Monday Madness — April 14, 2014

It’s time for the last episode of Monday Madness for Lent Madness 2014. Gather the family, make some popcorn, and get ready for unparalleled video greatness.

In this week’s episode, you’ll see that Tim and Scott have given a shout out to 50 Days of Fabulous. They’ve also thanked the many people who make Lent Madness possible, especially our Celebrity Bloggers, Bracket Czar, Maple Anglican, and the staff of Forward Movement.

It’s been great so far, and it’s not over yet! Stay tuned for the heart-pounding thrills as Lent Madness 2014 comes to an action-packed conclusion. Keep voting until the Championship!

Lydia vs. Harriet Bedell

We started Lent Madness 2014 with 32 saints and now we’re down to four. The Faithful Four. Who will win the coveted Golden Halo? Only a few short days and your voting participation will give us the answer. But it’s come down to this: Lydia, Harriet Bedell, Charles Wesley, and Phillips Brooks.

Today we begin the first of two Faithful Four match-ups as Lydia takes on Harriet Bedell. In this round we ask our Celebrity Bloggers to briefly answer one question: “Why should Saint XX win the Golden Halo?” Speaking of which, how about a round of applause for our fabulous CB’s who toil away in the salt mines of Lent Madness without nearly enough recognition? They are truly the backbone of this operation and are worthy of our gratitude. Please do hound them for autographs when you spot them wearing sunglasses and baseball caps just trying to lead normal lives.

To make it to the Faithful Four, Lydia defeated Moses the Black, John of the Cross, and Basil the Great while Harriet turned back Joseph Schereschewsky, Thomas Gallaudet, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. (click on the names of defeated opponents to view previous match-ups and refresh your memory about these two saintly women).

And, in case you were wondering, we’re tantalizingly close to our goal of 10,000 Facebook likes. Over 9,920! Encourage that freshly minted teenager who just became eligible for an account to like us. Compel your grandfather for whom you just did spend the last five hours setting up his new computer and teaching him how to use Facebook to join the Lent Madness party. We can do this!

Finally, here’s the Archbishop’s Update highlighting today’s battle:

Lydia

unnamedSt. Lydia, unlike other saints, stands in the shadows. No legends, no stories of miracles, no healings. She just shows up in Acts, does her thing, disappears again. Yet she has lasted. She is a saint of paradox, standing with feet in two worlds..

Her very name, in Acts, is a contradiction. She’s Lydia Thyatira, which indicates she is from Thyatira, a town known for its dyeworks, but she appears in Philippi of Macedonia. She must have moved her family from the small town to the more-bustling crossroads of Philippi at some point. She’s a transplant, at a time when people didn’t move from their hometowns. She’s from two places at once.

She’s a powerful business woman in her community and head of her own household. That’s rare in her time and place. While we have other examples of female heads-of-households during the Pax Romana, it wasn’t common, and Lydia running her own prosperous dye business would have raised a few eyebrows, and caused a few Roman patriarchs to despair for the soul of the Empire. A strong woman in a strongly patriarchal society, she would not have been the most popular person.

unnamed

Paul and Lydia, Church in Philippi

When we meet her, she is praying with the Jewish community, but she hasn’t converted. And she’s not at the synagogue; she’s at the riverbank, with the other God-fearers. Even when it comes to matters of faith, she’s holding several things in tension.

And yet, when she meets Paul, she’s drawn to the Jesus that he preaches, to the Jesus that he describes. She is immediately baptized, along with her entire household. And her life is changed. From that moment on, the entirety of her wealth, her status and her resources are dedicated to starting and sheltering the Christian mission in Philippi.

It’s impossible to crawl in the mind of another person, so who knows what drew her that day by the river. But perhaps part of the attraction was her unique blend of paradoxes. Perhaps she recognized in Jesus a sort of kindred spirit, who held together in himself the ultimate tension of heaven and earth, God and humanity.

unnamedPerhaps she found in Paul a kindred spirit who recognized her full potential for, in the words of Paul himself, “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, for all are one in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Whatever the case, since then, she has been an inspiration for countless others to find their own voice in ministry. The ministries, the churches dedicated to Lydia testify to her enduring legacy. Even though not much is known about her, and even though the political whims of the later church never allowed for the popular devotion accorded to other saints, Lydia’s unique brand of dedication, perseverance, and faith have inspired many in their faith.

So who better to wear the Golden Halo than Lydia? Let’s give it to the woman who emerged from the shadows to lead the early church, and poured all she had, paradoxes and all, into the Gospel.

