Methodius vs. Albert Schweitzer

Wake up! Lent Madness is back for another full week of saintly, halo-busting action. We begin with the third matchup of the Saintly Sixteen, where we continue to encounter saintly Quirks and Quotes, as Methodius faces Albert Schweitzer. To get to this round, Methodius beat his brother Cyril in the Slavic Smackdown® while Schweitzer grilled Lawrence.

The winner of this battle will join Constance and Absalom Jones (who squeaked past Joseph on Friday 52% to 48%) in the Elate Eight.

We do hope everyone successfully made it through another weekend of Lent Madness Withdrawal (LMW). This is not an affliction to joke about as many of the Lent Madness faithful have suffered deep emotional scars from the lack of voting for 48 hours. The Supreme Executive Committee keeps a slew of Lent Madness chaplains on call 24 hours a day over the weekends of Lent. We have the number around here somewhere…


Methodius-2Saint Methodius – patron saint of all of Europe, not too shabby – is often best known for being paired with his little brother, Cyril. Together they took the Gospel into the Slavic regions of Europe, helping the people to experience word and sacrament in their native languages.

This would be enough for some, but not for Methodius.

Methodius’ ministry without his brother was also filled with excitement and passion for a church that changes and adapts to new languages and cultures.

Following Cyril’s death, Pope Adrian II appointed Methodius as Archbishop of Moravia and Pannonia. Suffice it to say that the German bishops in the area were not fans.

Archbishop Methodius stood as an advocate for inculturation: the idea that “every people must integrate the message revealed into its own culture and express its saving truth in its own language” (Pope Benedict XVI). He continued to invite the people to worship and experience Scripture in their own language and culture. Those who opposed him believed that the Latin language and mindset (“the way we’ve always done it”) was the only way to experience the Gospel.

Methodius was imprisoned for two and a half years following an ecclesial trial in the presence of King Louis of Bavaria. Eventually, a legate from Pope John VIII settled the issue, declaring the legitimacy of Methodius’ appointment as Archbishop.

After Methodius’ death, his successor (who had served as his coadjutor) exiled all Methodius’ disciples – those who advocated the use of the vernacular for Scripture and liturgy. But the work Methodius had done in his life – his continued advocacy for a culturally and linguistically literate church – could not be stopped.

As Metropolitan Kallistos Ware observed, “Few events have been so important in the missionary history of the Church” as the missionary work of Methodius (both with and without his brother). The fruits of Methodius’ ministry can be seen to this day not only in the churches which continue to worship in Slavic, but in all churches who seek ways to speak the Good News in new and changing cultures.

— David Hansen

Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer was 19-years-old studying theology at Strasbourg when he had an epiphany. He was reading Matthew 10 in Greek. As Jesus sends out and receives the disciples, he tells them, “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.” Schweitzer understood these words to be a call on his life as well.

He would later write, “You must give some time to your neighbors. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who have need of a another’s help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.” 11 years later, as a medical doctor, he would move with his family to Lambaréné in French Equatorial Africa (modern Gabon) and begin to live out that commission.

While in Africa, and while Albert Einstein was working on a scientific explanation that would explain and link together all physical aspects of the universe, Schweitzer was developing an all-encompassing moral theory that he called “Reverence for Life.” He wrote of this ethic, “It is good to maintain and further life; it is bad to damage and destroy life. And this ethic, profound, universal, has the significance of a religion. It is religion.”

In many ways this ethic was way ahead of its time. Schweitzer was not only concerned with human life but with all life. He wrote, “People are ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to them, that of plants and animals as that of their fellow human beings, and when they devote themselves helpfully to all life that is in need of help.” Elsewhere he said, “Until people extend their circle of compassion to include all living things, they will not themselves find peace.”

This reverence for life was not just a theory. It was also lived out. His obituary in The New York Times reported, “Lambarene was suffused with Reverence for Life to what some critics thought was an exaggerated degree. Mosquitoes were not swatted, nor pests and insects doused with chemicals; they were left alone, and humans put up with them. Indeed, building was often brought to a halt lest nests of ants be killed or disturbed.”

Later in his life, Schweitzer would devote himself to working against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He would write numerous letters to presidents and other world leaders imploring them to give up the quest for bigger and more powerful weapons. His Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in part for this work

— David Creech

Methodius vs. Albert Schweitzer

  • Albert Schweitzer (56%, 3,593 Votes)
  • Methodius (44%, 2,821 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,414

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Methodius: Statue “The True Cross” in Khanty-Mansiysk (image=public domain, original at

129 Comments to "Methodius vs. Albert Schweitzer"

  1. oliver eight years old's Gravatar oliver eight years old
    March 7, 2016 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    I voted for Albert because he made his own cross.

    • Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
      March 7, 2016 - 9:25 am | Permalink

      You go, Oliver!

