The Ten Commandments of Lent Madness

Lent Madness 2016 is off to a roaring start. We had huge voter turnout on opening day, with a record number of votes cast in the Matronly Meltdown®. As this post is published, the comments section is filling up with a vigorous discussion on the Slavic Smackdown®. If you haven’t cast your vote yet for Cyril or Methodius, go vote now! Our aim is to provide some fun, education, and inspiration throughout Lent as we learn about the saints and share in a global community, and that’s certainly happening.

We are glad to welcome thousands of new participants to Lent Madness this year. Many of you watched Lent Madness Voting 101, so you know the mechanical basics of how it all works. But there’s more. Because the Supreme Executive Committee cares deeply about you, the Lent Madness Global Voting Public, we have provided The Ten Commandments of Lent Madness.

Ten CommandmentsThese commandments will help you keep perspective on the whole thing and maximize your enjoyment. Many churches chant or recite the Decalogue (that’s a fancy churchy-word for “Ten Commandments”) during Lent, and who are we to stop you from swapping out the script so that the whole congregations gets a refresher on Lent Madness?


All Saints IconI. Thou shalt remember that the saints have already received their reward, so the point of Lent Madness is our earthly enjoyment.
Sometimes people get a bit too invested in Lent Madness, and the competition and the comments get a bit heated. While we like friendly competition as much as the next person, it’s worth remembering that Lent Madness is only a game. The whole concept of saints competing against one another is, of course, patently absurd. The saints in glory probably don’t care much about whether they win the Golden Halo, but they might care if we are joyful in following Jesus.

II. Thou shalt remember that Lent Madness is OPTIONAL.
If for whatever reason you don’t like Lent Madness or it’s getting in the way of your Lenten devotion, remember that it is purely optional. No one is compelled to play Lent Madness, and some people (especially the humor-impaired) probably shouldn’t.

III. Thou art invited, if thou dost not like the World’s Greatest Online Lenten Devotion, to start thine own online Lenten devotion.
If you don’t like the way Lent Madness is run, we encourage you to start your own online devotion. You, too, can be Supreme in your own online devotion.

bannedIV. Thou shalt vote daily, but only once per person.
If you want your saint to win, rally 1,000 of your friends or co-workers to the cause. We think that’s great! But if you vote 1,000 times for your saint (and, yes, it’s been done), you’ll find yourself banned from Lent Madness.

V. Thou shalt not take the Round of Saintly Kitsch too seriously.
Every year, we have to deal with Kitsch Kranks. These are (easily offended) people who linger for the Elate Eight and then get outraged that we showcase various bits of saintly kitsch for the competitors. How can you prepare? Go to your nearest church goods store and enjoy various statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary or other saints. Or visit a hip, youngish member of the clergy who is sure to have a good-sized kitsch display in his or her office.

VI. Thou shalt shew forth thy love of Lent Madness by wearing purple.
Not much to say here, but we’ll provide visual inspiration.
purple suits for men

VII. Thou shalt remember that it’s not called Madness for nothing.
Sometimes people don’t like how a modern saint goes against an ancient saint. Or that two similar saints–or even brothers–face each other down in the Lent Dome. It’s called Lent Madness for a reason. So, read the bios, learn what you can, enjoy the comments, and then remember the First Commandment of Lent Madness.

VIII. Thou shalt covet thy neighbor’s Lentorium purchases only until thou purchasest thine own goods.
Coveting is bad. So don’t do it. If your friends have Lent Madness t-shirts, either demand the shirt off their backs, or just buy your own! If you’re jealous of someone’s Brigid pint glass or Lent Madness mug, start drinking from your own! If you are steamed you didn’t get to buy a printed Saintly Scorecard, get one for your favorite e-device. As a bonus, if you mail your iPad to the SEC, with a self-addressed, stamped return box, they’ll gladly sign your device with a purple Sharpie and mail it back.

Monday MadnessIX. Thou shalt watch Monday Madness.
If you want the inside story on Lent Madness, tune in every Monday of the season for a new episode of Monday Madness. You can also binge-watch every back episode from the comfort of your couch. You’ll find cameo appearances, roving reports, and even a genuine miracle in one episode. Watch them all!

