Celebrity Blogger Week: Hugo Olaiz

Day three of Celebrity Blogger Week, brings us the encore blogging performance of Hugo Olaiz, who joins us for his second year in a row. A man of many talents, as you can see from the accompanying picture, Hugo can cook and sing opera at the same time! We assume he’s not lip synching but we have yet to verify this.

Hugo Olaiz

Hugo Olaiz is associate editor for Latino/Hispanic resources at Forward Movement. Hugo grew up in La Plata, Argentina — a country where provinces and cities are sometimes named after saints. After completing a degree in literature and classics, Hugo spent two years on mission in Paraguay. He later moved to the U.S. to do graduate studies in Spanish, linguistics, and translation, pursuing a Ph.D. in Hispanic linguistics at Berkeley, California. He later moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he became the news editor for Sunstone magazine. Upon moving to Carrboro, North Carolina, Hugo stumbled into an underground network of home-based businesses — hair styling, sewing, cooking — all run by Mexican immigrants; these contacts led him into Latino ministry and advocacy in the Diocese of North Carolina. Hugo lives in Oxford, Ohio, with his husband John-Charles Duffy and an aging beagle mix named Patches. In his spare time, he loves to entertain friends, edit Wikipedia entries, and watch opera clips on YouTube.

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Celebrity Blogger Week: Anna Fitch Courie

Second-year Celebrity Blogger Anna Fitch Courie is on tap as Celebrity Blogger Week continues (we will not quit until we highlight every single one of these dedicated scribes!). As a fitness guru, among other things, it’s not surprising to see Anna doing pushups in…her home gym? We’re not sure exactly where this picture was taken but we’re sure impressed by Anna’s use of an invisible selfie stick.

Anna Fitch Courie

Anna Fitch Courie is an army wife, nurse, layperson, and the author of “Christ Walk: A 40 Day Spiritual Fitness Program” (Church Publishing, Inc., 2015); “Christ Walk Kids” (Church Publishing, 2016); “Sally the Comet (CreateSpace, 2015); and “Sally and the Constellations (CreateSpace, pending). Anna finds her calling where health and spirituality intersect. Anna is a registered nurse by training and has been working in the health care field for the past eighteen years. More recently, she has been a consultant on building community coalitions on health. Anna is a graduate of Clemson University, the University of Wyoming, and Education for Ministry at Sewanee: the University of the South. In her spare time, she fights cancer, consults in public health, and runs Christ Walk, retreats, writes books, and blogs for “50 Days of Fabulous” and “Lent Madness.” In her dream world, she hikes the El Camino and Mount Rainier, sails, travels, cooks, reads, and attends every Clemson football game each season. Home is currently in Virginia, but really, home is wherever the Army (and God) sends her. You can find her on her blog at Christ Walk; on Facebook; on Twitter @christwalk1; and on Instagram @christwalk1.

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Monday Madness: Celebrity Blogger Week Edition

As Celebrity Blogger Week kicks off today, Tim and Scott bring you another action-packed episode of Monday Madness. This week, they talk about Celebrity Blogger Week and the burden of the Lentarazzi that our Celebrity Bloggers face. However, if you are lucky enough to spot one of our Celebrity Bloggers in person, they’ll probably agree to sign an autograph for you. You can look forward to a different featured Celebrity Blogger every day this “week” until we finish all eleven of our rock Lent stars.

Oh, yeah. It wouldn’t be Monday Madness without shameless commercial promotion. This week though, it’s getting urgent. Make sure you buy your Saintly Scorecards (individual, bulk price, or eBook) and giant bracket posters while supplies last. We usually run out before Lent!

If you haven’t invited every person you know, and at least a couple of total strangers, to like Lent Madness on Facebook and follow Lent Madness on Twitter, you’re not doing your job! If you’ve been calling your Senators and Representatives, go ahead and mention Lent Madness while they’re on the phone. Get to it!

Remember, it’s only 16 days until Ash Thursday. There’s not much time to strategize your bracket, evangelize your friends, and synergize your wallet at the Lentorium!

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Celebrity Blogger Week: Megan Castellan

Welcome to Celebrity Blogger Week! A long-standing Lent Madness tradition, we spend the days leading up to everyone’s favorite online Lenten devotion by introducing you to the fabulous writers who will make the 32 saints of Lent Madness 2017 come alive (well, they’re already alive, theologically speaking, but you know what we mean).

We’ve asked all of our Celebrity Bloggers to answer a few questions and provide a photo that reflects something non-churchy that they’re passionate about. The Supreme Executive Committee will be posting these intros in the order we receive them. Because we’re all about fairness. Also, so you can see who the slackers are.

As the pre-Lent Madness frenzy ratchets up, we hope you’ll enjoy spending some time with the men and women who will bring you Lent Madness 2017. We think they’re all pretty amazing and not just because they essentially work for free mugs.

In preparation for Ash Thursday (March 2), make sure to order your copy of the Saintly Scorecard: The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness 2017 (while supplies last!) and perhaps you’d like a large Bracket Poster to post at church. Or in your kitchen.

But before you read about our first Celebrity Blogger, Lent Madness veteran Megan Castellan, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Thanks — you get additional Lent Madness content AND it does wonders for our self-esteem.

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Free Lent Madness Stuff!

Looking for a way to promote Lent Madness in your congregation’s newsletter or local newspaper? You’re in luck! Below is a FREE article about Lent Madness 2017 — no strings attached (well, besides the harp strings of the heavenly angels).

