Monday Madness — January 27, 2015

With this post, we move officially from the off season to the high season of Lent Madness. From now on through Easter Monday, you can expect a weekly-ish video from the Supreme Executive Committee. Speaking of high season, one of our hard-working staff was updating some behind-the-scenes action today and inadvertently hit “publish” on a post too soon. As a result, you may have received a spurious email from Lent Madness HQ. Sorry about that, and pay no attention to the staff member behind the curtain.

In any case, Tim and Scott discuss Snowmageddon and how to prepare for Lent Madness 2015 in this week’s action-packed video.

Right after you watch the video, you’ll want to visit the Lentorium or head right over to Forward Movement’s website to order your 2015 bracket poster. You get a massive suitable-for-framing or attachment-to-your-altar poster for just $10, or $9 for two or more. Your Saintly Scorecards are only $1 when you buy 25 or more. If you want only one, it’s still a bargain at $3. There’s an ebook version available, but you’ll have to do without the full-color fold-out bracket, unless you tape one to your Kindle.

tshirt logoNew this year, we’ll have a t-shirt. It’s going to be a high-quality purple shirt (obviously) with a design in two colors featuring “Who will win the Golden Halo?” and the Lent Madness logo, all on the front left of the shirt. They will be priced at around $12, we think. It’s important that you tell us what size you’d buy, if you think you’ll buy one, so we can plan our order accordingly. So please fill out the poll at the end of this post.

Last, but not least, check out Tim’s newest book from Forward Movement, Dust Bunnies in the Basket: Finding God in Lent & Easter. It’s like Lent Madness but in a book (or an ebook).

Remember to fill in your sizes below! The totals of this poll will help us with our t-shirt order. If you’re planning to order, say, 50 mediums, go ahead and tell us that in the comments. Thanks!

What size t-shirt would you like to order?

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DeflateGate roils Lent Madness

BREAKING NEWS!

deflated-santaA DeflateGate controversy has hit Lent Madness, sending fans of the online devotional into a tizzy and raising concerns about the ethical nature of the so-called “saintly smackdown.”

St. Nicholas, who lost to Evelyn Underhill in 2012, has filed a claim that he was illegally deflated during the match-up which led to his defeat. While the governing body of Lent Madness, God, has not found a “smoking needle,” the divine entity has engaged a high-powered legal team, including the lawyer who tested Jesus in Luke 10:25, to conduct an investigation.

“We will get to the bottom of this,” proclaimed the Creator of the World, “even if it means going down to the pit referenced in Psalm 30.”

The Lent Madness Supreme Executive Committee, in typical autocratic fashion, initially refused to comment. At first they offered only a terse statement which read in full, “We’re supreme thus we’re accountable to no one. Duh.”

Pressed later in a media event, the SEC — wearing jeans and Lent Madness sweatshirts — sought to redirect the focus. “Evelyn’s personal preferences on her saints are something that she can talk about in much better detail and information than we could possibly provide.” The conference concluded with this firm denial from Tim and Scott, “We can tell you that in our entire Lent Madness career we have never talked to any saint or Celebrity Blogger about sanctoral air pressure. That is not a subject that we have ever brought up.”

At the time of the 2012 battle between Nicholas and Underhill, many considered Nicholas’ defeat at the hands of Underhill a major upset. “I remember being shocked that anyone would willingly vote against Santa Claus,” recalled one participant who refused to be named for fear of receiving coal in her stocking next Christmas. “I mean, Evelyn Underhill? Really?”

Underhill went on to defeat St. Monnica in the Round of the Saintly Sixteen before being ousted by eventual Golden Halo winner Mary Magdalene.Underhill-drawing-e1376027743366

Regardless of how the investigation unfolds, it is unlikely that St. Nicholas will be able to re-inflate the damage to his ego. “Losing to Evelyn Underhill sent me on a downward spiral of egg nog and depression. I finally got my life together with the help of a life coach/elf named Will Ferrell. On the plus side, the deflation did wonders for my troublesome “bowl full of jelly.”

As of yet, Underhill has avoided all contact with the public. A spokesperson, channeling New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, would only offer, “We’re on to Cincinnati (the global headquarters of Forward Movement).”

Purple Friday Bracketbusters!

After consuming ridiculously large quantities of food, what else is one to do but shop? If you are morally opposed to shopping on “Black” Friday, we salute you, and we hope you will note this is different: it is a precursor to Lenten discipline.

