Stephen vs. Augustine of Canterbury

And then there were eight. We started with 32 saints and 3/4 of them have been sent packing. Welcome, friends, to the Elate Eight.

Who remains? Well, after Amelia Bloomer made it past Fanny Crosby yesterday 59% to 41%, she will join Stephen, Augustine of Canterbury, Franz Jägerstätter, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Raymond Nonnatus, Martin Luther, and Florence Nightingale. One of these remaining eight will be awarded the coveted 2017 Golden Halo!

Things kick off with two heavyweights of the faith as Stephen takes on Augustine of Canterbury. Yes, it’s the Church’s Protomartyr vs. the Apostle to the English. To make it to this point Stephen defeated Alban and Henry Budd while Augustine took down Augustine of Hippo and Scholastica. Don’t forget to click the Bracket tab and scroll down to be reminded of what was written about these two in the earlier rounds.

The Elate Eight is also known as the round of Saintly Kitsch. After basic biographies, quirks and quotes, what else could there be? Now, there are always some folks who take offense to this approach — we call them Kitsch Kranks. Please remember that this round is not meant to belittle or demean our saintly heroes but to have some fun and gaze in wide wonder at the breadth of devotional practice. So kindly relax and enjoy the spirit of the Madness as we push ever onward toward our goal.

Finally, if you want to know more about, and see some examples of, saintly kitsch, tune in to this week’s episode of Monday Madness in which Tim and Scott reveal the Great Shema of Lent Madness (along with cameos by George T. Dog and 150 seventh grade boys from BC High in Boston).


When you are the first of a great line, the opportunities for recognition and tribute are manifold. This is certainly true for Stephen, the holder of two important firsts – first of the Christian martyrs and first of the Christian deacons. For the last two thousand years, the faithful have sought to honor Stephen’s memory.

You could start that the beginning of his story, and worship at the place of his martyrdom – St. Stephen’s Basilica and monastery in Jerusalem (Saint-Étienne in French). Or, just start wherever you are – chances are good that the there is a St. Stephen’s Church in or near wherever you live.

But perhaps even the place where you live is named in honor of Stephen – is a town “kitsch?” Perhaps, once you consider all the kitsch associated with life together in a town. You could attend St. Stephen’s College (in St. Stephen’s, New Brunswick), or just generally think St. Stephen is a great place (and protomartyr).

Of course, you will need a little special something to go with your new shirt – perhaps a purse depicting the funeral of Saint Stephen? You could always use it to carry around pebbles and small stones that you find – just in case. Or maybe you just want to keep some candy around to munch on later. 

As long as you are accessorizing, pick yourself up a small broach. You could choose a simple Saint Stephen medallion. But if you are looking for something fancier, you can’t go wrong with the badges and insignia of either of the two royal / military orders of Saint Stephen – it make it easier to get your hands on one if you are either a Duke of Tuscany or Hungarian royalty. Just don’t make a wrong turn, or you will end up with one of these fancy pins dedicated to St. Steve (Buscemi).

When you get home at the end of a long day of serving others, relax by playing with this Stephen doll. You can re-enact his preaching, or bury him under some stones in a sandbox. While unwinding, throw on some music – perhaps the Grateful Dead song, “St. Stephen” which the band has said was inspired by the first century martyr (following his death, Jerry Garcia’s funeral was even held in one of those many “St. Stephen” churches).

As you say your evening prayers for the forgiveness of those who have wronged you, light a candle. Then cuddle up to your Saint Stephen Beanie Bear and sleep soundly, trusting as Stephen did in God’s watchful care.

David Hanson




Augustine of Canterbury

Augustine of Canterbury: the first Archbishop of Canterbury; Benedictine monk; prior; priest; bishop; Apostle to the English; founder of the English Church; Archbishop of the English Nation.

How important is St. Augustine of Canterbury to Christianity? Based on the amount and types of items available for viewing, purchasing, wearing and reading, it is simple to witness and judge the depth of his importance, the expanse of his influence, and the widespread use of his name and image.

He is depicted in many mediums and in so many ways

There are many books…and statues…and icons…

Book about St. Augustine of Canterbury

Statue of St. Augustine

Icon of St. Augustine







and illustrations…and manuscripts. He’s even on YouTube!

St. Augustine in Church

Manuscript depicting St. Augustine











Granted, none of this really qualifies as true saintly kitsch. Fortunately, Augustine fans, all is not in vain. We’ll start slowly with postage stamps. Not exactly kitsch, but pretty great!




Thirsty? Drink your favorite hot beverage out of this Augustine icon mug.





Or, if wearing your Augustine pride is more your speed, why not don this t-shirt that also includes two other Archbishops of Canterbury thrown in for no extra charge?

Or this cartoonish Augustine the kids will love? 


You can also show your Augustine affinity by wearing buttons. Lots and lots of
buttons. On all your lapels. For an entire week. Or on your hat. 




Finally, you can visit the untold number of churches, abbeys, cathedrals, missions and prayer stations named for Augustine of Canterbury worldwide. Like St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury itself.

There are just so many choices among the myriad ways to remember Augustine of Canterbury — reading, wearing, viewing, posting, mailing, sipping or visiting.

Neva Rae Fox

Stephen vs. Augustine of Canterbury

  • Stephen (62%, 3,772 Votes)
  • Augustine of Canterbury (38%, 2,301 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,073

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208 Comments to "Stephen vs. Augustine of Canterbury"

  1. Joyce Spangler's Gravatar Joyce Spangler
    April 4, 2017 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    You had me at “St. Stephen’s Rock Candy, Catholic Inspired.”

    • Elly Hilz's Gravatar Elly Hilz
      April 4, 2017 - 8:19 am | Permalink

      Me, too!

    • Amy Ernest's Gravatar Amy Ernest
      April 4, 2017 - 8:24 am | Permalink


    • Jack's Gravatar Jack
      April 4, 2017 - 9:04 am | Permalink

      Make that three. A needed chuckle on a gray morning in NJ.

      • Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
        April 4, 2017 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Hey, Father Jack (assuming nothing, of course…)! I, too, was charmed by the rock candy and even more by the link to the Greatful Dead song, St. Stephen.

        Plus, of course, I’ve been voting for the protodeacon and protomartyr all along.

        My first foray into the wildness that is the Elate Eight – what fun!

    • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
      April 4, 2017 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      Oh yeah.

    • Anne Strothman's Gravatar Anne Strothman
      April 4, 2017 - 10:37 am | Permalink


    • Kathleen Connell's Gravatar Kathleen Connell
      April 4, 2017 - 11:10 am | Permalink

      Me too!

    • Tj's Gravatar Tj
      April 4, 2017 - 1:47 pm | Permalink


    • Enid Shields's Gravatar Enid Shields
      April 4, 2017 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

      I want a St. Stephen ColBear, with Stephen Colbert’s head attached to a beanie teddy bear body, clad in the saintly gear of the time, of course.

