Absalom Jones vs. Luke

With the short “Ash Week” behind us, we’re plowing ahead into the first full week of Lent Madness 2013. We’ve already seen some nail biters, some controversy, and some bracket-busting upsets. Today we have the first African-American Episcopal priest facing off against the writer of one of the synoptic gospels.

Some have commented over the past few days, especially in light (no pun intended) of Lucy besting John the Baptist, on the insanity of this little online devotional. This is nothing new around here. We often hear “How in the world could saint XX beat saint YY?”  Of course the whole notion of saints competing against one another is absurd. But just when you get ready to yank your hair out by the roots, remind yourself that it’s called Lent Madness, after all, not Lent Sanity. We learn about saints, we advocate passionately for those we particularly connect with, we win some, we lose some, and we’re inspired in some way by them all.

As things continue to heat up, don’t forget to tell your friends about Lent Madness via social media, email, or even a phone call — it’s never too late to jump into the fray! Oh, and if you’re looking to find out when your favorite saint is set to square off, check out the Match-Up Calendar courtesy of Bracket Czar Adam Thomas.

jones-fullAbsalom Jones

Absalom Jones, who would become the first American-born man of African descent to become a priest in the Episcopal Church, was born into slavery in Delaware in 1746. At 16 he was separated from his family and sold to a storekeeper in Philadelphia. Having already taught himself to read as a boy, he learned to write with the help of a clerk in the store and at a night school for blacks run by Quakers.

His owner allowed him to work after hours and keep what he earned. It’s said he often worked until midnight or 1:00 am to raise funds to buy the freedom of his wife, Mary, whom he had married in 1770. Her freedom, attained in 1778, ensured that their children would be free as well. Seven years later, when he was 38 years old, he  had saved enough to buy his own freedom.

During that period, while a member of St. George’s Methodist Church, Jones met his lifelong friend, Richard Allen. Their enthusiasm brought in many black members to the interracial congregation. However, in 1786, white members met and voted that black members must be segregated to the upper gallery. The following Sunday Jones and Allen sat down in church, and, according to James Kiefer, “ushers tapped them on the shoulder during the opening prayers, and demanded that they move to the balcony without waiting for the end of the prayer. They walked out, followed by the other black members.”

The following year Jones and Allen founded the Free African Society to help widows, orphans, and assist those who were newly free to adjust to urban life. Jones saw religious life and social action as going hand-in-hand. Members paid dues that helped support the efforts. Other activities included protesting slavery and lobbying for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act before Congress. They also founded schools and an insurance company.

In 1792 Jones and Allen established the first black church in Philadelphia, St. Thomas’ African Episcopal Church, and petitioned Bishop William White to allow them to become a parish in the Episcopal Church, having had it with the Methodists. The congregation was admitted to the diocese but banned from participation in Diocesan Convention until 1864, long after its founders’ deaths.

Jones was ordained a deacon in 1795 and a priest in 1802 (though other sources maintain it was in 1804). He was known to be a wonderful orator and an attentive and much-beloved pastor. He died in 1818 at his home in Philadelphia, a free man and treasured child of God.

Collect for Absalom Jones
Set us free, heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honoring the steadfast courage of your servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which you have given us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Heidi Shott

saint-luke-the-evangelist-30Luke

If Luke the physician had a specialty, it was probably family medicine. Or perhaps ob/gyn. After all, Luke’s gospel is the only one to report on the pregnancy of Elizabeth, as John leapt in her womb, as well as the details of Mary’s pregnancy and Jesus’ birth. Matthew, squeamishly, merely reports that Mary “had borne a son.” Luke includes shepherds, angels, mangers, and swaddling cloths, which he probably understood needed regular changing.

There is some conjecture that Luke was a ship’s doctor since he seems familiar with different cultures and comfortable with travel. He journeyed with Paul and Timothy to Macedonia, remaining at Philippi while Paul carried on to Thessalonica, joining up again as Paul headed back on his way to Jerusalem. Paul sends greetings from “Luke, the beloved physician” to the church at Colossae (Col 4:14). Paul was probably writing this from Rome where he was imprisoned, meaning Luke faithfully provided support and friendship through all of Paul’s travails. When Paul wrote “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,” he adds, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim. 4:11).

If you thought Paul was the authorial powerhouse in the New Testament, think again. Luke the writer stealthily dominates the New Testament, with his two volume work of Luke-Acts taking up more than 25 percent of the content. It is due to Luke that we know anything at all about the early church beyond Paul’s memos. Among other things (including the stories of Jesus’ birth), Luke gave us the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the story of Zaccheus, the healing of the bent-over woman, Jesus’ appearance on the road to Emmaus, the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, Peter’s ministry to the Gentiles, Saul’s conversion, and Paul’s missionary journeys in narrative form.

In addition, it is due in large part to Luke that we believe God’s love through Jesus Christ transcends race, class, and gender, being a gift to all people. At the beginning of Luke’s gospel when Jesus is presented at the temple, Simeon proclaims him “a Light to enlighten the nations,” and at the beginning of Acts, just before Jesus ascends into heaven, he tells the disciples, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

No one knows how Luke died. What are thought to be his remains are buried in Padua, Italy.

In Acts, Peter says, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Through his writing and ministry, it would seem no one knew that more deeply than Luke.

Collect for Luke
Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to declare in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church the same love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Laura Toepfer

Vote!

Absalom Jones vs. Luke

  • Luke (61%, 2,754 Votes)
  • Absalom Jones (39%, 1,788 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,540

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171 Comments to "Absalom Jones vs. Luke"

  1. February 18, 2013 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    The first full week of Lent Madness has begun! What’s happenjng this week and what happened during the last week? Find out here: http://youtu.be/sP3oOJbpFBo

    • Carol Sullivan's Gravatar Carol Sullivan
      February 18, 2013 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Absolom Jones is truly an amazing individual, but I must throw my vote to Luke. He just has had such an impact on the church! As a parish nurse, I find that parishes often celebrate their health ministries on the Sunday closest to St. Luke’s day. Ah, the beloved physician! Is there a beloved nurse? I should spend more time reading Holy Men and Women!

      • cam's Gravatar cam
        February 18, 2013 - 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Yes. There are at least 2, Florence Nightingale and Sister Constance who nursed the sick in the Memphis yellow fever epidemic. Not sure she was officially a nurse.

    • Linda Simmons's Gravatar Linda Simmons
      February 18, 2013 - 10:18 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Bishop Absolom and I believe Luke would have also. Luke’s message that Jesus came for all Jew, Gentile, Samaratan, black, white, women, and most assuredly children. The idea Bishop Absalom bought the freedom of his wife and himself so his children would be born into freedom was truly a sacrifice of love. I am sorry I had never heard of this Saint until Lent Madness. Thanks.

