Sojourner Truth vs. Søren Kierkegaard

Today we meet two 19th century contemporaries who lived in very different worlds — the United States and Denmark, to be literal about it. Sojourner Truth — slave, abolitionist, radical vs. Søren Kierkegaard — philosopher, theologian, writer. Two complex, passionate individuals who influenced and inspired many throughout their lives and beyond.

Yesterday Clare of Assisi easily advanced past Denis 74% to 26% to secure a place in the Saintly Sixteen against the winner of Vita Scudder and F.D. Maurice. Despite all the head jokes and puns in the comment section throughout this contest, you will note that the SEC has shown great restraint in not using one to describe this battle. This is because we like to stay well ahead of the humor curve.

So in the meantime, have a tete a tete with your friends and neighbors as you consider Sojourner or Søren.

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth was born Isabella “Belle” Baumfree in Ulster County, New York, to James and Betsy Baumfree around 1797. Colonel Hardenbough sold Belle away from her parents for $100. She was sold four more times before 1815.

Around 1815, she married and over the course of several years, gave birth to five children. Her owner, John Dumont, promised Belle her freedom. However, he later went back on the agreement, citing that Belle had cost him additional money owing to an injury she had sustained. In 1826 Belle left the Dumont property with her youngest daughter, having been convinced by a vision of Jesus that it was time to seek freedom.

She sought refuge in New York City until New York’s slave emancipation was complete and she could be reunited with her children. She discovered that her five-year-old son had been illegally sold to a planter in Alabama by Dumont. She filed a lawsuit to petition the courts for the return of her son, and she won. This marked the first time a black woman won a civil court case in US Federal Court.

In 1843 Belle had a profound religious experience and changed her name to Sojourner Truth, dedicating her life to the abolition of slavery. She began dictating her memoirs (published in 1850 to wide acclaim) and launched a speaking tour of the United States. In May 1851, in Akron, Ohio, she gave the speech that came to be known as “Ain’t I a Woman?” Even within the abolitionist community, Truth was a radical. She pushed for equal rights for women, especially black women, alongside the total eradication and abolition of slavery. She recruited black soldiers for the Union army during the Civil War, and after the war ended, she moved to Washington, DC, to counsel former slaves.

Truth tried to end streetcar segregation by sitting in the whites-only section in 1865. She petitioned Congress for slavery reparations and land grants for freed slaves, who had been freed only to face destitution. Until her death in 1883 in Michigan, she worked to abolish the death penalty, achieve prison reform, and establish equal rights for all Americans.

Collect for Sojourner Truth
O God, whose Spirit guides us into all truth and makes us free: Strengthen and sustain us as you did your servant Sojourner. Give us vision and courage to stand against oppression and injustice and all that works against the glorious liberty to which you call all your children; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

— Megan Castellan

Søren Kierkegaard

Søren Kierkegaard, born in 1813, was raised in an affluent family with Lutheran roots (his uncle Peter was a bishop in the Danish Lutheran Church). A man of contradictions, Kierkegaard received a classical education from the University of Copenhagen even while expressing his desire to live a life more of action than of speculation.

Throughout his life, Kierkegaard had an antagonistic relationship with the Church. In contrast to many philosophers and theologians of his time, he believed that it was impossible to prove faith, that faith (like love) could not be reasoned out but requires a “leap” of faith. Such faith (and its accompanying doubts) was important to Kierkegaard’s life.

At the same time, Kierkegaard regarded the Church (in particular, the state church) as a place where the words of faith were spoken without the actions of love. The state church had intractably intermingled the politics and influence of the world with the inner life of faith.

As a young man, Kierkegaard would walk the streets of Copenhagen. This experience inspired one of Kiergegaard’s famous quotes: “If there were no other, there was definitely one man in Copenhagen whom every poor person could freely accost and converse with on the street; that, if there were no other, there was one man who, whatever the society he most commonly frequented, did not shun contact with the poor, but greeted every maidservant he was acquainted with, every manservant, every common laborer.”

A man with a deep inner life and a profound sense of melancholy, Kierkegaard calls us to the joy of love active in the world. Rather than contemplating the world as we might like it to be, the work and life of Kierkegaard call us out to walk the streets and experience the world as it is—in all of its trouble, sadness, and joy. He died in 1855 in Copenhagen.

Collect for Søren Kierkegaard
Heavenly Father, whose beloved Son Jesus Christ felt sorrow and dread in the Garden of Gethsemane: Help us to remember that though we walk through the valley of the shadow, you are always with us, that with your philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, we may believe what we have not seen and trust where we cannot test, and so come at length to the eternal joy which you have prepared for those who love you. Amen.

— David Hansen

Sojourner Truth vs. Søren Kierkegaard

  • Sojourner Truth (77%, 5,665 Votes)
  • Søren Kierkegaard (23%, 1,659 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,324

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Sojourner Truth: “Sojourner Truth2”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –
Søren Kierkegaard: By Neils Christian Kierkegaard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

206 Comments to "Sojourner Truth vs. Søren Kierkegaard"

  1. oliver eight years old's Gravatar oliver eight years old
    February 24, 2016 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    I voted for Sojourner Truth because she fought to get her son back.

    • tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
      February 24, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

      Oliver once again you said a mouthful. 🙂

    • ErinM's Gravatar ErinM
      February 24, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

      Oliver, I think you’re wonderful.

    • Shirley Swardenski's Gravatar Shirley Swardenski
      February 24, 2016 - 9:36 am | Permalink

      My husband thinks you need a scholarship to Harvard Divinity. Good work Oliver

    • Christina Thom's Gravatar Christina Thom
      February 24, 2016 - 10:13 am | Permalink

      Oliver Consider yourself hugged. That is why I voted for her.

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      February 24, 2016 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      I’m with Oliver and Mike.

    • Tracey Henley's Gravatar Tracey Henley
      February 24, 2016 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      Oliver, you *are* wonderful, but shouldn’t you have had a birthday by now?

    • Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
      February 24, 2016 - 11:18 am | Permalink

      Hugs to you, Oliver. That’s one of the reasons I voted for her. I also couldn’t say no to the lady who was the original women’s suffregate and civil rights fighter before the terms were even coined. Keep up the good voting!

    • Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
      February 24, 2016 - 11:39 am | Permalink

      I ve voted for Sojouner truth,as a mother she fought to get her child back,she had the inner strength to do this.also to make a strand for future generations to stand up to what you believe in.

    • Martin (8 years old)'s Gravatar Martin (8 years old)
      February 24, 2016 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Me too, Oliver!

      • Janis's Gravatar Janis
        February 24, 2016 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Another 8-year old joining the voting. We are truly blessed. I’m glad that both of you voted for Sojourner Truth. What an incredible woman and Mom.

    • Linda McGee's Gravatar Linda McGee
      February 24, 2016 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Amen to that, Oliver! I’m with you.

