Amelia Bloomer vs. Florence Nightingale

Who will face Franz Jägerstätter in the Championship Round of Lent Madness 2017? That’s the question of the day following Franz’s narrow victory over Stephen 53% to 47% in the first of two Faithful Four matchups.

Two things are certain: 1) Franz’s opponent will either be Amelia Bloomer or Florence Nightingale. 2) Today’s Celebrity Bloggers, Laurie Brock and Anna Courie, are terrific writers and we’re grateful for their witness.

To make it to the Faithful Four, Amelia Bloomer stymied Philipp Melanchthon, Fanny Crosby, and Raymond Nonnatus while Florence Nightingale made it past Anselm of Canterbury, Henry Beard Delany, and Martin Luther.

In case you missed the final in-season Monday Madness episode of 2017, watch it here. Tim and Scott are not BOTH in the Holy Land for Holy Week, but one of them is. And it’s definitely not Tim. Because he’s busy.

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Monday Madness — Faithful Four Edition

Scott comes to you live from Jerusalem while Tim is (still) in Hingham for this special Holy Week episode of Monday Madness. The Supreme Executive Committee is not kidding when they refer to the “Lent Madness GLOBAL viewing public.”

This week, in the last in-season Monday Madness of the 2017 season, Tim and Scott discuss the match-ups of the Faithful Four. They also point out that this Wednesday’s championship match comes on a day with a special name: Spy Wednesday. How will you know why it’s called Spy Wednesday? The SEC gives you a hint (written on the bottom of the screen when you watch) of where you can get the answer.

Of course it wouldn’t be a complete episode without a plug for the Lentorium. You might also like to follow Scott’s time in Jerusalem for Holy Week via Twitter. You can also follow Tim’s quest to write 17 sermons and produce a multi-volume set of bulletins on his Twitter. Finally, we hope you’ll take a moment to learn about the work of St. George’s College in Jerusalem, which was kind enough not to kick Scott off their roof while he was recording this week’s edition.

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Stephen vs. Franz Jägerstätter

Welcome to the Faithful Four! From an initial field of 32 saints, we are down to a holy four: Stephen, Franz Jägerstätter, Amelia Bloomer, and Florence Nightingale. The spiritual nets have been cut down and one of these saintly souls will, in a few short days, be awarded the coveted Golden Halo.

The odds-makers in Las Vegas are working overtime as people everywhere are putting their ecclesiastical coin on one of these four remaining ponies of the faith [here endeth the bizarre mixed metaphors].

While much remains a to-be-revealed penitential mystery, one thing about today’s match-up between Stephen and Franz Jägerstätter is clear: Celebrity Blogger David Hansen will be participating in the Championship Round. How are we so sure of this? For the first time ever, David will be advocating for BOTH of his remaining saints who just happen to be named Stephen and Franz.

To make it to the Faithful Four, Stephen got past Alban, Henry Budd, and Augustine of Canterbury while Franz defeated Joan of Arc, Sarah the Matriarch, and Mechtild of Magdeburg.

Throughout Lent Madness, our saintly heroes have battled via basic bios, quirks and quotes, and event kitsch. In this round, we let our remaining Celebrity Bloggers loose as they answer the question “Why should Saint XX win the Golden Halo?” In other words, they’ve been charged with letting us know why their particular saint is so awesome. We have also invited them to share their two favorite images of their saints. Away we go!

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Raymond Nonnatus vs. Amelia Bloomer

With the final battle of Elate Eight week, we will head into the weekend with the full slate of the Faithful Four. After yesterday’s victory by Franz Jägerstätter over Mecthild of Magdeburg 67% to 33%, three of the four tickets have been punched. Franz will join Stephen and Florence Nightingale while we await the outcome of today’s battle between Raymond Nonnatus and Amelia Bloomer.

To make it this far, Raymond defeated John of Nepomuk and Moses the Black while Amelia made it past Philipp Melanchthon and Fanny Crosby.

Are you ready for the final three days of the 2017 Saintly Smackdown? Here’s how it will go: On Monday Stephen will face Franz. On Tuesday today’s winner will face Florence Nightingale. On Spy Wednesday, we’ll send one of the two remaining saints to (additional) eternal glory by awarding the coveted Golden Halo. There’s a lot more Madness to come but that’s how next week will go.

In the meantime, vote! And spend the weekend preparing for next week’s final flourish.

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Franz Jägerstätter vs. Mechtild of Magdeburg

Holy upsets, Batman! Florence Nightingale has spoiled the 500th year of the Reformation with a 54% to 46% victory over Martin Luther. That sound you hear? Brackets being busted everywhere and fans of Luther crying in their beer steins. Florence has joined Stephen in the Faithful Four with two more spots remaining open.