  2. February 18, 2013 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    I’m going with Luke- trying to get pregnant this Lent. Sorry Absalom, if you weren’t against the “GYN” I would have gone for you this today :)

  3. Judy's Gravatar Judy
    February 18, 2013 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    We need little “I VOTED” stickers in purple to wear and hand out. And how did I miss Lent Madness at General Convention?

    • Hallie Leicht's Gravatar Hallie Leicht
      February 18, 2013 - 9:07 am | Permalink

      Stickers–great idea!

    • February 18, 2013 - 9:24 am | Permalink

      Stickers! Love this..

      • Cat Munz's Gravatar Cat Munz
        February 18, 2013 - 10:26 am | Permalink

        or FaceBook badges to put on our profiles.

        • Susan Hedges's Gravatar Susan Hedges
          February 18, 2013 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

          That’s a good idea, Cat!

        • Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
          February 18, 2013 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

          Cat, With ideas like this, you could be a Credo CA!!

        • Gian's Gravatar Gian
          February 18, 2013 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

          Yes, please, facebook badges.

    • Doreen G.'s Gravatar Doreen G.
      February 18, 2013 - 11:53 am | Permalink

      Sorry you missed out on Lent Madness at General Convention. Mary Magdalene and her Golden Halo made a special appearance at the Forward Movement display. My husband and I had our picture taken with her and I do believe it was a highlight of our summer!

  4. February 18, 2013 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones was born in Milford, Delaware. Christ Church Episcopal in Milford erected a shrine to Absalom Jones out in the countryside near the site of the remains of the chapel in which it is thought he was baptized. I served Christ Church and led annual pilgrimages to the shrine and held services there in the open air. I love Saint Luke. My vote is for Absalom Jones!

  5. February 18, 2013 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    For all that I respect the Rev. Mr. Jones . . . the Evangelist has to rank higher. Gotta vote for Luke!

  6. Mary Lou's Gravatar Mary Lou
    February 18, 2013 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I love, love, love Absalom Jones and what the work he did for God in the Episcopal Church, however, I just couldn’t go against Luke in this one. He gave us so much. I just wish he would have included those missing adolescent years….LOL!

  7. Michael Cudney's Gravatar Michael Cudney
    February 18, 2013 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    The SEC has really put me in a bind today – Absalom Jones has always been at the top of the list of personal heroes. But I must go today with Luke, patron saint of my parish.

  8. February 18, 2013 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    It kind of surprises me but I went with Dr. Luke as his theology of God’s impartiality laied the foundation for Rev. Jones fantastic ministry.

    • Sharon Cook's Gravatar Sharon Cook
      February 18, 2013 - 11:16 am | Permalink

      Ooh, that’s helpful lobbying.

  9. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    February 18, 2013 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Luke – because be figured out how to tell the story to people in every nation. He was a missionary, and a huge influence in my life as a missionary, trying to translate the Good News in such a way that those with ears to hear can understand.

  10. Patty Reichert's Gravatar Patty Reichert
    February 18, 2013 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    My support goes to the native of The First State Absalom Jones. Delaware is proud of his efforts for paving the way to freedom for all African Americans. Also his work for religious freedom.

  11. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 18, 2013 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Luke. The Road to Emmaus is one of my favorite stories, and some of the others mentioned here are big-time, too. Absalom Jones has a great story, though, and again – as usual – I am torn.

    But the Evangelist is a heavyweight – so Luke’s my man today.

  12. February 18, 2013 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed learning about Absalom Jones very much. He reminds me of one of his contemporaries who I admire very much, a Calvinist pastor, Lemuel Haynes (1753-1833), the first African American to serve as pastor of a white congregation starting in 1783. (This was in Vermont.) In our Lutheran tradition, we didn’t have an African Amercian pastor until Jehu Jones (1786-1852), a former Episcopalean who beacame a Lutheran in the 1820s and subsequently a pastor in Philadelphia in 1832. As much as I might admire all these men, I had to vote for Luke. When young, I had a hard time believing in a loving God, especially one that could love me. Luke’s gospel helped break through that wrong-headedness. His Luke-Acts remains a favorite among all the biblical texts (along with Romans), perhaps because it so effectively does what the church should always seek to do – reach out to the lost, marginalized and wounded. He had a knack for making the Good News real through his words.

  13. Amelia Hagen's Gravatar Amelia Hagen
    February 18, 2013 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Those of us at Kanuga writing icons this week would like to have it known that tradition has Luke painting the first icon of Mary and the baby Jesus. If you see a bunch of votes for Luke coming from this quarter that is the reason. Do love Absalon Jones, though. He was an amazing person.

  14. February 18, 2013 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I voted for Absalom Jones because his candidacy to wear the coveted Golden Halo could easily be overshadowed by the fact we are in Year C of the lectionary and are reminded of Luke’s saintly contributions on Sunday when the Gospel is proclaimed. Black History month in February is an attempt by the world outside of Lent Madness to raise awareness of the importance and impact of the contributions made by African-Americans. Those contributions seem minimized or even forgotten the other 11 months of the year. It would send a strong signal to that world if the voters who participate in Lent Madness continue the candidacy of Absalom Jones into March.

    • Lauren M's Gravatar Lauren M
      February 18, 2013 - 8:55 am | Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more here – I am a physician and love my patron beyond most other saints, but given the esteem with which we in the Church now and historically hold white men over all else, gotta go with Absalom. Luke and the early Christians surely modeled in part the oppressed standing up against the oppressors, but Absalom’s story informs our contemporary struggles in a way that Luke can’t. In truth, I think Luke might like to lose.

      • February 18, 2013 - 9:24 am | Permalink

        Do you really think Luke was a white guy? My guess would be that the Bible is full of people of darker color than white. I refuse to vote based solely on color or gender, and honestly haven’t decided yet about today’s challenge.

        • Lauren M's Gravatar Lauren M
          February 18, 2013 - 9:58 am | Permalink

          An excellent reality check, to be sure, but as long as we continue to represent Luke as a bearded Greek white guy and claim him as part of our white heritage, he’s a white guy, yes. And I’m not voting for Absalom because he’s black, but because he is such an informative example of courage in standing up for liberation for our own time. No disrespect to my patron, who I had a tough time voting against, but what we know about Luke is mostly conjecture from writings and we seem to be valuing him based on theological contributions. Social justice and acting for what’s right weighs more than theology and thinking about who God might be for me any day.

