Lent Madness!

Lent MadnessMy first thought upon seeing the URL LentMadness.org was that it was some kind of… hyper-asceticism. Extreme Fasting? A profusion of penances? Maximum mortification?

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! 😉

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2 Responses to Lent Madness!

  1. Pingback: Look Who’s Talking #2 (Blogs, etc) | Lent Madness

  2. Lent Madness organizer Tim Schenck has such a clear summary of “how it works” in this column that I thought I’d quote it here:

    Here’s how it works: Each day we post information about two saints and then participants (you) vote to determine who goes on to the next round. Each pairing remains open for a set period of time – usually 24 hours – and people vote for their favorite saint. Sixteen saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Final Four; two to the championship; and the winner is awarded the Golden Halo. The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends and even move into the area of saintly kitsch. It’s fun, it’s informative, it’s the saintly smack down!

    I also found here the answer to one of my questions, above: it is indeed Doubting Thomas matched against Enmegahbowh (who?? and how do you even pronounce that?!), not Thomas Aquinas. I consider this Thomas one of the patron saints of scientists, so he’ll certainly get my vote!

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