Absalom Jones vs. Joseph

The Saintly Sixteen continues with Absalom Jones taking on Joseph. In the first round, Jones defeated Matthias by the largest margin of Lent Madness 2016, 82% to 18% while Absalom Jones swept past Christina Rossetti by the second largest margin, 79% to 21%. Will this be a harbinger of a tightly contested race? Only time and your (single) vote will tell.

And, yes, the Supreme Executive Committee already knows this matchup is “not fair.” But of course, that’s the whole point of Lent Madness — it’s not about who wins, but about how much you learn and are inspired by these incredible holy men and women who have come before us in the faith. We assure you none of these saintly souls care one iota about winning the Golden Halo — they’ve already won their crown of righteousness by virtue of their faithfulness. (Well, maybe they care just a little — it affords them some pretty sweet heavenly street cred). The real “winners?” Everyone who takes the time to read, learn, and be inspired along this Lenten journey.

Yesterday, in the first matchup of the Saintly Sixteen, Constance defeated Helena 69% to 31%. She’ll go on to face the winner of Clare vs. Vida Dutton Scudder in the Elate Eight. Today is the last battle of the week but fear not! We’ll be back bright and early Monday morning as Methodius takes on Albert Schweitzer in the Lent Dome.

Absalom Jones

Did you know…

In the mid-to-late 1700s, slaves living in Pennsylvania were allowed to marry and to learn how to write and read. Jones worked at night for many years to buy his freedom, but first he bought his wife’s. The reason? Their children would then be born free.

In Philadelphia, there is a chapel and a memorial window named for Absalom Jones. His ashes have been enshrined in the altar of the chapel.

When yellow fever struck Philadelphia in the 1790s, Absalom Jones assisted Dr. Benjamin Rush in treating people afflicted by the plague: blacks were initially thought to be immune, and many whites simply fled the city (including most doctors except for Rush and his assistants, some of whom died). Jones and other black Philadelphians helped nurse the sick and bury the dead. Jones in particular sometimes worked through the night.

One of Jones’s favorite biblical quotations was Galatians 5:1: “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

A renowned preacher, it’s best to let Absalom Jones speak for himself:

“Our God has seen masters and mistresses, educated in fashionable life, sometimes take the instruments of torture into their own hands, and, deaf to the cries and shrieks of their agonizing slaves, exceed even their overseers in cruelty. Inhuman wretches! Though you have been deaf to their cries and shrieks, they have been heard in Heaven. The ears of Jehovah have been constantly open to them: He has heard the prayers that have ascended from the hearts of his people; and he has, as in the case of his ancient and chosen people the Jews, come down to deliver our suffering countrymen from the hands of their oppressors” (“A Thanksgiving Sermon,” January 1, 1808)

“Let the first of January, the day of the abolition of the slave trade in our country, be set apart in every year, as a day of public thanksgiving for that mercy. Let the history of the sufferings of our brethren, and of their deliverance, descend by this means to our children, to the remotest generations; and when they shall ask, in time to come, saying, What mean the lessons, the psalms, the prayers and the praises in the worship of this day? Let us answer them, by saying, the Lord, on the day of which this is the anniversary, abolished the trade which dragged your fathers from their native country, and sold them as bondmen in the United States of America (“A Thanksgiving Sermon”).

— Hugo Olaiz


unnamed-3The canonical Gospels offer very few details about Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. His mentions are limited almost entirely to the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke. It is speculated that Joseph must have died in Jesus’ childhood. Matthew presents him as a particularly righteous man, obeying God faithfully and often doing exactly what God commands word for word. And it is no small thing what Joseph was asked to do.

The earliest non-canonical stories about Joseph (found in the Proto-Gospel of James and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas—both of which are delightful, quick reads) help us understand the enormity of the task and give us a glimpse of his character.

In the Proto-Gospel of James, Joseph enters the story as an old man, widowed with his own children (according to another ancient source, Joseph is 90 with four sons and two daughters). Mary is 12 and living in the Temple. The Temple authorities need someone to look after her. Joseph is chosen by means of a divine sign—a dove emerges out of his rod and lands on his head. Joseph is initially reluctant to take on the task, citing his old age and his own children that require his care and attention. He is ultimately convinced by the priests and takes Mary into his home.

Sometime later, when Mary is found with child, Joseph expresses guilt over having failed in his responsibility to watch over her. He and Mary are brought to trial in the Temple and given a sort of truth serum, the “water of refutation.” They drink the water, no sin is revealed, and they are sent on their way. These fantastic stories remind us of the social stigma that both Joseph and Mary bore and the great sacrifices they made to serve God faithfully.

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas imagines what it must’ve been like to raise the child-God Jesus. In summary, not easy. The boy Jesus is about what you’d expect if you gave any random three-year-old total power. Jesus kills kids who bump into him, makes mute (and nearly dead?) teachers that cross him, and generally terrorizes Nazareth. At one point, Joseph, exasperated, implores Mary, “Do not let him out the door, for those who anger him die.” When a teacher expresses interest in teaching the young boy, Joseph simply replies, “If you’re that courageous, brother, take him along with you.”

But Jesus is not a terror for the whole story. He grows and matures and becomes more like the Jesus we are familiar with in the Gospels. And it is under Joseph’s steady and faithful guidance that Jesus learns how to live in harmony and to contribute to the welfare of the community.

— David Creech

Absalom Jones vs. Joseph

  • Absalom Jones (52%, 3,313 Votes)
  • Joseph (48%, 3,094 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,407

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Joseph: Painting by Reni via Wikiart.
Jones: Icon – unknown artist.

168 Comments to "Absalom Jones vs. Joseph"

  1. Oliver--eight years old's Gravatar Oliver--eight years old
    March 4, 2016 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    I vote for Joseph because the picture looks cute.

    • tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
      March 4, 2016 - 10:12 am | Permalink

      Oliver, you bring a smile to my face every day. I love your thoughts.

    • March 4, 2016 - 11:49 am | Permalink

      I really like your replies, Oliver! I think the picture of Joseph & Jesus is cute too!

    • Joyce Rush's Gravatar Joyce Rush
      March 4, 2016 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

      This time I voted for Absalom for his anti slavery work as well as help during the yellow fever outbreak.

      I agree though that the picture of Joseph is “sweet.”