LM2015 BracketAnyway, if you are smart, you didn’t get up in the middle of the night and camp out at your nearest big box store. Instead, you’ll be doing your shopping online, either today or on Cyber Monday. Because the SEC cares about your and your shopping needs, we have conveniently provided a way for you to do all your Advent, Christmas, St. Thomas, Holy Innocents, and New Year’s Day shopping done in one fell swoop. This weekend only, we have an amazing deal on 2015 Lent Madness bracket posters. Buy one for every person on your gift list (maybe a matching set for your dearest loved ones)! Now through Cyber Monday, 2015 Lent Madness bracket posters are on sale for just FIVE BUCKS EACH. That’s a 50% savings and an unprecedented low price!

To get the deal, use code CYBER14.

And that’s not all. You can get great deals on other gift items from Forward Movement, including amazing children’s books and a book of daily devotions for 2015. You don’t usually see deals like this from Forward Movement, so act now. Remember, use code CYBER14 at checkout to get the deal.

So go ahead, pull out your wallet, and finish all your shopping for everyone in the next five minutes. Then go eat some leftovers and take a nap. You’ll have earned it.

Monthly Madness: Live from Lake Logan

In this month’s installment of Monthly Madness, Scott and Tim report live from Lake Logan, NC, where they are attending CREDO. As you know, CREDO is the Church Pension Group’s way of saying “I believe” in the magic of Lent Madness. Watch now for valuable insights into a couple of the first-round match-ups in the newly unveiled 2015 Lent Madness bracket, released yesterday on All Brackets’ Day.

Make sure you order your very own copy of the 2015 Lent Madness bracket poster today. After you put away your wallet, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

All Brackets’ Day: The 2015 Bracket Unveiled!

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the unveiling of the 2015 Lent Madness bracket. Stay tuned for the SEC’s color commentary on the bracket, highlighting some of the epic contests that will take place over the course of Lent Madness 2015. Right now you should read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the bracket. Then brag to all your friends about how you’ve memorized all the match-ups and can’t wait for Lent to begin.

LM2015 Bracket

Click the image to see a larger version. Or you can download a PDF for printing your very own copy.

Once you have the bracket in your hot little hand,  don’t stop by simply posting it on your refrigerator. The Supreme Executive Committee offers a few suggestions for helping spread the Lent Madness word.

1. Post a copy of the bracket on the front door of your church. In fact, why stop at your church? Channel your inner Martin Luther and nail the bracket to the doors of every church in your neighborhood.

2. Get the bracket tattooed to your back. You’ll be a big hit when you go swimming at the Y.photo

3. Mail them out with all your Christmas cards this year. “Lent Madness: It’s the Reason for the Season.”

4. Go to the mall and put them under the windshields of every car in the parking lot. For Jesus.

5. Get front row seats at televised sporting events and hold up the bracket. Consider it the new John 3:16 sign. Rainbow wig optional.

6. Staple a copy of the bracket to your dog’s collar and let her roam around the neighborhood sans leash.

Feel free to share other ideas (with photo documentation) of course. They may just end up on the Lent Madness Facebook page.

Don’t forget to order your very own 2015 Lent Madness Bracket Poster! They’re just $10 each, or pay only nine bucks if you order two or more. Get one for home, one for the car, one for work, and one for everyone on your street. Your parish priest will be delighted when she or he sees you’ve added a bit of Lent Madness spirit by attaching a bracket to the altar frontal or pulpit. Pre-order now, and be among the first to enjoy the poster!

And you’ll be thrilled to know we’ll soon be offering this year’s edition of the Saintly Scorecard — the definitive guide to all things Lent Madness 2015. Visit this website every hour until you see it!

New Celebrity Bloggers and New Liturgical Feasts

In what will surely become an Emmy-winning video, the Supreme Executive Committee is pleased to share news on several fronts. Watch now!

  • Remember to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the SEC on October 29, as Scott and Tim celebrate their individual birthdays October 28 and October 30. It’s like Presidents’ Day, only more holy and more fun.
  • Even more important: mark your calendars for November 3, All Brackets’ Day! It’s the natural evolution of All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. Yep, All Brackets’ Day is the day the Lent Madness 2015 bracket will be revealed to the world. Tune in right here to see the bracket on the morning of November 3.
  • Two of our world renowned Celebrity Bloggers have retired. Next time you’re in the Lent Dome, look up toward the rafters to see the jerseys of Penny Nash and Heidi Shott. Lent Madness won’t be the same without them.
  • After a global search, the SEC is pleased to announce to new recruits to the Celebrity Blogger team. Please welcome Nancy Frausto and Neva Rae Fox. Nancy serves as priest at two Los Angeles-area congregations, and she’s an ECF Fellow. Neva is Public Affairs Officer for The Episcopal Church, and she’s active in her New Jersey parish. She is passionate about opera. And saints.