    • Claire's Gravatar Claire
      February 24, 2016 - 10:57 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Sojourner because Kierkegaarde is a booby. P.S. Clare is the best

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      February 25, 2016 - 12:04 am | Permalink

      Hi Oliver,
      You’re a very insightful young man. I think Soren did a great thing by walking the streets and speaking to commoners, but he was born into a privileged family, therefore he didn’t have to face all the struggles and obstacles that Sojourner had to face throughout her life. She was very brave and took a lot of risks, especially for a woman of color and a slave. I admire Soren, but had to vote for Ms. Truth, plus I love the name change.

    • Marah. W 13's Gravatar Marah. W 13
      February 25, 2016 - 1:14 am | Permalink

      I love your view in sojourner and I really like her but I voted for sorren because sojourner was winning and I loved his view on love and compassion so I voted for him.

  2. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    February 24, 2016 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    And the Truth shall set you free

    • Mary E. Winston's Gravatar Mary E. Winston
      February 24, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

      Amen to that!

    • Marah. W 13's Gravatar Marah. W 13
      February 25, 2016 - 1:16 am | Permalink

      I like that.!!

  3. Tready3's Gravatar Tready3
    February 24, 2016 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    As compelling as Soren is, Sojourner’s story is overwhelming

    • PastorPaul's Gravatar PastorPaul
      February 24, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

      Agreed. I am thankful that the Lord does not choose on a one-of-two basis.

      • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
        February 24, 2016 - 12:20 pm | Permalink


    • Deacon Marcia's Gravatar Deacon Marcia
      February 24, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

      Yes, indeed. Another fighter for the will and love of God.

    • Laura B's Gravatar Laura B
      February 24, 2016 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly. This was a tough one because I admire both.

  4. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    February 24, 2016 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Since existentialism, along with the Oxford movement, is the most important development in the church since the Enlightenment, and since Kierkegaard is the earliest and best-known proponent of the existentialist approach within Christianity, I have to vote for him.

    Though with misgivings. I am in awe of Sojourner Truth.

    • Gail Davis's Gravatar Gail Davis
      February 24, 2016 - 8:39 am | Permalink

      Ain’t that the truth!

    • Cerridwyn's Gravatar Cerridwyn
      February 24, 2016 - 10:10 am | Permalink

      I agree. Besides he’s one of my husband’s favorites.

    • Randall's Gravatar Randall
      February 24, 2016 - 10:56 am | Permalink

      I agree with you Scott. I, too, am in awe of Ms. Truth. However, the teaching of meeting the world where “it is”, instead of where you would like it to be deserves a nod, and my vote.

      • Pamela Sten's Gravatar Pamela Sten
        February 24, 2016 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Sojourner Truth met the world where it was in her time and PLACE. She worked the land as a slave and was sold five times by age 17; won a court case to free her son, who shouldn’t have been sold; rode in the white section of a streetcar; counseled and advised people to gain freedoms that were already in place in Copenhagen. Easy for Kirkegaard to talk to people on the streets and maybe go home to a nice warm bed? Maybe I’m missing something here and not understanding your phrase meeting the world…’where you would like it to be.’ –I am woman, hear me roar, with numbers too big to ignore.

        • Linda McGee's Gravatar Linda McGee
          February 24, 2016 - 2:22 pm | Permalink

          You are a woman after my own heart, Pamela!

        • February 24, 2016 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

          I don’t like Lent Madness when a voter diminishes one Saint over another. In each of these match-ups we compare one Saint’s contribution to the other and choose which is greater. There’s something I find not quite right about that. It’s all in good fun- I understand that- but people but let’s not disparage anyone’s contributions , okay?

          • Peter Jones's Gravatar Peter Jones
            February 24, 2016 - 10:47 pm | Permalink

            I’m with you here, Laura.

          • Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
            February 25, 2016 - 8:17 am | Permalink

            The comments on this match were AWESOME.. a very lucid and spirited discourse.

            Of COURSE not luminary would even make it to the playoffs unless their life was exemplary, right?

            imo.. the journey is the thing here.. just the fact that we are privileged to have this discussion in the 21st century.. (at the speed of light tyvm) is truly an amazing thing.

            UP ECHUMANISM! !!

        • Deacondi's Gravatar Deacondi
          February 24, 2016 - 5:07 pm | Permalink

          Preach it sister, amen!

  5. Just me's Gravatar Just me
    February 24, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Ain’t I a women? Sojourner is truth!

    • Lea's Gravatar Lea
      February 24, 2016 - 10:30 am | Permalink

      Ain’t I am woman? I sho as hell is! I am, like so many others here, in awe of Sojourner because she accomplished so much with so many blockages against her. Black, woman, slave. How awesome is that??? I also admire Soren but let’s face it, Sojourner tromps him to pieces with action and, yes, faith.

  6. Kirk Bonamici's Gravatar Kirk Bonamici
    February 24, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I went with Kierkegaard. He reminds me that we are all “one body in Christ” and need to live in community with one another.

    • Mary M's Gravatar Mary M
      February 24, 2016 - 9:51 am | Permalink

      I believe Soren is an epitome of true outreach and evangelism– not afraid of reaching out to all who are downtrodden. He gets my vote.

      • Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
        February 24, 2016 - 10:07 am | Permalink

        Mine too. Kierkegaard it is.

      • Sue G.'s Gravatar Sue G.
        February 24, 2016 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

        Mine too – love in action! Besides, he & I share a birthday (only separated by about a century and a half)

    • kathi Tiltman's Gravatar kathi Tiltman
      February 24, 2016 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Very important in our world at this time

  7. Michele's Gravatar Michele
    February 24, 2016 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    I was all set to vote for Sojourner but last night I helped in a clothing room at a soup kitchen and was reminded how very important it is to be present among those “on the streets and listen to them”. Not as grand as what Sojourner did but as important. So I voted for Soren.

  8. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    February 24, 2016 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    I need Me. Truth to run for president!

    • JLou's Gravatar JLou
      February 24, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

      Sojourner / Kierkegaard for president!

  9. PhilS's Gravatar PhilS
    February 24, 2016 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Despite Sojourner’s commitment and struggles, Kierkegaard’s writings on faith (and love) have been a touchstone for me for the last 40 years. I leap at the chance to advance our knowledge of him.

  10. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    February 24, 2016 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    * Ms. – autocorrect strikes again.

  11. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    February 24, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    And here I thought the Kateri Columba match was tough. Sojourner Truth has always been a role model for me, the bio was so well written and she speaks to me so clearly. Kierkegaard has been a man who captured my head, my heart and my feet from the very first time I heard about him. I loved the EfM red book section on him each year. How to vote for one and not the other. I figured that Oliver would vote for Sojourner Truth, I figured that she would win the day so in good conscience, I voted for Kierkegard. I’ll vote for Sojourner Truth next time.