    • Beverly's Gravatar Beverly
      March 4, 2016 - 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Oliver, I do enjoy your reasons for voting, and generally agree with you, as I do today. It is the picture that swayed my vote, too. There are thousands upon thousands of pictures of Mary and Jesus, but never have I seen one of Joseph holding the Babe. Fathers today certainly delight in holding their wee ones. This honors them all and helps us to realize that Joseph was more than a shadow in the background.

  2. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 4, 2016 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I agree with Oliver that the picture looks cute, and I agree with voting for Joseph. It’s all in that look, that gentle cradling, that loving amazement.

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 4, 2016 - 8:50 am | Permalink

      • Joy's Gravatar Joy
        March 4, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

        Love this! Thanks Peg S

      • Donna's Gravatar Donna
        March 4, 2016 - 9:44 am | Permalink

        Thanks for posting this. How did you get the YouTube screen to appear and not just the url?

        • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
          March 4, 2016 - 9:49 am | Permalink

          Donna, I have no idea. I’ve posted links before and this is the first one to come up like this. Must be the Lent Madness coffee mug next to my computer.

          • Donna's Gravatar Donna
            March 4, 2016 - 9:55 am | Permalink

            Cute! That must be the difference!
            In case you missed my post (because there is not photo!)–there is a beautiful, five-minute YouTube called “Joseph” filmed by friends last December and sent as a Christmas gift. It tells the Nativity story in modern times with tenderness and compassion. The video and song illuminates Joseph’s confusion and fear, yet steadfastness. It has re-kindled my appreciation for St. Joseph. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W4o2visAKZ0

      • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
        March 4, 2016 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Peg S, for this song which has touched my heart this morning.

      • Lynn baker's Gravatar Lynn baker
        March 5, 2016 - 2:07 am | Permalink

        This is heart-rending. My children are close to losing their father, my husband. So in honor of all fathers who stuck around, my vote goes to Joseph.

        • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
          March 5, 2016 - 6:35 am | Permalink

          Lynn, praying for your family

  3. Sue D's Gravatar Sue D
    March 4, 2016 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Interesting stories today. I did not know Mary was only 12 when she had Jesus. I did not know Jesus was such a tyrant when he was young! I voted for Joseph.

    • Mother Ellen Brauza's Gravatar Mother Ellen Brauza
      March 4, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

      I voted for Joseph, who generally gets short shrift even at Christmas. But be extremely wary of the stories in the “Infancy Gospel of Thomas.” There are strong, strong reasons why that material is *not* in the Bible!

      • Laura B's Gravatar Laura B
        March 4, 2016 - 9:00 am | Permalink

        I agree. I can’t imagine that the Messiah, who was without sin, would have committed murder even as a child. But I do yearn for more stories of Jesus as a child.
        My vote also goes to Joseph. He is the patron saint of adoptive children, expectant families, and families in general. A treasured souvenir from my senior class trip to St Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC is a St Joseph medal.

      • Deacon Carol's Gravatar Deacon Carol
        March 4, 2016 - 3:42 pm | Permalink

        I would like to vote for them both! I went with Joseph probably because I have worked with pregnant, unmarried teens and have huge respect for fathers who stick with them.

    • Marie Cantrell's Gravatar Marie Cantrell
      March 4, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

      Remember that those stories are legends. We don’t know Mary’s age–except that girls were betrothed young. And we know nothing at all about Jesus’ childhood.

      • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
        March 4, 2016 - 11:14 am | Permalink

        I agree.
        The proof is in the puddin.
        I voted for Absalom❤️

    • Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
      March 4, 2016 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      I agree, Ladies. Today’s vote is easy peasy. St. Joseph. I am familiar with the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. It is a delightful, quick and informative read. And yes, young Jesus was quite the prankster!

  4. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    March 4, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I have much regard for all the saints but Joseph is my vote for Golden Halo. He is such a great role model for our society where 50% of our children are raised by step parents. His caring and protecting of Mary and Jesus is amazing. His helping to raise a child who presented many challenges is phenomenal. His since of community helped Jesus grow.

    • Christine ruggieri's Gravatar Christine ruggieri
      March 4, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

      Wee said. There is a painting in the Greek church of the assumption in Israel of Joseph with Jesus. In which the loving Daddy is shown.

    • Laura B's Gravatar Laura B
      March 4, 2016 - 9:00 am | Permalink

      Hear, hear! Well said.

  5. Christine ruggieri's Gravatar Christine ruggieri
    March 4, 2016 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    How can I not vote for the loving Daddy to my Lord.

  6. Christie's Gravatar Christie
    March 4, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    I was about to vote for Absalom, then I read Joseph. But then I read about Joseph. I teach Middle School. Talk about three year olds with total power. But Joseph gives me hope. With loving guidance perhaps these children will grow up to be contributing, compassionate members of their community.

  7. Thomas van Brunt's Gravatar Thomas van Brunt
    March 4, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    N.B. “Enormity” does not mean huge. It means enormous evil.
    Tom Van Brunt, Hamlet, OhioThomas Van Brunt

    • Bugtussle's Gravatar Bugtussle
      March 4, 2016 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      Thank you. I was going to point out the same thing.

    • Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
      March 4, 2016 - 9:44 pm | Permalink

      Actually, both the Merriam Webster dictionary AND the Oxford English dictionary give a definition of enormity in a neutral sense of something being immensely huge as in “The enormity of the universe is difficult to describe.” They also give the definition of enormous evil. Both dictionaries catalog usage and though go to experts — writers, and others who use the English language professionally — to decide on what is legitimate usage!

  8. Elizabeth Massey's Gravatar Elizabeth Massey
    March 4, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    I have always felt love for Joseph; I wish the gospel and letter writers in the New Testament had showed greater interest in this fascinating and, to us, mysterious man without whom we would not have had the Jesus we believe in. This year, for the first time, I’ve been seeing paintings of Joseph and the infant Jesus which depict his tenderness, protection, and father model role – the first father Jesus would know. These paintings move me as much as any photograph of my own late father. I feel Joseph’s time for honor has come.

  9. Gloria Ishida's Gravatar Gloria Ishida
    March 4, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    I didn’t vote for Joseph only because I think the Infancy Gospel of Thomas got it all wrong. joseph looks like an old wimp. If he had been portrayed as the man I think he was, he would definitely got my vote.

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      March 4, 2016 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

      I vote for the man I think he is;regardless of anyone’s portrayal. I can’t think why anyone would do otherwise. St. Joseph, for all the right reasons.