X. Thou shalt promote Lent Madness in thy church and community.
Don’t keep the fun and the madness to yourself! Get others involved! Hand out full-color brackets (available for FREE on the Lent Madness website). Or go all out and follow the example of this church:

55 Comments to "The Ten Commandments of Lent Madness"

  1. Mariana's Gravatar Mariana
    February 13, 2016 - 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I hereby promise to follow all the rules faithfully with tongue in cheek and brain in check so that I can enjoy each and every episode of the smack down! This is my third year and I have loved each and every saintly bit blogged, written, and commented on.

    • Stephan's Gravatar Stephan
      February 13, 2016 - 9:08 pm | Permalink

      I love this crazy mad game! I think I shall make this a permanent part of my Lenten wanderings!

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      February 14, 2016 - 11:46 am | Permalink

      This is my first year.
      I promise to follow the 10 Commandments to the best of my ability, with the Lords help.
      This is the most wonderful, fun. Spiritual learning experience. I will NEVER miss it.
      Thank you to The Supreme Executive Comittee for adding such enjoyment to my

  2. Neva Rae Fox's Gravatar Neva Rae Fox
    February 13, 2016 - 9:04 pm | Permalink

    One of my top ten for Lent is to wear only hues of purple nail polish.

    • Dena Lee's Gravatar Dena Lee
      February 14, 2016 - 9:02 am | Permalink

      Great idea!

    • Dorothee's Gravatar Dorothee
      February 15, 2016 - 8:52 am | Permalink

      Tried to post a photo of my deep purple nails, but it was a no go 🙁

  3. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 13, 2016 - 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I wrote on FACEBOOK and will repeat: Stop expecting life to be fair! This is a fun way of learning new stuff to make Lent more palatable for those of….OK, I’ll say it…those of us…Yes, I need help like most of all y’all, Learn new stuff and have fun without guilt and buy some fun kitsch and VOTE!!!

  4. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    February 13, 2016 - 9:28 pm | Permalink

    What do you mean they don’t care if they win the Golden Halo? ::sigh:: Just because they already have their glory doesn’t mean they don’t yearn for the ultimate Lent Madness accolade!

    Also, there are no women dressed in purple in your photograph.

    That is all. 😉

    • February 13, 2016 - 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Last year we did a similar post with a picture of all women in purple and people complained. Can’t win!

      • Simon Hartropp's Gravatar Simon Hartropp
        February 13, 2016 - 10:29 pm | Permalink

        Bishops have a head start – do we know how Bishops are Mad with us in Lent-ness, and do they wear their (purple) robes when they vote?

        February 13, 2016 - 10:29 pm | Permalink

        Sorry to have missed last year’s pix; my first year and I could barely keep up! Mia culpa!

      • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
        February 14, 2016 - 11:47 am | Permalink


      February 13, 2016 - 10:27 pm | Permalink

      Seriously, you could NOT locate one woman in purple; where are you looking??? And you want respect as the SEC???

  5. February 13, 2016 - 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for a fun way to learn more about my faith and faithful people. This is new for me this year, but I am glad Rev. Nanese introduced us.

  6. San's Gravatar San
    February 13, 2016 - 9:46 pm | Permalink

    We love Lent Madness and look forward to it every year. Some folks just don’t know how to have fun learning.

  7. Beth Royalty's Gravatar Beth Royalty
    February 13, 2016 - 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes older and still hip clergy have a collection of kitsch. A few years ago my mom told me to get rid of it because it wasn’t professional. So I bought more.

    • February 13, 2016 - 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Fair enough. No disrespect intended for anyone. Rather we have noticed that kitsch is almost ubiquitous among the younger set. But plenty of others have admirable collections too!

      • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
        February 13, 2016 - 11:23 pm | Permalink

        I love kitsch as much as any of our younger participents and I’m not anywhere close to their age. An appreciation for fine art is ageless remember!

    • Dorothee's Gravatar Dorothee
      February 15, 2016 - 8:46 am | Permalink

      You go Beth, I would expect nothing less!

