Celebrity Blogger Week: Derek Olsen

Today marks the final day of another epic Celebrity Blogger Week! And that can mean only one thing…Lent Madness draweth nigh. But first, say hello to Dr. Derek Olsen. Yes, we have so many doctors serving as Celebrity Bloggers that we’re considering opening our own practice. Or at least solving the health care conundrum by initiating LentMadnessCare. Stay tuned for details on how to sign up.

Dr. Derek Olsen

Dr. Derek Olsen is a layman within the Episcopal Church with a Ph.D. in New Testament and an interest in most things medieval, monastic, and liturgical. He is the liturgical editor of the St. Augustine’s Prayer Book, and the author of Reading Matthew with Monks, an investigation of early medieval reading and preaching. Forward Movement will be publishing his book on the spirituality of the Book of Common Prayer near the end of 2015. Derek currently serves on the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission for Liturgy & Music. An IT professional by day, Derek is also the mastermind behind St Bede Productions which is responsible for the St Bede’s Breviary, Forward Movement’s Daily Prayer site, and the St Bede Blog (formerly haligweorc). He lives in Baltimore with his wife, an Episcopal priest, and their two daughters. He spends most of his spare time driving his daughters to and from ballet.

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Celebrity Blogger Week: David Sibley

Distinguished Celebrity Blogger David Sibley remains in the throes of baseball ecstasy as he continues to revel in last year’s World Series victory by his long-denied Chicago Cubs. Of course this pales in comparison to the euphoria he felt in shepherding Charles Wesley to the 2014 Golden Halo. We’re delighted David is back for another year of Lent Madness as we find out — in just a couple of months — whose halo will be doused with champagne in the saintly locker room.

The Rev. David Sibley

The Rev. David Sibley, Distinguished Celebrity Blogger is in the middle of his seventh year as a southern transplant into the northeast, where he now lives on Long Island and serves as Rector of Christ Church in Manhasset, New York. Raised right in the middle of South Carolina, David studied and did research as a chemist before being whisked away to seminary in New York City. When he’s not in church, David enjoys travel, hiking and camping, all things food and music related, and is a sports fanatic – with his teams of choice in baseball (Chicago Cubs), college football (South Carolina Gamecocks), and soccer (Liverpool FC) being minor obsessions. When the ideas are forthcoming, he’s been known to blog at Feeding on Manna, and holds forth much more often with his partners in crime on Twitter at @davidsibley.

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Celebrity Blogger Week: Laurie Brock

Laurie Brock remains the ONLY Celebrity Blogger who owns a horse. And while we think she takes this whole “circuit riding” clergy thing a little too seriously, how could we not name Nina the Official Horse of Lent Madness? Laurie is a long-time Lent Madness contributor who successfully shepherded Francis of Assisi to the Golden Halo in 2014 and we’re thrilled to have her back this year (not that we gave her a choice).

The Rev. Laurie Brock

The Rev. Laurie Brock, Distinguished Celebrity Blogger is a returning Celebrity Blogger because she loves getting free coffee mugs and receiving celebrity red carpet treatment at Episcopal gatherings. One of those things may not be entirely accurate. She serves as the rector of St. Michael the Archangel Episcopal Church in Lexington, Kentucky. She blogs at Dirty Sexy Ministry, is the co-author of Where God Hides Holiness: Thoughts on Grief, Joy and the Search for Fabulous Heels (Church Publishing), and is also a contributor to a forthcoming book about the real lives of women clergy. A reality series on E! is surely coming soon. She is also the creative force behind Fifty Days of Fabulous from Forward Movement. She frequently shares her quirky, snarky views on faith, Alabama football,and popular culture on Twitter at @drtysxyministry, but don’t follow unless you can laugh at yourself and your religion. Otherwise, you’ll just be offended. When she’s not doing priest things, she is riding her horse Nina, the Official Horse of Lent Madness.

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Celebrity Blogger Week: Amber Belldene

Admit it. Nothing quite says “romance” like Lent Madness. I mean, doesn’t everybody purchase a giant bracket poster from the Lentorium for their true love? This is why we’re delighted that Amber Belldene, Episcopal priest and romance novelist, is returning for another year of everybody’s favorite Lenten devotion.