  12. February 24, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Sojourner. because she accomplished much against great odds.

  13. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    February 24, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    First to sue in court and win, first in pushing the limits on a streetcar long before Rosa Parks, Sojourner has my vote.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 24, 2016 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

      As many have said, a very hard choice! But the first escaped slave to win in court got me. That plus the fact that she fought for civil rights (as well as for her own family) before anyone ever used that term.

  14. tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
    February 24, 2016 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I love Kierkegaard and agree with Donna about the EFM red book section on him. This turned out to be tougher than I thought but Sojourner Truth has long held my heart. So no voting for the underdog this time. It’s the Truth for me.

  15. Jane Christmas's Gravatar Jane Christmas
    February 24, 2016 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Fled a slave owner, changed her name, sued aforementioned slave owner and won, gave a speech, lobbied for black emancipation, fought for women’s rights, counselled former slaves … yikes, what a gal! She easily gets my vote.

    • linda maumus's Gravatar linda maumus
      February 24, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

      what Jane Christmas said….

      • Beth's Gravatar Beth
        February 24, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

        totally agree, Linda

        • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
          February 24, 2016 - 11:32 am | Permalink

          Beth, Linda, Jane. I agree completely.
          I voted for Truth❤️ Speaking of truth,
          I was thinking;
          Yesterday we had a contemplative woman and a fighting man.
          Today we have a contemplative man and a fighting woman.
          IMHO – it is harder for a man to think than it is for a woman to fight.

          • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
            February 24, 2016 - 12:30 pm | Permalink


            I also voted for Sojourner Truth. But, as to your last comment, it depends on the man — and the woman! I know many men who are excellent thinkers and I know women who fight for what they believe. I also know men who “think” with their emotions and women (and men) who see themselves as victims and give up or wallow in self pity, instead of fighting for what they believe. Neither sex has a monopoly on either courage or clear, logical thinking.

          • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
            February 24, 2016 - 2:11 pm | Permalink

            Amen, Janet Birckhead!

            As for my vote, it’s for Sojourner Truth.

  16. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    February 24, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Well, this just isn’t fair! Kierkegaard has always been one of my favorite philosophers, and it’s going to be hard to see him fall by the wayside, but I cannot vote other than for Sojourner Truth. Her determination and bravery still stand as a bright beacon after all these years. “Ain’t I a Woman?” Yes, Sojourner, you are.

  17. Eileen Novotny's Gravatar Eileen Novotny
    February 24, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    How many times can you have your heart broken and keep your faith and keep going. Sojourner shows us how. I admire Soren but have to go with Sojourner.

  18. Susan Donaldson's Gravatar Susan Donaldson
    February 24, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    I was prepared to vote for Sojourner, but instantly knew after reading about Soren that I loved his attitude about faith and love. They are both impossible to prove. We could use more people like him, with a humble and kind heart, toward ALL people.

  19. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    February 24, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Sojourner gets the Golden Halo on my bracket!

  20. Robert Corey's Gravatar Robert Corey
    February 24, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Pretty much I’ve only known Kierkegaard as a straw-man. The Melancholy Dane. Or was that Hamlet?

    This brief bio has introduced a new side of the man to me, the peripatetic (I had presumed him a sedentary navel-gazer) friend of the poor. I can emulate all that. I can’t emulate Sojouner Truth. Being in a position of privilege, I can’t carry the banner of my misery on a quest to conquer a hostile world. I must carry it in a satchel (emotional baggage) and take what blows that the oppressed offer in response to their lot.

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      February 24, 2016 - 9:13 am | Permalink

      Great comment, Robert.

    • February 24, 2016 - 10:18 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed, though I’ve already voted, for Sojourner Truth.

    • Sally D's Gravatar Sally D
      February 24, 2016 - 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Sir.

  21. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    February 24, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I was planning to vote for Sojourner Truth, because I love her passion and radicalism. But (a) it’s already a blow out abs (b) I found myself deeply touched by Kierkegaard walking the streets of Copenhagen talking to ordinary people, servants, etc. as an academic type who generally greets all the people I see on the street, I wanted to acknowledge the many ways people try to change the world.

    • A Jennifer's Gravatar A Jennifer
      February 24, 2016 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Very hard choice today – love them both. Gave the edge to David Hansen for an especially brilliant write-up. But if S.K. is not to be, I’ll put aside my Fear and Trembling and my Sojourner Truth finger puppet fridge magnet will be ready to cheer her on during the kitsch round.

  22. Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
    February 24, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I agree. This is totally an unfair match-up. To have to choose between these two when other days, I had trouble picking one I liked.

  23. Will's Gravatar Will
    February 24, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I know he’s a long shot in this matchup, but Kierkegaard and his writings played a huge part in my dad’s conversion to the faith, so he’s got my vote! (Kierkegaard, that is, not my dad. My dad is not eligible for Lent Madness yet, thank the Lord.)

  24. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    February 24, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one for me. I admire both of these saints so much. I studied Kierkegaard in college and agree with so much of his philosophy (“faith like love can’t be proven”). I wish his biographer had told whether he did anything to help alleviate the suffering he saw when he “walked the streets of Copenhagen” or if he just observed and wrote about it. Sojourner was definitely a doer. So, after much internal debate, I had to vote for the woman who fought for people’s rights.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 24, 2016 - 9:24 am | Permalink

      I don’t know… I think observing and writing is “doing something.” Where would we be without Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John’s observing and writing? 😉

  25. Mary Phinney's Gravatar Mary Phinney
    February 24, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Difficult choice, but this may be Trith’s year.

  26. Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
    February 24, 2016 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    “Ain’t I a Woman?” I have great respect for Soren, but resonate more deeply with Sojourner Truth.

  27. Rex Van Alstine's Gravatar Rex Van Alstine
    February 24, 2016 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    A great activist or a great thinker? Hmmn…..which should I choose? Well, which one got the most done? Sojourner Truth

  28. Gary Harke's Gravatar Gary Harke
    February 24, 2016 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    I spent so much mental energy studying Kierkegaard under Howard Hong at St. Olaf College that I had to vote for him today.

  29. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    February 24, 2016 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Poor Kierkegaard, he never had a chance – going up against Truth.

  30. Carol G's Gravatar Carol G
    February 24, 2016 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I notice this morning that these two saints’ lives have brought out the best in our Lent Madness community. Isn’t that what the lives of the saints are all about?

    Fantastic match-up. Thank you SEC and CBs.

  31. Susan Mulledy-DeFrank's Gravatar Susan Mulledy-DeFrank
    February 24, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    If only I could have voted for both. In their day each of them had great impact, but my vote is for Ms. Truth, a Prophet in her own time.

    • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
      February 24, 2016 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

      I suppose a third “neither one” button would be too much trouble, but one can always abstain.
      People will have their open-and-shut favorites, and not always for the right reasons, reasons we dare not ever speak in our hearts.