  10. Michael's Gravatar Michael
    March 4, 2016 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph. Not a easy decision given Absalom’s saintly efforts. For me, Joseph represents the perfect “dad;” courageous, loving and compassionate to all. A caring and totally devoted husband as well.
    Oliver, I slso agree that the painting speaks to my heart as an image of a loving father.

  11. Michael's Gravatar Michael
    March 4, 2016 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph. Not a easy decision given Absalom’s saintly efforts. For me, Joseph represents the perfect “dad;” courageous, loving and compassionate to all. A caring and totally devoted husband as well.
    Oliver, I also agree that the painting speaks to my heart as an image of a loving father.

  12. Susie Webster-Toleno's Gravatar Susie Webster-Toleno
    March 4, 2016 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    While I love Joseph as step-dad to Jesus, follower of dream messages, and patron saint of laborers, I cast my vote for Absalom Jones. His decision to see that his wife was freed first so that their future children would be born free was a piece of my decision (something I suspect Joseph would admire, as a courageous parent himself). I was also inspired by AJ’s work with the sick and his preaching.

  13. AnchorageABC's Gravatar AnchorageABC
    March 4, 2016 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    I did not vote for Christ’s stepdad. What Joseph did was amazing, but Absalom Jones inspires me to think and do for others. Like Joseph, AJ sacrificed for his family. His care of the sick during the yellow fever epidemic inspires one to care for others.

  14. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    March 4, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    So not fair. This could be the final, not the second-round tie. NAUGHTY bracket engineers.

    Voted for both of these before, want to vote for both of these now. Joseph narrowly squeaks it through patience in parenting, and adoration in adoption – raising a deviant with a pre-teen mum he did an excellent job.

  15. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 4, 2016 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    I think these stories about Jesus as a child are that, just stories. I do not think Jesus was anything like us humans as a child. He was born without sin.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 4, 2016 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

      But Jesus wasn’t merely LIKE us humans, he WAS human. The Infancy Gospel could be seen as one attempt to imagine an answer to the question, “How could he take our human nature upon him without being a brat?” Come to think of it, the account of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple could be viewed as a way to avoid having to ask the same question about his teenage years by establishing that at that point his Sonship was already fully manifest.

      It would be interesting to apply what we objectively know about the normal development of a moral sense in children to the case of Jesus, possibly allowing for quite a bit of naughty yet sinless behavior.

  16. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 4, 2016 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    I wanted to vote for Absalom, but have always had a soft spot in my heart for Joseph. He represents humility to me, a quality much disparaged in our culture, but which we sorely need more of.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      March 4, 2016 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

      I appreciate your comment about humility.

  17. Amy Jane's Gravatar Amy Jane
    March 4, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones exemplified loving fatherhood when he bought his wife’s freedom first so his children could be born free. That sacrificial impulse put into action speaks volumes of living in God’s abundant love through all of my life’s events.

    • Pat watson's Gravatar Pat watson
      March 4, 2016 - 8:57 pm | Permalink

      AJ and J are equally inspirational fathers but AJ needs more press. The Golden halo would do it.

  18. March 4, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Not sure if my vote went through! I pushed the button for Absalom Jones but it didn’t seem to go through. I tried again and still didn’t seem to go because usually it shows the results.
    Wasn’t trying to vote more than once!

    • March 4, 2016 - 9:55 am | Permalink

      If you are using a tablet or phone, keep trying until it won’t let you anymore. It did that to me a couple days ago; th server was too busy to count the vote. If it doesn’t show the results, it hasn’t been counted.

  19. Gail Davis's Gravatar Gail Davis
    March 4, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    A tough choice. But Joseph got my vote. Acceptance of Mary and adoption of the Babe won out. Plus, My first ordination was on Joseph”s feast day.

    • Mary Robert's Gravatar Mary Robert
      March 4, 2016 - 8:55 am | Permalink

      My ordination to the priesthood was on St. Joseph’s Day. Happy upcoming anniversary to you, Gail Davis!

  20. Robert Corey's Gravatar Robert Corey
    March 4, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    In discussing Constance yesterday, I recalled reading another bracket saint who nursed people during yellow fever. Couldn’t recall who. It was Jones! Whereas, when Jesus caught a cold, I’m sure Joseph handed him over to Mary to be nursed.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 4, 2016 - 9:35 am | Permalink

      How can you say that? I can well imagine Mary frequently having to tell Joseph “Let me take care of Him.”

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 4, 2016 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

        So here we are again, Charlie, awash in myth. I like your addition.

        • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
          March 4, 2016 - 4:31 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, Davis!

          • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
            March 4, 2016 - 6:47 pm | Permalink

            Oops, sorry, Harlie not Charlie.

  21. Linda McGee's Gravatar Linda McGee
    March 4, 2016 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph. His faith & compassion was great. He quietly took care of Mary & Jesus. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for him because he listened to the angel & took Mary as his wife, instead of quietly putting her away. He raised Jesus as his son & taught him to be a carpenter.

  22. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 4, 2016 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    As much as I respect Absalom, my dad’s name was Joseph, and the real “old Joe” needs resurrecting in our faith, even though it’s nearly all legend. But since so much of the other saint’s lives and stories are the stuff legends are made of, let’s give him a chance!

  23. Yoga Heidi's Gravatar Yoga Heidi
    March 4, 2016 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Real vs Legend. This was a terrible choice to make. I went with the free-born children and voted for A.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 4, 2016 - 10:21 am | Permalink

      Since when did Joseph become a “Legend”? I’ve never read anything that even suggests that he isn’t real or that his story isn’t real.

  24. March 4, 2016 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    I voted for Absalom. A wonderful, visionary parishioner–now gone from this earth–made it her mission to have a window memorializing him installed in our parish hall so that we could all know about this saint. A scholarship fund has been set up in Abasalom’s name and to honor the memories of Ellen Washington and another parish leader, Jim Whitney.

  25. March 4, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Here’s the link for the Proto-Gospel (the Protevangelium) http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/infancyjames-hock.html. It is a work every Christian should read at least once as it is sooo important for Christian art, especially in the Orthodox world. Also in many ways it’s a hoot. Actually Joseph isn’t “convinced,” the high priest threatens him with a damning biblical story and he reluctantly agrees.

    • David's Gravatar David
      March 4, 2016 - 10:27 am | Permalink


  26. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 4, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Tough choice since I voted for each of them originally…but went with Joseph because he was an early unsung hero.