  2. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    April 4, 2017 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    The Elate Eight
    aka the Round of Saintly Kitsch

    For Stephen and Augustine of Canterbury
    Tune: Grosser Gott, Hymnal ’82, 366, Holy God we praise thy name

    Holy God we praise thy name
    For thy saints who art imperfect.
    For we know we are the same,
    Flawed, with foibles, that’s the verdict.
    Yet, like them, you love us still
    Why it is we cannot tell.

    Novice preachers may mistake
    Passion for the love of Jesus.
    Stephen earnestly did ache
    For your truth to be received.
    Didn’t use too much finesse!
    Thus his ending was a mess.

    Augustine obeyed the Pope
    Headed out to Canterbury.
    Did his best, had lots of hope
    He would unify the churches.
    Though in ways he did succeed
    Unity we’ve not achieved.

    Earnest people often fail.
    Still you love and work within us.
    We seek for some holy grail
    Though you urge us Live with kindness.
    Sin and error plague our wills,
    But your mercy guides us still.

    Holy, blessed Triune God,
    Ever gracious, loving, giving.
    We would honor you each day
    E’en through stumbling, fumbling living.
    Help us trust you and obey,
    Help us walk your holy ways.

    • Thomas G. Stama (Athanasios)'s Gravatar Thomas G. Stama (Athanasios)
      April 4, 2017 - 8:28 am | Permalink

      Lovely! It was a blessing to read the words to this hymn.

    • Doris McLallen's Gravatar Doris McLallen
      April 4, 2017 - 8:31 am | Permalink

      You should publish this!

      • Gloria Rousseau's Gravatar Gloria Rousseau
        April 4, 2017 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely, publish the Lent Madness Hymnal!

        • Diane C.'s Gravatar Diane C.
          April 4, 2017 - 1:23 pm | Permalink


    • Amy C.'s Gravatar Amy C.
      April 4, 2017 - 8:40 am | Permalink

      You have quite a gift, Diana. Thank you for enriching each vote, and making the choice even more difficult!

    • Paul's Gravatar Paul
      April 4, 2017 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      Wow! Thank you.

    • Jeannine Desmarais's Gravatar Jeannine Desmarais
      April 4, 2017 - 9:19 am | Permalink

      Love it!

    • Story's Gravatar Story
      April 4, 2017 - 9:19 am | Permalink

      That’s was great Diana. Did you just get up and write this this morning? because I can’t imagine coming up with something that fast.

      • Diana's Gravatar Diana
        April 4, 2017 - 10:00 am | Permalink

        This one I did last evening. Sometimes I get up early. It just depends on the day. Once I’ve found the right hymn tune, the rest is easier. It’s a great joy to do and I’m grateful others enjoy the results.

    • Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
      April 4, 2017 - 9:35 am | Permalink

      Once again, Diana has nailed it! Great theology, amazing impromptu lyrics. I agree, this collection should be published. SEC???

      • April 4, 2017 - 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Mollie, Diana has said she plans to compile them in a PDF and share them with those who want them. I’ve suggested she offer the compilation to Scott and Tim as a free download via the Lentorium. We shall see.

    • Deacon Mildred's Gravatar Deacon Mildred
      April 4, 2017 - 9:40 am | Permalink

      Thank you! We always need to be reminded that we all (Saints, included) are imperfect. We especially need to be reminded that God loves us all and works through us, even through our failings. Beautifully done!

    • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
      April 4, 2017 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      Best one yet!

      • Anne Madden's Gravatar Anne Madden
        April 4, 2017 - 10:38 am | Permalink

        I agree, I loved singing it!

    • MR McKenney's Gravatar MR McKenney
      April 4, 2017 - 10:19 am | Permalink

      Diana, Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent and these saintly songs to help us remember their lives.

    • MartyV's Gravatar MartyV
      April 4, 2017 - 10:36 am | Permalink

      I’m still laughing … “Thus his ending was a mess.” Thank you.

    • Natalie's Gravatar Natalie
      April 4, 2017 - 10:43 am | Permalink

      Just had to sing this (to Caramek cat and Daisy May dog this morning. You’ve really blessed us, Diana, and I thank you. Your hymns also make it harder for us to make snap decisions. How to choose? Perhaps Stephen, being the first to suffer martyrdom, should get my vote. But Canterbury, with or without Augustine, stands out in so many ways. Will consult your lyrics again before choosing. The SEC and bracket master are not a bit cunning in managing, somehow, to press our buttons each day, for which I thank them.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      April 4, 2017 - 10:50 am | Permalink

      Gret! Except the next time we’re processing to “Holy God, we praise thy name” I may find myself singing this instead — and this could be a bit noticeable at the early and sparsely-attended Sunday service.

    • VT Patty's Gravatar VT Patty
      April 4, 2017 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Wonderful, as always!

    • Grace Kennedy's Gravatar Grace Kennedy
      April 4, 2017 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Another awesome job! You synthesize the important points so well and avoid being contentious. Your hymns are one of the main reasons I read the comments.

    • Susan's Gravatar Susan
      April 4, 2017 - 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Diana. I love this. You are the hymnodist of Lent Madness!!

    • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
      April 4, 2017 - 6:10 pm | Permalink

      This speaks to me SO much. This is the essence of Lent Madness, and of how the saints inspire us through their foibles as well as virtues. “E’en through stumbling, fumbling living.” That says it all. THANK YOU.

    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      April 5, 2017 - 12:42 am | Permalink

      Another great hymn. Pardon the nitpick, but in line 2 ‘art’ should be ‘are’ — art as a verb is not used in contemporary English, and in this context, it should be are in traditional idiom anyway,

      • Diana's Gravatar Diana
        April 5, 2017 - 2:13 am | Permalink

        Ordinarily I wouldn’t use archaic language. I do in these hymns sometimes – even though inaccurately as part of the tongue in cheek fun of Lent Madness. Should I ever find the grace within myself to write real hymns (a hope I nurture) I’ll be much more sensitive to correct language and grammar. Thanks for reading my doggerel so carefully.

  3. Melanie's Gravatar Melanie
    April 4, 2017 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    St Stephen of Colbert, pray for us.

    • Diana's Gravatar Diana
      April 4, 2017 - 8:26 am | Permalink

      tee hee, snicker, giggle. Amen, Melanie. Actually I think he does – pray, that is.

      • Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
        April 4, 2017 - 9:12 am | Permalink

        Have you ever seen Colbert’s Liturgical Dance to the tune of “The King of Glory Comes”? Somehow it comes off as delightfully playful and not at all irreverent, at least to me.

        • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
          April 4, 2017 - 9:21 am | Permalink

          Hilarious! That’s one of the things I love about Stephen Colbert–he’s not ashamed of his faith. He may lampoon those within it who don’t live up to expectations, but I always get the sense that he is driven by a deep commitment to Christ and his example.

          • Isabelle Melese-d'Hospital's Gravatar Isabelle Melese-d'Hospital
            April 4, 2017 - 11:19 am | Permalink

            Amen to that. I appreciate Stephen Colbert and his irreverent wit as well as his deeply held faith.
            I myself am an ex-Catholic, an enthusiastic nouveau Episcopalian who appreciates the spiritual and the humorous as co-equal necessities to make it through the day. That being said, I’m still struggling to choose between Stephen and Augustine today! !

        • Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
          April 4, 2017 - 9:38 am | Permalink

          Oh, thank you, Kathleen! I love Colbert, but this is a new wrinkle in his convoluted and wonderful brain.

          • Susan Wall's Gravatar Susan Wall
            April 4, 2017 - 11:01 am | Permalink

            Oh that is amazing– thank you!

        • Natalie's Gravatar Natalie
          April 4, 2017 - 10:48 am | Permalink

          Am off to watch. Stephen of Colbert is a good man. Has the SEC tried spreading Lent Madness to him? He could become our official late-night evangelist.

          • April 4, 2017 - 8:22 pm | Permalink

            That’s a wonderful idea, Natalie!

          • April 4, 2017 - 9:16 pm | Permalink

            Wouldn’t that be a trip? Lent Madness has already been featured on NPR. If only we could get on Colbert, too, that would be just about perfect.

        • Linda N's Gravatar Linda N
          April 4, 2017 - 11:24 am | Permalink

          Our rector occasionally shows this to the children, and they have a great time mimicking it.

        • April 4, 2017 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

          Oh, that was wonderful!

    • Edna Thomas's Gravatar Edna Thomas
      April 4, 2017 - 8:36 am | Permalink

      I need a St Stephen of Colbert candle

      • April 4, 2017 - 10:13 am | Permalink

        That’s what won me to Stephen’s side this morning! 🙂

      • April 4, 2017 - 10:17 am | Permalink

        So do I

      • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
        April 4, 2017 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Count me in!
        Stephen Colbert is intelligent, funny, wise (which is a little different from intelligent), and not afraid to be silly. Much as I love the city and cathedral of Canterbury (and have seen the ruins of the abbey), I’m going for Stephen.

  4. Peter's Gravatar Peter
    April 4, 2017 - 8:18 am | Permalink


  5. Dianne Lawson's Gravatar Dianne Lawson
    April 4, 2017 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    There are many ways to witness. I’m for Canterbury who lived for his faith, rather than Stephen who provoked the people to the point that he died for his.

    • Alan Christensen's Gravatar Alan Christensen
      April 4, 2017 - 9:25 am | Permalink

      Are you suggesting he had it coming?

    • Meg's Gravatar Meg
      April 4, 2017 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      I’m for Canterbury, too.. Yes, it was the life of faith, but the ‘goods’ were far nicer, too.

    • April 4, 2017 - 11:23 am | Permalink

      It seems to me that Stephen was not going to get out alive from that meeting with the Sanhedrin in any case. Acts 5:17 – 8:3 shows that the religious authorities were spoiling for the Church and looking for an opportunity to crack down on it. The same day that Stephen died “a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1). As for Stephen being provocative in his sermon, he was no more so than Jesus had been to the Powers That Be. Sometimes hard words need to be spoken.

      • Diana's Gravatar Diana
        April 4, 2017 - 11:44 am | Permalink

        I think about that every time I’m getting my dander up about things important and trivial, Harlie. But I also try to remember that Jesus was God and I’m not. How do we discern between holy outrage, responsive to the Spirit, and indulging ego and taking the easier, temporarily satisfying road of rage rather than trying to build bridges and break down walls? I haven’t managed to figure that one out yet and would be grateful for others’ thoughts.

        • April 4, 2017 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

          I agree with you, Diana. We need to be careful to listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit, so that we can, indeed, discern between righteous anger and just being pissed.
          There is a time for hard words and a time for gentle words. We must always pray that God will guide us in how we should speak and act. As for Stephen, as soon as he concluded his harsh words, he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. This would seem to indicate that he had spoken as the Spirit had guided him.

          • April 4, 2017 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

            I would also be grateful for other’s thoughts.

          • Diana's Gravatar Diana
            April 4, 2017 - 5:17 pm | Permalink

            Or it could be Jesus knew Stephen was in for a whole lot of suffering and mercifully provided the comfort needed to get through it. Many people have had the experiences of encountering the risen Christ before their deaths. Hoping for that mercy myself.
            I know there are times when it’s essential to speak hard truths, even when it’s necessary to speak with what might seem harshness. I just keep hoping to find ways to speak hard truths with love, compassion and gentleness – to tear down walls between people, not build them higher with sharp, bitter words. Of course we don’t know the tone of voice used by Stephen – or Jesus for that matter. I often wonder how often when Jesus was saying things that sound harsh he was speaking in tones of grief and longing.

          • April 4, 2017 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

            You may be onto something there, Diana, about the possible ways Jesus or Stephen or anyone in Scripture may have been speaking. Scripture doesn’t give us dialogue descriptors (or whatever the term is. In school I flunked Language Labels. Dangling Participle?). You are so right to want to find ways “to speak hard truths with love, compassion, and gentleness”. That is something we all should seek.
            And Mildred, I’m sure that Stephen’s words of forgiveness did, indeed, contribute to Saul’s conversion.

        • Deacon Mildred's Gravatar Deacon Mildred
          April 4, 2017 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

          It’s worth noting Stephen’s final words of forgiveness to those who were stoning him. Might those words have been a factor in Saul/Paul’s eventual conversion?

          I voted for Stephen, but also find myself wondering if he might have been more convincing if less strident in his speech to the Sanhedrin. At any rate, I strive to be less strident because I’ve found that my harsh words have often been unnecessary and harmful. Maybe this is a case of God working through messiness, as is so often the case.

      • April 4, 2017 - 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Harlie and Diana, I appreciate your theological reflections on Stephen’s sermon and on his death. Very often, I hear people claim they’re “just speaking the truth in love” when what they are really doing is tramping in the souls and psyches of those to whom they are speaking. Dear Lord, deliver me.

  6. Becky's Gravatar Becky
    April 4, 2017 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Stephen vs Luther – THE matchup of 2017!

  7. April 4, 2017 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Sponsored by S. Stephen’s of Providence for ordination – a very formative congregation for me – but it’s Augustine. I also find solidarity with one who gets cold feet half-way through but musters the courage to continue forward (having Gregory the Great behind you sternly pointing the way probably helps). My epic matchup scenario: Augustine v. Luther.