  8. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    February 13, 2016 - 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this Decalogue. I thought today if I read of one more person abstaining from the vote in protest I was going to turn purple–and not in a good way!

    • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
      February 14, 2016 - 1:30 am | Permalink

      Well said, Susan. Thank you, oh great SEC, for the wisdom of the 10 Lent Madness Commandments. To all, a blessed and holy Lent, and fun with Lent Madness!

  9. Kim Rossi's Gravatar Kim Rossi
    February 13, 2016 - 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I may chant this tomorrow in church as opposed to the Decalogue – Some people might complain, but they would complain about something anyway – why not help the along. I vow to follow all the commandments of Lent Madness and confess any sin of coveting.

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      February 14, 2016 - 9:06 am | Permalink

      If you do your coveting penance in the Lentorium, you can set yourself up nicely for idolatry (says the lady with the St. Francis mug beside her lap top). And if anything goes awry, you can turn to the nicest Customer Service Department this side of Heaven.

  10. Laura Coppens's Gravatar Laura Coppens
    February 13, 2016 - 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Love love love Lent Madness. Almost too much fun to be Lent! Must say, am learning lots of stuff of so previously unknown-to-me Saints!

  11. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 13, 2016 - 10:54 pm | Permalink

    When votong, a properly vested Bishop wears a rocket and a chimaera. Yours in the spirit of Lent Madness (tongue-in-cheekily), +Johannes Vheissu

  12. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    February 13, 2016 - 11:20 pm | Permalink

    This is my third year of participating in Lent madness and I love it every year I’m sorry there’s some folks who take it so seriously that they get their purple panties in a wad but that’s to be expected with people who take their faith so seriously most of the time. Remember its a way to have fun as well as learn a lot about those who came before us in the faith. A blessed and enjoyable Lent to all.

  13. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    February 13, 2016 - 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Well done SEC! Your brilliant humor shines brighter every day.

  14. Brenda McH's Gravatar Brenda McH
    February 13, 2016 - 11:51 pm | Permalink

    The II’nd Commandment is very important. If you don’t like playing the game, don’t play. That’s why I play Lent Madness and not bridge.

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      February 14, 2016 - 10:04 am | Permalink

      I never did like bridge.

  15. Kitt's Gravatar Kitt
    February 14, 2016 - 12:10 am | Permalink

    Kitsch me!!! I’m a devotee!

  16. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    February 14, 2016 - 12:40 am | Permalink

    In the photo for Commandment VI, I noticed that the third gentleman was wearing rose, presumably for Laetare Sunday. (Which my spell-check wanted to call “Lacerate”, “Literate”, or “Lactate”.)

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      February 14, 2016 - 10:07 am | Permalink

      My first experience with a spell checker was when I was a hospital chaplain leading worship in the chapel every week. I was typing the bulletin after getting a new computer and the spell checker didn’t know “Alleluia”. Its suggestion? “[Expletive deleted by the SEC].” I kid you not! (Of course I gave it proper instruction immediately!

      –SEC Note: Please do not use coarse language here at Lent Madness, even in jest. We’re all ages here!

      • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
        February 14, 2016 - 10:51 am | Permalink

        That’s a pretty hip Spell Check. I’m trying to imagine the response to the Benedicamus: “Thanks be to God! [Expletive deleted by the SEC]!”

        –SEC Note: Even in jest, please avoid coarse language. We have participants of all ages.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      February 14, 2016 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

      You’re right, Verdery, he is wearing rose! And since he’s the third gentleman, that fits right in with the Third Sunday of…(No, wait: That’s Advent)

  17. Evelyn's Gravatar Evelyn
    February 14, 2016 - 7:00 am | Permalink

    Until Lent Madness, my only exposure to the Saints was Val Kilmer and Roger Moore. And while they may be heavenly, I am not sure they deserve the Golden Halo. Thank you for the decalogue, the kitsch, and all you do. I love to learn! Go Lent Madness! Go ELMO – i like his giggle

    • Megan's Gravatar Megan
      February 14, 2016 - 9:54 am | Permalink

      Kudos to the saint reference!!!!! *sigh* Val was my high school movie star crush…. The Lent Madness saints age much more gracefully 😉

  18. David Herrelko's Gravatar David Herrelko
    February 14, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Beer at the Super Bowl this year was $13 a cup. What are the prices in the Lent Dome?