  15. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    February 18, 2013 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones will remain the personal role model for all who have fought the good fight for the right to have true membership in the Episcopal Church. He will not win this contest but he will still be a winner in the hearts and minds of the disenfranchised. Richard Allen never remained there but helped found the AME Church and became it’s first bishop. Which Iggy won?

    • Tim R's Gravatar Tim R
      February 18, 2013 - 9:12 am | Permalink

      Antioch

    • February 18, 2013 - 6:42 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Absalom Jones because I felt he fought an uphill battle and was good to women to where he worked and paid for her freedom before his…and also sought after a charitable purpose for those who were fighting the same uphill battle…leading God’s people forward…

    • Mary W's Gravatar Mary W
      February 18, 2013 - 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Amen! They are ALL winners. I’d have liked to see him go further than this so I could have learned more, but Luke is a heavy hitter. Besides, I think there might be some voter backlash going on with the Lucy/John the Baptist upset.

  16. Nancy Grear's Gravatar Nancy Grear
    February 18, 2013 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    I am just reading “Team of Rivals” and feel like I should support Absalom Jones who worked for freedom of the slaves.

    • Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
      February 18, 2013 - 12:35 pm | Permalink

      And Jones and Richard Allen also led the nursing of those who came down with yellow fever in Philadelphia. Many others left the city, but Benjamin Rush and many free blacks remained in 1793 to nurse the afflicted. An amazing Christian witness, especially since Jones commented on the horrible behavior of many who remained during that time.

  17. Linette Wise's Gravatar Linette Wise
    February 18, 2013 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    My first time @ a match, but Rev Jones came from behind @ the buzzer. Luke was ahead most of the game, but being born in privilege, Luke didn’t have to fight his way up the ranks. So, Jones had the stamina to pull it out in triple overtime. I was on Luke’s team, so I was beat by the end of the match. As we say in the Cleveland area, wait til next year. ;-)

  18. William Doubleday's Gravatar William Doubleday
    February 18, 2013 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Not a fair pairing!

    • Cricket Cooper's Gravatar Cricket Cooper
      February 18, 2013 - 9:21 am | Permalink

      Precisely what I was thinking! Thanks!

    • Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
      February 18, 2013 - 11:08 am | Permalink

      Oh my! If you are looking for “fair” you are in the wrong place!

  19. judy's Gravatar judy
    February 18, 2013 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    We needed a Luke to have an Abasalom

  20. Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
    February 18, 2013 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Full disclosure: I have Luke winning the Golden Halo this year, so won’t vote against him (not true for any of my other picks!) The write-up on Absalom was terrific, Heidi!

  21. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    February 18, 2013 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    So, having Luke defeat Rev. Absalom Jones during Black History Month, right after his feast day is a crime against all that is meet and right…. just my opinion.

  22. February 18, 2013 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    I immesely respect Abasolom Jones and his liberating work against racism and sexism. Luke’s Gospel and understanding of Jesus is the Word that God used to beckon me back to The Church and ministry. Luke’s parables and stories are a principle source of the Lord’s light that shone and shine upon Abaslom and many other Saints.

    • February 18, 2013 - 9:19 am | Permalink

      minus 5 points for spelling and proofreading (Absalom).

      • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
        February 18, 2013 - 4:46 pm | Permalink

        And another 5 for ‘immesely’?

        I apologize if this sounds snarky — I meant in the same spirit as Jim’s own self-correction.

  23. Cheryl Parris's Gravatar Cheryl Parris
    February 18, 2013 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    This was an UNFAIR match-up, you know. Martin vs. Martin makes sense, having Absalom against anyone but a Gospeller on Ash Wednesday would have made sense; this hot mess, I don’t think this makes any sense, except to set the brother up to fail, during BLACK HISTORY MONTH. C’mon Son!

  24. Laurie Atwater's Gravatar Laurie Atwater
    February 18, 2013 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Deep into Acts in EfM right now. Had to go with Luke.

  25. February 18, 2013 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I went with Absalom. The road he traveled and the day-in, day-out perseverance required of him tipped the scale for me. (Though I love Luke almost as much as James.)

  26. Gretchen R. Chateau's Gravatar Gretchen R. Chateau
    February 18, 2013 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Sometimes it’s the small, seemingly random things. Had to vote for Absalom Jones today, in honor of the baby who got called a name on a plane. Utterly mind-boggling to me that anyone still thinks that way, even drunk.

  27. Carla's Gravatar Carla
    February 18, 2013 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Love Absalom Jones…but in bracket with Luke???

  28. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    February 18, 2013 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    So, so hard to decide today! Finally went with Luke. The Evangelist’s two volume work so foundational for all that came after I felt he had to be recognized first. Through him so many others were able to discern the faith and knowfor sure that all are welcome in the Kingdom. But I do love and honor Absalom Jones!

  29. Harold W.'s Gravatar Harold W.
    February 18, 2013 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Luke gets my vote today. Luke’s view of Jesus helps to give me a more complete
    view of Jesus. Luke is the healer.

  30. KS Clark's Gravatar KS Clark
    February 18, 2013 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    I like the “underdog” and my first vote in Lent Madness goes to Absalom Jones. Go , go, go.

  31. Anne Wrider's Gravatar Anne Wrider
    February 18, 2013 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    I am deeply thankful for Luke, and we wouldn’t be who we are without him, but Absalom Jones is just so compelling. Gotta go with him.

  32. Victoria's Gravatar Victoria
    February 18, 2013 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    I LOVE Absalom Jones. Everything about the man makes me want to Lift Every Voice and Sing. But I voted for Luke, after much trying not to. Jones is an American Saint; Luke be belongs to the world. Without Luke, Absalom would have had no compelling message besides Justice. He built well, but Luke laid the Foundation.

  33. Nancy Baillie Strong's Gravatar Nancy Baillie Strong
    February 18, 2013 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    Oy veh! Since when do tournament brackets automatically pit equally weighted competitors (remember all the Cinderella stories in that other “Madness”?)? That being said, I think all of us in the communion of saints are “equally weighted/valued), so…while I love Luke and his Gospel (and Acts), I’m going with Absalom Jones. I was sponsored for ordination by a smaller African-American congregation in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, and Historic Saint Thomas Church and Absalom Jones’ memory were greatly cherished there.

  34. February 18, 2013 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    I live in Philadelphia where Absalom Jones casts a long shadow. St. Thomas African Episcopal Church is about ten minutes from me and is still one of the most vibrant parishes in the diocese. Absalom Jones and Richard Allen are among the bravest people we commemorate from America and I respect them. They surely took encouragement and inspiration from the Gospels to do what they had to do. But without the Gospels, and dare I say their authors, how would they even have known about Jesus? Christmas, the Nunc Dimittis, the Benedictus Dominus Deus, Pentecost, not to mention a wealthy vocabulary – all these things were brought to you by Luke. God bless you Absalom, you are an American hero . But Luke the Evangelist, you get my vote today.