Megan Castellan

Harriet Bedell

unnamedLast summer the assignment of saints descended from the Supreme Executive Committee. I scanned the list for mine, pausing at Harriet Bedell. I had no idea who she was. These many months later, I am glad for the privilege to learn her story and to share it with you, the citizens of Lent Madness Nation.

(Oh, wait. That’s Red Sox talk best saved for tomorrow’s write-up on Phillips Brooks.)

Bedell’s story is infused with the stuff we associate with saintliness: charity, sacrifice, poverty, tenaciousness, courage, humility. The beauty of her story is also measured by the frailty that seeps through her narrative. In her early thirties, when she first arrived at the Oklahoma mission, she blanched at learning to ride a horse. Rather than embarrassing herself by asking tribal members to teach her, she took a horse out on the range and taught herself to ride in private. We can only imagine the bumps, bruises, and wounded pride she sustained in the process.

Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. Bedell’s experiences in Oklahoma paved the way for her years in Alaska just as those years prepared her for her unnamedlong ministry among the Seminole in Florida. “Miss Harriet Bedell, of long experience in Indian work…for three years past has lived in…one of the most isolated spots in interior Alaska,” wrote Hudson Stuck, Archdeacon of the Yukon, in 1920. “Such a post requires a missionary entirely absorbed and happy in the work, and such a one is Miss Bedell.”

Her devotion to God and to the people she served may have been grounded in faith but its expression was always practical. The naturalist Thomas Barbour called her, “a hard-nosed realist.” And no account of Harriet Bedell would be complete without a listing of her no-nonsense “Rules of Life.”

  1. God is first.
  2. Don’t worry. Put all in the hands of God. Don’t think or talk about troubles.
  3. Don’t hurry.
  4. Don’t eat too much between meals.
  5. Don’t do two things at the same time.
  6. All life involves sacrifice.

unnamedThat sacrifice serves as a remarkable example. Bedell, who died in 1969, never saw a movie or owned a radio. She lived a life solely focused on her call from God. Marya Repko’s biography, Angel of the Everglades, records a letter from Bedell to Bishop John D. Wing of the Diocese of South Florida. She wrote, “Our days are very full and it is so impossible to work at letters. The care of the sick is an important part of our work. They send for us or bring their sick ones to the mission…In the glades visits we often find medicine-men caring for the sick. At first they were not friendly but going as we do with Indians they saw we wanted to help.”

Repko writes, “When an influenza epidemic broke out in 1937…she took the sufferers into her own home where she fed them soup and aspirin. Her efforts were appreciated by the Medicine Man who called her ‘sister.’ She was also known as “in-co-shopie,” the woman of God.”

Photos courtesy of Florida State Archives

Heidi Shott

Vote!

Lydia vs. Harriet Bedell

  • Harriet Bedell (54%, 2,550 Votes)
  • Lydia (46%, 2,177 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,726

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Palm Sunday at Lent Madness

Here is today’s update from Archbishop John Chrysostom and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, in which they preview the Faithful Four.

There are two important things you should do:

Oh, and make sure you go to church all the right times this week. We’re all fun and games here at Lent Madness, but it would be pretty ridiculous if you played Lent Madness but skipped Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or the Great Vigil of Easter.

Tim Sees Dead People

Fr. Tim Schenck, member of the SEC and proud ferret owner, goes on camera to speak with everyone’s favorite deceased archbishops. Yes, it’s time for today’s update from Archbishop John Chrysostom and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, featuring an interview with Tim.

There’s a shout out for 50 Days of Fabulous, which is a great way to survive Lent Madness Withdrawal whilst celebrating Eastertide for its full fifty days.

Don’t forget to watch all the back episodes of Monday Madness and the Archbishops’ Update over at LentMadnessTV.

Last, but not least, invite all your friends to LIKE Lent Madness on Facebook. We are closing in on our goal of 10,000 likes!

Anna Cooper vs. Charles Wesley

After yesterday’s Harriet Havoc, it appears we have our first true Cinderella in Harriet Bedell since Emma of Hawaii made it to the championship round in 2012. She trounced Harriet Beecher Stowe 74% to 26% in the first blowout of the week after three days of tense back and forth battles.

Today we finalize the Faithful Four as Anna Cooper squares off against Charles Wesley. To make it to the Elate Eight, Anna defeated Joseph of Arimathaea and J.S. Bach while Charles beat out his brother John and Thomas Merton. The winner will cut down the proverbial nets and join Lydia, Phillips Brooks, and Harriet Bedell as the four remaining saints of Lent Madness 2014.