  32. John of Concord's Gravatar John of Concord
    February 24, 2016 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Kierkegaard wants me to vote for Sojourner, so the Church would not be, as he said in Denmark, “a place where the words of faith were spoken without the actions of love.” Is there anyone who is a better example of the “actions of love” amidst the Barbarity of slavery than Sojourner Truth?

    • Vicki Hughes's Gravatar Vicki Hughes
      February 24, 2016 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      Nice reasoning….you’re right i think… Soren would have voted for Sojourner!

      • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
        February 24, 2016 - 1:50 pm | Permalink

        In several instances I envisioned one of the candidates being very happy for the other’s triumph. They are, after all, saints for a reason.

      • Melissa LaBelle's Gravatar Melissa LaBelle
        February 24, 2016 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

        I think that both of these saints merit a vote and I am a bit sad they were pitted against each other. It takes amazing stamina to withstand slavery and to fight for the dignity and right not only of your race but of your gender. It takes courage to fight to get back your son (Sojourner) and also to meet folks “where they are “in the streets (Soren). Perhaps, as some have argued, Soren would have voted for Sojourner, as she embodied the grit to face the joy, sorrow and shame of real life and knew that faith and a church without love are ineffective. (And I also applaud the insights of our 8 year old scholars!! Wow!)

    • beth's Gravatar beth
      February 24, 2016 - 10:35 am | Permalink

      thank you for this comment – and all of the comments, which have helped me think through a difficult choice. Kierkegaard speaks to my heart, and Sojourner has my respect and admiration. truly, the hardest matchup (for me) in several years.

    • Lynne Slater's Gravatar Lynne Slater
      February 24, 2016 - 11:29 am | Permalink

      That’s the conclusion I came to as well. Kierkegaard has been a significant influence on me. He would have met her on the street, greeted Ms Truth with empathy and admiration. Ms Truth sought justice and acted out of love. He definitely would want me to vote for her!

  33. Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
    February 24, 2016 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Søren has a lot in common with St. Martin de Pores, except of course, his bank account. imo It is one thing to seek solidarity with the disenfranchised when one actually IS poor, and another entirely to be inclusive from the vantage point of wealth.
    Most of the people on this board, not all mind you, likely have more to learn from the later example.

  34. Debbie W.'s Gravatar Debbie W.
    February 24, 2016 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    So glad to learn more about Kierkegaard – but had to vote for Sojourner because she pushed back again oppression and stood up for what was Truth in her heart. An inspiring woman for sure.

  35. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    February 24, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    This truly is a near impossible choice. Thank you, SEC, for reminding us about both of these amazing people. I was sorely tempted to vote twice so that I could vote for both, but do not want to be banned from Lent Madness forever. I will have to go with Sojourner Truth because of her ability rise out of slavery in a profoundly racist and sexist society and accomplish all that she did, whereas Kierkegaard was a child of privilege and education.

  36. Deborah Sampson's Gravatar Deborah Sampson
    February 24, 2016 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    While I admire Sojourner Truth, the truth in my faith journey came from Kierkegaard’s leap of faith.

  37. Sharon Carveth's Gravatar Sharon Carveth
    February 24, 2016 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    This is not that hard for me. The philosopher vs the doer. Sojourner Truth began a long road to freedom. I could wish that everything she started had finally been accomplished, but it seems we still have a long way to go. Her courage, not based on education or privilege, made her a force to be reckoned with and the fact that she won in the court’s to get her son back makes her a great example for all. It is sad that we still have a long way to go to achieve the equality for all mankind and womankind. Her course pointed the way. I pray we all have the courage to continue that journey for her.

  38. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    February 24, 2016 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    When I downloaded my bracket last November, this was the match-up that tore me apart. How much I would have liked for each of these saints to advance at least to the Saintly 16, rather than coming up against each other in the first round!

    Soren Kierkegaard — when I was a young teenager struggling with the perception that nobody else cared about the things I cared about or had the ideas I had, discovering Kierkegaard was such a blessing for me. But Sojourner Truth — such an outspoken advocate of justice in so many spheres after having suffered so much herself. In these days of #BlackLivesMatter, surely she should get my vote.

    Today was the first day ever I looked at the results before I voted, and I chose to vote for the underdog. If Sojourner wins today, as seems likely, I will be happy to support her onward way — at least until she maybe comes up against Absalom Jones! What a cruel bracket the SEC has given us this year!

    • Jeaninejj's Gravatar Jeaninejj
      February 24, 2016 - 9:45 am | Permalink

      That is my method too, Kathy. I support both; I’ll vote for the underdog and rejoice when Sojourner wins.

      • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
        February 24, 2016 - 11:13 am | Permalink

        I’m with you two–Sojourner is totally admirable and worthy of whatever halo she has/wins. But I decided to vote for Kierkegaard when I read of his compassion for ordinary working people, those who were of a lower social class than himself.

  39. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 24, 2016 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    This season’s toughest match-up yet! I’ll take a Kierkegaardian leap of faith and go with the underdog, with full expectations of voting for Sojourner Truth in the next round.

  40. Kim Rossi's Gravatar Kim Rossi
    February 24, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    They both deserve the recognition and to wear the golden halo, but Sojourner spoke to my heart.

  41. Theresa Merritt's Gravatar Theresa Merritt
    February 24, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for the “doer” instead of the “thinker” Also, Oliver said it all at the top of the comments.

  42. MusicResonator's Gravatar MusicResonator
    February 24, 2016 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    I voted for Soren because I identify with him more, even though I was fairly sure Truth would prove to be more popular. I’m okay with the outcome either way.

  43. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    February 24, 2016 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    Kierkegaard caused me too much grief in graduate school. Plus, how could I not vote for a radical feminist who died in my own home state? Sojourner Truth for the win!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 24, 2016 - 9:26 am | Permalink

      “Grief in graduate school”–love it!

  44. Nancy Day's Gravatar Nancy Day
    February 24, 2016 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Dang. This one was hard.

  45. Vicki Hughes's Gravatar Vicki Hughes
    February 24, 2016 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Again the dilemma. I think Sojourner can and perhaps should win the Golden Halo, yet Soren has been an essential and guiding voice in my head and heart since i studied him at university back before the flood. He convinced me that leaping (for love and faith, faith/love) is a very good thing. I will vote for Ms Truth in the next round, because i’m sure she’ll win this one, but in this moment Soren it is. (and thank you sir!)

  46. Tuck Bowerfind's Gravatar Tuck Bowerfind
    February 24, 2016 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Kierkegaard would have voted for Truth. So in honor of him, and because she deserves it in her own right, I vote for her. She lived love in a broken world.

    • Lory Garrett's Gravatar Lory Garrett
      February 24, 2016 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Loved: She lived love in a broken world,

      • Renie's Gravatar Renie
        February 25, 2016 - 11:59 am | Permalink

        Me too.