    • Tim R's Gravatar Tim R
      February 18, 2013 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      I am glad I read your full post. It went 180 from the first sentence. I agree with you points 100%. Yea Luke!

  35. February 18, 2013 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Don’t count Absalom Jones out. Historically (Mary M being the exception) people who show up in the Bible don’t do so hot in Lent Madness, so Luke is fighting an uphill battle, even if he is leading at the moment.

    • February 18, 2013 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Our Episcopal sense of justice comes out clearly in Lent Madness voting – hence the underdog often wins. It is the best part of Lent Madness to learn about or to be reminded of Ignatius of Antioch, Macrina the Younger, and Absalom Jones. Still, I am not sure that voting for the lesser known is truly “fair” especially in the case of our dear and glorious physician Luke. His words are the anchor for many of the most basic tenets and stories of our faith. I think of him as more journalist than the other authors of the Gospels. There is a reason we call him the Evangelist, though many Episcopalians aren’t fond of the concept. It is through his faithful witness that many came – and still come – to the faith.

  36. Emily Richards's Gravatar Emily Richards
    February 18, 2013 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    This is an agonizing choice! Luke is my favorite Gospel. But I have to go for the hometown boy. I am proud to be in a diocese that claims Absalom Jones.

  37. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    February 18, 2013 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    Absalom rocks! Although I would not consider this a fair pairing – Luke is a heavy weight paired w/ a relative unknown but in the end Absalom’s story moved me to vote for him.

  38. February 18, 2013 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Well, being a subversive, if Luke wins, I will enter Absalom Jones on the bracket in the church hallway anyway. I’m just obstinate that way. However, I will NOT stoop to voting more than once, as tempting as it may be!

  39. Dan's Gravatar Dan
    February 18, 2013 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Use the force Luke…not! I am voting for action hero Absalom Jones!

  40. February 18, 2013 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    By competing in Lent Madness, Luke is trying to double-dip, as Luke is already in the Hall of Fame because of his writing. Give Jones a chance!

  41. jon rinnander's Gravatar jon rinnander
    February 18, 2013 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    Despite being a Philadelphian, went with Luke, mainly because of my teacher Tim Luckritz
    -Marquis, who showed me the wonders of Luke/Acts.

  42. Tommy Rhoads's Gravatar Tommy Rhoads
    February 18, 2013 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    My wife may be voting later today from the same computer I voted on this morning. Please don’t consider this fraudulent, even though we do attend St. Luke’s Church . . .

  43. February 18, 2013 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    I was hoping somebody would ref Star Wars. Love Luke, but I’m voting for Absalom. Not only for his preaching, but also because of a sermon by Edwin Johnson+ about the challenge of worshipping in the slave-owners church, preached in memory of Absalom.

  44. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    February 18, 2013 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Luke is a sentimental favorite, but in the interest of modeling all that can be achieved for God and the world by those we perceive as powerless, I have to go with Absalom.

  45. Hugh Matheson's Gravatar Hugh Matheson
    February 18, 2013 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    Come on, all Luke did was wrote a book, admittedly a very good book, but his labour was research and writing. Absolom suffered oppression for years, and was faithful even when the Church spit in his face. And; more in the spirit of Lent Madness, he had way better hair.

    • Katie's Gravatar Katie
      February 18, 2013 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Woa…hold on. I agree Absalom suffered greatly and is wonderful, but don’t disparage Luke. He was on missionary journeys with Paul, and we know those were fraught with trials and oppression by Jews and Gentiles alike. At the inception of the Christian church, the Jews considered themselves still Jews, which is why Paul went to synagogues. Luke faced oppression from his “Church”. He also didn’t have the internet or even the public library to do research. He had to collect oral accounts and possibly written accounts that were floating around. Writing materials were expensive, so he poured lots of money, time, and sweat into this project. I believe one of the beautiful aspects of his writings is that he ignores the sacrifices that he made to write. He was truly a godly man who went against the Roman government and the Jewish “church” because he believed that a lowly carpenter was the Messiah.

  46. Mary Cox's Gravatar Mary Cox
    February 18, 2013 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    Here in polyglot Southeast Floida, how could I not vote for Luke, who insisted on the universality of the Good News! Also, as a world-class hypochondriac, I really appreciate a saint with medical training.

  47. Roxane's Gravatar Roxane
    February 18, 2013 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    I have enormous admiration and respect for Absalom but gotta go with Luke. He is the reporter of the many intimate events,details of Jesus’ birth for example, and teaching how the gospel was spread via the Acts of the Apostles. Who knows how much of Absolom’s faith is based on what Luke shared.
    PS I’ll buy the stickers

  48. David's Gravatar David
    February 18, 2013 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Luke–because without Luke it is hard to have Absalom.

  49. Cindy Selby's Gravatar Cindy Selby
    February 18, 2013 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    ANY match-up of saints would be unfair — that’s what puts the Madness in LM! Had to go with Luke because of all the detailed accounts he gave us, especially the Prodigal Son, which is particularly dear to my heart, although I am humbled by the story of Absalom Jones’ life and ministry.

  50. Marty Garwood's Gravatar Marty Garwood
    February 18, 2013 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Absalom won my vote today by the simple fact he purchased his wife’s freedom before his own.

    • February 18, 2013 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      Argh! This is not Lenten Sanity but Lenten Madness for sure!!! Who to vote for?! While pulling out my hair I have been prayerfully discerning who to support. Luke or Absalom? Well I had to take the plunge and I voted for…..

    • JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
      February 18, 2013 - 11:21 am | Permalink

      Thanks for highlighting this.
      Talk about a lived understanding of redemption, eh? Literally “paying the price” for someone else’s freedom.

    • Anna's Gravatar Anna
      February 18, 2013 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Wow. That got my attention and is starting to sway my vote. Thank you for the reminder!

  51. February 18, 2013 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    I’m pondering the painful irony: centuries after Luke records Peter’s revelation that God is ‘no respecter of persons’ and James admonishes against segregated seating, two godly men are tapped out of the congregation in the middle of a prayer. I’m thankful for how far we’ve come, we’ve got a ways to go yet, I’m thankful for Luke, and I voted for Absalom Jones.

  52. Meredyth's Gravatar Meredyth
    February 18, 2013 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Luke would vote for Absalom. Just sayin’

    • Greta's Gravatar Greta
      February 18, 2013 - 11:36 am | Permalink

      Exactly! If we truly believe that scripture is the Living Word, then there is a chapter in the Book of Acts written already about Absalom Jones. Saying, “without Luke there is no Absalom” just defeats the whole thing – might as well just write “God” into every line on the Bracket. It’s not a chicken or egg thing, I’m just sayin’. Absalom gets my vote as the first to truly enfranchise a group of people who are still largely disenfranchised. Without Absalom, there is no Civil Rights movement.