Here’s today’s Archbishops’ Update for your viewing pleasure:

Have a good Palm Sunday weekend, all, and remember there are only three days left of this year’s Madness. We’ll have Faithful Four contests on Monday and Tuesday and voting for the Golden Halo on Spy Wednesday with the winner announced at 8:00 am on Maundy Thursday. Onward!

4983189771_c4cd337a85_zAnna Cooper

If you haven’t yet planned your next vacation, why not consider a road trip to the Mid-Atlantic — that is, of course, if you can’t make it to the great nation of Texas? Along with enjoying delectable blue crabs, artificially sweetened ice tea, and excessive humidity, you can embark upon a spiritual pilgrimage in honor of Dr. Anna Julia Cooper’s commitment to human dignity, equality, and Christian discipleship.

Begin your trip in Raleigh, North Carolina, with a visit to St. Augustine’s Normal School & Collegiate Institute AJC_Banner2B-RGB(now St. Augustine’s College), where Anna Julia Cooper began attending school at the age of nine. While there, recall Anna Julia’s early foray into activism as she demanded entrance into the same courses as her male counterparts, including classes in theology and pastoral ministry.

Anna J. Cooper Home

Anna J. Cooper Home

After that, hop onto I-85 and make your way to Richmond, Virginia, where you’ll find the Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School in Richmond’s East End. Visit with the amazing students there, and perhaps you can join some of the teachers as they make regular visits to their students’ homes — not because they’re in trouble, but because their teachers are committed to maintaining an active role in their students lives. Be sure to purchase an AJCES t-shirt while you’re there, too.

After a day in Richmond (make you sure to visit their fantastic

M Street School

M Street School

Museum of Fine Arts), hop on I-95 to Washington, D.C. While most of the traffic will be headed to the National Mall, drive on over to the less-crowded, but culturally rich & vibrant LeDroit Park to visit the M Street School (now Dunbar  High School) where Anna Julia Cooper served as principal.

If you get a chance, take a moment to enjoy the majestic sounds of Dunbar’s marching band. Upon leaving Dunbar, pass through Anna J. Cooper Circle on your way to visit her beautiful home. Be sure to take some pictures to mail home to your family and friends. Naturally, you’ll want to use the commemorative stamps in honor of Dr. Cooper, which you can purchase after taking a tour of the United States Postal Museum a few blocks away.

If the heat should become unbearable as you travel, recall Anna Julia’s tireless activism in heels and corsets and be encouraged. Besides, I’m not so anna_j_cooper_tshirt-r1088beff11e643a1b8822955bfd51001_8nhmp_324sure that Mr. Wesley — classy and talented he may have been — was so impeccably and painfully dressed.

Educators, unite—
Writers, speak—
Clergy spouses (and widows), find a new companion—
Francophiles, raise a glass—
World travelers, behold your passport—
Overachievers, join your tribe—
Believers of equality, stamp out injustice—
Everyone, channel your inner “Anna Julia” and live the Gospel with boldness & hope (corset & heels, optional)

Vote Anna Julia Cooper, y’all!

Maria Kane

Charles Wesley 

unnamedYou may fear, dearest reader, that as the younger of the famous Wesley Brothers, Charles Wesley would be bereft on nice, shiny, new kitsch. After all, youngest siblings always seem to get only hand-me-downs: clothes a few years out of style, “lovingly” used toys, and the like. And a lack of kitsch for Charles Wesley would mean a weak showing in the Elate Eight, and next to no chance of advancing. It would almost be as if he failed to show up for this late round of Lent Madness.

So can it be that Charles Wesley should gain an interest in the Zazzle’s kitsch? Yes, dear reader, Yes! unnamedZazzle is here to remind us: There’s Methodist in My Madness!

But there are some in the kitsch-o-sphere that feel it is necessary to remind us that, even as a Methodist remains in our beloved Lent Madness, John and Charles Wesley were, indeed, Anglicans. Both died before Methodism split from the Church of England, and Charles, in particular, was very vocal against any potential split.

unnamedBut people of all kinds of denominations can unite behind Charles Wesley, and especially behind his over 6,000 hymns which continue to inspire the faithful. Inspire the faithful, so much, that he hangs out with his fellow hymn writers William Cowper, Fanny Crosby, John Newton, and Isaac Watts on an exquisite “Sing Hymns Loud!” tie that is said to inspire a thousand tongues to sing.

