Monthly Madness — Nominationtide Edition

As long-time Lent Madness fans will know, the epic video series offered by Tim and Scott, Monday Madness, changes to Monthly Madness in the off-season. This is the first episode of Monthly Madness for 2016. In this month’s episode, coming in the final hours of Nominationtide, the Supreme Executive Committee answers viewer questions about nominations. (Remember to make your nominations before Tuesday afternoon, April 26.) They also cover important topics such as the news that 2013 Elate Eight veteran Harriet Tubman will appear on the US $20 bill.

There is only one place to make your nomination for Lent Madness 2017. Go to our Nominationtide post and leave a comment. That’s it. Well, that or a name penciled on the back of a $20 bill and mailed to the SEC. But the free version is to leave a comment on the Lent Madness post seeking nominations.

Bonhoeffer mugMake sure you stop by the Lentorium and stock up on Dietrich Bonhoeffer Golden Halo winner mugs or pint glasses, or Silver Halo winner Julian of Norwich soup mugs. At the moment, the items are being individually hand-crafted, so order now to make sure you’re at the top of the list when they ship. Or else you can camp outside Lent Madness HQ and buy them on opening day.

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Nominations Open!

NominateWelcome to Nominationtide! For one full week, the Supreme Executive Committee will be accepting nominations for Lent Madness 2017.

Please note that the ONLY way to nominate a saint is to leave a comment in this post. We will not accept nominations via social media, e-mail, carrier pigeon, brick through a window at Forward Movement headquarters, or singing telegram.

As you discern saints to nominate, please keep in mind that a number of saints are ineligible for next year’s “saintly smackdown.” This includes the entire field of Lent Madness 2016, those saints who made it to the Round of the Elate Eight in 2015 and 2014, and those from the 2013 Faithful Four. Below is a comprehensive list of ineligible saints. Please keep this in mind as you submit your nominations.

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Monday Madness — Easter Edition

Bonhoeffer mugIn this post-game episode, Tim and Scott chat transatlantically, with Scott coming “live” from Salisbury Cathedral in jolly old England. Responding to cries from the Lent Madness Global Viewing Public, the SEC has awarded the Silver Halo to Julian of Norwich, who lost out to Golden Halo winner Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the epic championship contest. A new set of halos means it’s time for new merchandise in the Lentorium, and Scott and Tim do not disappoint.

Dietrich pint glassYou can get your very own Dietrich Bonhoeffer 2016 Golden Halo mug, which you’ll probably want to go along with your mug collection of previous years’ winners. Check out the gallery of available mugs at the Forward Movement website. Because Dietrich was German, and Germans are known for their love of root beer and/or beer, there’s a pint glass available this year too.

And for all you Julian of Norwich fans, can can buy a set of Julian of Norwich 2016 Silver Halo soup mugs! These handy mugs can be used to heat up your favorite soup or giant serving of a warm beverage. You can also use them the way Julian would have, to offer milk to your cats. (The image shown here is a place-holder, and the real soup mug will show Julian, not just a Silver Halo.)

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Lent Madness 2016 Swagapalooza!

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Bonhoeffer mugWith the close of Lent Madness 2016, it has become a tradition to award the Golden Halo winner with a mug bearing his or her likeness. This year is no exception and we’re pleased to make available the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Golden Halo mug.

Whether you exclusively drink single-origin black coffee like Tim and Scott or defile it with additives (or even use it for tea!), this mug works for the hot beverage of your choice.

But that’s not all! We are also offering a Dietrich Bonhoeffer Golden Halo pint glass. Bonhoeffer’s German heritage unnamed-10demands it — whether you fill it with an IPA, German root beer, or any other beverage is up to you.

But fear not Julian of Norwich fans! After much deliberation, the Supreme Executive Committee has decided to award Dame Julian the 2016 Silver Halo for her second place finish. All may not have turned out well in the championship round, but we have heard the plaintive cries (meows?) of her ardent supporters.

2016-Julian-of-Norwich-MugThus we are offering an official Julian of Norwich Silver Halo soup bowl. This image is merely a placeholder to show you the shape of the bowl. While you can preorder it now, the above link will include the actual artwork on Easter Monday.

Let a bowl of hearty hazelnut soup warm your soul as you reflect upon Julian’s words of wisdom. Or fill it with milk and allow your cat to lap it up. Either way, we hope you will enjoy this unique saintly product to honor Julian.

We hope these fun saintly mementoes of Lent Madness 2016 will assist you in your long-term Lent Madness Withdrawal. Now back to your regularly scheduled Holy Week programming.

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wins 2016 Golden Halo!

Congratulations to 2016 Golden Halo Winner Dietrich Bonhoeffer!

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The Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness has unearthed a heretofore undiscovered Bonhoeffer text on the viscitudes of cheap and costly grace in the context of Lent Madness. We share it with you, without comment, as we believe the text speaks for itself.

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of Lent Madness. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like wares from the Lentorium. The Saintly Scorecard, the bracket posters, the write-ups of fabulous Celebrity Bloggers are thrown away at cut prices — like Frances Perkins mugs at 50% off. Oh wait…

Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching on topics other than saints, writing our own name in the bracket, voting without reading the comments, not seeing the humor in Lent Madness…Cheap grace is grace without Wi-Fi, grace without the Golden Halo, grace without an updated bracket.

Costly grace is the saintly kitsch hidden in the field; for the sake of it, a person will gladly go and sell all that he or she has. It is the Lent Madness bracket of great price for which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of the Supreme Executive Committee, for whose sake a voter will pluck out the internet connection which causes the participant to stumble.