Speaking of Luther and Lutherans (and Germany, for that matter), our two Lutheran Celebrity Bloggers, David Hansen and Beth Lewis, are going head-to-head today. Now, some saints have an incredible amount of kitsch in their kollective kupboards. Franz Jägerstätter and Mechtild of Magdeburg are not those saints. But does this stop our Celebrity Bloggers from scouring the internet? Of course not! They are always looking for the next kitsch to die in.

To get to the Elate Eight, Franz beat Joan of Arc and Sarah the Matriarch while Mechtild got past Isaac the Syrian and Odo of Cluny. Who will take the third spot in the Faithful Four? Well, that’s up to you.

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Martin Luther vs. Florence Nightingale

A day after Stephen became the first saint to make it to the Faithful Four, by defeating Augustine of Canterbury 62% to 38%, the Elate Eight rolls on!

Today it’s Martin Luther taking on Florence Nightingale in a matchup featuring two saintly heavyweights of kitsch. To make it to this point, Martin defeated David Oakerhater and Joseph Schereschewsky while Florence got the best of Anselm of Canterbury and Henry Beard Delany.

Yes, folks, March Madness may be done (congrats to the North Caroline Tar Heels) but Lent Madness is just heating up!

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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).

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Monday Madness: Elate Eight Edition

Tim and Scott preview what’s coming with the Elate Eight, also known as the Round of the Saintly Kitsch. Some people, whom we call Kitsch Kranks, are unable to enjoy the humor of this round. For this reason, the Supreme Executive Committee has given the Lent Madness Shema, the two great rules of the Saintly Smackdown that we especially need to hear at this point in the competition.

Twitter celebrity George T. Dog (@georgetdog) makes a brief cameo, and viewers will be delighted to know he’s named after the first-ever Golden Halo winner, George Herbert, who claimed the crown in 2010. But that’s not the only cameo. Tim went on a field trip to Boston College High School, and the seventh-grade class from BC High take up an important role in this week’s action-packed episode.

If seeing selections from the SEC’s kitsch collection makes you envious, remember you can buy your own kitsch in the Lentorium.

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Amelia Bloomer vs. Fanny Crosby

Much to the relief of the entire Lent Madness global public, the Supreme Executive Committee has reconciled — temporarily — which means the Saintly Smackdown will proceed after Saturday’s all-t00-real April 1st scare. Yes, there WILL BE a 2017 Golden Halo winner.

So let’s get back to the holy business of saintly competition! Today, we continue with the final matchup of the Saintly Sixteen as Amelia Bloomer faces Fanny Crosby. To get to this round, Amelia dispatched Philipp Melanchthon while Fanny got the best of G.F. Handel. The winner will join seven other saintly souls to make up the Elate Eight. Who will Amelia or Fanny be joining? Just to refresh your memory, that would be Stephen, Augustine of Canterbury, Franz Jaggerstatter, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Raymond Nonnatus, Martin Luther, and Florence Nightingale. One of this group will, soon enough, be crowned in (extra special) glory.

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After the Madness: Grow Christians

On Sundays in Lent, we’ve been highlighting opportunities to follow Jesus in new ways. After all, you can’t yuck it up with the Saintly Smackdown forever. Today we’re talking about Grow Christians.

A couple of years ago, Scott (of SEC fame) and Nurya Love Parish rode to the airport together after a conference. They started talking and were lamenting how there weren’t great blogs around for Christian parenting that worked for Episcopalians and other mainline Protestants. Soon Nurya and Scott were plotting and scheming, and the result is Grow Christians.

Grow ChristiansGrow Christians aims to create an online community of discipleship focused on the practical details of life at home. Gathering reflections, stories, images and recipes from diverse folks, this group blog inspires generations to come together as they celebrate the presence of God through the Christian year.

Grow Christians started as a pilot project for Lent 2016, a partnership between Forward Movement and Plainsong Farm. Today Grow Christians is operated by Forward Movement, and Nurya serves as editor and visionary-in-residence.

Several times each week, Grow Christians publishes on topics related to faith at home. Lent Madness fans will be especially interested in articles about how to celebrate the saints’ days at home. But there are also article on raising kids in the Christian faith or talking about difficult subjects. You’ll find great writing, ranging from poignant to prophetic, from humorous to handy.

Visit Grow Christians (, where you can sign up to receive emails whenever there’s a new post. You can also find Grow Christians on Facebook. You might like to know that Grow Christians sometimes gives stuff away, and there’s a giveaway running right now. You could get a bunch of great kids’ books for free! Find the details on how to enter over at Grow Christians.

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