  47. February 24, 2016 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    I’ve been reading Kierkegaard as part of my Lenten practice, and I love Copenhagen. The thought of walking the streets of Copenhagen and helping everyone I meet is bliss! And yet … I feel Sojourner is so deserving, and as a member of the Anti-Racism Committee of the Diocese of New York, I feel I can’t do otherwise but vote for her. Sorry, Soren, but I love you, man!

  48. February 24, 2016 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Really tough call. I like them both so much. Next year, please give Soren an easier opponent!

  49. Kara Slade's Gravatar Kara Slade
    February 24, 2016 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    I’m writing my dissertation on Kierkegaard and Barth, so I have to go with my theological beloved. That being said, I’m not sure voting for him in a contest of comparative holiness is a properly Kierkegaardian act.

    Oh well. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  50. Helen Webster's Gravatar Helen Webster
    February 24, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Belle rang a bell for freedom. Sojourner traveled for the truth, fought for women’s rights and stood up to the “establishment and used the law to win her son back. She did not turn to violence or hatred. It is a shame she did not get a “college education” or win the lottery. Think what she could have done with more knowledge and money.

  51. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    February 24, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I’m glad to know more about about two such bright souls, who touched the lives around them and illuminated the ages after them. Sojourner is getting more votes, but Kierkegaard will not be a soren loser.

  52. Susu's Gravatar Susu
    February 24, 2016 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Sojourner got my vote… but I really like Soren’s example.

  53. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    February 24, 2016 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    I truely love the comments sections each day. I learn much from all of them, sometimes tongue in cheek comments to the seriously academic ones. Thanks to all of you for adding to the fun and enlightenment of Lent Madness. Sojourner Truth gets my vote for all the reasons mentioned above, plus the unsaid strength of character to do all she did as a black woman in the 1800’s, an even more devastating time than today for people of color. Her chosen name alone sets her aside as a monumental person of enormous influence and strong will, nourished by God.
    I also gained a new perspective on Kierkegaard, who was rather dense for me before now. I am glad to know he did put his beliefs into action. Meeting each and every person as a valued and worthwhile soul is certainly something we strive for today.

  54. February 24, 2016 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    Soren had the luxury of background and education to do what he did — Sojourner had nothing but determination — and such determination! Praise be to God.

  55. Gillian Butler's Gravatar Gillian Butler
    February 24, 2016 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Truth for the Halo!

  56. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 24, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    The existential question for me is how do I vote when Sojourner meets Absalom?

  57. AnchorageABC's Gravatar AnchorageABC
    February 24, 2016 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    I vote for Soren because he advocates my favorite emotion: joy.

  58. February 24, 2016 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Oliver, I voted for Sojourner not just for her fight for equal rights but that she wanted her son back & she won!

  59. Mama J's Gravatar Mama J
    February 24, 2016 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Well played, John of Concord. . . You stated it more succinctly than I could have!

  60. Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
    February 24, 2016 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Sojourner Truth has been a hero to me for years so she got my vote. A fighter against slavery, for women’s rights, against the death penalty in the days when all those issues were even more despised than now has to get my vote. However, a friend said she finally understood Kierkegaard while sitting at my kitchen table.

  61. Vicky's Gravatar Vicky
    February 24, 2016 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Soren was not just a thinker – he walked the walk.H argued that the church was talking of faith, but not showing the love in its actions. He went out among the people to show the love to as many people as he could reach, and wrote for the rest of us to contemplate and react upon – and, we hope, follow his example.
    Truly an equal match between Soren and Sojourner.
    I’ll do as he would have done, I think, and vote for Sojourner.

  62. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    February 24, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Kierkegaard is admirable but Truth speaks to me more. A radical freedom fighter who took pain that would break most of us in half the intensity and let it galvanize her into a hero.

  63. Leo's Gravatar Leo
    February 24, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    I must compliment today’s celebrity bloggers – both of these writings were captivating to me. I love the statement in Sojourner’s story…”Truth was a radical”. Truth is radical. She was sold 5 times before the age of 20. She may have been sold many times in her life but no human being ever owned her!

    • Carole L's Gravatar Carole L
      February 24, 2016 - 11:51 am | Permalink

      Amen to that!

  64. February 24, 2016 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    Tough choice today! We went with Kierkegaard, because he “calls us to the joy of love active in the world” . . . also, he is a favorite of one of my sons, who is studying philosophy at college 🙂

  65. Elizabeth Massey's Gravatar Elizabeth Massey
    February 24, 2016 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    In my heart I wanted to vote for Sojourner for her mighty contributions to civil rights and American culture. But I was open minded – until I read Kierkegard’s bio. The author did not speak at all about his writing, his philosophy, the impact his career has had on generations of theologians and thinkers, clergy and laity. Without this, the bio is only partial, and based on his private life I did not find enough to persuade me to support him. So I voted for Sojourner with my heart and my head.

  66. Jerry Rankin's Gravatar Jerry Rankin
    February 24, 2016 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    Though an uphill slog for Kierkegaard, his life affirms that philosophical and theological thought provides the foundation or root of practice.

  67. Donna Lou Ritter's Gravatar Donna Lou Ritter
    February 24, 2016 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    Sojourner died near my home in Michigan and she was a great woman. I do love the “leap of faith” that Kierkegaard gave us, but I’m voting for Sojourner.

  68. Mrs. B.'s Gravatar Mrs. B.
    February 24, 2016 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    “Existentialism” is a wildly overused word today. What does it actually mean? (Davis, anyone?)

  69. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    February 24, 2016 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    Our home is named Sojourners’ Roost in honor of Sojourner Truth. I understand the votes for Kierkegaard, but my vote goes to Sojourner Truth.

  70. Jim B's Gravatar Jim B
    February 24, 2016 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    I voted for Kierkegaard because I read his book, Fear and Trembling, and the 10% of it I understood was wonderful.

  71. Day Smith Pritchartt's Gravatar Day Smith Pritchartt
    February 24, 2016 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    Sojourner Truth is my pick for the Golden Halo this year. Watch out.

  72. Charles F.'s Gravatar Charles F.
    February 24, 2016 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    Kierkegaard. I can’t not vote for him, especially as it appears I’ll only have this one chance to vote for him….

  73. james lodwick's Gravatar james lodwick
    February 24, 2016 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    I deeply admire and am grateful to God for the life of both these saints. After much inner debate I voted for S0ren Kierkegaard because reading some of his works in college greatly challenged and deepened my own faith. I’m very surprised that the bio today makes no mention at all of Kierkegaard’s enormously influential philosophical and theological writings and their great contribution to Christian thinking.

  74. Claudia Horner's Gravatar Claudia Horner
    February 24, 2016 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    These saintly match-ups are hell. I am exhausted, but I voted.

  75. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    February 24, 2016 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Sojourner Truth made that ” leap of faith” risking her life and liberty . Have to go with Truth today.