Indeed, ‘tis mercy all, immense and at a fee, all this kitsch didst find out me! Of course, Lent unnamedMadness isn’t all about kitsch. It’s about preparing for Easter, and for so many, Charles Wesley’s hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” is among their favorites. The hymn is an adaptation of the earlier version from the 1708 Lyrica David original; The United Methodist Hymnal uses Wesley’s adaptation, but in the Episcopal Church’s Hymnal 1982, the original is blended with Wesley’s own verse in “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.” In one form or another, the hymn is beloved enough to deserve a place on your living room wall.

unnamedSpeaking of that favorite Wesley Tune, it looks like choir soloist John Daker from First United Methodist Church is getting ready to sing a song that’s very popular nowadays, with Charles Wesley being a contestant in Lent Madness. And then he’s gonna sing Amore too, okay?

On second thought, Charles Wesley’s bust is not amused… so help him recover from that incredibly unique rendition of one of his hymns by voting him into the Faithful Four. 

David Sibley

Vote!

Anna Cooper vs. Charles Wesley

  • Charles Wesley (57%, 2,664 Votes)
  • Anna Cooper (43%, 2,033 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,695

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Harriet Bedell vs. Harriet Beecher Stowe

We can’t call this the “long-anticipated” Battle of the Harriets since, be honest, did anyone predict Harriet Bedell to make it to the Elate Eight? Nonetheless, we have a match-up rivaling the earlier Battle of the Catherines (of Alexandria vs. of Siena) plus we have a better name: Welcome to Harriet Havoc! Which Harriet will prevail? Well, that’s up to you.

To get to this point, upstart Harriet Bedell bested Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky and Thomas Gallaudet while Harriet Beecher Stowe sent James Holly and Alcuin packing. Check out all the previous action and brush up on on your Harriet(s) trivia by clicking the bracket page and scrolling down to see their respective earlier match-ups.

Yesterday in the third hotly contested battle in as many days (it’s been quite the week around here!), Phillips Brooks defeated (or should we say flexed his “mite” over) Julia Chester Emery 51% to 49%.

Be sure to watch the daily Archbishops’ Update, and if there’s someone out there who hasn’t liked us on Facebook, get to it. We’re pretty sure there are more than 9,762 Facebook subscribers out there. Don’t make us contact Zuckerberg to confirm this. Here’s the latest from the Archbishops:

Photo courtesy of Florida State Archives

Photo courtesy of Florida State Archives

Harriet Bedell

When you look this photo of Deaconess Harriet Bedell standing before a sign for the Glade Cross Mission, you can be forgiven for reading it as “Episcopal Souvenirs” instead of “Glade Cross Mission-Episcopal.” Considering the tireless work she offered for 27 years as a missionary to the Seminole people in southwest Florida, it’s possible to see that it could be true no matter how you read it.

Marion Nicolay, who offers historical re-enactments as Bedell, explains how the Deaconess worked to ensure that the tribal members benefited from the income derived from their handicrafts. She would take a loan from the Collier Corporation, then pay the tribal members for their work with script from the company’s store. She would sell the crafts in the mission shop to tourists and then pay off the loans and use the excess for tribal support and to buy big items like sewing machines. She paid her $20 monthly rent for the mission buildings out of the $50 monthly salary she received as an Episcopal Church missionary. Eventually the Collier Corporation deeded the property to the church. Nicolay, acting as Bedell in the 50-minute video, quips, “I found that I was the middle man for the tribe. That was never in my deaconess job description.”

During the Depression, Bedell drove her Model A to Washington, D.C. to lobby officials to protect the Seminoles’ handicrafts from being undercut by foreign, cheaply-made knock-offs. She accosted leaders at the Department of Labor (possibly Frances Perkins) and the American Trade Authority. She even showed up at the Japanese Embassy to offer a piece of her mind on the subject of replica goods. Ultimately the U.S. Government put a halt to such imports.

unnamed

Rare male Seminole doll donated to the Miami Science Museum by Deaconess Harriet Bedell in 1952.

While in D.C. she got the idea to drive up to New York City to pitch the department stores like Saks and Bergdorf Goodman to see if they would place orders for Seminole crafts. As the Depression deepened and the tourists stopped visiting Florida, the orders from New York stores kept some money coming in. The Deaconess had some pretty good ideas.