      • Molly R's Gravatar Molly R
        February 18, 2013 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear! I think that your vote shouldn’t be about who inspired St. X, it’s about who inspires you. CLEARLY, we love these saints, and Lent Madness voting is not a value judgement on them as individuals. It’s just for fun. Until today I had only heard of the name Absalom Jones, I didn’t know his story. There have been excellent cases made on both sides. Hopefully the force, I mean…the Holy Spirit, will guide my finger faithfully to the right button.

  53. Allison's Gravatar Allison
    February 18, 2013 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    I feel that Luke would have voted for Absalom, so I did, too.

    • Jay's Gravatar Jay
      February 18, 2013 - 8:19 pm | Permalink

      But what if Absalom would have voted for Luke…????

  54. Allison's Gravatar Allison
    February 18, 2013 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    Whoa, Meredyth, we must have been writing our identical comments at the same second!

  55. February 18, 2013 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Lucy was an easy pick for me but Absalom versus Luke required pondering.
    So I pondered and chose Absalom.

  56. Michael Cunningham's Gravatar Michael Cunningham
    February 18, 2013 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    such a tough way to start the day here on the Left Coast. Voted Luke…but it took a second cup of espresso to get there. It came down to Luke 9: 57-62 for me.
    With my hand on the plow…Michael C.

  57. Allen Ohlstein's Gravatar Allen Ohlstein
    February 18, 2013 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    What a choice? As a hospice chaplain and a Deacon, my heart is torn on this. Absolom Jones clearly had the heart of a Deacon. St. Luke embodies what medical care and hospice is all about. Have to vote for St. Luke, only because his words have influenced so many over the millenia.

  58. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    February 18, 2013 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    Well, obviously, there is no saint who is unworthy of a vote. I voted for Luke, even having lived in Philadelphia, even having become an Episcopalian there more than 30 years ago. Luke’s body of work simply demands it.

    And everyone who was touting Acts during convention last summer, do recall that, please.

  59. JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
    February 18, 2013 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones, for freedom from all that oppresses.
    I am in awe of his story.

  60. JAG's Gravatar JAG
    February 18, 2013 - 11:15 am | Permalink

    I’m going with my homey–Absalom Jones! He was the first Black man to be ordained into the Church in Philadelphia, PA, by the way. I do believe his ordination had a “small” rippling effect; if you remember, in 1974, 11 women were also ordained in Philadelphia. Absalom Jones was the one of the first signs in the USA that the EC’s doors are opened to all people.

  61. Johannas Jordan's Gravatar Johannas Jordan
    February 18, 2013 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    I echo the it’s a difficult choice comments.
    St. Luke is, well St. Luke and of course deserves accolades and votes and thanks, etc., however, as a person who changed the United States and the Episcopal Church, both for the better and did it in a non-violent way, Jones has much to say to me and to us today.
    My vote is for him, with no disregard at all for St. Luke.

  62. Dawn M McCoy's Gravatar Dawn M McCoy
    February 18, 2013 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    Had to go with St. Luke….being as how it is not an american or popularity contest….lol

  63. Mary-Elise's Gravatar Mary-Elise
    February 18, 2013 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. I’ve lived in Delaware and admire Jones and his courage. In the end I went with Luke for the Benedictus and Magnificat.

  64. Sally Duernberger's Gravatar Sally Duernberger
    February 18, 2013 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    As a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal in Dallas, TX it’s St Luke for me.

  65. Tim R's Gravatar Tim R
    February 18, 2013 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    Luke used the force and had me vote for him.

  66. February 18, 2013 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    Is it wrong that when I read that Luke might have been a ship’s doctor, I picture Adam Bricker? Or that I find that a strangely compelling point in Luke’s favor? Still torn, though, on which way to toss my hat… Saint or the man who bought his wife’s freedom before his own?

  67. Tarheel's Gravatar Tarheel
    February 18, 2013 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    From this retired RN., Luke has my vote.

  68. Phyllis's Gravatar Phyllis
    February 18, 2013 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    Absalom is admirable, and purchasing his wife’s freedom before his own gets extra points, but without Luke we wouldn’t have the account of the Road from Emmaus… and that tips the scale for me. (In another pairing, I think Absalom might have taken it, though).

  69. Wendy's Gravatar Wendy
    February 18, 2013 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    Heather, I thought exactly the same thing…if Luke is ship’s doctor, what more appropriate ship than the Love Boat? Love and admire Absolam, but had to vote Luke.

  70. Edgar Wallace's Gravatar Edgar Wallace
    February 18, 2013 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones has my vote. A real hero.

  71. Weeze's Gravatar Weeze
    February 18, 2013 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    I like and respect Absalom, but just had to vote for Luke.

  72. leonard's Gravatar leonard
    February 18, 2013 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Leonard (aged 8) cast the family vote for Luke because without him we would n’t know as much about Jesus and Mary. (But we are deeply impressed by Absolom Jones and on another day….)

  73. Mary Ellen's Gravatar Mary Ellen
    February 18, 2013 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Luke! He had influence over the whole Christian church!

  74. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    February 18, 2013 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    While Rev. Laura makes a very good case for Luke (and I learned a lot about him from her bio), Absalom Jones gets my vote. A man who would buy the freedom of–redeem–his wife and children before his own is an amazing example of selflessness.

  75. Pam Kelley's Gravatar Pam Kelley
    February 18, 2013 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Per Father Tim’s introduction, I think the real question might be “How in the world could saint XX defeat saint XY?”

  76. Paul Rosbolt's Gravatar Paul Rosbolt
    February 18, 2013 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    At first blush, I was all in for Luke. Upon reflection, we can say with certainty that Absalom lived a saintly life. All we can say with certainty about Luke is that he was a great chronicler of of Jesus and Paul. I surprised myself and voted for Absalom.

  77. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 18, 2013 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    As a retired RN & member of Good Samaritan Episcopal Church I voted for Luke. I love his stories. Absalom Jones is a worthy opponent and his life and actions are inspirational. So I will vote for Luke and learn from his stories about Jesus and how to love. And I will try to be like Absalom in standing for social justice. With God’s help on both!