    • March 7, 2016 - 10:48 am | Permalink


    • Candace's Gravatar Candace
      March 7, 2016 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Albert as well, Oliver! He was my hero and inspiration when I was your age! And he still inspires us to this day! I hope you read his autobiography someday!

    • Marah. W 13's Gravatar Marah. W 13
      March 8, 2016 - 1:13 am | Permalink

      I voted for Albert to.

  2. ChrisinNY's Gravatar ChrisinNY
    March 7, 2016 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one. But I can’t support anyone who lets mosquitoes proliferate….That’s just wrong (and unhealthy as we now know).’

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 7, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

      Mosquitoes and then those ants — as I dispatch ants, one at a time, coming from who knows where, I voted for Methodius. Teach/preach/write in the vernacular and spray those ants!

      • Lea's Gravatar Lea
        March 7, 2016 - 9:05 am | Permalink

        I voted for Albert because of his reverence for all life. I don’t know if it’s because I feel connected with everything but mosquitoes have not bitten me and ants have stayed away from my house since I moved to Flagstaff (and before). Maybe they know I love them – even spiders get escorted lovingly outside where they will have a better chance of surviving. Everything under the sun is sacred to me.

        • Laura B's Gravatar Laura B
          March 7, 2016 - 9:49 am | Permalink

          I can’t say the same — if a skeeter bites me, or if an ant decides to enter my house, they are toast! But any insect or arachnid who means me no harm inside, or any in their own habitat outside, gets Albert-like treatment from me as well. (However, I do wonder at some of the creatures who were given a ride on the Ark all those centuries ago….)

        • Temple's Gravatar Temple
          March 7, 2016 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

          Amen Lea. If God is in everything, then everything is sacred, including mosquitoes and ants. And I cheer on the spiders because they eat mosquitoes.

      • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
        March 7, 2016 - 11:40 am | Permalink

        Right On, Donna!!
        While I have much appreciation for Schweitzers contributions
        I voted for Methodius❤️
        I think his contribution was more ‘Saintly’

    • chaotickristi's Gravatar chaotickristi
      March 7, 2016 - 9:38 am | Permalink

      Yes, that was the deciding factor fur me… mosquitos & ants.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      March 7, 2016 - 10:08 am | Permalink

      Mosquitoes have their place in the cosmos, too. It’s all a delicate balance…

  3. John E's Gravatar John E
    March 7, 2016 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    I voted for Methodius because he was an important missionary and he translated the Bible and Liturgy into a more vernacular language for his flock

    • Bring Back Philander's Gravatar Bring Back Philander
      March 7, 2016 - 9:57 am | Permalink

      I stumbled across a bio of Albert in the public library when I was about seven, and was impressed not only by his devotion, but that he was also an organist, and quite a good one!

      Still, I have to go with Methodius. Latin “because we’ve always done it that way” (except, of course, when we didn’t) is a bit elitist for me. How many of us speak Latin? I mean, I can do the Mag & Nunc, but not much more!

      • Jill Liberty's Gravatar Jill Liberty
        March 7, 2016 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

        As a retired Latin instructor at the college level, I used to speak Latin pretty well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone to talk to.

        Spiders get reverential treatment at our house. We let them build where they will with the proviso that their homes won’t be permanent. We love our arachnid roommates.

        Albert has made great contributions to the world, but I voted for Methodius because what he did, given his time and place, was not only a wonderful way to give people access to the Scriptures but also an act of great courage.

  4. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    March 7, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    I don’t know about making his own cross, but Schweitzer has been a hero of mine since I read about him in elementary school. In addition to his ministry as a medical doctor in Africa, he was a gifted organist and wrote a definitive biography of Bach, as well as “The Quest for the Historical Jesus” A true renaissance man devoted to God and all of creation. Definitely voted for him!

    • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
      March 7, 2016 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Composer Jane Marshall set the last words of Schweitzer in his book _In Quest of the Historical Jesus_ and those words have so impressed me as few others have.

      “He comes to us as one unknown, without a name,
      as of old by the lakeside, he came to those men who knew him not.
      He speaks to us the same word:
      And sets us to the tasks which he has to fulfill for out time.
      He commands, and to those who obey him,
      whether they be wise or simple,
      He will reveal Himself
      in the joys, the toils, the conflicts
      which they shall pass through in His fellowship.
      And, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience
      Who HE Is.

      • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
        March 7, 2016 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

        “which he has to fulfill for OUR time.”


  5. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    March 7, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I admire Schweitzer’s work over his lifetime, but Methodius brought to us the ability to worship in our own language………..imagine if we still used the Latin in our churches today!

    • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
      March 7, 2016 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

      No, that isn’t Methodius. Unless you are Russian Orthodox. He advanced the idea of the Slavic peoples being able to worship in their languages. The West didn’t follow this until really fairly recently. Folks like Cranmer and the writers of the Geneva bible take a lot of credit for that.
      I think the comments about Latin might not be entirely accurate, since Methodius’ church was Eastern, and they primarily used, and still do primarily use, Greek, not Latin. The difference over language was one of the major reasons for the Great Schism, as I’m sure we all will remember. That came a fairly short time after Methodius. He sort of fell into the middle of the infighting between supporters of Greek and Latin and local languages.
      все честь великого святого Мефодия
      vse chest’ velikogo svyatogo Mefodiya
      All honor to the great Saint Methodius
      [or something like that (it’s been a few decades since I studied русский язык)]

  6. Tready3's Gravatar Tready3
    March 7, 2016 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    It’s a schpritz of Schweitzer for me this morning

  7. Kirk Bonamici's Gravatar Kirk Bonamici
    March 7, 2016 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Methodius’ seems to be apropos in our day today as we espouse inclusivity of different cultures into the faith. Giving him the nod.

  8. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 7, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Methodius for me today, as I see a connection with the current struggle between the American Episcopal church and the Anglican communion to define the church’s role in the world.

  9. March 7, 2016 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    I started Lent Madness today planning to vote for Methodius, because learning and worshipping in one’s own language was one of the first beautiful things I learned our Mother, the Church of England, accomplished, and because my church, All Saints in Worcester, MA, recently began incorporating Spanish in our services, which I love! But that Albert Schweitzer included all creatures in his Reverence for Life won me over: our whole planet needs that reverence, from ending animal cruelties like dogfighting, puppymills and factory farming, to saving creatures’ natural habitats and stopping global warming! Yay Albert!

    • Lithophyte's Gravatar Lithophyte
      March 7, 2016 - 8:39 am | Permalink

      Suggesting Albert was a theological-ecologist or ecological-theologian; He expressed the first great axiom of Ecology- All things are connected. His actions and words were green far long in advance of the green movement. In the web of life all plants and animals have worth and purpose. The Creator made them all who are we to make judgement to destroy a species?

    • Lynette's Gravatar Lynette
      March 7, 2016 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      And I started today intending to vote for Albert but ended up voting for Methodious. God does indeed work in mysterious ways.

    • Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
      March 7, 2016 - 11:07 am | Permalink

      Couldn’t have expressed it better….a tough choice, but it’s the saintly Schweitzer for me today!

  10. Chris D.'s Gravatar Chris D.
    March 7, 2016 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    An Athiest has reverence for life. I thought we were discussing saints of the church.

    • March 7, 2016 - 10:14 am | Permalink

      Do you, then, a creature, deplore or denigrate the Creation of the God you worship?

  11. Liz Parmalee's Gravatar Liz Parmalee
    March 7, 2016 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    It had to be Methodius for me, to my surprise. It’s very important to honor people’s culture and language. Good going Methodius! Swat those mosquitos! spray those ants!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 7, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

      Right on! Sprayers unite!

      • Christine F Cannon's Gravatar Christine F Cannon
        March 7, 2016 - 11:04 am | Permalink

        Donna, if you must kill them, kill them, but PLEASE, don’t spray because it kills EVERYTHING, good and bad. In my view, there are no bad insects. We all must die, right? it’s not the insect’s fault. Albert Schweitzer had the right idea: reverence for all life and helping disadvantaged people. We should help address the problem of open sewers in many localities in the world, for example.

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          March 7, 2016 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

          There’s nothing else there but ants, in my computer, in my books, in my rug — sorry, when they are crawlg on me, when they are biting me, they’re gonna get sprayed. If a few thousand dust mites bite the dust too so be it.

  12. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    March 7, 2016 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Tough one. I finally had to go with Methodius because he fought for people to worship in their native language.

  13. Jill's Gravatar Jill
    March 7, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Knowing that the modern saints seem to prevail, I still had to vote for Methodius. The fight to bring the Gospel in accessible languages was so important. And given what we know of mosquito-borne illnesses, I am a mosquito squasher.

  14. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 7, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    I agree with Schweitzer about mosquitoes and ants to a certain extent (pouring chemicals on them usually puts the rest of the ecosystem out of whack and can result in more or the same amount of mosquitoes due to killing off their natural predators), but I’m still going for Methodius. Sorry Albert.

  15. Charles Brown's Gravatar Charles Brown
    March 7, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I voted for Methodius; that Schweitzer got to hear the gospel and understand it is due in part to him.

  16. Anne Margo's Gravatar Anne Margo
    March 7, 2016 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Methodius for me. I admire his insistence on worship and scriptures in the vernacular long before the Reformation. And when I consider that Albert Schweitzer was running hospitals while allowing pests to multiply and requiring humans (presumably including patients) to put up with them, I just can’t vote for him.

  17. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 7, 2016 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one. But the foundations of my faith were laid in a Slovak National Catholic Church (here in the U.S.). The church was a break off from a Roman Catholic Church, because the people wanted a priest who spoke their language. At first, Mass was in Latin and Slovak. Subsequently, Mass was said in Slovak. Much later, an English Mass was added. This was in the 1950’s. As I later learned while working in Liberia, Methodius’s struggle goes on today. Got MY vote!