  76. Marilyn's Gravatar Marilyn
    February 24, 2016 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    I agree with Day Smith Pritchartt. I hope Sojourner Truth goes all the way to the Golden Halo this year. Count me in on Team Truth!

  77. Tim Seitz-Brown's Gravatar Tim Seitz-Brown
    February 24, 2016 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love Soren AND I had to vote for Sojourner. The wicked luck of the draw. A tough match up.

    I support Sojourner because we need her model and example today. She stood fiercely for the dignity of people who have been beaten down. May her story soak into our world today

  78. Tammie's Gravatar Tammie
    February 24, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Despite my admiration and awe of the amazing prophet and saint, Sojourner Truth, I knew I would vote for Soren today. Because Kierkegaard’s work has such a profound influence on today’s clergy and theology-minded laity, Soren is without question deserving of a win today. I know I’m championing the underdog, so I’ll add one of my favorite Kierkegaard quotes
    “The proud person always wants to do the right thing, the great thing. But because he wants to do it in his own strength, he is fighting not with man, but with God.”
    So search your heart, determine your motivation and vote accordingly – both saints would approve.

  79. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    February 24, 2016 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for Sojourner Truth, although I really appreciate the points about Kierkegaard’s work being important BECAUSE it came from the point of wealth and privilege.

    • Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
      February 24, 2016 - 11:16 am | Permalink

      …as do most of us.. I have nothing in common with a brave but desperate ex-slave. Søren reminds me that I have a choice.
      I can sloth in front of cable and criticize the 1% .. or I can embrace the solution.

  80. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    February 24, 2016 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    With all respect to Soren, this was a no brainer. Sojourner was a fighter for justice, a survivor, an inspiration, a mother, a strong woman. I had to go with her. She is a light to us all.

  81. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    February 24, 2016 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Well, as admirable as Truth’s life and work were (as testified by the fact that she’s creaming Soren), I’m going with the existentialist philosopher–“fear and trembling,” “leap of faith,” “profound sense of melancholy,” “antagonistic relationship with the Church”–my kinda guy.

  82. Marjorie Menaul's Gravatar Marjorie Menaul
    February 24, 2016 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    Wish I could vote for both, but since I can’t . . . Sojourner’s bio said she had one mystical experience, but I see nothing about her ongoing work being rooted in her life of faith. And she’s sure to win anyway – so many of us (me included) are inclined to vote for the people who accomplished things. So I’ll choose Kierkegaard this time.

    • beth's Gravatar beth
      February 24, 2016 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      you raise an interesting point, marjorie, about voting for people who do tangible things. one of the things i was thinking about in today’s matchup is – what makes someone a saint? what do we reward – the thinking, the doing, or the experiencing?

  83. John's Gravatar John
    February 24, 2016 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    Kierkegaard hasn’t a chance.

    • Karen's Gravatar Karen
      February 24, 2016 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Kierlegaard is the author of one of my favorite quotes, “I am so misunderstood that people don’t understand when I complain of being misunderstood.” I think we have all felt like that upon occasion.

      Sadly, I think you’re right – Soren will probably be trounced.

  84. Judi Putnam's Gravatar Judi Putnam
    February 24, 2016 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    I had a difficult task today. My role in life is to be a good example for those who I come upon in life. But Sojourner is such an example for the world as we battle the scourge of trafficking, battle enslavement, fight against prejudices, that I didn’t have any choice.

  85. Curt VanAllen's Gravatar Curt VanAllen
    February 24, 2016 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    . . . and the Truth shall set you free. My vote goes to Sojourner Truth.

  86. Marilyn D's Gravatar Marilyn D
    February 24, 2016 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    This was hard but in the end I had to vote for a woman who had the courage to buck the system. And on top of everything, she was black! What a strong constitution she had!

  87. February 24, 2016 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    We underestimate how much God uses serious thinkers to change our world. Soren’s focus on the leap of faith changed my life, via Will James picking up on that theme in his “The Will to Believe”, stopping my endless speculation at a moment in my life to say, OK.. this way or that… and live on it.
    He may not win the vote today… but his basic philosophical approach to faith changed my life and those of countless others…so God bless him

  88. Karin Rosner's Gravatar Karin Rosner
    February 24, 2016 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    I am in awe of Sojourner Truth, but I understand her. However, I spent many college nights wrestling with Søren, even throwing his books against my dorm room walls in frustration when I had to write those danged weekly papers for my Ethics and Morals prof … so… I voted for Søren.

  89. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    February 24, 2016 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    I was surprised and delighted to see Sorjourner Truth here! I learned about her in my History of American Women class years ago. She automatically got my vote in this match up because of her activism was in such a meaningful way, by helping people survive and thrive. I am reminded of the saying, “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good”. Not to say Kierkegaard was no earthly good, but Sorjourner’s work and commitment was as earthly as any saint could get. She’s one of my heroes.

  90. Liz Parmalee's Gravatar Liz Parmalee
    February 24, 2016 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    This was the most difficult choice I’ve had to make in Lenten Madness!! I went with Kierkegaard. He touched my heart in his ability to reach out to everyone.

    • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
      February 24, 2016 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you, Liz, both for your choice and for your reasons. What a tough match up!

  91. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 24, 2016 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    Soren K supposedly had problems proving faith and love as if it could be determined using a standardized test. Sojourner had no such problems. Her faith enabled her to deal with the worst cruelties to her yet she was never embittered. Being illiterate didn’t stop her from dictating her autobiography and selling it to pay off debts. She literally made the authorities, mostly male, acknowledge and respect her…”…and ain’ I a woman?” Whole lotta faith and much, much love. Good blogging today!

  92. Bill Pyatt's Gravatar Bill Pyatt
    February 24, 2016 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Hard choice. Back and forth on great issues. Finally chose Sojourner Truth, for the personal risks she made for others safety and well being. But now I’m worn out!

  93. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 24, 2016 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Kierkegaard’s example of living by leaps of faith and acts of love is powerful; it spoke to me during a late adolescent/early adult crisis that had left me in fear and trembling, literally hiding in dark corners of my physical surroundings. Sojourner truth’s perception of what the love of Christ impels us to do, and the example of her life in living that truth during her earthy sojourn, are things I must honor. She has my vote as one who was ahead of her time in perceiving what we are called to do, so far ahead of her time but ahead of ours also. She has my vote!!

  94. Karen H.'s Gravatar Karen H.
    February 24, 2016 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Her compelling story had me ready to vote for Sojourner Truth, but after reading about Kierkegaard’s theology of “leaping into faith” and his dedication to service in this world has nudged me into his camp. They are both saints in my mind.

  95. Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
    February 24, 2016 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

    It quite amazing that pc Christianity want everyone to be color blind and gender neutral.. except when one is a black woman.. then one gets extra credit.