  78. Rachel Keeney's Gravatar Rachel Keeney
    February 18, 2013 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    In September, my son was diagnosed and initially treated for liver cancer at St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston TX, and the caring, committed staff showed me the continuing influence of the Great Physician’s physician. Absalom Jones is a great witness to God’s gift of freedom in spite of outward circumstances, but St. Luke has my heart and my vote today. (BTW, my son received a liver transplant at Texas Children’s Hospital last month, and is recovering well. Thanks be to his generous donor and family, and through them to God. Are all of you signed up to be organ donors?)

  79. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    February 18, 2013 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Luke all the way. He understands the needs of all nations. He is able to communicate the Good News to young and old. I grew up loving the story of Zaccheus and I still do. It made Christ real to me.

  80. Sal Barreca's Gravatar Sal Barreca
    February 18, 2013 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with Luke… even if Vader was his father.

    • Molly R's Gravatar Molly R
      February 18, 2013 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

      ;-)

  81. Rob's Gravatar Rob
    February 18, 2013 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Absalom Jones sounds like a very cool guy, but he’s got nothing on Luke.

  82. Rob Skirving's Gravatar Rob Skirving
    February 18, 2013 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Look, Luke’s great and after John, he’s one of my next three favorite gospel writers. But Absalom Jones gets my vote. He represents an element that I appreciate about the Episcopal Church … we may move too slowly, much of the time, but we do move! With Richard Allen, Jones represents an important period of change in our church.

  83. Ann Hunt's Gravatar Ann Hunt
    February 18, 2013 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I am sure Luke would be the first to recognize how his teachings have shaped my values and why I vote for Absolom, blossom, fruit and seed of the gospel, instead of writer of the gospel… Jesus himself noted that those who come after us will do greater things than we. Ok so he said, me, but I’m sure he would agree with the we, … But I do appreciate all the loyalty to Luke the physician… as well as the gospel writer.

  84. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    February 18, 2013 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I was stumped on this one, but went for Luke, thinking that without Luke, perhaps Absalom would not have heard the Gospel in the same way and not been inspired to do the brave, selfless things he did. I am grateful that both inspire our faith.

  85. Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
    February 18, 2013 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    If I remember the account correctly (which is a big IF), Jones was denied admission to General during his lifetime. After a recognition of General’s prejudice and Jones’ impact in the church for dignity and justice, an icon was commissioned, which now hangs in the sanctuary of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at GTS. So, General grads, Absalom watched over you for your seminary years. Will you return the favor?

  86. Sr Candace's Gravatar Sr Candace
    February 18, 2013 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Luke but must admit Absalom’s life story truly inspired me for the continuing call to justice for all children of God.

  87. Alan Medsker's Gravatar Alan Medsker
    February 18, 2013 - 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Another difficult choice. I think the underdog will be it for me, this time. Absalom it is!

  88. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    February 18, 2013 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

    A gentle observation/reminder: Leave the word FAIR out of your deliberations. This is a simple, uncomplicated contest and fairness has nothing to do with it. Vote for whomever you wish and leave the issue of fairness and what I see as excuses based on a little, shall we say, guilt for not voting for AJ????? Free country, folks! Go with the flow and choose whomsoever you will and want! Okie, Dokie? And none of your beeswax about my choice!!Ha! Ha!Ha! Suze Cate..where are you?

    • Cheryl Parris's Gravatar Cheryl Parris
      February 18, 2013 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

      As we read, people are going to vote the way they feel. I have seen people rooting for women for similar reasons, in fact I have been contacted on different lists about rooting for women. Oddly, this is the first time I have read someone offer such a gentle reminder/observation. In my opinion this is an unfair match up and brings up issues of tact, if not timing. If we don’t mention such things then they are ignored, often out of ignorance and no one wants that, right? At least next time, some thought would be given about the match-ups that will consider cultural streams. (Perhaps if the Yellow Fever epidemic had been mentioned in the bio the healing thing could have been played up . . . .)

  89. February 18, 2013 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Tough call, but have to go with our beloved evangelist and healer.

  90. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    February 18, 2013 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    So hard to choose today! Finally had to go with Absalom.

  91. Bill Locke's Gravatar Bill Locke
    February 18, 2013 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Messaging my daughter today and the phone insisted on changing “like” to “Luke”. A sign?

  92. Frances Rudy's Gravatar Frances Rudy
    February 18, 2013 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Not a fair fight. Lent Madness should have had two people who wrote in the Bible. Absalom Jones would have gotten my vote if another person in his time period was a contender, he fought the good fight and had to fight for his freedom to prove himself worthy to even be equal with white people. But God made all equal, men corrupted themselves to be better than other men. Absalom became a Priest against all odds he helped many people in his time. I still voted for St. Luke because he has helped many people with his writings in the Bible.

    • February 18, 2013 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

      What difference does it make? Even if the first round had two people with similar occupations, that won’t be true in the next round.

  93. Daniel's Gravatar Daniel
    February 18, 2013 - 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I picked Absalom because of his relevant heroic example, but also because of his historicity. We know who he was and what he did. We don’t know anything about “Luke” except that he wrote a gospel and Acts. Those are very important contributions, of course, but that’s all we really have on him. His gospel isn’t even fully original, having taken Mark and expanded it with Q and some additional material. Finally, but most importantly, we can learn from and emulate Absalom in our own day by preaching and working against the forms of slavery and oppression that confront us still. Most people don’t get to write their own gospels these days.

  94. February 18, 2013 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m a big fan of Absalom, truly. But I have to vote for the guy who wrote what is perhaps my favorite parable, the Road to Emmaus. I love it and its message. We in SJC have included it as one of the meanings of what it is to be in our community, as vowed persons being “companions on the road to Emmaus”.

  95. David's Gravatar David
    February 18, 2013 - 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps Absalom should have been pitted against a less justice oriented evangelist. I am sure he would have toasted John the Evangelist, maybe even Matthew!

  96. DPH's Gravatar DPH
    February 18, 2013 - 3:11 pm | Permalink

    The story of Absalom Jones is inspiring, as is the memory of Dr. Luke to whom “it is due in large part . . . that we believe God’s love through Jesus Christ transcends race, class, and gender, being a gift to all people. Surely we all, even dear brother Absalom, stand on his shoulders.

  97. Nancy E. Dymond's Gravatar Nancy E. Dymond
    February 18, 2013 - 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Though I love St. Luke, I have a soft spot for the lesser known, yet incredible shared ministries of Absalom Jones and Richard Allen. Richard Allen founded the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church. I’m a cradle Episcopalian but, I rededicated my life to Christ while attending St. Paul AME Chuch-Cambridge, MA in the 80s (which, BTW, is located on Bishop Richard Allen Dr.). I’m back home in ME happily serving the Episcopal church of my youth. So, with that history, I had to vote for Absalom.