While you are biding your time waiting for the release of the bracket, why not visit the Lentorium and perhaps order a Lent Madness 2014 Golden Halo winner Charles Wesley mug? Or maybe a perpetual Lent Madness purple mug?

All Brackets’ Day will be here before you know it!

Episcopal Youth Meet Lent Madness and a Vote is Taken

About 800 youth and hundreds of adults at the Episcopal Youth Event received a rare visit from the Supreme Executive Committee today. Tim and Scott invited participants to cast the first vote of Lent Madness 2015, deciding whether St. Francis of Assisi or St. Gabriel the Archangel would earn a spot on the bracket. Here’s the video of the SEC that was played on the giant screens for 1,000+ people.

Later that day, participants cast their votes. While the results were being tabulated, the SEC offered two workshops on the saints. Dozens of EYE youth came to talk about saints and this new approach to Lent.

Also today, the Presiding Bishop posed for a selfie with the SEC. Were they posing with her? Or she with them? You decide, but take note of the way she showed her love of Lent Madness by wearing a purple shirt.

PB selfie

This evening, on the last day of EYE, the results of the vote were announced just before the closing Eucharist. Here’s how the crowd reacted to the news.

Tune into Lent Madness on Twitter or Facebook for more photos from the day. While the SEC usually talks about how honored everyone else is by their presence, today we can turn the tables. It was a treat and an honor to join hundreds of the most passionate people in the Episcopal Church for a day of learning, fellowship, worship, and, of course, voting.

Behind the Curtain at the SEC Annual Spring Retreat

As devoted Lent Madness fans will know, Tim and Scott (a.k.a. the Supreme Executive Committee) meet every spring to unpack and contextualize the previous Lent Madness and engage in vision-casting and missional strategy for the next year.

This year’s meeting is taking place at various coffee shops in and around Cincinnati. The meeting began with the gentle sound of a Tibetan prayer bowl inviting relationship with the Spirit and/or spirits. After Tim and Scott removed their shoes, they proceeded to “check in” while in the Lotus position at a prie-dieu so as to integrate Christian spirituality into the global context in an entrepreneurial fashion. Both Tim and Scott shared their public narrative about their ministry settings from strengths-based perspectives, taking care to map their assets.

Once they were fully present to one another, they spoke into the circle of trust while reviewing the previous year’s minutes. Using “I statements” they corrected the minutes. For example, “I feel that there should be a comma in the third sentence.” In order to prevent deforestation and respect the dignity of Staples, they used PowerPoint to review the minutes.

Two hours passed, and it was time for a fresh contextual check-in to process their insights. Assured of growth in emotional intelligence and personal well-being, they mindfully moved into African Bible Study of the temptation in the wilderness. Following Bible Study, they enjoyed an ecologically sustainable, free-range lunch (that died a natural death).

Later, they opened themselves to the movement of the Spirit and/or spirits to begin to discern the 2015 bracket of Lent Madness. This was done both in plenary and small groups, with frequent reporting back. Tim and Scott made use of the latest techniques for writing down the names with both markers and brightly colored dots.

At this time, to preserve confidentiality, Tim and Scott are unable to reveal any details. However, we have a few photos to share. Stay tuned for news from the SEC tomorrow, but don’t expect to see a bracket.

For now, the SEC is resting after compline — and a lively hour-long debate over who would officiate at said office.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Tim and Scott search for an undisclosed, secure, marble-clad location
Searching for Secure Location

The SEC pores over the nominations
Meeting

The SEC attempts to use modern art as a source of inspiration, with mixed results
SEC looking for Saints

Is there any Wisdom to be found in the fountain?
Wisdom in Water?

Though they are ineligible for the bracket, Tim and Scott check to see if they can glean anything from Jesus or Mary
Mary Jesus and SEC

Last photo by Faith Lang. All others by Sherilyn Pearce.

Nominations Open!