    • Deborah Hays's Gravatar Deborah Hays
      February 24, 2016 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

      I don’t understand your comment. We are asked to chose between two very worthy people both who deserve to be saints. Sojourner was frequently told she was a man which lead to her exposing her breast to the audience to prove she was a woman. I sometimes wonder if being affluent or being poor is more of an obstacle to sainthood. I voted for Sojourner because I know how many times this woman received a physical beat down and kept getting back up and kept going,

      • Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
        February 24, 2016 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

        I agree. This is the best lenten smack down yet! I’m sure brother Søren is rooting for Sojourner and vice versa.

        (Its a game remember.. many of these people are not canonized saints)

        Next year I hope they pit Joan of Arc against John Brown.

      • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
        February 24, 2016 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

        There is no question that these candidates are both fine. However, to put a bit more fine a point on the enigmatic comment, let me ask: how many who voted for Sojourner are also working for discussion of the idea of reparations?

  96. Ruth N's Gravatar Ruth N
    February 24, 2016 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I have a Soren quote on my computer screen “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards” . so going forward, I vote for Soren.

  97. Deborah Hays's Gravatar Deborah Hays
    February 24, 2016 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I will read Kierkegaard and will follow his example but I am voting for Sojourner.

  98. Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
    February 24, 2016 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I cast a pity vote for Søren Kierkegaard – but will be quite happy when Sojourner Truth gets to the next round.

    (“Fear and Trembling” is an amazing book, though….)

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      February 24, 2016 - 10:20 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that Kierkegaard needs your pity.

  99. Tim Seitz-Brown's Gravatar Tim Seitz-Brown
    February 24, 2016 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Sojourner Truth speech here!

    • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
      February 24, 2016 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

      In all fairness, those are not her words. They were recorded twelve years later by another individual.

      But, just as the text of scripture often was merely what was written by others way after the fact, the words put down may be fit for eternity.

      Use of a search engine will reveal the best recorded version of Sojourner’s actual words; judge which is better.

  100. Nancy Oliver's Gravatar Nancy Oliver
    February 24, 2016 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Good job Megan Castellon, I knew she was involved in resisting and fighting to end slavery. Her efforts to see woman as equal, and working for prison reform was new information for me and helpful.

  101. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    February 24, 2016 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Today I vote fore the prophet that survived – so far ahead of her time that we are still trying to catch up with her.

  102. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    February 24, 2016 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Admirable as it is to seek out and speak to the poor, and valuable as his writing is, I wonder what Kierkegaard did to challenge the systems that keep people in poverty. I hope my vote went to Sojouner Truth, but voting on a handheld I am not sure it registered, and I wouldn’t want to try again and risk inadvertently cheating.

  103. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    February 24, 2016 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I was torn over this one: Kierkegaard, the Lutheran, and the author of one of my favorite quotes, “Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards.” Or Sojourner Truth, a champion for some of my most important causes — abolition of slavery and its offspring discrimination, an end to the death penalty, equal rights for all, reform of our prisons and criminal justice system …. In the end, I had to go with Sojourner Truth as a champion of those causes!

  104. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    February 24, 2016 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Sojourner is awesome and I will in no way be disappointed if she wins. However, I cast my vote for Soren because the ability of the comfortably middle/upper class and well educated individual to reach out to and relate to the poor is incredibly heroic in my book and one for which our current age is sadly lacking in good role models. Also, I can relate to his internal struggles over the place of organized religion in society.

  105. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    February 24, 2016 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

    It was easy to vote for Sojourner, but this choice was one of the hardest so far. A fighter for blacks vs a man who under love and showed it to those who needed it most. I agree strongly with Soren and his belief of the church and its doctrine on faith.
    Who can deny this? Who would not have loved to be there to join him?
    Kierkegaard calls us to the joy of love active in the world. Rather than contemplating the world as we might like it to be, the work and life of Kierkegaard call us out to walk the streets and experience the world as it is—in all of its trouble, sadness, and joy.

  106. Terry's Gravatar Terry
    February 24, 2016 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Very little competition for Sojourner all the way to the final 4.

  107. Joyce in Georgia's Gravatar Joyce in Georgia
    February 24, 2016 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Pitting these two against each other was hard on us Danes. I just had to go with Soren – my father’s ancestors, the Clasens, and my maternal great grandfather, Gerhard Gommesen, were Danes, and I can’t pass up this brilliant scholar who was a friend to all he met. I go with the melancholy Dane.

  108. Mark G's Gravatar Mark G
    February 24, 2016 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Kierkegaard’s famous quote would be significantly more persuasive if it had come from the pen of someone else.

  109. Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
    February 24, 2016 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    “Deeds! Not words!”

    Back in the day, before there were the many varied gospel accounts, there was scripture. Long before Paul wrote his first letter, there was scripture. Before that enigmatic figure who is almost as difficult to find historically as David and Arthur, there was scripture.

    That scripture was Law, Prophets, and Writings. It was not deeds; it was words. Ideas! Fit to turn the world upside down (or, as one might say, “set it right again”). Without those words, there would not have been any followers of Christ, for, from the beginning, they focused on those words, and so highly did they value those words that whenever they recorded anything, they always pointed out how it all goes back to those words. Also, some of the most important words of the newer scripture are patterned on words of that older scripture. They quoted those older words as if to say, “See, we stand on broad shoulders!”

    “The Word became flesh,” but had there not been those words to begin with, John never would have made that famous observation.

    “It’s only words, but words are all I have to take your heart away.” — the Bee Gees

    Deeds are important, but without the words first, those deeds are often empty and tragically mistaken.

    So it is easy to forget this and just vote for the person of deeds, forgetting how important — yea, indispensable — those words are for guiding the deeds.

    Thank God that we can say that both of Her servants, Søren and Sojourner, walked this earth.

  110. Grace's Gravatar Grace
    February 24, 2016 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    “Kierkegaard calls us to the joy of love active in the world.” I love this because it’s almost a personal mission statement. I still voted for Sojourner, but it wasn’t a very fair match-up! Poor Soren.

  111. DonnaK's Gravatar DonnaK
    February 24, 2016 - 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Oh, boy. Being a “good” Lutheran, I am compelled to vote for Soren. We have been talking a lot about ministry to our neighbors, which is what Soren advocated. But, then there’s Sojourner. How can choose one over the other? Maybe I’ll sit this one out.

  112. Bob Faser's Gravatar Bob Faser
    February 24, 2016 - 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Sojourner Truth chiefly because of her own struggles, accomplishments, and commitments.

    As well, though, as a pastor, I’ve frequently seen the damage to the Church (in the widest theological sense of the word) caused by people who unreasonably condemned their churches (both institutions and local worshipping congregations) because (being made up of flawed and fallible human beings) they couldn’t achieve an impossible perfection.

    I’ve seen enough of that attitude in what I’ve read of (and about) Kierkegaard to choose not to vote for him.

    • Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
      February 24, 2016 - 3:42 pm | Permalink

      “Unreasonable” is in the eye of the beholder Pastoer. As a Ronan Catholic I’d like to see all these grand buildings sold for the theatres that they are. imo..Holy Mass should be said in a barn.. after all, if it was good enough for baby Yeshua.. right?

  113. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    February 24, 2016 - 3:53 pm | Permalink

    “…the work and life of Kierkegaard call us out to walk the streets and experience the world as it is….” Yes. I cast my vote for Søren.

  114. Joyce H. Scholes's Gravatar Joyce H. Scholes
    February 24, 2016 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Sojourner Truth because was a person of
    action. She acted upon what she believed.

    However, I feel people like Kierkegarrd are much
    needed also. Those who think gives us vision! Joyce Scholes

  115. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    February 24, 2016 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I think sojourner truth is going to win the golden halo

    • Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
      February 24, 2016 - 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Now, now.. the Devils Advocate is just getting warmed up here. There is NO WAY that the venerable Sojourner Truth is going to take down the likes of Joseph. Not if I can help it.

    • Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
      February 24, 2016 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

      I say Joseph

  116. Shannon's Gravatar Shannon
    February 24, 2016 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Both of these members of the Jesus Movement went into Galilee and did the work of God in the world. May we strive to be like either or both of them as we mature in our Christianity.

  117. Stewart's Gravatar Stewart
    February 24, 2016 - 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Afflict the comfortable, Comfort the afflicted. Being far too comfortable myself I need both Sojourner and Soren but today the nod goes to Sojourner.

  118. sarah- 15 years old's Gravatar sarah- 15 years old
    February 24, 2016 - 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Truth because she fought to get her son back, even though it was really dangerous.

  119. Kimberly B's Gravatar Kimberly B
    February 24, 2016 - 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Truth because she was a great woman and role model for all women of color or no color. She fought for her children, and women’s rights when there were none.
    If I could vote twice, however, I would vote for both, but alas . . .
    I love reading Oliver and the other young people’s comments, out of the mouths of Babes

  120. Brenda J's Gravatar Brenda J
    February 24, 2016 - 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Kierkegaard gets my vote. A tough decision. Truth was an amazing woman of faith who accomplished miraculous spiritual and earthly tasks. Kierkegaard’s philosophy is still studied and pondered. I love that he wants us to “be” in this wonderful and messy world that God created.

  121. Janene Gorham's Gravatar Janene Gorham
    February 24, 2016 - 6:36 pm | Permalink

    I like the action Saints who risk their lives to stand up for what is right. It is very difficult to choose between two very different people from such different cultures. Both had their purpose in God’s plan.
    Next year you should pair up the Saints by culture, sex, century. That way one would have to really weigh the acts that were done on a more even basis. Since we know little about the older Saints, it is easy to just vote the the one who fits into our definition of culture.

    • Kristi's Gravatar Kristi
      February 24, 2016 - 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Janene Gorham, I assume you mean by gender rather than sex? Gender being the differentiation between make and female.
      I chose Soren bc we all need to be reminded to go out in the world and be present to what is, not what we wish to see.

  122. Laureli's Gravatar Laureli
    February 24, 2016 - 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Wow this is another oddly matched pair. I went with sojourner because of how she began and fought for what was right for all people. This is not to say kiekegaard didn’t perhaps do what he felt was important in his area. The two just don’t compare for me.

  123. Heather D. Sanderson's Gravatar Heather D. Sanderson
    February 24, 2016 - 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice, really. I go with Truth because not only did she fight hard to get her son back, but she fought for freedom and equality, not just for slaves, but for women, too. We often forget that women did not have the rights that they do today, such as the right to vote. Truth was brave on every front.

    Soren’s out look and philosophy reminds me of the saying, “Bloom where you are planted.”

  124. Alan Medsker's Gravatar Alan Medsker
    February 24, 2016 - 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Having just watched “12 years a slave” and “The butler” in one weekend, I had to go with Sojourner Truth…

  125. Donnel's Gravatar Donnel
    February 24, 2016 - 8:31 pm | Permalink

    I felt like the two were a mismatch. Kierkegaard’s philosophical work is amazing, but in terms of doing work (transformation through action, risking for justice), Sojourner Truth is the grandmaster black belt.

  126. Carole's Gravatar Carole
    February 24, 2016 - 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never commented before (that I can remember anyway — and at my age, the memory is often short!) but I fell compelled with this difficult decision. I’ve always admired Sojourner’s commitment to social justice and equal rights and was all set to vite for her. But something about Soren’s life transcended his philosophical contribution that won my vite — and my heart. For no matter the words, he acted and live love. And in today’s culture, it is my belief that we are too often long on rhetoric and rules and even ritual and too short on AGAPE.

  127. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    February 24, 2016 - 9:12 pm | Permalink

    The first spiritual director and priest I had whrn I became an Episcopalian was (and still is) Danish. I’d like to think that some of my spiritual legacy came through Soren Kierkegaard. I learned a little about being Danish and a lot about God through my friends ministry.I am also a person who deals with my own bouts of melancholy and have worked many years as a case manager in homeless services, so Mr Kierkegaard feels like a kindred spirit. So in homage to him and in thanks to my friend he’s got my vote. Thank you JAO as well.

  128. February 24, 2016 - 9:48 pm | Permalink

    The SEC is hilarious ! I don’t want Lent to end !

  129. Histrogeek's Gravatar Histrogeek
    February 24, 2016 - 9:57 pm | Permalink

    It guts me to have chose. Soren is one of a tiny handful of theologians I admire but compared to the raw faith and power of Sojourner I have to chose her

  130. Valinteana (10)'s Gravatar Valinteana (10)
    February 24, 2016 - 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Kierkegaard because of how he shown the world that it is fine to leeve the world as it is and not to destroy it just to fit your mater and not its 🙂

  131. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 24, 2016 - 10:52 pm | Permalink

    I found Truth’s life irresistibly compelling and voted for her, though I greatly admire Kierkegaard as well. I’m puzzled, though, by the absence from his bio of anything — even the word “write” — that would tell the reader that he’s best known for his philosophical and theological works. The information the biographer does give us is impressive and even endearing but makes a strangely two-dimensional depiction without mention of those.

  132. Fr. Bill Loring's Gravatar Fr. Bill Loring
    February 25, 2016 - 12:24 am | Permalink

    Not being PC, and not strongly disposed either way, I was about vote for the dead white guy, but after reading the blogs I was really struck by Sojourner’s real accomplishements — she got my enthusiastic vote!

  133. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    February 25, 2016 - 12:40 am | Permalink

    Truth. Because of her courage and her earthly sojourn. I was also moved by the Collect.

  134. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    February 25, 2016 - 7:24 am | Permalink

    Ahhhhh! So happy to be back in sync with Oliver!

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