  27. Dawn Ramstad's Gravatar Dawn Ramstad
    March 4, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    That was the toughest match up for me personally to date. I chose Joseph because I appreciate that put kindness over justice in choosing to marry Mary and adopt Jesus. I plan to learn more about Abs aloe Jones.

  28. Dutton Morehouse's Gravatar Dutton Morehouse
    March 4, 2016 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Abslalom Jones all the way. His active role in working for the betterment of African-Americans is a great example for our own time.

  29. Lynne Slater's Gravatar Lynne Slater
    March 4, 2016 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    I voted for Absalom Jones. He risked his own freedom for that of his wife and children. That’s love. Not to mention caring for people with yellow fever. We know the stories about Jones reveal a compassionate and courageous man. Ok so I’m serious. Though entertaining, the.Infancy Gospel of Thomas was omitted from the canon for a reason. It has the feel of a slightly slewed Once and Future King — in Thomas Arthur/Jesus has the magical powers; Joseph/Merlin is a bit in awe and tames rather than teaches.

  30. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    March 4, 2016 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I feel sure Absalom will go on but felt I had to vote for Joseph in honor of all the men who rasie other people’s children and those who quietly do what God asks-Absalom being one of them.

  31. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    March 4, 2016 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Absolom lived his faith, loved his family, served God’s people. The stories about Joseph are just that, stories. We don’t know what he was really like. Go Absolom!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      March 4, 2016 - 11:40 am | Permalink

      “The stories about Joseph are just that, stories.” I don’t understand. Stories in general are not true? Stories aren’t important? Or do these particular stories sound too fantastic to have any historical basis? How have we decided these stories aren’t true, but the gospels that made it into the canon–which are chock-full of fantastic-sounding, hard-to-believe stories–are “real”?

  32. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 4, 2016 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, poor Joseph. Is this the theological equivalent of resorting to a dodgy dossier? Much as I admire Joseph, I really can’t cast my vote for him today on the basis of the proto gospel of James and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. There are some wonderful poems about Jospeh that might have swayed me. Instead I happily vote for the remarkable Absalom Jones who first bought his wife’s freedom that their children might also be born free. And those words of his, wow.

  33. Derek's Gravatar Derek
    March 4, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    It’s JOseph. Not because of the likely-false stories in two “gospels” the church already rejected as being without inspiration, but rather because:
    1) He was obedient to God, even when God’s command was not easy and did not put him in a good light;
    2) He continued to obey God when it only got tougher (fleeing to Egypt?)
    3) He was compassionate about Mary’s situation, even before the Lord spoke to him. When he could have gotten on a high horse, felt betrayed, ranted, etc., he had compassion on her.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 4, 2016 - 9:45 am | Permalink

      Very well put, Derek.

    • Lucy A's Gravatar Lucy A
      March 4, 2016 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      I agree with you. Without Joseph’s total obedience to God, loving protection of Mary and the young Jesus, and what obviously must have been a good job in the difficult role of step-father, I doubt that we would have Christianity today!

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      March 4, 2016 - 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Derek! And, Lucy, while C.S. Lewis is right that God doesn’t tell us what would have been if we (or in this case, Joseph) had chosen differently, I agree with you that Joseph played a critical role, by obediently serving as Jesus’ earthly father, in the development of Christianity. So, much as I am wowed by Jones, Joseph it is!

  34. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 4, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Regardless of the veracity of some of those proto-gospels, it’s Joseph FTW for me. With due apologies and all respect to Absalom Jones.

  35. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    March 4, 2016 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    So hard today…..Had to go with Joseph….thinking about my Dad.

  36. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 4, 2016 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    “And there is Joseph, the ‘upright man,’ which means one who lovingly and faithfully clings to the Law and the Prophets, the man who left his mark on the Son of God.”
    (Mary Reed Newland, The Saint Book (New York:The Seabury Press, 1979), 54.

  37. Mary Phinney's Gravatar Mary Phinney
    March 4, 2016 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    I agree with Bob: this could be the final contest. Voted for Joseph.

  38. March 4, 2016 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    We need more such inspiring leadership these days-Absalom Jones gets my vote today as an outstandung example of grace-filled strength, humility, persistence, and love for all people. Here’s a story from his life:
    In the fall of 1792, several black leaders were still attending services at St. George’s Methodist Church and had recently helped to expand the church. The black churchgoers were told to sit upstairs in the new gallery. When they mistakenly sat in an area not designated for blacks, they were forcibly removed from the seats they had helped build. According to Allen, “… we all went out of the church in a body, and they were no longer plagued by us.” The following spring, Allen, Jones, and others broke ground for the African Church. However, more funds were needed, and construction could not begin until August, 1793. To celebrate, black leaders held a banquet. First, one hundred white construction workers and two leading white citizens sat down and were served a feast by free blacks. Then the white guests rose and about 50 black people sat down. They were then served by “six of the most respectable of the white company.”
    from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3narr3.html
    Inspirational humility!

    • Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
      March 4, 2016 - 10:12 am | Permalink

      Diane, the Allen mentioned was Richard Allen, who went on to found the AME (African Methodist-Episcopal) Church. Jones went on to become the first African-American priest in the Episcopal Church, and he was added to our calendar of saints about 25 years ago. He is celebrated on February 13th.

  39. Joyce in Georgia's Gravatar Joyce in Georgia
    March 4, 2016 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    This will be a tight vote, so I’m going with my original choice, Absolom, who lived as an inspiration to those who followed. “For Freedom Christ has set us free.” We need his words and dedication now in a world that is torn by racism and hate of the “other.”

  40. Pat's Gravatar Pat
    March 4, 2016 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Tough decision, went with Joseph. He does not get a lot of credit, but today

  41. Jody Gebhardt's Gravatar Jody Gebhardt
    March 4, 2016 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    Having read “Lamb” by Christopher Moore, I know that the young Jesus must have been a handful. Joseph gets my vote for being the oft ignored father figure for Jesus, no easy task.

  42. March 4, 2016 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    I was disappointed with the write-up on Joseph. It seemed to miss the significant decisions he made for the safety of Mary and Joseph. InMatthew’s gospel it’s Joseph who is called up repeatedly to make the tough decisions… to not put Mary away, to stand with his new family… to take them away to Egypt and then to return. The angels speak to him in those moments, and he acts… a model indeed for our response to Gods callings.