Costly grace is represented as Lent Madness’ inexhaustible treasury, from which the Supreme Executive Committee showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits (except on votes).

PS. Stay tuned for information released later today about Lent Madness 2016 swag. Mugs? Pint glasses? A Silver Halo for Julian of Norwich? All will soon be revealed.

For the Golden Halo: Julian of Norwich vs. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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We embarked upon this Lent Madness journey over five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday.” With your help we have narrowed the field of 32 saints down to just two: Julian of Norwich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (who edged Sojourner Truth yesterday 52% to 48%). Who will win the coveted Golden Halo of Lent Madness 2016? Only 24 hours and your voting participation will reveal this holy mystery.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we’ve met some truly remarkable saintly folks along the way. Perhaps you learned about some saints you’d never heard of or maybe you renewed acquaintances with saints who have long offered inspiration. Of course the entire notion of placing saints in a bracket is absurd — each “contestant” has already earned a crown of righteousness in addition to a “golden halo.” But at the heart of Lent Madness is the abiding conviction that encountering those who have come before us in the faith enriches and enlivens our own walk with the risen Christ.

In the process of this whimsical Lenten devotion we’ve all made some new online friends, encountered a community of believers who take their faith but not themselves too seriously, learned a few things, were inspired by saintly witnesses, and had a lot fun along the way.

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What is Spy Wednesday?

The entire world quivers in anticipation of tomorrow’s Golden Halo battle between Julian of Norwich and either Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Sojourner Truth. As you may know, the Supreme Executive Committee has referred to this final round as taking place on “Spy Wednesday.”

spywednesdaypaintingSeveral of you have asked us about this unusual name for the Wednesday in Holy Week. Ever willing to educate and inspire, we are only too happy to oblige.

Spy Wednesday gets its name because this is the day on which Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Because Judas is thought to be sneaky, his actions conjured up the image of a spy. The synoptic gospels all include an account of the betrayal — Matthew 26:12-14, Mark 14:10-12, Luke 22:3-6.

This is how the Gospel of Luke recounts the events:

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:3-6)

The illustration above evocatively depicts this infamous scene. If you go to Holy Eucharist every day of Betrayal of JudasHoly Week, the Gospel readings provide the narrative of Jesus’ final days, an ever-quickening story that spins out of control and finally brings us to Good Friday.

It is surely a strange juxtaposition to think about Spy Wednesday and Lent Madness in the same moment. But the whole point of Lent Madness is to engage us all in an exploration of the ways God’s grace has filled the lives of women and men through history and across all cultures. Sure, we’ve been silly and even competitive about our Lenten exercise. In the end though, we are learning to see in fresh ways how Jesus Christ matters to all humanity. That seems like a good and holy thing to do on Spy Wednesday.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer vs. Sojourner Truth

Our Lenten journey is rapidly drawing to a close, friends. Yesterday in a hotly contested matchup between Constance and Julian of Norwich, Julian prevailed 55% to 45%. She will meet the winner of today’s Faithful Four battle between Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Sojourner Truth for the Golden Halo.

To make it to the Faithful Four, Bonhoeffer defeated Athanasius, Barnabas, and Columba while Truth made it past Soren Kierkegaard, Frances Joseph-Guudet, and Absalom Jones.

In the last in-season episode of Monday Madness, Tim and Scott discuss the millions of blank mugs sitting in a warehouse just waiting to be graced with the image of the 2016 Golden Halo Winner. Among other things.

After today, the scene will be set for the Championship Round on the Wednesday of Holy Week, aka “Spy Wednesday.” In the meantime, go vote!

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Monday Madness — Holy Week Edition

It’s Holy Week, and that means it’s time for the last in-season episode of Monday Madness for the 2016 Lent Madness competition. Tim and Scott talk about the exciting battles to come in the Faithful Four and Championship. In light of a cheating scandal earlier today, they also remind viewers that it’s one vote per person. The way to win Lent Madness is to get others to vote, not to vote lots of times yourself! Cheating gets you cast into the outer darkness.

As you’re voting for the Golden Halo winner, you’re also deciding who goes on this year’s Lent Madness commemorative mug. You can pre-order the 2016 Golden Halo winner mug right now! You’d better do it, because if the mug factory gets backed up, pre-orders get priority! While you’re online, make sure you check out the full gallery of mugs for sale in the Lentorium.

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Constance vs. Julian of Norwich

112671-glowing-purple-neon-icon-alphanumeric-m04-clearWelcome to the Faithful Four. After weeks of learning and deliberating and voting and eschewing chocolate, we have whittled the field of 32 saintly souls down to four spiritual heroes: Constance, Julian of Norwich, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Sojourner Truth. All are worthy of the coveted Golden Halo, yet only one will end up with his or her mug on a mug.

Today Constance (Anna Courie) takes on Julian of Norwich (Amber Belldene); tomorrow Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Beth Lewis) battles Sojourner Truth (Megan Castellan). And on Spy Wednesday the championship round will take place with the Golden Halo announced at 8:00 am EST on Maundy Thursday.

In this round, we let our four remaining Celebrity Bloggers loose as they answer the question “Why should Saint XX win the Golden Halo?” In other words, they’ve been charged with letting us know why their particular saint is so awesome. We have also invited them to share their two favorite images of their saints.

To make it to the Faithful Four, Constance dispatched Dominic, Helena, and Vida Dutton Scudder with relative ease. Julian snuck past William Wilberforce, before defeating Roch and Albert Schweitzer.

Maybe one of these remaining four will end up on a future Pocket Lent card. What’s that? Well the SEC released two new ones yesterday for your cutting and pasting pleasure.

Let the voting (once) begin!

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