  18. Jeff's Gravatar Jeff
    March 7, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Two great men, but the whole principle of acculturation when it comes to the gospel is hugely critical in the spread of worldwide missions. I think methodius was way ahead of his time.

  19. Ronnie's Gravatar Ronnie
    March 7, 2016 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    I admire these modern day saints very much but am so sad to see them almost routinely defeating the old stalwarts who gave us such a strong foundation and set examples we cannot begin to understand. I am in awe of them all and thank God for them, and treasure the ancients.

  20. Jan's Gravatar Jan
    March 7, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Schweitzer added music to his many contributions….so he definitely got my vote.

  21. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    March 7, 2016 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    I voted for Methodius because I expect that there’s a lot more Methodius tchotchkes than for Schweitzer, and I plan ahead….

  22. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 7, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Very tough vote today. I had to read the two reviews and think carefully before casting my vote. To me this decision was over encounters with otherness: Methodius with eastern Europe, Schweitzer with Africa (which was barely even mentioned in today’s review). I chose Methodius because of his foundational work to make inclusiveness the very basis of evangelism and liturgy. Use of the vernacular language in sacred liturgy was a central issue in the Reformation, and many people died for a right that we now take for granted. Today’s review stressed Schweitzer’s work against nuclear weapons, and that is important. I wonder if he would have anything to say today about our (U.S.) obsession with guns. But today I will not go with the modern candidate but cast my vote for the foundational work of Methodius and Cyril with the Slavic churches of the east. Dobrui dyehn!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      March 7, 2016 - 10:18 am | Permalink

      Something about goodness? Translate, please!

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 7, 2016 - 10:27 am | Permalink

        Sorry Susan! I usually do but was thinking as I typed this morning. (Sometimes that works out, sometimes it doesn’t.) “Dobrui dyehn” is my romanized transcription of the Russian “good day.” BTW, I meant to comment to you the other day that I saw you had put a picture on your posts. Good job. I will do that too, if I can ever figure out how to do it. You are a closet pre-Raphaelite! and have inserted Latin back into our discussion! (Ecce Ancilla Domini.) Be well!

        • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
          March 7, 2016 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, St. Celia! Yes, I was reminded of the Rosetti Annunciation after Christina’s day in the lists. As for adding it to Lent Madness, I just clicked on my empty photo spot, and it gave me the option to upload a photo. The hardest part was remembering my password!! Take care!

          • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
            March 7, 2016 - 9:09 pm | Permalink

            You are right: the password was tough. I’m testing to see if my “gravatar” picture shows up.

          • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
            March 7, 2016 - 9:11 pm | Permalink

            Zut. Apparently not.

          • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
            March 7, 2016 - 9:36 pm | Permalink

            Oh! It showed up! I just had to wait. “Re-boot”! Right up there with “Here I am.”

  23. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    March 7, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    In gratitude for worshipping in my native tongue, I voted for Methodius.

  24. Kim Morse's Gravatar Kim Morse
    March 7, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    As there could be no Schweitzer without Methodius, Methodius for me.

  25. Carol G's Gravatar Carol G
    March 7, 2016 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    I have to honor the Slovak traditions of my grandparents. I experienced Mass in Slovak and although I understood very little I knew it had profound meaning for those whose roots were in that culture. Now an Episcopalian I have a huge appreciation of the Reformation in terms of the BCP. I assume Albert Schweitzer will advance and look forward to voting for him in future. Today I affirm the importance of the Apostle(s) to the Slavs.

  26. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    March 7, 2016 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    As someone struggling to learn a Latin Requiem for a choir performance later this week, Methodius has my vote.

  27. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 7, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I went with Big Al in the first round and I’ll stay with him in this one. Having been most aware of his work in music, I didn’t know about his work as an ethical philosopher. The “Reverence for Life” theory is pretty radical when it extends to mosquitoes in a country where they’re major disease vectors. I heard once of an Indian sect (I think) whose adherents sweep the ground in front of them while they walk so they won’t step on ants. (Much as I admire Al, my own “reverence for life” does NOT extend to prairie dogs in Colorado.)

    • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
      March 7, 2016 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

      The Jain people of India, I believe.

  28. NJ's Gravatar NJ
    March 7, 2016 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    I voted for Methodius in the previous round, but feel that Albert Schweitzer should advance to the next round and voted for him this time.

  29. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 7, 2016 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    After having read the first-round biographies of these two great saints, I had thought I would vote for Methodius. It seemed to me that both men left their homes to minister in what to them were foreign places (which I appreciate since I have done that, too, living and ministering in Nicaragua) and that that might have been harder in the ninth century than in the twentieth. However, after reading today’s postings I had to vote for Albert. Reverence for life. That is an essential part of God’s shalom and our commitment to αγαπή. I think with what we know now about vectors of the spread of diseases that maybe mosquitoes have to go! But I was in the pro-tarantula group when I first lived in Nicaragua in 1984 with Witness For Peace.