The Rev. Amber Belldene

The Rev. Amber Belldene is a romance writer and the alter ego of a vampire-loving Episcopal priest. She grew up on the Florida panhandle swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees, and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book. As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons — an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days. Amber believes stories are the best way to examine life’s truths, and she is passionate about the relationship between sexuality and spirituality — namely, that God made people with a desire for love, and that desire is the heart of every romance novel. Her paranormal romance series Blood Vine is now available from Omnific Publishing and her sexy contemporary novella One Sinful Night in São Paulo, about an Episcopal seminarian looking for love, is scheduled to release later this year. She loves wine, history, heirloom tomatoes and she lives with her husband and children in San Francisco. For more information about her books or to check out her blog go to www.amberbelldene.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmberBelldene or Facebook.

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Celebrity Blogger Week: David Creech

Celebrity Blogger Week continues today with Professor David Creech. If you were trying to look at this website a little while ago, you might have noticed that we had a tech glitch and were offline for a couple of hours. Tim and Scott are each busy issuing denials right now, looking for ways to blame the other. But, for now, we bring you today’s CB Week installment…

Dr. David Creech

Dr. David Creech is Assistant Professor of Religion at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. A student of early Christianities, David knows a lot about saints—they anathematized many of his research subjects. He is a product of an Evangelical seminary and a Catholic PhD program and now teaches at a Lutheran college and worships with Episcopalians. For those looking for the ecumenical voice (read: objective and unbiased/quite confused) in this year’s competition, he’s your man. Although he does dress in robes from time to time, David brings the unique perspective of a layperson. His book title is long and boring (The Use of Scripture in the Apocryphon of John: A Diachronic Analysis of the Variant Versions) but nearly sold out of its initial print run of 200 copies. You can follow David on Twitter @dyingsparrows and read his oftentimes provocative posts at his blog by the same name. When not teaching and writing, David enjoys owning his three kids Ian, Ela, and Dylan at Sorry.

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Monday Madness — Global Edition

This week, Lent Madness spans the globe as Tim and Scott come to you “live” from Cincinnati and Cape Town. Every episode of Monday Madness is always an adventure, and this one is no exception. Celebrity Blogger Week and SEC Day are among the important topics of this show.

Remember, there’s not much more time to get your Saintly Scorecards (individual or bulk) or giant bracket posters. By the way, the bracket posters have been discounted to a close-out special price! Supplies are limited! If you don’t want to buy anything, you can study on your own and then print out your own bracket to fill out.

We want to give a few shout outs to places that are featuring Lent Madness.

If you have a website, we expect that you’ve already put a Lent Madness widget on your home page? If not, this is a great way to get Jesus and/or the SEC to love you more. And make sure you follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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Celebrity Blogger Week: David Hansen

Celebrity Blogger Week continues with…another Lutheran! We’re pleased to have digital media guru David Hansen return for another year of Lent Madness. We’re not exactly sure what’s going on in his extracurricular photo. He appears to be defending a stone fortress, or at least some environmentally friendly rain barrels, with a toy sword. We wish him luck in his Don Quixote-esque quest!

David Hansen

The Rev. David Hansen, despite growing up as a pastor’s kid, turned out okay. An ELCA pastor, he serves at Spirit of Joy! Lutheran Church in The Woodlands, Texas (outside of Houston), where he lives with his wife Megan, their daughter, and their menagerie of pets. When not preaching and teaching for the Lutheran diaspora in Texas, David is helping to drag the church into the digital age – teaching congregations and leaders to make use of online tools for ministry (You can catch David this year leading an Intensive as a part of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza. He is a regular contributor and moderator in the Church Social Media (#chsocm) community, and wrote the forward to Celebrity Blogger alum Meredith Gould’s The Social Media Gospel. He is an occasional contributor to The Lutheran magazine and Living Lutheran, and blogs at Pastor David L. Hansen. David has recently begun work as the Director for LEAD — an organization committed to providing resources for leaders and ministries. Connect with him on Twitter @rev_david and Facebook.