    • Kate's Gravatar Kate
      April 4, 2017 - 9:34 am | Permalink

      St. Stephen rock candy….in RED yet. Perfect!
      Will put on Bob Dylan and play Stephen’s rock star theme song in dazed wonder and hope…

  8. Kim Rossi's Gravatar Kim Rossi
    April 4, 2017 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Being the Rector of one of those St. Stephen’s Churches, my choice was obvious. But for others who may be debating, how can someone that the Grateful Dead wrote a song about not be destined for the “Golden Halo” Really??

  9. Thomas G. Stama (Athanasios)'s Gravatar Thomas G. Stama (Athanasios)
    April 4, 2017 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Both are great saints. I voted for St. Augustine of Canterbury. Why? I think it would be great for the Golden Halo to be awarded to one of the founders of Christianity in England.

  10. Betsy H's Gravatar Betsy H
    April 4, 2017 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    The kitsch round is my favorite! Just as you think reflecting on one’s sins will go on forever. To me, Stephen one this round. The Catholic inspired rock candy suitable for throwing at any nearby martyr trumps the volume of Augustinian kitsch.
    But either one would do honor to the golden halo.

  11. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    April 4, 2017 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I can’t decide which I liked better–the rock candy or the St. Stephen candle. Either way, it’s St. Stephen for me!

  12. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    April 4, 2017 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Had me with “St.” Stephen Colbert..or was it the rock candy?

  13. Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
    April 4, 2017 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    The rock candy and the Colbert candle make it impossible for me not to vote for Stephen this round!

    • April 4, 2017 - 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for reminding me that not all our votes need to be rational. A few months ago, in an old church along the pilgrims’s way to Canterbury, I lay prone for a while on the top of a sarcophagus said to have once held the bones of Augustine. When I went to vote today, suddenly a strange force fell upon my own bones and my hand was driven to click on Augustine’s name. Weird, huh?

      • Sonia Stevenson's Gravatar Sonia Stevenson
        April 4, 2017 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Years ago I lived in Kent in a beautiful old farmhouse (or so I thought) on the Pilgrims’ Way to Canterbury. There was an old church nearby that had fallen on hard times. It was not in the village centre so a “new” church had been built there. The “old” one has since been restored, the “new” one has been pulled down and services are now held in the original. I’m wondering if this could possibly be where you visited? The nearby village is Burham.

        • April 4, 2017 - 11:01 pm | Permalink

          The sarcaphogus thought to be Augustine’s (on which I napped) is at St, Mary’s in Chilham.

          • sonia stevenson's Gravatar sonia stevenson
            April 5, 2017 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

            Thanks. Not the same place, I see. But wonderful that we have such places.

  14. Vicki von Sadovszky's Gravatar Vicki von Sadovszky
    April 4, 2017 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Have to agree with the rock candy!

  15. Corban's Gravatar Corban
    April 4, 2017 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I voted for St. Augustine of Canterbury, but St. Stephen definitely has the better kitsch. I loved the little purse in which you could carry around pebbles or small stones (if you feel so inclined), and I died of laughter at the image of “St. Stephen Rock Candy – Catholic Inspired.” Pretty sure that’s sacrilegious–both the candy and laughing because of it. But I digress.

  16. April 4, 2017 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    St. Stephen, that’s my church. However, I don’t think I’ll be munching on St. Stephen Rock Candy anytime soon. You’ve gone too far, kitsch producers!

  17. April 4, 2017 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    The candy!

  18. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    April 4, 2017 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    I never thought I would be directed to Greatful Dead music during Lent Madness. That was great! Thanks. A very impressive pitch for Stephen. And the rock candy… St. Stephen it is.

  19. Tom of St. Stephen's's Gravatar Tom of St. Stephen's
    April 4, 2017 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Stephen.

  20. Char's Gravatar Char
    April 4, 2017 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    A friend many years ago told me about a tradition in her culture of throwing peanuts at anyone named Stephen on St. Stephen’s Day. My husband, Stephen, didn’t appreciate being pelted with peanuts very much, but our children thought it was great fun!

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      April 4, 2017 - 10:52 am | Permalink

      I suppose it depends on whether you like peanuts. And I’m guessing that the squirrels were following all the Stephens that day, waiting for peanuts to bounce in their direction!

  21. Dick Mitchell's Gravatar Dick Mitchell
    April 4, 2017 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    When the decision is so close, I vote for the home team — St. Augustine. And also, Yeah Heels!

  22. Shannon Fineout's Gravatar Shannon Fineout
    April 4, 2017 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    As part of the Grammar Police, I had a hard time getting past “broach”-it’s “brooch”; but will always go with the deacon-in memory of my very own archdeacon husband.

  23. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    April 4, 2017 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    I married a Stephen. Go Saint Steve!

  24. Julia's Gravatar Julia
    April 4, 2017 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Had to go with Stephen not only for the better kitsch, but in honor of all the deacons and soon-to-be deacons among my circle of friends.

  25. April 4, 2017 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    I was totally undecided, and then the Grateful Dead song was mentioned. That song was played at my first husband’s funeral and to start his repast/wake/party afterward– which ended up lasting until four in the morning–as he had repeatedly requested during his life. (His name was Steve, he loved the Dead, he loved this song.) So I think I’ll have to vote for Stephen. “Saint Stephen will remain/All he’s lost he shall regain.”

  26. Michael Cunningham's Gravatar Michael Cunningham
    April 4, 2017 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    It was the icons of Stephen Colbert that put me over! Voting Stephen all the way.

  27. Walker Shaw's Gravatar Walker Shaw
    April 4, 2017 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Lay down your life vs fishers of men, what a decision. I lean towards people who get things done, so Augustine gets my vote. Augustine planted the seed in southeastern England which took root and grew throughout the entire British Isles, involving them inextricably in the course of European Christianity. We are talking major getting things done!

  28. April 4, 2017 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    I know the tag attached to him reads “St. Stephen”, but what has this stuffed animal got to do with the Protomartyr? Look at any photo of Stephen (posed or candid) and you’ll see that this bear doesn’t look anything like him.

    • Jane's Gravatar Jane
      April 4, 2017 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      Ha! Good point, Harlie. What animal would better represent St. Stephen? Hmmm….

      • April 4, 2017 - 9:47 am | Permalink

        Now that I think of it, Stephen is the Patron of horses. When my wife and I were in Ireland during Christmas, we went to the Christmas Races at Leopardstown. The Races began on St. Stephen’s Day.

      • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
        April 4, 2017 - 10:53 am | Permalink

        A stonefish, of course.

        • April 4, 2017 - 11:56 am | Permalink

          So you’re saying, when they killed Stephen, they threw fish at him? Heresy!