Bedell’s passion for the people she served was noticed well beyond The Episcopal Church and the local and tribal unnamedcommunities. In 2000 she was named a “Great Floridian” by the Florida Department of State. A commemoration plaque is mounted at the front door of the Museum of the Everglades.

unnamedSt. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Marco Island established the Bedell Chapel to honor her life and ministry. Local artist Hannah Ineson painted this gorgeous mural depicting the Everglades – complete with alligator — behind the altar of the chapel. (Here’s a crazy Episcopal thing for those of you who like crazy Episcopal things: Hannah’s husband John is the priest who baptized our sons and was a long-time rector of St. Andrew’s in Newcastle, Maine, which, get this, was Frances Perkins’ summer parish).

In 1943 Harriet Bedell turned 68 and was told by the bishop she would have to unnamedretire. She brokered a deal where she would get $50 a month in pension (eerily similar to her salary) and be allowed to carry on with her ministry as long as her health held out. She served for another 17 years and was often quoted as saying, “There is no retirement in the service of the Master.”

Perhaps it was inevitable that someone who worked so hard to improve that lives of the people she served, not least by helping to improve the quality of their handcrafted dolls, would one day have a doll created in her likeness. On display at St. Mark’s is the cross from the Glade Cross Mission that survived Hurricane Donna as well as a doll depicting a Seminole child and the Deaconess herself.

Not for sale.

Heidi Shott 

Harriet Beecher Stoweunnamed

I know that one of the problems that plagues you, the Lent Madness voter, is a crippling loneliness — a fear that you might one day be without Harriet Beecher Stowe. Well, I am here to tell you — that day will never, ever come, because she is everywhere.

Do you want to always remember her most influential work? Why not wear it around your wrist! 

unnamedHow about as a t-shirt? You can do that too! Every blessed word, printed artfully on a tshirt!   (This is actually an incredibly cool idea, and money goes to promote literacy around the world).

Note: Uncle Tom’s Cabin has so much merchandise behind it, that, were you to contemplate it all,  your head would explode. The book was so popular, that for the first time, diverse companies jumped unnamedon its popularity to sell their own products — from lamps to playing cards to hankerchiefs, etc. If it was possible to stamp Eva and Tom on a thing, it was done, and so Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the first mass marketed work of art in Western culture, and all without licensing agreements, so poor Harriet never saw a dime extra. If you’re interested, however, there’s an excellent roundup here.

unnamedBut this is distracting us from dealing with all things Beecher Stowe. Do you need to mail a strongly worded, yet eloquently phrased letter to your congress person? Harriet postage stamps to the rescue!

When night comes, are you seized by fits of anxious indecision and moral turpitude? Don’t worry! You can buy a Harriet Beecher Stowe stuffed doll to counsel you! (and it’s on sale!).unnamed

But most of all, you require what everyone does. When you’re out with your friends, you need something to show them. Something to hand them, to guide them to a saintly path.

I give you, Harriet Beecher Stowe trading cards Suitable for trading, collecting, or distributing to wayward individuals.

Megan Castellan

Vote!

Harriet Bedell vs. Harriet Beecher Stowe

  • Harriet Bedell (74%, 3,102 Votes)
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe (26%, 1,095 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,195

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Phillips Brooks vs. Julia Chester Emery

The second match-up of the Elate Eight pits a renowned preacher and bishop against a tireless lay woman. Both were spiritual giants, although at six foot six and nearly 300 pounds, Brooks was also a physical giant.

To get to this point, Phillips Brooks defeated Simeon and Catherine of Siena while Julia Chester Emery was victorious over Charles Henry Brent and F.D. Maurice. Don’t forget you can see all the previous match-ups to refresh your memory about the contestants by going to the bracket page and scrolling down.

Yesterday saw Lydia sneak past Basil the Great in another squeaker 51% to 49%. Yowza! Fortunately there was no great scandal with this battle as there was in the Charles Wesley/Thomas Merton match-up. To put everyone at ease, please know the Supreme Executive Committee keeps Jimmy Carter on retainer as an impartial election observer. Also, one member of the SEC used to work for IBM so BIG FATHER is always watching.

Maple Anglican has released his daily Archbishops’ Update featuring everyone’s favorite Lent Madness colour commentators. which you can watch here. And we’re getting closer to our goal of 10,000 likes on Facebook before the Golden Halo as we’re now pushing 9,740. Spread the word!

unnamedPhillips Brooks

Phillips Brooks’ Trinity Church was the first Episcopal Church I ever entered. It was 1980, and The Empire Strikes Back had been released that summer (retain this important detail). I was on a college orientation trip to Boston with 400 other freshman, and one stop was Copley Square. Trinity Church beckoned and, as I stepped inside, the spectacular sacred space of Brooks’ imagination stunned me. Christian and Missionary Alliance churches didn’t look anything like this.