  19. Gregory Francis's Gravatar Gregory Francis
    February 14, 2016 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Bravo, Viva Lent Madness and all its madness and kitsch. My name is Greg, I am a Lent Mad-hatter and I swear to the Ten Commandments of Lent Madness. Did I mention Lent Madness enough times?

  20. Jannine's Gravatar Jannine
    February 14, 2016 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Since many of us are Episcopalians shouldn’t we arrange regional potlucks to discuss these?

  21. A Jennifer's Gravatar A Jennifer
    February 14, 2016 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Note of thanks to the Dept of Works and Infrastructure at Lent Madness for the new feature of crediting the images used.

    • February 14, 2016 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

      You can thank our Celebrity Bloggers for digging up the images and Alyssa, Marketing Assistant extraordinaire, for putting the info into the post.

  22. Mark G's Gravatar Mark G
    February 14, 2016 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Is there a special e-confessional for those who falter as they try to follow the commandments or can any Episcopal clergy person grant absolution?

  23. Georgia's Gravatar Georgia
    February 14, 2016 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Alas, the CUPboard is bare! I was ready to buy the Lenten Madness mug but there aren’t any. Perhaps the Supreme Executive Committee should plan a little better nest year. I will try very hard to follow SEC commandments! Love this madness!!

    • Georgia's Gravatar Georgia
      February 14, 2016 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

      and will not post comments with misspelled words (nest for next)!

  24. Leo's Gravatar Leo
    February 14, 2016 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Purple haze all around
    Don’t know if I’m comin’ up or down
    Am I happy or in misery?
    Whaterever it is, Lent Madness put a spell on me

  25. Beth Bartniczak's Gravatar Beth Bartniczak
    February 14, 2016 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    This is my first year of Lent Madness and so far I’m loving it. And since I have a healthy sense of humor, all should go fine. Glad I found this and hope to participate for many years. Thanks.

  26. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    February 14, 2016 - 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Lent Madness is here at last! [Expletive deleted by the SEC]!

    • February 14, 2016 - 7:45 pm | Permalink

      This is a reminder that this is a website for all ages. Swearing is not permitted in the comments. And generally, if it gets to that point, perhaps this isn’t the online devotion that best suits one’s needs.

  27. Sally Clark's Gravatar Sally Clark
    February 14, 2016 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

    This is my second year, & it’s already been wonderful. I love Lent Madness.

  28. TOM's Gravatar TOM
    February 14, 2016 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Please keep up the excellent work.
    Thanks for the 10 Commands – helpful.

  29. Joanna Burt's Gravatar Joanna Burt
    February 15, 2016 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    I (un)solemnly promise all of that.

  30. Grace Matthews's Gravatar Grace Matthews
    February 15, 2016 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Where’s the Francis Perkins trading card???!!! We have the first silver halo winner but not the first female cabinet member GOLDEN halo winner!!! I know, LentMadness isn’t fair, BUT, this isn’t fair. No complete set of Golden Halo winners. Sniff, sniff. Tear falls.
    (I bet someone else has already commented and I just missed it and your reply.)

    • February 15, 2016 - 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Fear not. We will be releasing several other downloadable trading cards throughout the season. Look for them!

      • Grace Matthews's Gravatar Grace Matthews
        February 15, 2016 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Twill not be on beautifully colored shiny cardstock. Another tear falls.
        I implore you to remember next year. Sniff, sniff…
        Hope springs eternal!
        So… all will be well, then? Cautious smile and sigh.

  31. February 15, 2016 - 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Mea culpa, O great SEC!
    I got caught up in the passion of the comments and questioned your wisdom. Whereas I used to think the “madness” came from March Madness, I now understand the madness of this Lenten discipline…of course saints don’t do battle and it IS all in fun (though we all do go a bit mad in the process). This PCUSA pastor is thoroughly enjoying another year of Lent Madness, we’ve got our giant bracket poster up, and every Sunday sermon includes references to the saints. Carry on.

Comments are closed.