But that’s not all! The Supreme Executive Committee is also tossing in widgets for your parish or personal websites ABSOLUTELY FREE. Click here to download your FREE widget. If you have no idea what a “widget” is, just ignore this paragraph.

Of course, while you can purchase a copy of the Saintly Scorecard or Bracket Poster, there is no purchase necessary to participate in Lent Madness. You can even download the 2017 Bracket for…wait for it…FREE!

Finally, if you would like Lent Madness graphics to accompany this article or to share on social media, you can download the ones here for…FREE!

Proving, once again, that sometimes the best things in Lent are free.

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Monday Madness — February 6, 2017

Tim and Scott are back! Join the self-appointed Supreme Executive Committee for the first pre-season episode of Monday Madness for Lent Madness 2017. In this week’s edition, Tim and Scott explain why some people might draw hope and inspiration from the “saintly smackdown,” even in a world filled with serious problems. They also highlight the must-have penitential add-ons needed to achieve maximum Lenten fulfillment in 2017 (spoiler alert: the Lentorium is involved).

If you want your own copy of the 2017 Saintly Scorecard, they’re just three bucks in the Lentorium. But the real bargains kick in when you buy them in bundles of ten. One or two bundles reduce the individual price of scorecards to two bucks. Buy three or more bundles (that’s 30 scorecards) and the Scorecards are only a dollar. It’s insane. But in a good way.

You can also buy your very own bracket poster suitable for framing, gifting, or venerating. Those are only $11.

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Purple Friday 2016 – All the Hot Deals!

Purple Friday bannerHere at Lent Madness, we love the color purple. Why? Because it screams penitential fun! Or at least it puts us in the mood, regardless of the season, for everyone’s favorite online Lenten devotion. This is why, once again, we’re excited to offer you some hot Purple Friday deals.

While people have been queued up for days outside the Lentorium in anticipation of this year’s massive Purple Friday sale, you can cut the line by shopping right here on the Lent Madness website. The prices are unbelievable!

Here are some of the bargains on Lent Madness stuff. And check around the Forward Movement site, because there are bargains a-plenty on other stuff too, including Tim’s holiday classic Dog in the Manger: Finding God in Christmas Chaos. Some items are discounted up to 50%!

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Lent Madness 2017 Bracket Released!

Lent Madness 2017 bracketIt’s the day America and the world have been waiting for! Months of speculation by media talking heads, countless polls, rallies all over the place, and the specter of serious competition have all led to this: the unveiling of the 2017 Lent Madness bracket.

Tim and Scott met months ago to discern the bracket. Then the Celebrity Bloggers worked on their biographies for the first round. The Foodie-in-Residence cooked up some new recipes. And the Bracket Czar has been creating a bracket poster suitable for framing or perhaps even veneration.

Sure, you might wonder why we’re going on about Lent when Lent Madness isn’t for another 118 days (not that we’re counting, the online counter does that for us). As Tim says, “Hey, if people can drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes in August, they can surely deal with Lent in November. Plus it’s either getting jazzed about saints, or dealing with a bunch of depressing politics. So you’re welcome for the gift of frenzied speculation and anticipation as we look toward the season of Lent (Madness).”

Meanwhile Scott contrasts the political news cycle with the sanctoral news cycle. “While the news has been full of sinners, well, sinning, in Lent Madness we get to look at God’s grace working in the lives of, um, sinners. Like us.”

Speaking of the news cycle, don’t forget to watch the SEC’s brand-new episode of Monthly Madness, with exclusive tidbits of Lent Madness news!

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Insane Bargains at the Lentorium!

St Barbara on bargainsDid you know St. Barbara is the patron saint of warehouses? It’s true! She didn’t do so well in Lent Madness 2015, having lost to Thomas Ken in the first round in the epic Barbie vs. Ken battle that people are still talking about. Anyway, we sure hope we’re still on St. Barbara’s good side, because Forward Movement is moving from one warehouse to another. We could use St. Barbara’s intercession as we pack up truckloads of stuff and set up in a new spot!

Forward Movement’s logistical hassle is your gain! The warehouse move has occasioned a massive sale, including some bargains on Lent Madness items. Sale items are discounted up to 50%! Check out the whole sale, with over 60 items on sale!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said cheap grace isn’t worth much. But we wonder if even Bonhoeffer would love these cheap prices on fantastic resources. Here are a few examples of stuff that true Lent Madness fans will want to purchase.
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Last week, Americans were glued to their televisions each night watching the Republican convention. This week, we all tuned in to watch the Democrats. Here at Lent Madness HQ, we’re equal opportunity humorists, because just as America is made up of red states and blue states, so too purple is made up of red and blue.

We shared our insights about Lent after watching the Republicans (“Make Lent Great Again!“), so now it’s time to share what we’ve learned from the Democrats about Lent. While The Donald is about making things great, Hillary’s people are always saying, “I’m with her.” So let’s see how we can all say, “I’m with Lent.”


purple balloon drop1. Balloon drop. Let’s face it, the balloon drop at the end of conventions is a cliché, but it’s an awesome cliché. So how about a balloon drop at the end of Lent? That’s just what the Easter Vigil needs, some more drama.
2. Star power. Lots of people hate Lent. We don’t, but we know people who do. It’s understandable, with all the fasting and discipline. So how about a star-studded preaching series? People would love Lent if the sermon was delivered by Episcopalian Sam Waterston or if Morgan Freeman was a lector.
3. Video montage. Why do we spend so much time working on carefully crafted intellectually engaging sermons? In the age of video, we should just go ahead and switch over to heart-warming video montages.
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