          • Diana's Gravatar Diana
            April 4, 2017 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

            But if the fish was stoned, Harlie, surely that counts.

  29. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    April 4, 2017 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    I saw the yellow T-shirt and thought, “Are we in the Kitsch round?” I really liked the “Catholic inspired” rock candy. I have to confess that Stephen’s kitsch totally won this round; nevertheless, I voted for Augustine of Canterbury. I cannot imagine why Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales were not at least mentioned. Much bawdy humor could be pulled from that work to bolster Augustine’s kitsch cred. I have a feeling Stephen is going to “rock” this round.

  30. Jane's Gravatar Jane
    April 4, 2017 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    And if you live where there are elections today, don’t forget to get out there and vote!

  31. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    April 4, 2017 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    There is something important that I think everyone needs to consider in discerning their vote today. Augustine is the ONLY one in this round to have a whole month named after him. AUGUSTine. Seriously. There is no month named Stephentine is there? I rest my case!

    • Cheryl L Nix's Gravatar Cheryl L Nix
      April 4, 2017 - 11:27 am | Permalink

      Alas, like many of our months, August comes from the Latin. Augustus Cesear comes to mind……
      Being a fan of Celtic Christianity, Stephen gets my vote……..

      • Diana's Gravatar Diana
        April 4, 2017 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Oh well, Cheryl, if you’re going to limit me to actual facts rather than alternative facts . . . . .

        • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
          April 4, 2017 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

          Y’all are a hoot!

      • April 4, 2017 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

        In fact, August was indeed named after Caesar Augustus. And July after his Uncle…

  32. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    April 4, 2017 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    I hereby recommend to our rector (the notorious Fr. Schenck) that we adopt the pelting tradition. Great use for the leftover Christmas candy! We already hold a jellybean reception after the Easter Vigil, and this would fit right in.

  33. April 4, 2017 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    I have always believed that Stephen’s witness was amazingly powerful. It seems a bit ironic that we’re considering the best demonstration of kitsch when we get to this point when these saints like Stephen laid down their lives for the Gospel. Just hard to get my head around, but I love LentMadness nonetheless!

  34. Wilson Anthony's Gravatar Wilson Anthony
    April 4, 2017 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Love the rock candy

    Read the recipe here:

    Go Stephen!

  35. Debbie Brewin-Wilson's Gravatar Debbie Brewin-Wilson
    April 4, 2017 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Very shallow of me, but Stephen’s kitsch is kitschier.

  36. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    April 4, 2017 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    “Everybody Must Get Stoned”….so impressed to find Stephen being the first to demonstrate!! He would sorely appreciate the rock candy …those old Catholics knew how to throw a party!

  37. April 4, 2017 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Ah shoot, I’m being a Kitsch Krank! Just read the comments up top. Oscar the Grouch and I have much in common this early morning, apparently. Onward with the Final Eight!

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      April 4, 2017 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      ‘S okay, Lindsay! Recognizing the problem is the first step towards recovery!

  38. Elsa's Gravatar Elsa
    April 4, 2017 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    I voted for Stephen, not because he was the first to be martyred but because he was the first known deacon. Many churches and dioceses are working toward the idea of a deacon in every church.

  39. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    April 4, 2017 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    I have to stick with Stephen even if his candle is a little creepy. I always enjoy the saintly kitsch, mostly for the sheer persistence and ingenuity of the celebrity bloggers, not to mention the sleepless nights some of the items they unearth must engender. 🙂

  40. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    April 4, 2017 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    “The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
    St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze,
    Although he was little his honour was great,
    Jump up me lads and give him a treat.
    Up with the kettle and down with the pan,
    And give us a penny to bury the wren.
    The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
    St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze,
    Although he was little his honour was great,
    Jump up me lads and give him a treat.”
    “Up with the kettle and down with the pan,
    And give us a penny to bury the wren.”

    See also “Wren Day” in Wikipedia. The annual SS Day wren hunt is NOT a tradition to be revived, but it’s a cute song.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      April 4, 2017 - 10:03 am | Permalink

      Sorry, I must have pasted twice by mistake.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      April 4, 2017 - 11:14 am | Permalink

      I love the Chieftains rendition!

      • Nancy C.'s Gravatar Nancy C.
        April 4, 2017 - 11:57 am | Permalink

        Nice…and on that same marvelous album by the incomparable Chieftains , we have the hilarious “St. Stephen’s Day Murders!” Nonetheless, I had to go with Augustine.

  41. Edwina's Gravatar Edwina
    April 4, 2017 - 10:08 am | Permalink may I return to Canterbury if I do not vote for him….Last Christmas was memorable..Thanks Gus.

  42. Betty in CV's Gravatar Betty in CV
    April 4, 2017 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    I rise today through a mighty strength,
    God’s power to guide me,
    God’s might to uphold me,
    God’s eyes to watch over me,
    God’s ear to hear me,
    God’s word to give me speech,
    God’s hand to guide me,
    God’s way to lie before me,
    God’s shield to shelter me,
    God’s host to secure me.

    We lost much of the beauty and wisdom of the Celtic tradition through the mission of Augustine and the decision that the practices of the Church of Rome should trump those of the Celtic Christians. A pilgrimage to the holy isle of Iona opened the beauty of Celtic Christianity to me. There have always been church
    politics. I can’t vote against the Celts. Stephen for me.

    • Isabelle Melese-d'Hospital's Gravatar Isabelle Melese-d'Hospital
      April 4, 2017 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      Betty, you are spot on. I love the Celtic traditions and am saddened at the repressing influence of Rome. ..sorry, Augustine, I’m going to have to say “Bye, Felicia!”
      Plus….rock candy! Go Stephen, Go!

  43. kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
    April 4, 2017 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Oh yeah.

  44. Timothy J's Gravatar Timothy J
    April 4, 2017 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Since I live in the same town as Stephen (Colbert), that lovely item sealed the deal for me. Stephen for the win!

  45. Pat Moore's Gravatar Pat Moore
    April 4, 2017 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    I was baptized and confirmed at St Stephens in Beverly, NJ, so I had to vote for him!

  46. April 4, 2017 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    Decisions… decisions! Nail biting time as we begin the Elite Eight! Love the swag offered for St. Stephen’s fan: rock candy, Teddy Bear and a devotional candle of St. Stephen (of Colbert).

  47. April 4, 2017 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    I go to St. Stephen in Longmont, Colorado, but I was confirmed in St. Augustine’s in Oklahoma City! What to do…. the St. Colbert candle won me over.

  48. Matthew of Nashville's Gravatar Matthew of Nashville
    April 4, 2017 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    The saintly Rock Candy did it for me! Doesn’t get more kitschy than that!!! Going with the Protomartyr.

