan of Arc anyway since Sady Doyle’s kick-ass telling of Joan’s story completely blew my mind. (Fair warning: Joan’s is a rough story and Sady tells it with rough language.)
The toughest choice for me has got to be James the Apostle versus Dietrich Bonhoeffer. James was such a significant figure in the church, and besides I’ve felt bad about the fact that his name is really Jacob and was just anglicized to James ever since I found out about it (explaining why Spaniards, for example, call him St. Iago — there’s no way you can get Iago from James, but it makes a lot of sense from Jacob). But, I mean, Dietrich Bonhoeffer!
Anyway, I’m thoroughly looking forward to filling this thing out (assuming I can find a more sports-savvy soul to show me how), learning about all these people, voting for my favorites, and just generally joining the party. I hope you’ll join in, too!
Wait, a party? During Lent? They’re right, it is Lent Madness! 😉