  30. March 7, 2016 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Methodious wins for me for local language.

  31. Fredericka Smith's Gravatar Fredericka Smith
    March 7, 2016 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Very sketchy bio of Schweitzer. While reverence for all creatures was a cornerstone of his belief, he was first a medical missionary, bringing care to those who would otherwise have suffered. And, has no one heard of mosquito netting? His contributions to music, particularly his renderings of Bach were unforgetable. I agree the choice is difficult, bu t so are many in this round- The next one will be even more so.

  32. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    March 7, 2016 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    A vote for Albert in honor of my soft-hearted husband who bought a contraption to “catch and release” flies! Fortunately, we live in the Rocky Mountains and only have flies in the summer.

  33. AnchorageABC's Gravatar AnchorageABC
    March 7, 2016 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    I vote for Methodius. He and Cyril carried on the tradition of Paul, to reach out to the other, to preach God’s word to people who were different. I also commend his respect of other cultures. Sometimes, it is thru culture that one makes the connection to another.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      March 7, 2016 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

      I also voted for Methodius. As Anchorage ABC points out, he and his brother carried on the Pauline tradition of reaching out to people who did not know God’s word. In serving as a missionary to the Slavs, Methodius and Cyril brought the gospel to much of Europe. Their respect for other cultures is an example for the Church today. As several people have pointed out, the issue of how people of many cultures join together as one Church is one that many denominations, including the Anglican Communion, are struggling with today. As valuable as Schweitzer’s contributions to medicine are, my vote had to go to the missionary to the Slavs.

  34. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 7, 2016 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    As my Vestry prepares for our retreat to discuss mission, Schweitzer’s quote, “You must give some time to your neighbors. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who have need of a another’s help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.” spoke to me even though he got a little carried away with mosquito and ant salvation.

  35. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    March 7, 2016 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    Schweitzer was a very good man, but for saintly spreading the word of God, Saintly patience in confronting the evil of ignorance, whose influence continues to inspire, Methodius deserves the halo.

  36. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 7, 2016 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    Methodius today. I do so enjoy the privilege of liturgy in my native language. I was with Schweitzer up until the part about countenancing icky bugs indoors. I’m happy to leave them be out in nature, but when they cross my threshold the rules change. It may be a moral failing in me and I own that… but no icky bugs. Full stop.

  37. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 7, 2016 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    After much wrestling I voted for Methodius. He was ahead of his time in recognising the importance of worshiping in one’s native tongue. i was also swayed by his patronage of Europe which seems in great need of prayer at the moment, and as an acknowledgment that we are better together with all our differences.

  38. Chris Carter's Gravatar Chris Carter
    March 7, 2016 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    By a fairly wide margin, the Lower School students of St Mark’s Cathedral School voted for Schweitzer, so in fulfillment of the promise made during today’s homily, I cast my vote accordingly!

  39. tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
    March 7, 2016 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I really admired Methodius and his work on getting the Gospel to people in their own language was and is critical but Albert was so much ahead of his time with his reverence for ALL life that I just had to go with him. These decisions are getting tougher and tougher.

  40. March 7, 2016 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    I have to go with Methodius today, too. As a word person, I am often frustrated by the way we repeat creeds without considering new ways of saying them that might crack open our understanding — or someone else’s. (And I do understand the link to the past, but … )
    Hooray for someone who understood the power of language way before the Internet!

    • Bob Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Bob Andrews-Bryant
      March 7, 2016 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

      The expression of the creeds was updated in the ’70s. Otherwise we’d still be reciting about “the quick and the dead!” 😉

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 7, 2016 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

        “Quick” is a lovely word. If you look it up in the Oxford English Dictionary, you find it goes back to Old English, thence straight into German. (“Thence” is great too!) The translation of Boethius (into what was going to become English) uses it. One of Ezra Pound’s most beautiful lines, from Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, is a lament for the WWI dead: “Quick eyes gone under earth’s lid.” I like the idea, drawn from these discussions here in LM recently, with respect to Helena’s building campaigns in the Near East, of cultural syncretism: building adaptive structures on top of older sites. The meaning of the sites builds in layers. Same with language: some of these “vintage”/”ancestral” words are too beautiful to lose. Just as Sarai became Sarah, perhaps we could adapt older language to newer uses and “crack open our understanding” by way of creative repurposing of traditional words, rhythms, and expressions. Thank you for reminding me of that lovely phrase.

  41. March 7, 2016 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    A tough choice. In the end, I voted for Methodius, because his theology of inculturation paved the way for Schweitzer’s ethic of life. Having faith in the gospel to root itself in a human culture and blossom according to the needs of that culture is the very essence of ethical missionary outreach.