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      March 4, 2016 - 7:34 pm | Permalink

      I agree Len. I couldnt believe what I was reading. I would so have loved to see Joseph get the golden halo. Joseph door all the reasons you mention. And not to denigrate anything Absolom did so righteously.

  43. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 4, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    Even though I agree that Joseph gets short shrift in our gospels, I had to vote for Absalom Jones. His struggles with slavery were enormous, and the persecutions he received for no other reason than being black must have been devastating. But he maintained an attitude of love and service and risked his own life to minister during the yellow fever plague. I wish I were half as faithful. That said — Joseph was also so faithful, getting up in the middle of the night to take off for Egypt with no more provisions than what the family had brought for the census trip to Bethlehem, all because of a dream he believed was from God. And the painting with his post today is really nice. Both are saints worthy of the Golden Halo. And I appreciated the SEC’s reminder that they already have their true crown and aren’t really in competition today.

  44. Liz Hunziker's Gravatar Liz Hunziker
    March 4, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    Joseph is the “go-to” Saint for most single women! I claim his Intercession prayers for
    my husband I was married to for 52 years. (He was a saint to put up with me!) However, I voted for Absalom for his devotion to his wife and family and he was faithful to the sick when the others ran off! I admire his faithfulness and loved his sermon!

  45. Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
    March 4, 2016 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Joseph gets my vote, just for not coming down out of heaven and obliterating the people who wrote the two ridiculous Gospels about the Proto Jesus and the infancy of Jesus. 90 years old? Give me a break! He didn’t want to take on a 12-year-old girl because he had his own children to care for? At 90, his children probably were grandparents themselves. I prefer Franco Zeferelli’s version of Joseph. The guy probably had no previous children, because they didn’t come on the trip with him. And probably not even any family to leave Mary with. He took on a task of supreme importance, and deserves our respect.

  46. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    March 4, 2016 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Joseph for the win!
    In case you missed the earlier post–there is a beautiful, five-minute YouTube called “Joseph” filmed by friends last December and sent as a Christmas gift. It tells the Nativity story in modern times with tenderness and compassion. The video and song illuminates Joseph’s confusion and fear, yet steadfastness. It has re-kindled my appreciation for St. Joseph. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W4o2visAKZ0

    • Nancy Mawhinney's Gravatar Nancy Mawhinney
      March 4, 2016 - 11:46 am | Permalink

      Also about Joseph, among the musical plays of composer Hank Beebe (http://www.hankbeebe.com/), in his series based upon Bible stories, is a delightful one about Joseph titled “Foster Father”. This is perfect for adults and children to perform and learn from at their church.

  47. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    March 4, 2016 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Time for Joseph to be honored!

  48. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    March 4, 2016 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    There was a beautiful book illustrated by Maurice Sendak at the end of his life, featuring St. Joseph. It’s part of the Golden Legend- medieval folk tales about the saints. An invading army threatens, so a mother sends her two little children into the forest to hide. St Joseph lovingly takes care of them for what seems like a short time. They re-emerge from the forest just in time to be with their elderly mother on her deathbed. It has a subtext about all the children who are victims of the upheavals of war, and need parenting. Sendak was thinking of Jewish children hidden from the Nazis, perhaps. There are so many refugee children today, sadly, including in our camps for children fleeing strife in Latin America, and in refugee camps in Europe. I bought the book to read to my kids, but couldn’t- it made me cry.

    Although Absolom sacrificed himself for his wife and children, and for Yellow Fever victims, Joseph gets my vote as the archetype of the loving foster parent.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      March 4, 2016 - 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Darn it, I can’t find this, Christine! I looked under Sendak, Joseph, Golden Legend. I’d love to find that, as I collect children’s books and that sounds so wonderful.

  49. Alan Justice's Gravatar Alan Justice
    March 4, 2016 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones, for his compassion and courage against both yellow fever and slavery.

  50. Lynn Bonney's Gravatar Lynn Bonney
    March 4, 2016 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    I cast my vote for Joseph. My mother was widowed when I was an infant and I was raised by a loving stepfather. It’s a difficult role — and one that should be honored.

  51. PastorPaul's Gravatar PastorPaul
    March 4, 2016 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Thank you, SEC, for your reminder of the purpose of Lent Madness–to learn and to be strengthened by the lives of those who have lived faithfully before us.
    Another tough choice, but, after all, it is not a life-and-death (or even money and wagers!) matter. Thank you, SEC, for arranging this each year. May our Lord bless your continuing efforts.

  52. Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
    March 4, 2016 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    I loved the intro by the SEC. It made me laugh that we have to be reminded (often!)
    to b-r-e-a-t-h-e and remember that these hard choices, being equally inspired by two of these wonderful saints, are a good thing.

  53. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    March 4, 2016 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    A more charming infancy gospel has the child Jesus playing with his friends and making little sparrows out of mud. His come alive and fly away.

  54. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 4, 2016 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Joseph for me. Each year at our Live Nativity we have a Joseph miracle. Once was a young man there to help as part of community service. When asked if he wanted to dress as Joseph and sit in the stable while the Christmas story was narrated he asked, “Who’s Joseph?”. And we got to tell him. Another Joseph miracle was a young man who only reluctantly dressed the part but later was overheard on the phone excitedly telling his Mom, “I got to be Joseph!”. This year a small boy wanted to be Mary so he could hold baby Jesus. He was very tender and loving.
    The world needs loving and caring fathers and stepfathers and father figures. Go Joseph!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      March 4, 2016 - 11:49 am | Permalink

      Your parish sounds wonderful! I’m so glad you let that little boy take the role of Mary. What a wonderful experience for all of you!

    • Joyce Rush's Gravatar Joyce Rush
      March 4, 2016 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Sweet stories

  55. Noreen Ramsden's Gravatar Noreen Ramsden
    March 4, 2016 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    I remember from my childhood a sweet legend about Jesus as a child – he modelled clay birds and coloured them with rainbow colours from a puddle of water. Then when another child was jealous and started treading on them one at a time, Jesus clapped his hands and they all flew away!