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Celebrity Blogger Week: Adam Thomas

Okay, he’s not technically a Celebrity Blogger (though he once was!). But as Bracket Czar, Adam Thomas is an integral member of the Lent Madness team. He’s the one who not only makes the bracket pretty — you should have seen it the first two years when Tim hosted the whole thing on his blog — but also keeps it updated electronically throughout the season. We’re extremely grateful for Adam’s diligence and you should be too!

The Rev. Adam Thomas

The Rev. Adam Thomas, Distinguished Lent Madness Bracket Czar, had one stint as a celebrity blogger, in which his Cinderella story Philander Chase made it way farther than the analysts expected. Since 2012, he has been the keeper of the bracket and writer of pithy headlines on the bracket page. This Lent is his third as rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Mystic, Connecticut. Adam is the author of Digital Disciple: Real Christianity in the Virtual World (Abingdon 2011), which you should read since you are using the Internet right now and you are more than likely a Christian. His first novel Letters from Ruby, which is about an Episcopal priest (imagine that!) arrived in August 2013 and a video Bible study series Unusual Gospel for Unusual People followed in spring 2014. A passionate gamer, Adam just launched a new website about board games called Human Cleric Games. Adam lives in Mystic, Connecticut with his wife Leah and their beautiful and precocious twins. Check out his website WheretheWind.com, for nearly eight years of content. You can fan Adam on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @RevAdamThomas.

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Celebrity Blogger Week: Neva Rae Fox

Celebrity Blogger Week continues with the inimitable Neva Rae Fox who returns for her third year of Lent Madness. Quite the world traveler, Neva Rae often heads out on adventures with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. In addition to being photobombed by Stonehenge in her headshot, the other picture was taken at an outdoor cafe in Jordan (Fun Fact: One member of the SEC was sitting across from her at the table — and it’s not the one you would expect).

Neva Rae Fox

Neva Rae Fox counts her blessings – and gives thanks to the Supreme Executive Committee – for the honor of returning as a Lent Madness Celebrity Blogger for a third year. Neva Rae is the Public Affairs Officer for the Episcopal Church which continues to keep her busy, dedicated, connected, and on her toes. Neva Rae remains active in her own Episcopal Church – St. John’s, Somerville NJ, Diocese of New Jersey. She is a frequent presenter and also is active in various volunteer, social and philanthropic causes. Relaxation for this Jersey Girl is enjoying music (ranging from Clapton and Copeland to Beethoven and Puccini), cheering (often in vain) for the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles, and checking off “bucket list” items – in 2016 she checked off Stonehenge, Scotland, and running longer than she ever dreamed. Next goal on her bucket list is to visit all 50 states (she’s currently marked off 47). Neva Rae looks forward to adding another Lent Madness mug to her collection.

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Celebrity Blogger Week: Beth Lewis

Fresh off her successful run as the advocate for Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s 2016 Golden Halo-winning performance, Beth Lewis is back for her second year with Lent Madness. We have no clue how she can possibly top that, but we’re delighted Beth didn’t decide to do a “one and done” turn as a Celebrity Blogger (like most of the players on her beloved Kentucky Wildcats basketball team). Fun fact: Beth is not our only Lutheran Celebrity Blogger. Stay tuned!

Beth Lewis

Beth Lewis is the President & CEO of 1517 Media, the ministry of publishing of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). 1517 Media is the parent organization for Augsburg Fortress, Fortress Press, and Sparkhouse. This call, having begun in 2002, followed 20+ years of work for several Fortune 500 publishing companies and owner of a computer and technology career school. Beth has announced her retirement from this role, effective September 2018. But, retirement from this role means she hopes to continue speaking, serving on Boards, etc. while finding more time to spend traveling and wine tasting with her husband, the Rev. Dr. Rick Rouse. They have recently built a new home in Mukilteo, WA to be closer to young grandchildren and wineries. Beth is a popular speaker in ecumenical groups on a wide range of topics; some of the most popular are Gutenberg to Google: Effective Use of Technology for Congregations, Strategic Planning for Faith-Based Organizations, and Congregational Hospitality. Having been raised Lutheran in Lexington, Kentucky, Beth continues to be a dedicated fan of UK Wildcats basketball, so brackets are among her favorite things to follow! She writes the One Mission blog and you may connect with her on Twitter @bethalewis and on Facebook.
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