But enough of this reverie! Let’s get to the saintly kitsch!

unnamed

A cursory search for Phillips Brooks treasures on Zazzle turns up the usual pithy quote-bedecked beer stein and travel mug, both a whopping $29.95, and sporting a particularly Victorian-sounding epigram: “Jesus Christ, the condescension of divinity, and the exaltation of humanity.”

The young children in your life might like this O Little Town of Bethlehem stocking stuffer pop-up book on Amazon.A visit to the web store of the Phillips Brooks Elementary School in Menlo Park, California, turns up the requisite long-sleeved t-shirt for only$29.99.

unnamedBut where are the items of devotion for a man whom Peter Gomes described as the most famous American preacher since Cotton Mather? Where are the commemorative goods for the first American minister to be invited to preach at Westminster Abbey? The man who had 15,000 Bostonians turn up for his funeral.

Where, where you ask? The answer, in a word, is Ebay.

My first find is this rather spectacular lithograph with a quote from one of Brooks’ sermons can now be  yours for $89.99 OBO. “O, do not pray for easy lives! Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks!” it begins.

That first search led to dozens, nay, tens of dozens of vintage Brooks books and memorabilia. For just $3.00 youunnamed can own a lovely volume from 1908 titled, Jewels of Phillips Brooks. It contains color plates and pithy quotes from his sermons and is way better (and cheaper) than a coffee mug.

unnamedThere is even a Phillips Brooks precursor to Forward Day by Day published shortly before his death, a “yearbook” that offers “day by day guidance to live a meaningful life, for yourself and for others.”

One of the most remarkable finds is this 1953 wall calendar that commemorates Phillips Brooks. 1953! Such was the appeal of his preaching and wisdom and the longevity of his reputation that 60 years after his death people were still buying calendars upon which to note their dentist appointments. You can own this “used not abused” calendar for a mere $12.99 plus $3.00 for shipping.unnamed

unnamedBut now we must return to Copley Square in 1980. Somehow upon entering the church I missed the famous statue of Brooks by the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens that was installed in 1910. Saint-Gaudiens had intended to place a stylized angelic figure behind Brooks. But, alas, he died in 1907 before it was completed. However, a group of artists decided a depiction of Jesus would be better. Unfortunately they designed the creepiest Jesus ever cast in bronze, whom I would have immediately identified, having seen The Empire Strikes Back three times that summer, as Emperor Palpatine.

Here’s what I believe: The real and loving Jesus steered me clear of the creepy statue-Jesus and led me into unnamedTrinity Church, because having seen it first, I would have turned around and gone to get a coffee at the old Harvard Book Store Cafe on Newbury Street. Instead I entered and the beauty and peace of that sacred space lodged itself in my heart and opened a door for a new way of thinking about the mystery of God.

Thank you, Phillips Brooks. Without your life and witness and your perseverance in building that stunning church, I might have turned out to be a CMA missionary in some remote, buggy place with spotty Internet and poisonous snakes.

 Heidi Shott

 

Julia Chester Emery

unnamedAlthough her influence in the Episcopal church was far-reaching (remember how as national secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Board of Missions for the Episcopal Church from 1876 to 1916 she visited EVERY DIOCESE and set up more than 5,600 chapters of what is now the Episcopal Church Women (ECW)? How she visited missions all over the Far East as well? And how she championed the canonical office of deaconess? And how she created the United Thank Offering (UTO)?), Julia Chester Emery’s actual likeness appears on … basically nothing. As Forward Movement notes: “She was a modest and self-effacing Victorian lady who was so careful to stay out of the limelight …”

unnamedStill, as such a major figure in the church and in the world through her encouragement and support of missionaries (we know that she was a major inspiration for all sorts of wonderful things. For instance, look at all these Julia dolls! Clearly she is the model for the cute baby, the adorable toddler wearing Crocs, AND the demure teen. Clearly she is the model for the “My Friend Julia” machine washable doll!

 

unnamedunnamed(OK, and this last doll is actually inspired by Christina the Astonishing, who, sadly, did not survive the first round even though lots of people wanted to see what sort of kitsch she inspired, so here you go.)unnamed

She also clearly inspired the trucking industry! How many people can say that?

unnamedAlso, check out this toast rack in the “Julia” pattern from Royal Winton china. Perfect for holding your Virgin Mary and/or Jesus toast. (There are salt and pepper shakers, teapots, and other lovelies in the Julia pattern, too.)