  56. Eileen C. Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C. Fisher
    March 4, 2016 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Some people are reporting the influence of art as part of their reason for voting for Joseph. Maybe the artists were divinely inspired, but artwork is not necessarily a “real” or true representation of what the person actually looked like. I don’t know what Joseph looked like when Jesus was interfering with Joseph’s carpentry work. It may have been one of exasperation. Joseph may have made some pretty cool toys for Jesus to keep Jesus out of his hair.
    I am not at all surprised by Mary’s age at the time of her marriage. Remember how old Juliet was when old Capulet was trying to marry her off. Her mother even comments that Juliet better get a move on and get hitched. These individuals had short life spans generally so women were encouraged to marry young, in our terms.
    Enough said. I am voting for Absalom Jones again and wish a person of African descent would win the Golden Halo for a change. I would like to see a greater representation of saints with different racial backgrounds, SEC. In the end, that was not why I voted for Jones. We have documentation of his actual work in which family came first and then accounts of his heroic work during the Yellow Fever epidemic. I like what Joyce in Georgia wrote and agree with her completely. Well said.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      March 4, 2016 - 11:58 am | Permalink

      Eileen, I think the purpose of art is very rarely to show what something or someone “really” looked like. It’s about a Reality that far exceeds scientific or modern concepts or even historicity. No one knows what Jesus “really” looked like either. 99.9% of Christian art depicts Jesus as an anemic northern European man. Doesn’t mean it’s not important. Doesn’t mean it can’t speak to a larger truth.

  57. March 4, 2016 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    I never knew that Jesus was such a terrible toddler!

  58. Sally's Gravatar Sally
    March 4, 2016 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    I went to Holy Women, Holy Men to read again about these two saints, and saw the sentence, “to him (Absolom Jones), God was the Father, who always acted on behalf of the oppressed and distressed”. So many reasons to vote for Jones…the courage and energy to free his wife (and, ultimately, his children before himself), to found a Black parish when faced with prejudice from a White church, to become “the Black Bishop of the Episcopal Church”…a remarkable man and father to so many former slaves. He’s my choice!

  59. tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
    March 4, 2016 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    I love the stories about Joseph. I think he is truly one of the unsung heroes of the bible. His faith and obedience was as great as Mary’s. I voted for him in his first round. That said I had to go with Absalom Jones this time. He made great sacrifices for his family and his faith and also didn’t hesitate to help others in need. That Jan. 1 Thanksgiving sermon was awesome.

  60. Bugtussle's Gravatar Bugtussle
    March 4, 2016 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    I voted for Absalom Jones, for sheer staying power. If Joseph was 90 when he took Mary in, and died in Jesus’ childhood, he dealt with one young boy for a few years. (Granted, it was a special boy, but still.) Jones, on the other hand, slaved (literally) for over a decade to free his wife, children, and himself, founded the Free African Society, helped start a church that had 500 members in its first year, studied and worked another 10 years to become the first African-American Episcopal priest, inspired countless people via his preaching, continued working against slavery, and cared for those with yellow fever when others wouldn’t.

  61. Lisa Rose's Gravatar Lisa Rose
    March 4, 2016 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    All myth and speculation about his parenting skills aside … God trusted Joseph with the care and protection his beloved son. If ALL the man did was make the birth of Jesus possible… it was enough. But I’m comfotable giving him a little more credit than that. I also think it’s interesting that at both his birth and his death, the care of the earthly body of Jesus was placed into the faithful hands of men named Joseph.

    • Tony Lubong's Gravatar Tony Lubong
      March 4, 2016 - 11:00 am | Permalink

      Lisa Rose, what an interesting observation regarding the two Josephs… I voted for Joseph based on thoughts similar to yours.

  62. March 4, 2016 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    Absolom Jones! I went (I hope!) with more verifiable data!

  63. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    March 4, 2016 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    As a child, I and most Blacks were not even welcome or allowed in mainline Episcopal churches but I was confirmed in a Black Episcopal mission in 1950. Jones and Richard Allen brought in many members to the white St, George’s in Philadelphia yet were pulled up off their knees for sitting in the wrong places and “tipping”-a phenomenon of “too many Black folks in here!”. Yet he persevered and so do I and others like me who WILL worship God where and when and how we please in His honor and to His glory. Strange blogging today.

    • John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
      March 4, 2016 - 10:50 am | Permalink

      Sublimely “unfair” as always, O SEC! What tilted me towards Absalom Jones was his Thanksgiving sermon, which compared the liberation of Israel to the liberation of American slaves in our time but studiously avoided the modern American heresy of making the United States a new “chosen people.” Let us free ourselves from that pernicious idolatry!

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 4, 2016 - 3:41 pm | Permalink

      On the occasion of my son’s confirmation Bishop Barbara Harris told of having been confirmed, I believe in Philadelphia, by a bishop who wore white gloves when he confirmed in black parishes. I’m going to vote for Absalom in her honor.

  64. Bill Geiger's Gravatar Bill Geiger
    March 4, 2016 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    In a way, voting for Joseph in March Madness is kinda like awarding Ghandi, after he’s won the Nobel Peace Prize, that his high school has decided to retroactively award him the Senior Class “Mr Congeniality” award. So, I have to vote for my fell0w-(metro-)Philadelphia, Absalom Jones.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 4, 2016 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Joseph, but your comment did make me laugh!

  65. Curt VanAllen's Gravatar Curt VanAllen
    March 4, 2016 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    Indeed, Absalom Jones was a remarkable man and an inspiration to me. At the same time I’ve always admired Joseph for his devotion to Mary and his adopted son, Jesus. I have to vote for Joseph; how can I not vote for the earthly father of our Saviour.

  66. Mollie Williams's Gravatar Mollie Williams
    March 4, 2016 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Joseph is an important symbol of good fatherhood, but we don’t know very much, if anything about him. We know a lot about Absalom Jones; we have much to be grateful to him for; we need his continuing spirit in the church. Absalom Jones is my man today and I plan to see him wearing the Golden Halo this year!

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 4, 2016 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

      We don’t know a lot about Joseph but, thanks to Matthew and Luke, we do know something.

  67. Barbara MacR's Gravatar Barbara MacR
    March 4, 2016 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    A terribly tough call. They’re both awesome. But I have to vote for Joseph. He’s the behind-the-scenes, never self-seeking, always reliable, compassionate, and loving guy every person needs as a father. As a priest I know pointed out in a sermon I’ve never forgotten, we know what kind of person Joseph was because of the way Jesus talks about God the Father. Joseph is the one who taught Jesus the nature of a father’s love. When Jesus says we call God “Abba” – “Daddy” – Joseph is his model.

    • Lucy A's Gravatar Lucy A
      March 4, 2016 - 11:06 am | Permalink

      Well said! I agree completely!

