Thomas à Kempis vs. Maria Skobtsova

Today in Lent Madness it’s Thomas à Kempis versus Maria Skobstova, a matchup with plenty of subplots. German vs. Russian. Monk vs. Nun. Middle Ages vs. 20th century. Plenty of inspiration to be plucked from their respective writings and lives.

In yesterday’s action Richard Hooker took it to Mary of Egypt 73% to 27%, setting up an intriguing Saintly Sixteen battle between Hooker and Margaret of Scotland.

Oh, and because we try to helpful in all things Lent related, here’s a pro-tip: It’s time to take the Christmas tree off the front door.

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Mary of Egypt vs. Richard Hooker

With John the Evangelist squeezing past Phoebe 52% to 48%, in a tighter race than predicted by most penitential pundits, the first battle of the Saintly Sixteen is set. John will face Peter in a matchup of Biblical titans.

Today, Mary of Egypt faces Richard Hooker as the 3rd century touches up against the 16th. Impossible to compare these two saintly souls, you cry? This is madness, you declare? Of course it is! Lent Madness! Also, just wait…

In the meantime, we wanted to take a moment to again thank all eleven of our 2018 Celebrity Bloggers. Not all of them have yet had a saint thrust into the glare of the Lent Dome in these early days of Lent. But if you’re wondering just who they all are, click on the Celebrity Bloggers tab.

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Phoebe vs. John the Evangelist

Today in Lent Madness, two Biblical-era saints face off as Phoebe goes up against John the Evangelist. Will a woman who played an integral role in the early church prevail or will the author of the fourth Gospel advance?

In yesterday’s action, Anna Alexander defeated Peter Claver 59% to 41% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen against the winner of John Wesley vs. Edith Cavell. This was fueled in part by the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia‘s unflagging support for one of their own. They even produced a video celebrating Anna’s ministry which is worth your time whether or not you voted for her.

Finally, in case you somehow missed yesterday’s stirring edition of Monday Madness, you can watch it here. Every week Tim and Scott wax eloquent on all things Lent Madness, keeping the Lent Madness faithful up-to-date on the latest news. It is indeed must-see penitential TV.

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Monday Madness — February 19, 2018

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for a new episode of Monday Madness! This week, Scott and Tim bask in the glow of the first full week of saintly voting. They also highlight a change introduced this year, themed quadrants in the bracket. Finally, there’s a shout-out for St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin, TX for their wonderful (and large) embrace of the Madness.

Remember, you can check the match-up calendar on the bracket tab of the Lent Madness website, where you can find out when your favorite saints step into the Lent Dome and who they’ll be battling. Also check the bracket tab for each day’s results, featuring one-of-a-kind headlines, brought to you by our Bracket Czar, Adam Thomas.

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Anna Alexander vs. Peter Claver

We’re back for the first full week of saintly thrills and spills! Today we get our first matchup in the Mostly Modern quadrant as Anna Alexander faces Peter Claver. Of course it’s all relative — Anna lived in the 19th century and Peter straddled the 16th and 17th centuries. But what’s a few hundred years among friends?

On Saturday, Quiteria the nonuplet warrior defeated Genesius in a fairly close battle 54% to 46%. She will go on to face the winner of Thomas à Kempis vs. Maria Skobstova in the Saintly Sixteen.

For those of you who filled out brackets in advance, is it already busted? Or maybe a saint you really wanted to win has lost, causing you to lose all faith in humanity — or at least in the Lent Madness voting public. Just a reminder — it’s not really about which saints win or lose (they’ve all received their Golden Halos) — it’s about encountering Jesus through the inspiring lives of those who have come before us in the faith. So buck up! And live to vote another day.

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Genesius vs. Quiteria

Today is the one and only weekend vote of Lent Madness 2018. Every other matchup will take place on the weekdays of Lent. And it’s an intriguing pairing! We get Genesius, a saintly cut-up (he was a comedian and, more literally, had his head chopped off) facing off against Quiteria, a nonuplet Christian warrior and martyr. Which saint will be “re-martyred?” Well, that’s up to you.

Yesterday, in a rout of Biblical (see what we did there?) proportions, Margaret of Scotland destroyed Charles I 89% to 11% and will face the winner of Mary of Egypt vs. Richard Hooker. Speaking of future rounds, if you’re interested in seeing when your favorite saint will be doing battle, check out our Matchup Calendar. Better yet, print it out and tape it to your bathroom mirror.

Lent Madness will continue first thing Monday morning as we dip into the Mostly Modern quadrant of the bracket for the first time with Anna Alexander taking on Peter Claver.

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Margaret of Scotland vs. Charles I

Whew! Well, that was quite a start to Lent Madness 2018. The epic battle between Peter and Paul did not disappoint. In very heavy and heart-thumpingly close voting, Peter edged Paul 51% to 49% with nearly 9,500 votes cast and will face the winner of Phoebe vs. John the Evangelist in the Round of the Saintly Sixteen.