  42. Tracey Henley's Gravatar Tracey Henley
    March 7, 2016 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    I won my bracket (filled out some days ago) but I still voted for Methodius. Inclusion may be a cliche to some, but it matters so very much.

  43. Lisa Rose's Gravatar Lisa Rose
    March 7, 2016 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Years ago… on a mission trip to Haiti, I was told our organization had run afoul of the authorities for handing out Bibles written in Kreyol. The official language of Haiti is French. But the poor, the marginalized, the uneducated masses we were serving spoke Kreyol not French. At the time, I thought it was ridiculous … it seems basic commonsense to speak to people in a language they can understand. I still have one of those Kreyol Bibles … it’s as useless to me as one written in Latin would be since I don’t speak either language. Thankfully,a lot of people fought and died for my right to worship in English. We forget what a big thing it once was to even suggest doing something differently. Thanks Methodius.

  44. March 7, 2016 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    I voted for Methodius as I just can’t get with Albert’s Jainistic beliefs. Mosquitoes bring malaria. They should be swatted. Also, I love Methodius’s commitment to inculturation.

  45. Jerry Rankin's Gravatar Jerry Rankin
    March 7, 2016 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    “To life, to life, l’chaim!” Voted for Albert, a genuine pro-life advocate!

  46. March 7, 2016 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    Methodius all the way. To be able to understand the words brings the gospel “home.”

  47. Stephen's Gravatar Stephen
    March 7, 2016 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    Not even a mention of “Quest for the historical Jesus” in the bio? Albert is a hero to be because he was a clear eyed critic of received wisdom, who asked hard questions with a keen skeptical eye. Then gave his life to Jesus in service to others. Beautiful example of how one seeks truth in faith.

  48. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    March 7, 2016 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    Just because Schweitzer let skeeters and ants live doesn’t mean I must do likewise especially since I spray and/or squash every one of them as soon as I see or hear them swarming anywhere near me. He gave up a lot of $$$ and prestige among his peers and the world of scientific experiments to go and live and treat/heal people who had little, if anything, to combat life-threatening diseases. He was also a brilliant musician along with other talents, all freely given for the Glory of God and for the people of God.

  49. Lois Davis's Gravatar Lois Davis
    March 7, 2016 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    I noticed there was no mention of Albert’s musical abilities. Sometimes musicians are viewed as being so focused on their art that they neglect others. He was a man who used his many talents for the greater good. Enough of this talk about mosquitoes!

  50. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 7, 2016 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    St. Methodius all the way. Patron Saint of Europe who helped people experience the Word and Sacrament in their native languages. He was a trail-blazer who I bet squashed some skeeters!

  51. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 7, 2016 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Thanks be to God for all we owe both of these saints! For the theology, the musicology, the performance on the organ (one of the most difficult instruments to master, and the only one involving hands, feet, most of the body!), the medicine, the response to God’s call to bring modern medical care to those who did not have it, even the foresight and willingness to make for himself the cross that marks his grave, I vote for Albert Schweitzer.

  52. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 7, 2016 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    Give some time to your neighbors. Wins by vote today. What need is going unmet in your neighborhood?

  53. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 7, 2016 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    If only all the leaders would have honored Schweitzer’s pleas for nonproliferation we might be living in a safer world.

  54. Bill Geiger's Gravatar Bill Geiger
    March 7, 2016 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Having been to the Czech Republic last autumn, learning about the Moravian & Bohemian commitment to culturally-expressed faith & freedom, I’ve got to vote for the old guy this time around, Methodius.

  55. Sandi Whitaker's Gravatar Sandi Whitaker
    March 7, 2016 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    We would be reading this in Latin if it wasn’t for Methodius. They are both worthy men though.

  56. Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
    March 7, 2016 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    I had a REALLY hard time deciding, but as a language teacher, I felt pulled to Methodius and his translation work. Also, sorry Albert, but I kill bugs all the time (how else can am I supposed to get good tomatoes from my garden?). FUN FACT, the image for Albert today is from a stained glass window in my school’s chapel!!

    • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
      March 7, 2016 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Go through your tomatoes and pick out each bug by hand and feed it to your frog.

  57. Dutton Morehouse's Gravatar Dutton Morehouse
    March 7, 2016 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    I’m a long-time fan of Methodius and his brother, but had to vote for Al, who devoted so much of his life and energy to helping people.

  58. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 7, 2016 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Methodius–making it possible for people to read Scripture and worship in their own language and making way for including one’s own culture and cultural references in worship.
    Albert–giving his life to healing the poor, re-introducing the grand music of J.S. Bach, and looking at Jesus as a human being in a historical setting.
    I’m gonna have to think some more on this one. And having both CBs with the same name as one of my sons doesn’t help at all!