Naturally, Julia also inspired such important and useful items as key chains. See?unnamed

_DSC8634Now, all of these other Julia-inspired items are available for purchase, somewhere. (Well, maybe not the truck.) However, there’s another Julia item that is unique and priceless, and I own it. It’s almost like a relic. This is a raku pottery UTO box (circa 2000) made by my son when he was in elementary school.

So vote for Julia and send her to the round of the Faithful Four!

Penny Nash

Vote!

Phillips Brooks vs Julia Chester Emery

  • Phillips Brooks (51%, 2,281 Votes)
  • Julia Chester Emery (49%, 2,203 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,483

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Of Winners and Losers

Winners and LosersAfter a very close vote on Thomas Merton vs. Charles Wesley, the Supreme Executive Committee carefully reviewed all the votes. We are sorry to say that we found two instances of voter cheating, both attempting to support Merton. A voter in Springfield, Missouri, voted 21 times for Merton, while a voter in Colorado Springs, Colorado, voted 34 times for Merton. Those two users have been banned, and we have removed 55 votes from Merton. This means Charles Wesley received more legitimate votes than Thomas Merton, so Wesley is hereby declared the winner. People who cheat are hereby declared losers.

Please note, in Lent Madness, we encourage you to do whatever you can to get out the vote. Send mass emails to everyone in your diocese, rent a blimp, buy television ads, canvass your neighbors, or do something more conventional like tell your Facebook friends to vote for your candidate. But we frown on persons who vote more than once. Don’t do it.

Also, please note, we are carefully watching some voters from Seattle, WA; Stow, OH; and Oregon, OH. You’ve been warned. Don’t risk being cast into the outer darkness of Lent Madness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

So, rest assured that Big Fathers are watching. Lent Madness will be decided in free and fair elections.

For now, we encourage you to vote (once only) in today’s match-up between Lydia and Basil the Great.

Basil the Great vs. Lydia

It’s a big day in Lent Madness 2014 as, after a long and winding road, we have made it to the Round of the Elate Eight. The original field of 32 saints has been narrowed to eight. The light at the end of the Golden Halo is slowly emerging and by the end of the week we’ll be down to the Faithful Four.

Yesterday we wrapped up the Saintly Sixteen in a tight race that Lent Madness bracketologists say will go down in history as the closest battle ever.

NOTE: We closed the poll at 8:00 am. Once the Supreme Executive Committee has certified the results, we will announce the winner later this morning — either Charles Wesley or Thomas Merton. In the interest of fairness and the love of Jesus, we will make sure this is a clean election before proceeding.

We begin this round with Basil the Great vs. Lydia. Basil made it this far by defeating Christina the Astonishing and Antony of Egypt. Lydia advanced by besting Moses the Black ad John of the Cross. The other match-ups of this round are Phillips Brooks vs. Julia Chester Emery, Harriet Bedell vs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Anna Cooper vs. Thomas Merton or Charles Wesley.

The Elate Eight is also known as the Saintly Kitsch round. After basic biographies, quotes and quirks, what else could there be? There are always some folks who take offense to this approach — we call them Kitsch Kranks and have written about this phenomenon in years past. This is not 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 to our goal.

After a one week hiatus due to Lent Madness missionary journeys, Tim and Scott returned with their latest Monday Madness video. And Archbishops John and Tom, fresh off their national television debut, offer their Daily Update as they preview today’s contest and answer viewer mail. There are just so many ways to immerse yourself in the Madness!

BasilshirtBasil the Great

Basil the Great: Cappadocian Father; opposer of not one but two heresies; advocate for the Nicene Creed (or what would eventually become the Creed); sibling to saints; founder of communal monasticism, composer of prayers, Doctor of the Church; revealer of Heavenly Mysteries; advocate of the poor and needy; and generally all-around nice guy.

Basilmedal

Yes, that Basil.

Because of his work to reform (or change…but isn’t “reform” a much snazzier word?) the Church, heis the patron saint of reformers, monastics, and Russia (where the venerated St. Basil’s Cathedral resides, but more on that later).