  68. Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
    March 4, 2016 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    GOD BLESS the SEC!
    Thank you for this wonderful Leneten experience.
    Getting for LMW

  69. Kathy Schillreff's Gravatar Kathy Schillreff
    March 4, 2016 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    It was a hard choice. Can’t imagine where Mary and Jesus would have been without Joseph in the picture, but I voted for Absalom. In the face of slavery he was self-less (has that in common with Joseph), taking care of his wife and those affected by yellow fever. And he is the first African-American priest in the Episcopal church. He helps us remember that in Christ we are all equal.

    • andrea's Gravatar andrea
      March 4, 2016 - 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Well said! I agree. I was also moved by Absalom’s sermon.

  70. March 4, 2016 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    I chose Joseph only because God chose Him to be the foster father of Jesus. Who am I to not go along with this.

  71. Carol B.'s Gravatar Carol B.
    March 4, 2016 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    I have to believe that Joseph and Mary created a wonderful home and example for Jesus. My son’s name is Joseph and I owe a hugh debt of gratitude to the Sisters of St. Joseph, so it’s St. Joseph for me.

  72. DonnaK's Gravatar DonnaK
    March 4, 2016 - 11:34 am | Permalink

    It was so hard (again) to decide. I voted for Absalom for no real reason other than he is from Philadelphia.

  73. Wynne Osborne's Gravatar Wynne Osborne
    March 4, 2016 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    Two good fathers. Two good men. I appreciate the thoughtful comments and reasons to vote one way or the other. I voted for Absalom. I notice that voters this year are leaning toward those who took action for their faith. And those who were brave.

  74. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    March 4, 2016 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph because I’m a stepmom. I’m glad mine little devils not the Son of God!

  75. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 4, 2016 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who stays up all night to care for the sick when there is a plague going on, gets my vote.

  76. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 4, 2016 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Absalom Jones, family man, priest, preacher, and caregiver to people with yellow fever. He is an inspiration to me!

  77. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 4, 2016 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Both are worthy of the Golden Halo. I’m sure they’ll toast each other, whichever wins this round.

  78. Betty Morris's Gravatar Betty Morris
    March 4, 2016 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry you used those terrible stories from non-canonical gospels to illustrate Joseph’s story. I might have voted for him, but I find those stories detract from the Gospel message about two humble people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances – as we do when we encounter Jesus. I voted for Absolom.

  79. March 4, 2016 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Both totally worthy candidates, no doubt, but I voted for Joseph because he provided strength and a good home for Jesus, and took good care of Mary. The non-canonical gospels distract a bit, I think, from the stable and protective arm of Joseph. Where would we be without him? More important, where would Jesus have been without him?

  80. Melissa Ridlon's Gravatar Melissa Ridlon
    March 4, 2016 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    An incredibly hard choice. I voted for Absolom today because he freed his wife first assuring also that his children would be free. In doing so, it seems to me he replicated the selfless acts of Joseph in “our times.” They both are a testimony to the idea of fatherhood.

  81. Brian's Gravatar Brian
    March 4, 2016 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Joseph all day.

    How can one not vote for the guardian of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

  82. Allison's Gravatar Allison
    March 4, 2016 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I would love to know the name of the beautiful painting of Joseph and Jesus, as well as its artist.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 4, 2016 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

      “Saint Joseph With The Infant Jesus” by Guido Reni.

  83. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 4, 2016 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry, but there’s a little too much ambiguity (as well as mythology) surrounding Joseph to get through my window of skepticism, while Absalom’s ministry of healing is clearly heroic as well as saintly. (Yellow fever epidemics seems to have brought forth several saints.)

  84. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    March 4, 2016 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Two men whose first concerns were for wife and family! As the child of a man who abandoned his family, I have untold admiration for them both. Absalom Jones has long been a favorite of mine, and in today’s society it would, against another contender, be he who gets my vote. Alas, I must cast my vote for the man who raised a child not his own (and not an easy child, if we believe Thomas!), and in honor of my late husband, a carpenter. (Besides, Jesus might be watching! 😉 )

    • Richard Asmussen's Gravatar Richard Asmussen
      March 4, 2016 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Joseph has always had bad press in the west not so much in the east where we have better sources and different history. Some of us that live in the west have a great respect for jo.

  85. Sara's Gravatar Sara
    March 4, 2016 - 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m voting Joseph based entirely on Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. Similar to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, it shows what a pain it must have been to be the father of Jesus. (I’m pretty sure that’s where the similarities end!)

  86. March 4, 2016 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I love Joseph and voted for him in the first round. Today when I read that AJ bought his wife’s freedom first thinking about the unborn children that did it for my vote. What a caring thoughtful man putting others first, no offense Joseph.

  87. JP's Gravatar JP
    March 4, 2016 - 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Joseph receives my vote. He accepted a wife pregnant by another. He kept her with him as they traveled to Bethlehem. He listened to the messenger of God and emigrated to save the life of the child. He raised the child back in the Holy Land keeping his religion as a priority – making the trek on a yearly basis for the Passover. So many men need his example of being a father no matter what troubles assail them and keeping true to their faith.

  88. Elisabeth's Gravatar Elisabeth
    March 4, 2016 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Two amazing men who put others first in making the choice to follow God’s call on their lives. It was a difficult pick, but I went with Absalom, simply because he was new to me. I’m glad I’ve discovered Lent Madness – I keep learning about new folks

  89. Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
    March 4, 2016 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

    You have to say it. forty eight per cent of the vote is a huge accomplishment for someone who barely even existed in scripture, and no remarkable acts are recorded. Yes, quite an accomplishment indeed.

  90. Milli Hayman's Gravatar Milli Hayman
    March 4, 2016 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Gotta go with Absolom Jones. I live just a couple of miles from St. Thomas African Episcopal Church, the parish founded by him.

  91. james lodwick's Gravatar james lodwick
    March 4, 2016 - 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Two heroes from very different ages and for different reasons. I greatly admire them both, but voted for Absalom for his courageous fight in the name of Christ against slavery and racism, an evil which still so horribly plagues our society and even the church. Saints Absalom and Joseph, pray for us!

  92. J Penn's Gravatar J Penn
    March 4, 2016 - 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Absalom was awesome, but how can anyone compete with the man who reared Jesus?