  49. April 4, 2017 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    St. Stephen Colbert got me!

  50. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    April 4, 2017 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Stephen clearly won the kitsch round. I really wanted to vote for Augustine, but the Grateful Dead made me vote for Stephen.

  51. Christopher's Gravatar Christopher
    April 4, 2017 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Team Deacon, ride or die.

  52. Jennifer S.'s Gravatar Jennifer S.
    April 4, 2017 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    I was very very crabby at both these guys for besting two of my champions. I planned to sulk and not vote at all this morning, but the terrible, terrible kitsch has turned my mood around. Well done, Celebrity Bloggers, the pair of you.

  53. Mary Hickman's Gravatar Mary Hickman
    April 4, 2017 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    I am still not able to vote!!! Not sure the problem. Anyone else have this happen? I don’t think I have broken any rules!!

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      April 4, 2017 - 10:56 am | Permalink

      I’m wondering if it’s your browser. If you’re using Internet Explorer, try enabling popups. Or sign in using Firefox or Chrome. Or go to the library and use one of their computers, or borrow someone’s smartphone if you don’t have one of your own. Good luck!

  54. April 4, 2017 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    OMG…the Catholic-inspired Rock Candy!!! Bwahahahaha!

  55. Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
    April 4, 2017 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    After reverently listening to the Grateful Dead in honor of St. Stephen getting stoned, I cast my vote for the first deacon. Nothing like a good dose of kitsch when you’re called to bring the Church to the world and the world to the Church!

  56. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    April 4, 2017 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Rock candy, St. Stephen Colbert candle and then, the Liturgical dance….! ! My sides are splitting! What a way to begin the day! Go Stephen, all the way! Hahaha!!

  57. Linda N's Gravatar Linda N
    April 4, 2017 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    It was, as always, a very difficult choice, but the Saint Colbert candle is what got my vote.

  58. Lauren D's Gravatar Lauren D
    April 4, 2017 - 11:15 am | Permalink

    The Colbert candle made my decision for me…

  59. Willo Fuhr's Gravatar Willo Fuhr
    April 4, 2017 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    I voted for St Stephen because my grandDAUGHTER’s name is Stevie and because we have a VERY SPECIAL STEPHEN IN OUR CONGREGATION and his name is STEPHEN

  60. The Very Rev. Hollinshead T. Knight's Gravatar The Very Rev. Hollinshead T. Knight
    April 4, 2017 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    What ever happened to Oliver???

    • Diana's Gravatar Diana
      April 4, 2017 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Wondering the same thing! Hey, O Holy SEC guys, could you please check in with Oliver and let us know if he’s OK? LentMadHeads want to know.

      • Nancy Heintz's Gravatar Nancy Heintz
        April 4, 2017 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

        I miss Oliver also!

      • Emily's Gravatar Emily
        April 4, 2017 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Same questions n here. Maybe the photo was too much for him.

      • April 4, 2017 - 8:18 pm | Permalink

        I think they call it a ‘Welfare Check’. Can you take care of that for us, SEC? Thanks!

  61. Megan O Jones's Gravatar Megan O Jones
    April 4, 2017 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    “Of course, you will need a little special something to go with your new shirt – perhaps a purse depicting the funeral of Saint Stephen? You could always use it to carry around pebbles and small stones that you find – just in case.”
    -Thank you! There was no other choice after this!

  62. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    April 4, 2017 - 11:34 am | Permalink

    As a cradle Episcopalian, I had to go with Augustine. Without him, there would not have been an Anglican church. My maternal great grandparents came from England in the 1840ies. My grandfather, my mother, and I were all baptized in the same small village church. Otherwise, I probably would vote for Stephen.

  63. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    April 4, 2017 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    As a cradle Anglican, I’m sticking with Augustinus Cantabrigiensis. He won the Round of 32 and the Saintly 16, but he seems to be losing to Stephen now, although there have been late upsets in other contests.

  64. April 4, 2017 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    I did it. Last week I did go over the cliff with ML and kranked out a whine. In our defense, it may be just too much, too soon. (On my fridge, next to my Lent Madness bracket is my diagram of top associates and Russian connections.) these are tough, tough times.
    I voted Stephen, for all the good reasons, plus the very cute write-up today. I’m not a big fan of Augustine anyway. exactly – how – can we really be sure we’d be voting for the Canterbury dude and not the Great Doctor of he Church? It totally reminds me of a regionally famous fun and beloved Alaskan politician, Rep. Henry Springer from Nome. When he retired from the House after years and years (in the 1980s), a younger and not related fella named Mark Springer filed for his seat. He thought he had a great chance of winning because most folks didn’t pay attention to little things like FIRST names.

  65. Dutton in Madison, GA's Gravatar Dutton in Madison, GA
    April 4, 2017 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Deacons stick together. It’s Stephen for me.

  66. Rosemary Beales's Gravatar Rosemary Beales
    April 4, 2017 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    No question for us here at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes school in Alexandria, VA. We have Stephen’s rocks (6 of them) as part of our shield, but I know my fourth grade religion classes, who have been following Lent Madness, would much prefer the candy version. Thanks for the inspiration!

  67. Hugh Matheson's Gravatar Hugh Matheson
    April 4, 2017 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Augustine. I have never been particularly fond of Stephen. Ordered to serve table, the first thing he does is start preaching. His sermon is rude, and disrespectful of Jewish sensibilities, when it doesn’t have to be. I’m sorry he died. He gave his life for the faith (sort of) but really I think he was a pushy so n so. I suspect the reason we remember him is because he was the first martyr because, well, he was. But the way he did it, doesn’t reflect well. on him. Sorry Steve, buddy. Auggie is my man for today.

    • David's Gravatar David
      April 4, 2017 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Very well put.

    • April 4, 2017 - 9:42 pm | Permalink

      Hugh, I’ve been teetering all day between these two worthies. But your insight is spot-on, I think. And echoes much of what Harlie and Diana were discussing above.
      Stephen definitely wins for his kitsch. But Augustine gets my vote.

  68. Jan's Gravatar Jan
    April 4, 2017 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Stephen and Jerry Garcia

  69. April 4, 2017 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Does any of this kitsch fall under the rubric of “indulgences”?
    Or worse, into the category of “consumerism”?
    Lord, have mercy upon us!
    And Go, Dodgers!

  70. Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
    April 4, 2017 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

    This statement of Neva Rae Fox’s from the first round made the difference for me:

    “King Æthelberht of Kent was married to Queen Bertha—a Christian—and Æthelberht responded kindly toward Augustine and his fellow monks, allowing them to use an old church from the Roman occupation located in the village of Canterbury.”

    Augustine and Queen Bertha (King Æthelberht’s wife) together influenced history by creating the optimal conditions for a king to embrace Christianity. Augustine had been afraid to go to England, but he bravely went anyway, and then he built on the tenuous foundation already laid in England, encouraging the Celtic Christians to do more to teach the British about Christianity, and reinvigorating already build churches.