  98. Barb's Gravatar Barb
    February 18, 2013 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

    So many times I had said to my children “life isn’t fair.” I think I ought to read those words to my self today. This is the first time that I think this is an unfair match up in Lent Madness.

  99. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    February 18, 2013 - 4:35 pm | Permalink

    When Absalom Jones was tapped on the shoulder as he sat in a pew and cruelly ordered up into the balcony, it was a moment when the angels wept and the devil laughed Jones was marginalized and outcast by the privileged social and religious authorities in the kind of collusion that Jesus had challenged in the first century. Jesus taught and lived that radical inclusiveness is a part of ushering in the kingdom of God. So…more tears from the angels and laughter from the devil as Jesus was cruelly ordered up onto the cross. Jesus was obedient to God’s redeeming purpose. Jones clearly understood this…he likely had learned it from the Gospel according to Luke. I voted for Luke.

  100. February 18, 2013 - 4:35 pm | Permalink

    My kids are getting a vote this year. So far my 5 y.o. is ALL ABOUT ABSALOM because his wife is named Mary. Awwww! How will her 11 y.o. brother vote? He’s been all about American saints, but his grandfather was a physician…tough one.

  101. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    February 18, 2013 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Note to the editor: please put a period between “laughed” and “Jones” in the 3rd line of my 4:35 pm posted comment.

  102. Lynda's Gravatar Lynda
    February 18, 2013 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Wow, so many posts! This certainly was a tough one but Absalom Jones won out for me with absolutely no disrespect to Luke. Luke is amazing and always will be. Absalom truly had grit, determination and spirit to achieve what he did in the 18th century. Bravo Absalom!

  103. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    February 18, 2013 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

    When Absalom Jones was tapped on the shoulder as he sat in a pew and cruelly ordered up into the balcony, it was a moment when the angels wept and the devil laughed. Jones was marginalized and outcast by the privileged social and religious authorities in the kind of collusion that Jesus had challenged in the first century. Jesus taught and lived that radical inclusiveness is a part of ushering in the kingdom of God. So…more tears from the angels and laughter from the devil as Jesus was cruelly ordered up onto the cross. Jesus was obedient to God’s redeeming purpose. Jones clearly understood this…he likely had learned it from the Gospel according to Luke. I voted for Luke.

  104. Richard's Gravatar Richard
    February 18, 2013 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Absalom Jones is certainly a worthy adversary for Luke, but as a physician I must give this match up to Luke even if by a split decision.

  105. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 18, 2013 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

    This is clearly no contest: Luke has it over Absalom on every conceivable scale of rational measurement. I had to go with Luke — until the person who commented, “In truth, I think Luke might like to lose” freed me to vote as my gut was telling me to.

  106. Adam Naff's Gravatar Adam Naff
    February 18, 2013 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

    “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” Maybe it comes from watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” too many times but I’ve always loved this part of Luke. Especially the last part “…and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Even non-Christians would have difficulty coming up with an argument for that. And as Gwin said earlier Absalom probably wouldn’t have been who he was without Luke.

  107. William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
    February 18, 2013 - 4:55 pm | Permalink

    One of the best times of my ministry was as Interim at an historic Black (they didn’t say African-American then) parish in New Haven which claimed to have been influenced by Absalom Jones at its founding. As it happens, however, the dedication was to St. Luke, and ultimately he gets my vote.
    Incidentally, congratulations to both bloggers for great advocacy.

  108. Anne McCorkle Garrett's Gravatar Anne McCorkle Garrett
    February 18, 2013 - 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Absalom Jones is one of my favorites; I’m so glad to see him in the line-up.
    Just a couple of corrections/additions (coming from a former United Methodist, who taught church history in confirmation classes): At the time, I believe the correct name for the church Jones and Allen left would have been St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church. Richard Allen founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church after leaving with Jones. This article implies that he was an Episcopalian for a time, the veracity of which I am unaware. UM history never told me what became of Absalom Jones; let us not do the same with Richard Allen! I was happy to learn that Jones had gone to the Episcopal Church.

  109. February 18, 2013 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Tough choices, but on behalf of scribes everywhere, my vote had to go to Luke for the power of the Word with words so beautifully wrought.

  110. Dan's Gravatar Dan
    February 18, 2013 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Apparently Luke has used the force! “These are not the saints you are looking for…”

  111. February 18, 2013 - 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Let’s face it, St. Luke lived in exciting times. Since I was a young girl, I’ve wondered what it must have been like to be an early Christian. Traveling with Paul, visiting the early churches, perhaps breaking bread with one of disciples. Asking questions like, “When Jesus looked you in the eye and said, ‘Follow me’ what was it like? What did you say?”

    We’re all products of a particular time and a particular place. I’m not saying it was easy for Luke to be a saint, but let’s just say he was graced, by virtue of the time and place of his birth, with the opportunity to ride a pretty spectacular first century wave.

    Absalom Jones, on the other hand, was born in a particular time and a particular place that might have caused him to become something less that a saint. The limitations the SEC puts on the first round bios prohibited the inclusion of some great details. Jones taught himself to read using the New Testament – no doubt the Gospel of St. Luke – as well as books he purchased with pennies that were given to him as presents by visitors to his owner’s home. Luke’s Gospel offered him confidence in his worth as one beloved and treasured by God. Surely it was that sense of worth that caused him to work to buy his and Mary’s freedom and allowed him to walk out of a segregated church and ultimately establish a new church where all of God’s people were welcomed. There was no wave for him to ride as a free, black Christian in 18th Century Philadelphia. He and Richard Allen generated the wave for many, many more to ride.

    It seems to me that voting in Lent Madness requires us to consider the time and place in which each saint finds herself or himself. What did they do for God with the goods they were given? How did they respond when Jesus looked them in the eye – either in person or through mystery of the Holy Spirit – and said, ‘Follow me.’?

    Meaning no disrespect to the Evangelist, I urge consideration of Absalom Jones.

  112. Fairlee's Gravatar Fairlee
    February 18, 2013 - 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I just had a difficult time deciding who to vote for. I wanted to vote for both of them!

  113. Walt Lieffeld's Gravatar Walt Lieffeld
    February 18, 2013 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

    This is a tough one for me. Having been a Delawarean for almost all my 78 years, I can identify with fellow First stater Absalom Jones. On the other hand, I spent my childhood in St. Lukes in Seaford, Delaware. The clincher for me, however, is the fact that my first cousin, Walter L Liefeld, whose name i share, wrote the commentary on Luke in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. I’ll stick with the family connection and vote for Luke

    • Walt Lieffeld's Gravatar Walt Lieffeld
      February 18, 2013 - 6:20 pm | Permalink

      What moderation is needed? I am new at this. Have I violated some rule?