  59. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 7, 2016 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    “It is a thing plainly repugnant to the word of God and the custom of the primitive Church, to have public prayer in the Church, or to minister the sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.” Thus Article XXIV of the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles. (My search for a copiable-pastable text led me to Scott Gunn’s 2011 Lenten series on the Articles, to which I intend to return.)

    Methodius’s battle fur the vernacular has been alternately lost and won in most of the Christian communions, it seems. Our Episcopal history and ongoing struggle over Rites I and II are one of its several manifestations in our own communion. For many of us, especially those whose training and education allow us to understand Tudor English with relative immediacy, the loss of the old words and phrases is painful.

    But the Gospel and our duty to proclaim it are directed first at those least able to understand archaic language, much less to feel it in their hearts. And even those of us who pride ourselves on our grasp and appreciation of the archaic must, I think, confess that the language we ourselves speak and write reaches us with the greatest force.

    Honor to Methodius, and to all who followed him including the writers of Article XXIV, for recognizing that central fact of human cognition, and for persisting to uphold it.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 7, 2016 - 11:40 am | Permalink

      Mmmmm…..Kindly replace the last sentence with,

      “Honor to Methodius, and to all who followed him including the writers of the Articles and the 1979 Prayer Book in all their imperfection, for recognizing that central cognitive fact, and for their persistent obedience to the call to preach the Gospel to every creature.”

      Or, if you don’t find it an improvement, don’t. What I have written I have written.

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 7, 2016 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Your writing is nurture for both the quick and the dead. 🙂

      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        March 7, 2016 - 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Very well said, Davis.

  60. Adrienne's Gravatar Adrienne
    March 7, 2016 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    i loved Methodius’ concept that religion in your own language feeds faith in His language. Altho Albert is no light-weight!

  61. Paul Bonnar's Gravatar Paul Bonnar
    March 7, 2016 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    I voted for Methodius because he made the Gospel comprehensible to the masses

  62. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 7, 2016 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    I voted for Methodius even though Albert’s environmental stance is dear to my heart. I think Methodius’s belief in “seeking ways to speak the Good News in new and changing cultures” is fundamental to spreading Jesus’s teachings.

  63. TLH's Gravatar TLH
    March 7, 2016 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    Well, I voted for Methodius because I think having Scripture and liturgy in a language the people understand is very important.

    That, and I had to unleash unrestrained chemical warfare on a wasp that got into my apartment over the weekend. It’s him or me – and it ain’t gonna be me.

  64. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    March 7, 2016 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    I voted for Methodius, but saw a bit of irony there. While he argued for speaking the liturgy in the language of the people, many of the Orthodox and Orthodox Catholic churches which use those Slavic languages continue to celebrate in their original languages rather than in English. I don’t criticize this, or the use of Latin. I find all of these traditions informative and valid, and in many cases, spiritually satisfying. It just seems ironic to me. I’m sure there are many out there who know much more about it than I do. Comments?

  65. Diane Lynch's Gravatar Diane Lynch
    March 7, 2016 - 11:58 am | Permalink

    Schweitzer gets my vote- for being the originator of the “No Nukes” movement.

  66. Marguerite Judson's Gravatar Marguerite Judson
    March 7, 2016 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    As an Episcopalian, I resonate deeply with Methodius’ focus on honoring the languages and cultures in which he served rather than imposing whatever was ‘church speak’ in his day. But I voted for Albert because we desperately need to treat the whole creation as a gift from the Holy One; we are not the ‘top dog’ as humanity…we are part of a web of all life (plants, animals, the elements) which we are destroying with our arrogance and greed.

  67. Carole L's Gravatar Carole L
    March 7, 2016 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    People everywhere, reading Scripture and worshiping in their ‘own,’ indigenous languages – a true gift.

    And, after all, we know Jesus preached in Latin – Oh, wait….

    As one who loves languages and is fortunate to know several, it’s Methodius for me.

    • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
      March 7, 2016 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

      No, he didn’t, he preached in Elizabethan English!

      • Martha's Gravatar Martha
        March 7, 2016 - 4:02 pm | Permalink

        I deplore the idea that many of my fellow Catholics feel the need to attend Latin Masses!

        • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
          March 7, 2016 - 7:07 pm | Permalink

          I think the Latin Mass is beautiful for the cadence of the language. I wouldn’t want it to be my only option, but on occasion it can be a meditative experience. The same goes for other languages which I do not speak. I once attended a Xhosa service in South Africa, and could follow right along, even without understanding the language. The blessing of the BCP!

  68. Eileen C. Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C. Fisher
    March 7, 2016 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Dr. Schweitzer again because it occurred to me that with his work in Africa and his universal caring for all life on this planet, he was truly a “doctor without borders.” He’s been an inspiration to me since my childhood when I first read a biography about him written for children.
    People in Africa use mosquito nets. Do you realize how we are poisoning our planet with pesticides?