So, if you’re thinking about suggesting that the way we’ve always done things may not be the best way or if you want to nail a few theses on a church door, you may want to wear this lovely medal as a reminder that the spirit of Basil is with you. This and body armor may protect you. May…

Arianism, the heresy that Jesus was begotten of God, not eternal with God, was a big controversy in Basil’s day. Legend says that Arian and his supporters had this cheer used at the Council of Nicaea: “If you want the logos doctrine I can serve it cold or hot: God begot him, but before he was begotten he was not!”

Should you find yourself in a dispute with heretical Christians about the true nature of Christ, you can simply wear this shirt as you recite the Nicene Creed, even if they do have a better cheer.

StBasilsMoscow’s Red Square, one of the most stunning buildings is the Cathedral of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, aka the Cathedral of St. Vasily the Blessed aka St. Basil’s Cathedral. Over 450 years old ago, Ivan the Terrible ordered the Cathedral constructed. The design was so original, legend has it that Ivan blinded the architect so he couldn’t re-create another like it (apparently that Terrible moniker wasn’t for show).

The Russian Basil is not Basil the Great, but rather Basil, the Fool for unnamedChrist who shoplifted and gave to the poor. But since it’s a rather uncommon name for a saint and a stunning Cathedral (now officially a museum), take a look.

And, since you can’t take the Cathedral home with you, there’s a nifty wall decal you can put in your foyer to impress family and visitors.

MousedetectiveShould you be victim of a dastardly deed in Victorian England…and be a mouse, you can always call on Basil the Great Mouse Detective. He catches criminal, solves hijinks, and plays the violin and chess. No information could be found on his particular viewpoint on Arianism, but given his moniker, we will believe he could recite the Nicene Creed with gusto in a crisp British accent. His story is available in the Basil of Baker Street books by Eve Titus or in film in The Great Mouse Detective by Disney.  He is not, alas, included in the Lent Madness Book of Saints.

Basil is from the Greek βασιλεύς basileus, meaning “king.” Basil’s parents had high expectations whenBasilplant they named their son, expectations he lived up to. Basil is well-known outside Lent Madness circles as a popular herb, legal in all 50 states. There are over 160 varieties, and while its leaves are the most well-used part, its seeds are soaked into a gelatinous goo and added to certain drinks and desserts in Asian cuisine. Native to India for over 5,000 years, it was known and used in the ancient world for medicinal and culinary uses. Who knows, maybe Basil ate basil?

Laurie Brock

 

Lydia

unnamedLydia, while being your basic Patron Saint of Mystery when it comes to miracles, legends and basic life stories, nevertheless has inspired much devotional material the world over.

You can buy postcards of the church in Philippi where she was baptized, to gaze at adoringly, and tounnamed plan your next vacation. (Which will be Lent Madness themed, of course.)

You can also buy a necklace with a tasteful icon of Lydia on the front. On the back appears what looks like to me a snail shell motif, which just raises so many questions. Is it commenting on Lydia’s profession as a Milker of Snails? Is it seeking to reconcile her to the marine crustaceans at last? Make your own judgments here.

Speaking about marine crustaceans, are you curious about those snails that Lydia used for dye? Apparently, so is the rest of the world. This Italian restaurant in Toms River, New Jersey, formulated an appetizer using those very snails, and you, too, can make it at home, for the full Saint Lydia experience. (Provided, of course, you can find the snails somewhere, and you are a very good and well-trained chef.) No word on whether they turn your mouth purple.

unnamedNext, we have not one, but two, versions of Lydia as a doll for children. One is made of felt, and even comes complete with a tiny basket, filled with rolls of dyed purple fabric. 

unnamedThe other is a peg doll, suitable for even the tinest would-be church planters.

Buy them for your children and your grandchildren! Have them act out Lydia’s life: planting churches, assuming egalitarian leadership roles, and donating massive wealth to the struggling Christian community!

What better role model for the little ones than St. Lydia!

 

Megan Castellan

Vote!

Basil the Great vs. Lydia

  • Lydia (51%, 2,529 Votes)
  • Basil the Great (49%, 2,392 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,916

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Monday Madness — April 7, 2014

After a one-week hiatus from the World’s Most Beloved Priestly Duo Video Sensation, during which time the hashtag #WhereIsMondayMadness nearly swamped Twitter, Scott and Tim are back. This week’s episode features a look at the first and second missionary journeys of Lent Madness 2014, a preview of the Elate Eight (or Saintly Kitsch) round, a roundup of media coverage, as well as the back story on why Queen Elizabeth wore purple to meet Pope Francis.

Don’t forget to vote in today’s close battle. Visit LentMadnessTV for more high-quality video from the Archbishops and from the SEC.