    • Walt Liefeld's Gravatar Walt Liefeld
      February 18, 2013 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

      How dumb! I misspelled my last name!

  114. February 18, 2013 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    For the Benedictus, for the Magnificat, for the Nunc dimittis, for the prominent role for the theotokos, for the Gospel, for Acts of the Apostles, for his lasting and vital impact on every Christian that has ever lived, I voted for St. Luke.

  115. Lawrence's Gravatar Lawrence
    February 18, 2013 - 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I think that Absalom Jones would also cast his vote for Luke.

  116. Peg's Gravatar Peg
    February 18, 2013 - 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been reading comments all day, feeling a bit glum and concerned about outcomes today and over the last few days. What I’m left with at the moment is a memory of a scene from a detective show in the 1960′s in which the Italian detective went running through a casino, grabbing chips and cash from the tables and flinging them in the air shouting, “Everybody wins!” That’s how I feel now. Luke was wonderful! Absalom was wonderful! Both Iggys were wonderful! And the madfolk reading and writing here are wonderful! Everybody wins!

  117. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    February 18, 2013 - 7:01 pm | Permalink

    I sat at St. Luke’s Table on my Cursillo weekend, and I do love St. Luke; however, since I truly believe I will have another chance to vote for Luke, I voted for brave Absalom. The choices are hard, but, as Christians, we are called to love all these heavenly Saints as well as the earthly ones who vote for them. Cast only ballots, not aspersions.

    • Molly R's Gravatar Molly R
      February 18, 2013 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

      “Cast only ballots, not aspersions.” Thank you, thank you Patsy. If I were ordained, I would cast my aspergillum in your direction!

  118. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    February 18, 2013 - 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Absalom Jones was truly an inspiration, but I am voting for Luke as the author of so many favorite childhood Gospel stories and the founding premise of Christ’s love for all that was surely a strong influence on Absalom.

  119. Hope and Skye's Gravatar Hope and Skye
    February 18, 2013 - 7:06 pm | Permalink

    A split vote between Skye and Hope so they decided to see if Chaucer wagged her tail harder when Absalam’s name or Luke’s name was mentioned in her presence. And the family vote went to ….. Luke!

  120. Karr Tyson's Gravatar Karr Tyson
    February 18, 2013 - 7:41 pm | Permalink

    We are in year C and have much to thank the good Dr. Luke for, as the gospel attributed to him will be read for the majority of the church year. However, I feel that Absalom Jones paved the way for me as aspiring clergy in TEC, who just happens to be an African American male.

  121. Jay's Gravatar Jay
    February 18, 2013 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it was a tough match up. But they’re ALL tough! None of these people are on the lists of saints because they were just kinda alright. They’re all amazing models of faith in their own ways.
    So I finally went with Luke – could you imagine the Bible without him???

  122. Aileen Ryder's Gravatar Aileen Ryder
    February 18, 2013 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Tough. I love Luke’s Gospel. But am just blown away by Absalom Jones. I like the comments suggesting that Luke would vote for him too. Helped cement my decision.

  123. Terri C's Gravatar Terri C
    February 18, 2013 - 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Team Absalom here and this was tough. After all, when I was 6 I memorized the Christmas story from Luke. But Absalom’s story is important to me not only for his great gifts but for the church’s response. We need to value the willingness to challenge hegemony within the power structure,and we also need leaders with the fortitude, intelligence, heart and perseverance that Absalom Jones brought to his ministry. I’m voting for Absalom for the way he carried Luke’s work forward.

  124. Anna Kathleen's Gravatar Anna Kathleen
    February 18, 2013 - 10:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m going with Absalom. I mean they interrupted his prayers!!

  125. February 18, 2013 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I do love St. Luke’s gospel, but I also remember learning of Absalom Jones from the late Rev. Lee Graham, Jr. (another saint, IMO). His story was impressive, and Fr. Lee talked of the sin of exclusion and tied it into the continued sins of exclusion in the church and society. And, so I went with Jones on this one.

  126. Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
    February 18, 2013 - 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Contemplated all day on how I would cast my vote and now I find I can’t get to a screen that allows me to do that. Methinks there are still some kinks in the system. Anyway, I can’t cast my vote but I will say it would have been for Absalom. I couldn’t get past how he was treated after he accepted Christ as his savior by the those of faith. I know I would have cast my blame on Christ as well as his Christian followers. Now that was so inspiring. I’m sure Luke would understand.

  127. Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
    February 18, 2013 - 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Whoops! And of course the screen opened after I hit the send button. Ha!

  128. February 19, 2013 - 12:20 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones must win. Mainly because my bracket is busted. Plus, come on. Former slave buys his wife first! This is the Ephesians code of marriage! He loved his wife like Christ loved the church. Vote for Absalom!

  129. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    February 19, 2013 - 1:11 am | Permalink

    I love how Luke was so devoted to observing (whether first or second hand) and writing. He looked for the extraordinary in every day life and memorialized it.

  130. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    February 19, 2013 - 1:43 am | Permalink

    Reading these comments is a comfort to me as I realize others share my dilemma.
    A memory from photographing our children’s cross country racing in high school occurred to me. Our daughter and her best friend see-sawed, passing each other during the CIF finals At the finish, either could have spinted passed the other. But, neither did.
    They crossed the finish line holding hands.
    When the frazzled time keeper asked, “Who’s first?”, each breathless girl pointed to the other and said, “She …is.”
    So. This is how I feel about Absalom & Luke (and others). Having run well and finished the race, they cross the finish line together. Since I want to learn more about Absalom, I’m voting for him and hope he makes it to the next round. After all, it Is Lent Madness. One can’t be too rational in LM.

  131. Sarah R.'s Gravatar Sarah R.
    February 19, 2013 - 2:14 am | Permalink

    So I hope everyone here who has used the logic “if not for Luke than no Absalom” to vote for St. Luke uses this same logic in the match-up between Seabury and St. Hilda as Hilda helped bring Christianity to England…just saying.

  132. Joan Clingman's Gravatar Joan Clingman
    February 19, 2013 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    I do not vote on all days or keep the brackets, but I really liked both of today’s choics. I would call it a tie if I have to call it something. I learned some new things about Luke and loved hearing about Absalom Jones. What an inspiration and living out of faith.

  133. Cindy Selby's Gravatar Cindy Selby
    February 21, 2013 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Just days after the Absalom Jones v. St. Luke contest, I attened a Lenten teaching on religious iconography at my parish. When the presenter asked if anyone knew who was traditionally believed to have painted the first icon, I was able to answer, “St. Luke” because of what I had learned by reading the LM comments. Thanks!

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