    I love the fact that so many people are voting for candy (there’s nothing wrong with candy!!! or St. Stephen!!!), but I’m voting for a man who influenced the sweep of history.

    My vote: St. Augustine of Canterbury.

    • April 4, 2017 - 5:20 pm | Permalink

      The contribution of St. Bertha and St. Ethelbert to the spread of Christianity in England is commemorated with their statues which flank one of the entrances to Canterbury Cathedral. And that old church that Ethelbert allowed Augustine to use has been an active parish from that day to this. It’s dedicated to St. Martin and one Sunday my wife and I attended services there. A very cheerful, friendly congregation. You would like it, Kim.

      • Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
        April 5, 2017 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Cool. Thanks!

  71. April 4, 2017 - 12:47 pm | Permalink


  72. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    April 4, 2017 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    At the risk of being a Kitsch Krank, I thought recommending stones for Stephen a bit out there and uncalled for. Not funny, and I have an unusual sense of humor.

  73. Dixie's Gravatar Dixie
    April 4, 2017 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

    In support of FULL TRANSPARENCY & DICLOSURE, I respectfully suggest that all candidates from this post forward declare all income from their Kitch Enterprises!

  74. Kandice's Gravatar Kandice
    April 4, 2017 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for St. Stephen today since my very own home Province in Canada was mentioned in Lent Madness!!! We are celebrities now!!!!

  75. Dixie's Gravatar Dixie
    April 4, 2017 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    That should have been KITCH Portfolio.
    SpellCheck she is smarter than SIRI

  76. Bob Nelson's Gravatar Bob Nelson
    April 4, 2017 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Did anyone else see that “Monday Madness “, 04/03/17, made it on the Doonsbury website “Today’s Video”?

  77. Terie H's Gravatar Terie H
    April 4, 2017 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with the underdog: Canterbury!!!

  78. Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
    April 4, 2017 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    While I honor St. Stephen, as the first martyr; I think that whoever was the second martyr was braver. He knew what could happen. As for St. Augustine of Canterbury, he is one of my favorites. Following the urging of the Pope, he sanctified English pagan holy sites and festivals, thus saving English culture.

    • April 4, 2017 - 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Well, technically speaking, wouldn’t Jesus be the 1st martyr and Stephen the 2nd? Ol’ Peter might have been #2 but he hid. From a historical perspective, I bet everyone knew Romans and the Temple Establishment knew the severe risks of sacrilege.

  79. Jane's Gravatar Jane
    April 4, 2017 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Originally I voted for Augustine in an earlier round, and…ok…I confess I couldn’t resist Stephen’s accessories. I am so weak…forgive me, Augustine. It was the change purse that swayed me. Is such a thing really for sale somewhere? If so I’d love to get one!

  80. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    April 4, 2017 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Stephen, first Christian martyr. Remember, friends and colleagues, that even inspired preaching can get you in trouble! Be willing to pay the price. Be strong; be gentle.

    • Douglas McLemore's Gravatar Douglas McLemore
      April 4, 2017 - 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Was it John Wesley that said if preaching didn’t move someone to be saved or anger someone it really was not true to the Word.

  81. Nancy Heintz's Gravatar Nancy Heintz
    April 4, 2017 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I love learning about the people who built our church…and the humor that makes it all so relevant. Thank you for this annual event.

  82. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    April 4, 2017 - 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Today is the feast day of an important modern American martyr, so I’m voting for the first martyr.

    Now where can I find a Saint Colbert candle?

    • April 4, 2017 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

      That’s right, Jan, today is the Feast of Martin Luther King, Jr. Thank you for reminding us!
      In the Calendar of the Book of Common Prayer, the date for MLK’s commemoration is April 4 (the day of his death), not January 15 (the day of his birth). This is in keeping with the ancient Church tradition of honoring saints on the day they died, their “Heavenly birthday”.

    • Douglas McLemore's Gravatar Douglas McLemore
      April 4, 2017 - 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that reminder. I still remember exactly where I was when I got the word of MLK’s death.

  83. Phyllis P's Gravatar Phyllis P
    April 4, 2017 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    My son is named Stephen so Stephen it is.

  84. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    April 4, 2017 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

    My vote goes to Stephen, but kudos to celebrity blogger Neva Rae Fox for a lovely write-up on Augustine’s saintly kitsch!

  85. Whit in Ohio's Gravatar Whit in Ohio
    April 4, 2017 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

    As a fan of the British History Podcast, I’m for St. Augustine of Canterbury.

  86. Bee Durban's Gravatar Bee Durban
    April 4, 2017 - 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I have voted for Stephen because I still haven’t gotten over Augustine coming to England and bullying us into not being Celtic Christians! And Stephen does have so much kitsch!!

  87. Marlene's Gravatar Marlene
    April 4, 2017 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Rock candy and a cat named Steve…had to do it.

  88. Margaret Nolde's Gravatar Margaret Nolde
    April 4, 2017 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Is that poor teddy bear black and blue?

  89. David Carver's Gravatar David Carver
    April 4, 2017 - 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Neither of these saints were my first pick (I voted for St. Alban and “the other Augustine”, for their noble self-sacrifice and importance to theology, respectively). In this matchup, however, I feel compelled to vote for Augustine of Canterbury – I might not be here as a Christian today if it weren’t for his efforts. (Though I am sure some will point out Celtic Christianity and take issue with his subjecting Britain to the Roman church.)

  90. Mary Lou's Gravatar Mary Lou
    April 4, 2017 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Love it Diana! The best one yet.

  91. James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
    April 4, 2017 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I have to assume that Stephen, if he actually ever existed at all, probably meant well. Unfortunately, due to the stories about him, it has gotten into a lot of people’s heads that the proper way to evangelize is to do it with gusto the way Stephen supposedly did, and one can easily imagine an adolescent, full-of-himself kid mouthing off in front of the “infidels,” and probably most distressingly surprised when, instead of being properly chastened, as he fully expected, they got annoyed and offed him.
    People will claim this is courageous, but courageous can be reckless and stupid, which is what this well intentioned (but very, very dumb) kid was.
    It ought to be pointed out that Stephen is not the first Deacon; he is among the first. And far from being the first martyr, he is essentially the first one to be named. Probably because his story (“Wait til you hear what that Stephen did!”) got a lot of notice — not good notice, but a lot of it. (“Nah. Not surprised. That boy always had a mouth on ‘im.”)

    • April 4, 2017 - 4:25 pm | Permalink

      You are correct, James, when you write that Stephen is not the first deacon, but among the first. There were six other deacons ordained with him (Acts 6:5).
      But then you write: “And far from being the first martyr, he is essentially the first one to be named.” Who are these other, unnamed martyrs that you refer to?

      • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
        April 4, 2017 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

        It is a time of serious growth of the church. Paul wasn’t the only one hunting Xtians.
        The narrative clearly indicates folks in Jerusalem were getting clobbered, and at the time of Stephen, they’ve decided to up their game and go get suspects in other locations. You might say that he was the first martyr if you want, but the likelihood is not there. It’s just as likely that there were not just some others, but a lot of others. Unless you want to say that when Paul was holding coats, it was his first rodeo, and there’s no indication of that.

        • April 5, 2017 - 9:21 am | Permalink

          Thank you for responding, James.
          According to the narrative, the Authorities began by arresting Peter and John. They were brought before the Sanhedrin, but were reluctantly released under the pressure of popular opinion (Acts 4:1-22).
          Later, all of the Apostles are arrested. The Sanhedrin wants to kill them, but is dissuaded by Gamaliel. The Council has them beaten, then releases them (Acts 5:17-42).
          Next comes the episode with Stephen (Acts 6:8-8:1). In the first verse of chapter eight, it says “That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem”. This was the same day that Stephen was martyred, and the word “began” would seem to indicate that this was the first time the rank and file Christians were persecuted. But the previous harassment of Peter and John, and then of all the Apostles, I would call persecution. And it’s highly likely that Paul was involved in all of this. As for going after Christians in other locations, the narrative seems to say that some time had passed before Paul headed off to Antioch, which doesn’t happen until chapter nine.

  92. Donna K.'s Gravatar Donna K.
    April 4, 2017 - 4:08 pm | Permalink

    You got me with Stephen Colbert.

  93. James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
    April 4, 2017 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Virtually all the Xtians in England owe their faith to the work begun by Augustine of Canterbury. A monk who probably would have just preferred to live out his life quietly in his monastery, the Pope saw greatness in the man and sent him to evangelize England. It was a very frightening mission, but he handled it with style and accomplished marvelous things — not as much as he would have liked, no doubt, but still a job well done!
    We stand on broad shoulders.

  94. April 4, 2017 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Stephen, for our parish, but mostly for our every-six-weeks-or-so music group, The Stones of St. Stephen’s. If you liked ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ you’d love them. My favorites: ‘Down to the River to Pray,’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ to the tune of ‘House of the Rising Sun.’

    • April 4, 2017 - 7:14 pm | Permalink

      The Stones of St. Stephen’s, that is so cool! In our old parish in Arizona I sang in the praise band, State of Grace. We did a killer “Down to the River to Pray”. Such blessed memories.

  95. Alrc Clement's Gravatar Alrc Clement
    April 4, 2017 - 4:26 pm | Permalink

    SOMEONE said they felt Stephen was a pushy so & so…thought this unfair..I think Stephen knew very well that sounding off as he did was fraught with danger—indeed he may have expected his death..but his faith was so great that it gave him the courage to speak and he did so loud and clear….
    I can’t demean him with candy or purses with pebbles..he needs trumpets and a full orchestra!!! Would that we could at least emulate his courage

    • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
      April 4, 2017 - 11:13 pm | Permalink

      Courage can be dumb or stupid. This was the case here.

      Insulting others does not turn them; it makes them angry, vindictive, and dangerous. And in addition to not accomplishing anything, the deacon gets himself killed.

      That would be sad in itself, but the fact is that a lot of folks falsely believe that this sort of behavior is an appropriate way to evangelize. Stephen is responsible for a lot of really stupid, unproductive behavior.

      I sure hope you don’t emulate that kind of dumb “courage.” Keep your head; keep your wits about you and do what is most likely to produce good results.

      You know, in the early Church, there is some talk about how people actually attempted to become martyrs, to the point where the authorities had to tell them, “No, you are NOT supposed to SEEK death. If it comes to you, face it with courage, but it is wrong to seek it out.”

  96. Steve's Gravatar Steve
    April 4, 2017 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

    To give your life for what you believe – duh!

  97. April 4, 2017 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Had to vote for Stephen. Got married at St. Stephen’s, Seattle.

  98. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    April 4, 2017 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

    And what about St. Stephen King? His book “The Stand” could be another Book of Acts.

  99. April 4, 2017 - 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Voted for each of Augustine and Stephen at least once in the earlier rounds. Voted for Stephen this time, but the decision was difficult.

    Didn’t want to blame Stephen for his intemperate language (which may have been more the result of Luke’s editing than anything else).

    Neither did I want to blame Augustine for the actions of his successors re the Celtic church.

    Anyway, I’ll have a lot more emotional energy for the Nightingale-Luther clash tomorrow. Go Florence!

  100. Carys's Gravatar Carys
    April 4, 2017 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

    STAMPS!!!! But I will be very happy if either win.

  101. Izzie's Gravatar Izzie
    April 4, 2017 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Go Stephen sorry but lots of other people helped spread Christianity in modern day England.

  102. Judith Chumlea-Cohan's Gravatar Judith Chumlea-Cohan
    April 4, 2017 - 9:04 pm | Permalink

    I love all things Canterburian(sp?)…..especially the cats

  103. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    April 4, 2017 - 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I spent the morning watching videos of dead and dying children in Syria after a gas attack, and this evening the US seems poised to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against North Korea. I was going to give myself time to ponder reflectively what spirituality best spoke to the insanity we live in now, but since I genuinely believe it’s possible we might not all be alive in the immediate future, I am beginning this very moment to focus on what sort of saint can guide me in determining my actions, not just what issues I take action on (and how I go about it), but how I orient my heart in what look like end days. Ignatius talks about the need, in the heat of battle, to look up and determine what standard one is fighting under. Amid all the “false flag operations” characterizing our present political circumstances, how does one find the “good way,” the just path? Sarah Kendzior says, We need to be courageous, but if you can’t be courageous, be kind. What saint can best guide us in this evil, to stay focussed on the light? This is the question I will be pondering for tomorrow and for the rest of Lent.

  104. Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
    April 4, 2017 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

    No contest for a true dyed-in-the-wool Anglican. Augustine, the founder of the Church in England, is my choice.

  105. April 4, 2017 - 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Voting for Augustine and Neva Rae. But you gotta admit Stephen has the coolest kitsch.

  106. John Crittenden's Gravatar John Crittenden
    April 5, 2017 - 1:33 am | Permalink

    Though little we have in our nest, we invest.
    Stephen was such.
    And what an effect.
    As such as he that might gain the crown.

  107. Doc's Gravatar Doc
    April 5, 2017 - 2:24 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Stephen because this kitsch write-up is so awesome! Lent Madness fan though I have been lo these many years, today is the first time I ever laughed out loud while considering my vote. A St. Stephen’s purse! To carry rocks around in! I am STILL cracking up!!

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