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      March 7, 2016 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Eileen!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 7, 2016 - 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Nets are great for sleeping protection. How about walking around protection — not so effective, I wager

  69. Fred Wise's Gravatar Fred Wise
    March 7, 2016 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Methodius all the way! Al is a great guy, but I cannot shake my love affair with the Ancient! And… I can’t believe someone could trump the foster father of JESUS!

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 7, 2016 - 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I’m still mourning Joseph’s defeat.

  70. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    March 7, 2016 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

    No contest for me this morning – Albert Schweitzer. I’ve long admired him, although I don’t share his reverence for the life of mosquitos and other 8-legged critters!

  71. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    March 7, 2016 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I usually vote for the more ancient of the two contestants, but Albert’s respect for all God’s creation is too important to ignore. When we can stop thinking of our own human needs as superior to others, we will be fully restored to our created goodness. It’s a less obvious extension of “If you have done it to the least of these…” We have to find ways to protect ourselves without the extermination of others.

  72. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    March 7, 2016 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Albert sounds like a very concious and caring person but I’m not seeing him as being motivated as a Christian, as a saint, that is. There is no question that Methodious had one purpose in life and that was to bring Christianity to the people, not just reverence for life, but Christianity.

  73. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 7, 2016 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    “Reverence for life”: easy to say, difficult to do, and despite legends about Jesus cursing trees (or toddler Jesus striking his playmates dead for mocking him) thia difficult task takes us to the heart of the Gospel message. Schweitzer’s message reveals a bigger God than (even) Methodius contemplated.

  74. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 7, 2016 - 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Communication is essential to understanding. I admire the translators of this world because they make that step possible. Methodius gets my vote today!

  75. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 7, 2016 - 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for Albert Schweitzer because my father (also a physician) was incredibly inspired by him his entire life and told us story after story about Schweitzer. We even had a bronze statue of AS! Also, interesting to read the comments about mosquitoes and ants, which have inspired me in the opposite way. I myself can’t stand either insect (and do in fact kill them), so I respect even more that he had such strong commitment to revering life that he would tolerate them!

  76. March 7, 2016 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

    “every people must integrate the message revealed into its own culture and express its saving truth in its own language” — the heart of communication, and caring about those to whom we are placed. “Go where the people are, not where you wish they were” is the primary thing I took out of 3 years of PhD work in communications…. Yay, Methodius, who didn’t need a degree to get it right.

  77. Richard Gatjens's Gravatar Richard Gatjens
    March 7, 2016 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Such incredibly thoughtful comments today! I’m out of my depth. I voted for Albert because I remember hearing about him when growing up. I do think he went a bit too far with the mosquitos! They carry disease, and particularly in Africa, deadly disease. Perhaps we should say a prayer for forgiveness before we swat one, but swat we must!

  78. Sarah- 15 years old's Gravatar Sarah- 15 years old
    March 7, 2016 - 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Albert because when he started learning about Jesus he was only 19 years old

  79. Lucy A's Gravatar Lucy A
    March 7, 2016 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

    In a world where mosquitos spread the Zika virus which can cause massive, permanent harm during pregnancy to an infant’s brain, I have to vote for Methodius who did so much to spread the gospel. Yes, let us hope that mosquito control can eventually be accomplished without harmful pesticides, but meanwhile let us protect the children, and value evangelism more than we value mosquitos!

  80. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    March 7, 2016 - 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Methodius. His work to establish worship in the vernacular had a huge impact on the Slavic Church. His contribution echoes through the ages.

  81. Kurt Schultz's Gravatar Kurt Schultz
    March 7, 2016 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Schweitzer’s mustache was the tie breaker. Hopefully he’ll make it to the Elate 8!

  82. Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
    March 7, 2016 - 7:11 pm | Permalink

    A hard choice. Schweitzer’s commitment to living out his calling as a Christian is truly inspiring (and I do try to avoid killing insects whenever it is possible). However, I finally decided in favor of Methodius because of the importance of hearing the faith story and the prayers in one’s own language…makes the connection truly personal.

  83. Carolyn Ditch's Gravatar Carolyn Ditch
    March 7, 2016 - 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Albert Schweitzer because he reminds me that we all can live our Christianity, all can be saints and prophets.

  84. Derek's Gravatar Derek
    March 7, 2016 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Ah, the LentMadness bias towards the more “modern” saint continues …

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 7, 2016 - 11:00 pm | Permalink

      Not among the commenting community. This discussion was very balanced. You do wrong to conflate the gross vote count with the actual reflective assessments here in the discussion thread. You are rebuking the wind . . .

  85. Gloria Ishida's Gravatar Gloria Ishida
    March 8, 2016 - 5:13 am | Permalink

    Difficult decision because both have deep meaning. But I voted for Schweitzer, although he has been criticized, because what he says and did resonates so much for today. (Except for the mosquito bit.)

Comments are closed.