Today Margaret of Scotland takes on Charles I in a Battle Royale. No, literally, it’s a battle between royals — queen vs. king. But please don’t refer to this as regicide. Charles is a bit touchy on that subject.

Looking ahead, tomorrow will be the one and only matchup of Lent Madness that takes place on a Saturday. Every other pairing will take place on the weekdays of Lent. So don’t forget to set your alarm, make your coffee, and then vote as Genesius takes on Quiteria.

But first, a reminder about our one-vote-per-person rule. Last night at 7:58 pm Eastern time, the SEC removed 254 votes from Paul. We found that someone in Little Rock, Arkansas, had voted for Paul repeatedly (we can verify that it was not Bill Clinton). This person was cast into the outer darkness of Lent Madness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. We do appreciate saintly passion. But we ask that everyone respect the integrity of this little competition. We do keep an eye on voting irregularities. Think Big Brother — only more purple.

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Peter vs. Paul

Lent Madness 2018 has officially begun! After months of soul-aching anticipation, “Ash Thursday” has arrived. Over the next (more or less) 40 days and 40 nights, you will have the opportunity to re-immortalize one of our 32 competing saints with the coveted Golden Halo.

Today we see two heavyweights facing off in the Apostolic Rumble. Will we rob Peter to pay Paul or will Paul get robbed to pay Peter? That, dear friends, is up to you and your single (we mean that and we have spies everywhere) vote.

If you’re new to Lent Madness, welcome! If you have any questions about how to participate, just let us know by leaving a comment. The Lent Madness community is both friendly and helpful, often answering questions before the Supreme Executive Committee arrives in their grand purple, if imaginary, chariot. You can view and/or print out the full bracket of saints by clicking here.

We urge you to take full part in the Madness. Leave comments here on the website. Read what others have to say. Enjoy the friendly rivalry and trash talk on social media. Do additional research. During the day, check in on the website often to see how each day’s contest is going. And above all, delight in seeing how each saint was a powerful witness of Jesus Christ.

Be sure to sign up for e-mail updates on our home page (upper right corner) so you never miss a vote, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and encourage your friends to jump into the fray.

We can assure you this will be a wild, joyful, educational, ocassionally gut-wrenching ride. We’re delighted to share this journey with you. Let the Madness begin!

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A time to hate evil and love good

Ash cross

Dear friends in Christ,

One day each year, we take a pause from the usual madness to be serious about Lent. On Ash Wednesday, all distractions fade away, and we are reminded of a simple fact: we are all dying, and this precious life of ours is a gift to be savored.

If you said morning prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer today, you might have noticed a little tidbit in Amos. “Hate evil and love good.” It’s easy to say, but it’s very hard to do. It’s not all that difficult to hate evil in other people, but hating evil in ourselves is never easy. And that’s the point of Lent. We confront our own failings, so that we might make room for God’s grace to create new hearts in us.

The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us we are not alone in our struggle to hate evil and to love good.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

It’s not that the saints are sitting in the Lent Dome and watching us all on the big screen. That’s not what Hebrews is talking about when it says they are witnesses. Rather, we are surrounded by a cloud of martyrs, women and men who witness to us by their deaths. We are preceded in our earthly pilgrimage by those who struggled, like us, to hate evil and love good. And they loved good more than evil, Jesus more than life.

We hope you make it to church today to hear the solemn reminder that life is short. The time to repent is now. And then we hope you enjoy this whole season of Lent, an opportunity to return to God, to make our hearts new. Lent Madness may be mad, but it also draws us together in community as we learn from those who hated evil and loved good.

Tomorrow the madness begins. Today, we give thanks that we have a redeemer in Jesus Christ. Today, we give thanks for boundless grace to help us learn to hate evil and love good.

Tim+     Scott+

Photo: U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Jenny Hyden, 20th Fighter Wing public affairs officer, stands with a cross of ashes on her forehead on Ash Wednesday at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 18, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jensen Stidham/Released


While the Celebrity Bloggers got an entire WEEK (actually two, but who’s counting?), the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness gets but a day. And they have to begrudgingly share it. Nonetheless, this is the day that the SEC hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

What are the job requirements for serving in this capacity? This is shrouded in mystery. All we really know is that Tim and Scott are self-appointed and serve for life. And that they drink a lot of (black) coffee. This more-or-less benevolent dictatorship began in 2012 when Tim, who created Lent Madness two years earlier, partnered with Scott and the folks at Forward Movement. The rest is penitential history.

The SEC does take responsibility for ultimately choosing the 32 saints each year — though in an uncharacteristic display of democracy they do open up the floor to nominations during Easter season. They also stand as final judge and jury on all decisions and rulings related to Lent Madness, including but-not-limited-to issues of voter fraud, Monday Madness, Celebrity Bloggers, humor, comment moderation, and eligibility of saints.

When not collaborating on Lent Madness, Tim and Scott spend time bickering in online public forums, as each considers the other his archnemesis.

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