Nominations for next year’s field of 32 saints are currently being accepted by the Supreme Executive Committee. Yes, in addition to Eastertide, today begins Nominationtide.

lent madness tote bagBut before we get to the main attraction, we encourage you to visit the Lentorium. You can prove your love for Lent Madness by loading up on Lent Madness merchandise, including the Lent Madness 2014 tote bag, the Lent Madness wall clock, some Lent Madness 2014 coasters, a Lent Madness 2014 magnet, and much, much more. And, of course, don’t forget to stock up on Charles Wesley or Lent Madness perpetual purple mugs.

And now, on to the main attraction, the call for nominations for Lent Madness 2015!

As always, we seek to put together a balanced bracket of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical representing the breadth and diversity of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Inevitably, some will disagree with certain match-ups or be disappointed that their favorite saint didn’t end up in the official bracket. If you find yourself muttering invective against the SEC, we implore you to take a deep cleansing breath. Remember, there’s always Lent Madness 2029.

While the SEC remains responsible for the formation of the final bracket, we encourage your participation in the nominating process. As in past years, we might even listen to some of your suggestions.

As you discern saints to nominate, please keep in mind that a number of saints are ineligible for next year’s “saintly smack down.” This includes the entire field of Lent Madness 2014, those saints who made it to the Round of the Elate Eight in 2013 and 2012, and those from the 2011 Faithful Four. Here is a comprehensive list of ineligible saints. Please keep this in mind as you submit your nominations — which you can do by leaving a comment on this post.

Also, please note that the saints you nominate should be in the sanctoral calendar of one or more churches. We’re open minded. To a point.

Remember that when it comes to saints in Lent Madness, many are called yet few are chosen (by the SEC). So leave a comment below with your (eligible) nomination!

The Field from 2014 (all ineligible)
Mary of Egypt
David of Wales
Ephrem of Edessa
Catherine of Siena
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Alfred the Great
Lydia
Catherine of Alexandria
Antony of Egypt
Moses the Black
Thomas Gallaudet
Joseph of Arimathea
John Wesley
Charles Henry Brent
Christina the Astonishing
Alcuin
Julia Chester Emry
Charles Wesley
FD Maurice
SJI Schereschewsky
Phillips Brooks
Harriet Bedell
JS Bach
Anna Cooper
John of the Cross
James Holly
Nicholas Ridley
Aelred
Louis of France
Thomas Merton
Basil the Great
Simeon

Past Golden Halo Winners (ineligible)
George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Mary Magalene, Frances Perkins, Charles Wesley

From 2011 — 2013 (ineligible)
Jonathan Daniels
Harriet Tubman
Hilda of Whitby
Luke
Dorothy Day
Li-Tim Oi
Oscar Romero
Enmegahbowh
Emma of Hawaii
Margaret of Scotland
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Evelyn Underhill
Jerome
Thomas Cranmer
Clare of Assisi
Thomas Beckett
Perpetua

By the way, it’s worth remembering that all the talk you hear these days about transparency and accountability is moot for the SEC. We reveal little and answer to no one. So if you don’t like the choices that we’ll announce at an unspecified future date known only to us (see what we did there?), start your own online devotional.

For now, we wish you a joyous Eastertide and Nominationtide.

Monday Madness — April 28, 2014

The last Monday Madness of 2014 is ready for your viewing pleasure. After this episode, the SEC switches to Monthly Madness until the next high season of Lent Madness. Anyway, in this episode, Scott and Tim talk about how Lent Madness has become not only the world’s most popular and beloved online Lenten devotion, but the AWARD-WINNING Lenten devotion. They also preview Nomination Week for Lent Madness 2015, coming to a web browser near you very soon. And there’s more. Much, much more.

You really should visit the Lentorium and spend some of your hard-earned cash on unbeatable Lent Madness merchandise. Consumer therapy is the perfect way to deal with long-term Lent Madness withdrawal. You can buy a Lent Madness playing cardsCharles Wesley Golden Halo 2014 Lent Madness mug or a perpetual purple Lent Madness mug. But that’s not all.

Starting today, you can buy Lent Madness playing cards. Be the first on your block to get some, and then buy a set for all your friends. At just $21.50, these high-quality shiny cards are a bargain.

Forget the mall, forget the shopping channels on your television, forget the catalogs in your mailbox. The best place to spend your hard-earned cash is in the Lentorium. The best way to show you love Lent Madness the most is to have a pile of Lent Madness stuff.