  93. Jim Carr's Gravatar Jim Carr
    March 4, 2016 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

    St. Joseph……the holiest man imaginable. Married to the sinless Mary and raising the Son of God! What pressure……

  94. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    March 4, 2016 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Joseph! The very definition of “salt of the earth”. Faithful, devoted Joseph. And you will rarely if ever find me passing up the opportunity to vote for a biblical saint.

  95. March 4, 2016 - 6:00 pm | Permalink

    This was a hard choice, but I finally went with Absalom Jones. Instead of bringing in stories of very doubtful (to put it mildly) historicity from non-canonical gospels, leading people to imagine that the sinless Jesus murdered other toddlers he didn’t like, I wish the selection on Joseph had alluded to a very good reason to choose him: the fact that Jesus, unlike other Jews of his time, called God “Father,” apparently using the same term that small children used for their own fathers, “Abba.” Joseph must have been a loving and compassionate father for Jesus to have chosen that name for God.

  96. K8's Gravatar K8
    March 4, 2016 - 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Although I honor Absolom Jones, and speculate that the information offered about Joseph is more fable than fact, one fact remains.

    Joseph cared for Jesus as a father. One of the loveliest sermons I’ve heard about Mary was called “she said yes”
    So did Joseph. What would the Holy Family have looked like without him? Joseph was also asked. He said yes.
    I’m a stepmom – God bless Joseph.

  97. Everett H. Klein's Gravatar Everett H. Klein
    March 4, 2016 - 6:27 pm | Permalink

    When I read the blog for today about Joseph, I was truly disappointed. Did you ever wonder why these other pseudo-gospels did not make it into the Bible? Joseph could have turned Mary over to the authorities, but he didn’t. Joseph could have walked away from it all, but he didn’t. He took on the role of a father. In a conversation with my granddaughters who are reaching college age, it became clear that the time comes when we must let the children go and trust that we brought them up to know right and wrong. What did Jesus become – Savior – Messiah – Prince of Peace!!!!!

  98. JE Kaufman's Gravatar JE Kaufman
    March 4, 2016 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Tim & Scott — there doesn’t seem to be any way to write to you, so I’m must resort to this comment —
    I replied to the Lent Madness email at 12:35 (5 hours ago) but just discovered that you probably didn’t receive it. I’m on the road and tried to vote via my phone, but I don’t think I was successful; It looked like it didn’t go thru, so I tried again. Please check – if there are multiple votes it’s not fraud, just incompetence on my part. I voted for Mr. A Jones, and now seeing how close the vote is, I don’t want my tech problems to mess anything up (nor do I want you to ban me from future participation). Thanks.

  99. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    March 4, 2016 - 6:47 pm | Permalink

    As a graduate of Rush University School of Medicine, I had to vote for Absalom Jones who worked for and with my alma mater’s namesake, Dr. Benjamin Rush!!!!!

  100. Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
    March 4, 2016 - 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I would vote for Absalom Jones if he weren’t paired against Joseph. Sorry, Ab.

    • Janene Gorham's Gravatar Janene Gorham
      March 4, 2016 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Agree, my thoughts exactly

  101. Martin 8 years old's Gravatar Martin 8 years old
    March 4, 2016 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph because he is Jesus’s father.

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      March 4, 2016 - 9:42 pm | Permalink

      Right on Martin! I don’t think anyone could come up with a better reason for voting for Joseph!

  102. Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
    March 4, 2016 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

    My wife reminded me that Joseph is also the Patron of a Holy Death. This is because it is believed that he died in the presence of Jesus and Mary. In the Cathedral of St. Francis, in Santa Fe, is a chapel to St. Joseph. In this chapel is a painting of Jesus, holding the dead Joseph on his lap. Joseph’s right hand hangs down limply and below it, on the floor, lies his miraculous staff. Unfortunately, we were unable to find an online image of this painting. I encourage anyone who visits the Cathedral to seek out this painting. It will make your heart ache and melt.

  103. Marilyn's Gravatar Marilyn
    March 4, 2016 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to vote twice…one vote for each candidate!

  104. Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
    March 4, 2016 - 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I cannot see myself curing yellow fever, being a physician nor can I see myself taking on the establishment of slavery. I know very few people who would be up for it.

    I voted for Joseph because he did the next right thing, as simple as it was. I can do that. I believe that anyone can.

    • Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
      March 4, 2016 - 9:48 pm | Permalink

      There are 970,000 plus physicians in the United States, NOT some small number!

  105. Bob Kitchen's Gravatar Bob Kitchen
    March 4, 2016 - 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I imagine someone else has noticed, but deep into my second Lent Madness, I have noticed an pattern. I vote in the early morning when there are about 1000 votes cast. The percentages between the two saints virtually never changes but 1% or so from that point on until the lights go out. The SEC probably has the data stored away, but that happens every day. This means either that the early voters express the balance of opinion that remains the whole day, or something else. No come-from-behinds, no widening the % gap. This may be a divine consensus establishing itself, but it’s not human.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 7, 2016 - 9:13 am | Permalink

      Bob, something that I think is important to notice is that there is a huge difference between the actual vote (the literal count) and the comments section. The tiny community that comprises the comments section is a very small percentage of the number of actual voters. The comments in the blog threads often diverge from the overall mass count. People in this section are thoughtful, argumentative, spiritual; they can be and often are swayed by others’ ideas. I suspect many people simply cast their vote and log off without ever reading the comments. That voting phenomenon (probably not different from overall voting patterns on public/civic issues) helps account, I imagine, for the general stability of voting patterns here in LM. Once a trend has been established, it is rarely disturbed (except by a few of St Bridget’s Chicago-style voters, who apparently even include those on the rolls of the dead!). I enjoy this tiny sub-set of LM voters, who think and reflect and discuss.

  106. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 6, 2016 - 1:00 am | Permalink

    My soul is fasting
    Through Lent madness withdrawal.
    on Monday I feast.

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      March 6, 2016 - 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Nice haiku!

  107. Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
    March 6, 2016 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Only one more day, Barbara! Only…gasp!…one…more…day…

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      March 6, 2016 - 10:50 am | Permalink

      COME ON MONDAY!!!!
      ( I don’t do LMW well. 🙁

  108. Lou's Gravatar Lou
    March 6, 2016 - 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Sunday and I’m still upset about Friday’s presentation of Joseph. How cruel to present such falls information about him ! He took everything on faith and flowed God’s direction. Not an old man with a pregnant young woman.
    I’m starting to question the other writings on the saints or saintly people that have been written.

Comments are closed.